If you’ve recently witnessed an accident and dialed 911, you may have found yourself waiting in a queue – along with other witnesses at the same scene.

Too much of a good thing? The ubiquity of smart phones can overwhelm emergency services with a flood of details from multiple bystanders. But the Industrial Internet and its convergence of data, analytics, and people could turn that challenge into an advantage. Or so writes former Oracle cloud tsar and author Tim Chou in his recent CFO Magazine article "The Exciting Potential of the Industrial Internet."

“Rather than thinking of how we don’t want 24 people to report the same traffic accident, why don’t we see those 24 reports as 24 sources of data providing timely information from a variety of perspectives, all with some value?” suggests Chou. “Why isn’t all of the location, video and audio information routed to a public-safety, cloud-based computer and storage service running applications that deliver personal and relevant information to everyone involved in the emergency?”

In addition to citizen reports, a more highly connected and intelligent emergency response system could layer in data from other sources: weather, maps, smart buildings, and sensor–equipped traffic intersections.

“Imagine that data stream being fed to a next-generation cloud service with perhaps 10,000 servers running applications to deliver information that’s personal and relevant to an office worker on the 20th floor of a burning building, a firefighter at the northeast corner of the building, and an EMT arriving from the west,” Chou writes.

“A service application could inform the firefighter that it’s 85 percent likely a gust of wind will shortly move the fire toward him. A mobile application could inform the office worker to go down the right side of the building rather than the left from floors 10 to 16. There are all kinds of information that could be made relevant to every police and HazMat officer.”

The possibilities are exhilarating – and stretch far beyond municipalities to all corners of the services economy. Smart companies today are exploring where they have information that may be personal and relevant to people within the company, customers, suppliers, and outside partners.

About the author

GE Digital

Driving Digital Transformation

GE Digital connects streams of machine data to powerful analytics and people, providing industrial companies with valuable insights to manage assets and operations more efficiently. World-class talent and software capabilities help drive digital industrial transformation for big gains in productivity, availability and longevity. We do this by leveraging Predix, our cloud-based operating system, purpose built for the unique needs of industry.