Recently, I’ve encountered multiple discussions and questions around data:

  • How much data are we generating every day?
  • How is that data being stored?
  • What are we going to do with enormous amounts of data in the future?
  • Are companies investing enough analyzing this data?

There is no question that there’s a lot of curiosity around how data and digitization are impacting industrial businesses, and I hope to provide some insight on this. 

In this era of technology, we all are surrounded by data in our personal and professional lives. If you look closely at your day-to-day life, you probably use laptops, headphones, tablets, hard drives, cameras, and many more devices each day. It's no surprise that the mobile phone is now an utterly dominant piece of most of our lives. Earlier this year, Cisco reported that by 2020 there will be 5.5 billion mobile users, representing 70% of the global population. This type of usage now, and in the future, has prompted the need for data storage solutions. Think about it, data storage capabilities have come a long way in the last 30 years, from the floppy disk to flash drives and now to cloud storage solutions. Add on top of that the use of social media and the Internet, and we are not only generating more data to store, we are multiplying it. 

The consumer market has moved from generating kilobytes to terabytes of data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are predicted to generate zettabytes of data by 2018. IDC has predicted that by 2020, one tenth of the world’s data will be produced by machines, and in 5 years the amount of connected devices communicating over the Internet will reach 32 billion and generate 10% of the world’s data. Hence, it is essential for companies to invest money and resources into developing and/or implementing solutions that will not only store and manage this big data, but also analyze it.

As more and more industrial organizations embrace IIoT and adopt a digital transformation, improved analytical capabilities are helping to gain more insights and handling of real-time situations by avoiding system interruptions, shut downs, unplanned downtime, and other situations that can impact an organization’s bottom line.

IIoT will have an impact on every industry around the globe. For example, it will bring more safety to the mining industry with automated machines, which will allow for operators to work more remotely, rather than near potentially dangerous equipment. Cisco predicts that mining operations can generate up to 2.4 terabytes of data every minute. Rio Tinto is one of the first mining companies in the world to have deployed an IIoT system on its trucks, with which vehicles are remotely controlled with an autonomous hauling system (AHS). The project has led to savings summing up to $300 million.

Within asset performance management (APM), industrial organizations can implement intelligent asset strategies to help make sense of all of this big data. Intelligent asset strategies provide asset owners with a 360o holistic view of assets, providing enhanced insights and accelerated return on investment (ROI). Companies are managing thousands of pieces of equipment with effective strategies like plant equipment reliability, sound execution of preventive maintenance (PPM), reactive maintenance (REM), and predictive maintenance. Predictive instrument diagnostics have evolved from pneumatic to smart devices and tools that provide more information about the condition of equipment before failures occur.

With this digital transformation underway and enhanced capabilities available, companies are managing their operations intelligently—optimizing budgets, increasing equipment availability, adding computational power, implementing cloud-based and machine learning analytics, and hiring talented data scientists.

Recently, Accenture presented few facts at Asian Downstream Week, providing more insight around digital transformation and IoT and IIoT adoption. Here are some of interesting points that they discussed:

  • The amount of data generated every hour by a:
    • Retail store - 0.01 TB
    • Gas turbine - 0.4 TB
    • Automated factory - 1 TB
    • Offshore platform - 1-2 TB


  • Outlook:
    • By 2020, 25% of the world economy will be digital
    • 47% of jobs could be automated in the next 15 years
    • $14.2 Trillion value at stake between now and 2022 for all companies to realize through digital businesses
    • Digital organizations are 26% more profitable than their industry peers and generate 9% higher revenue from their physical assets.

All the above facts figure into the discussion around big data and embracing a digital transformation—which gives us all a better idea of what’s to come and our ability to change, adopt, and act more intelligently and make our businesses more successful. As Albert Einstein once said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

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About the author

Jayesh Verma

Market Research Analyst, GE Digital

Jayesh is a professional Market Research Analyst for GE Digital business stream. Prior to joining GEdigital, he helped the Meridium sales enablement for different regions around the globe. In past, he hasworked within business consulting division providing services to different clients including Microsoft andGoogle. He earned the bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from IET-DAVV, India (2009) andwas enrolled under the MIS graduate program for Master’s degree at San Diego State University, USA(2013).

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