Deutsche Bahn Cargo trains crisscross Europe daily carrying everything from coal and steel to cars and cabinets. If a train gets stuck or needs to be taken offline, it can cause problems for the entire system. Now GE digital technology is making the trains smarter and reducing downtime. By tapping sensors embedded on 250 of DB Cargo’s trains, GE will be able to collect several terabytes of data to help keep the trains running efficiently.
Digital transformations like this are the focus of Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech summer retreat this week in Aspen, Colorado. The idea behind Brainstorm is deceptively simple: Gather 600 of the world’s top business leaders, tech entrepreneurs and investors to discuss the tech trends that are poised to transform the world. It’s an opportunity to feed innovation, discuss future trends and — in general — find a way to make disruption a little less disrupting.
Digital disruption isn’t only hitting the tech world. We’re seeing it in industry as well. In manufacturing, for example, digital innovations can lead to a difference of billions of dollars in productivity. “No two factories are the same, but they all share the same goal: optimal performance through smart resource management,” said Miller. “That requires embedding sensors and leveraging GE software to gather data and use those insights to drive productivity and performance optimization. The ‘brilliant’ factory puts a ‘digital thread’ through operations, from product design all the way to supplier management so we can see performance and output in real time.”
Miller will be speaking with Fortune deputy editor Brian O’Keefe at the retreat on Wednesday. She’ll share insights from GE’s journey to transform itself from a pure industrial company to one that connects machines and factories to the digital world in order to become more efficient and productive.
She will especially focus on Predix, GE’s software platform for the industrial internet. The driver at the heart of GE’s digital strategy, Predix wrangles large amounts of data to give fresh insight into some of the world’s oldest industries, from oil drilling to mining, marine power to railroads.
Digital disruption has been a buzzword for years, but — as Miller will show — disruption is only the first step to greater efficiency across industries.