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How GE Digital is using data science to drive Industrial IoT

Tom Macaulay | Aug. 8, 2017
The General Electric subsidiary predicts that the Industrial Internet will be worth $225 billion by 2020.

The Predix platform allows customers to analyse the productivity of equipment and drive efficiencies through maximising energy use and revealing additional available capacity and potential defects, such as corrosion in industrial pipe systems.

"You can send robots who take kilometres and kilometres of pictures of pipelines and then this artificial intelligence will tell you precisely at which kilometre, metre and centimetre you potentially have a problem," says Champain. "That's huge. Huge impact and it can really avoid catastrophes."

Other aspects of industry that can benefit from IIoT optimisation include inventory and supply chain management, remote monitoring of utilities with sensors, predicting equipment break downs, demand response, and tracking product orders and vehicles.

GE aren't the only company tackling this area though. Microsoft is working with rival airline engine maker Rolls Royce to predict when engines will require maintenance, using its Azure suite of cloud tools to monitor engine health.


GE plans of playing a leading role in IIoT

GE is also using the technology to transform its own business. In 2016, the company made $730 million (£559 million) of productivity savings through apps that range from utilising machine learning to understand signals from equipment, to cutting the amount of scrap material generated in the tube cutting process in half.

The company and IIoT could also benefit from having political support in high places. The GE Digital centre was inaugurated in 2016 by a young minister of economy called Emmanuel Macron.

"He grew bigger, and we did too," said Champain. "He's really pushing this and he really understands what's happening in the service space."


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