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2016 Annual Outlook: Immelt Optimistic About GE’s Digital Industrial Future

GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt took over Studio 8H inside New York’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza this afternoon to give his annual vision for the company in 2016 today. Addressing a crowd of investors and analysts who packed the theater – best known as the set of Saturday Night Live – Immelt outlined the steps he’s made to turn GE into the world’s largest digital industrial company. “We’re the only company that will have the machines, analytics and operating systems,” he said. “That’s how we’ll play the Industrial Internet.”Immelt said GE’s acquisition of Alstom’s energy and grid business, the largest industrial acquisition in its history, added to the company’s industrial strength and provided an opportunity to connect GE’s digital services to Alstom’s global industrial footprint. He also said GE was ahead of its plan to sell most of GE Capital’s assets and exit the majority of banking operations.

GE’s biggest task in 2016 will be to “keep executing on the digital industrial strategy,” Immelt stressed.  Here’s a look at some key milestones from 2015 and cornerstones for 2016:

Portfolio transformation:

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GE Capital said it would sell assets valued at $200 billion by the end of 2017. As of today, the company has closed transactions valued at more than $100 billion and signed transactions valued at $154 billion. GE Capital also successfully completed the $20.4 billion public offering of Synchrony Financial. The deal will allow GE to return more than $90 billion to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks. But the company will still provide jet engine and infrastructure  financing for projects like the Caithness Moxie Freedom power plant in Pennsylvania, which will use a pair of America’s largest and most efficient gas turbines. The turbines, called 7HA, were developed by GE and like other GE technology, they can be connected to the Industrial Internet.

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Last fall GE acquired the energy and grid business of Alstom , including Alstom’s huge Haliade offshore wind turbines shown above. Alstom was GE’s largest acquisition ever. Their combined power generation assets can now supply with energy 30 percent of the world. 

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GE also launched GE Digital, the foundation for its transformation into the world’s largest digital industrial company. The new unit will work closely with all GE businesses and help them and their customers take advantage of the Industrial Internet. One new solution is the digital power plant  complete with the physical plant’s “digital twin.” The digital power plant will help operators reduce costs and predict problems before they lead to unplanned downtime.

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In October, the company announced Current – a startup that combines energy hardware with digital intelligence. Current’s intelligent LED street lamps can already see and hear things and measure air quality.

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GE can move fast because of the GE Store, which allows it to quickly transfer technology, expertise, talent, and culture across its global industrial businesses. The store holds next-generation components like silicon carbide chips. They will have applications in energy, aviation, healthcare and many other industries.

Transforming the World:

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Last spring, as Egypt faced a record-breaking heat wave, GE supplied the country with turbines and other technology capable of generating 2.6 gigawatts of electricity.

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The company also signed $2.6 billion deal to supply 1,000 trains to India. In 2015, GE unveiled the Evolution Series Tier 4 locomotive , the first freight train engine that meets the U.S. government’s strict Tier 4 emission standards.

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A Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner powered by a pair of GEnx engines.

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GE Aviation won $35 billion in orders and commitments at airshows in Paris and Dubai.

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GE also launched Predix, a cloud-based software platform for the Industrial Internet and opened it to outside developers. Predix is similar to iOS or Android, but built for machines. The platform allows developers to write apps for everything from CT and MRI scanners (above) to jet engines and help move GE, its customers and partners into the digital industrial era.

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GE Healthcare launched the Predix-powered Health Cloud in November. The cloud and apps will help doctors diagnose and treat everything from stroke to diabetes and transform healthcare.

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