Industrial businesses need a jolt. Productivity has dropped from 4% to 1% over the past five years. It’s time for a physical and mental overhaul. If productivity is what ails businesses, the Industrial Internet, where machines connect and speak to machines (M2M Internet of Things), is its prescription.

McKinsey Global Institute, in a report titled Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy, estimates IoT could have an economic impact of between $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion annually by 2025, citing promising opportunities in healthcare, infrastructure, and public-sector services, addressing some of the biggest challenges facing society.

How does the Industrial Internet work?

The Internet of Things connected devices coupled with industrial big data provides you with real-time insights to help your businesses better understand your operations. Plus, you can drive operations to its fullest potential based on key parameters such as market demand, weather conditions, plant environment, load balancing, and other business objectives.

To capture the full potential of connected things and the insights it can deliver, you can then optimize operations. This requires that you not only understand the current state of your operations, but also have the ability to predict what will happen before it occurs. While industrial machines have always issued early warnings, it was often in an inconsistent way and in a manner where details often crowded out the most critical information. The advent of the Internet of Things connected devices and networked machines, with embedded sensors coupled with advanced analytics tools, have changed that reality.

Now you can leverage advanced analytics in context to predictions, providing real-time operational intelligence to the people who need it to make the best decisions. Thus, you have intelligent foresight to take the appropriate action and proactively avoid issues before they occur—a powerful capability that allows for continuous operation. This can potentially help businesses save millions or even billions of dollars.

How can the Industrial Internet change business?

Solutions powered by the Industrial Internet can, for example, help you monitor processes and control loops. When a process is inefficient, you can quickly identify what has changed and why. You can get to the root cause of the issue, and gain better insight into your process and control problems to minimize deviations outside set parameters.

At GE, we are helping customers connect their machines, data, insights, and people to improve performance, uptime, and productivity. Our scalable, open standard control solutions bring the benefits of connected machines to your operations.

Take, for example, a global healthcare company that was using its CT scan machines to conduct tens of thousands of exams. To improve efficiency, GE Digital’s Data Science team helped the customer leverage its incredible amount of machine data to minimize usage time. It identified training opportunities and optimized machine usage time by scheduling longer exams.

You could also look at the one of world’s largest exploration and production companies. During the prolonged slump in oil prices, the company was operating as leanly as possible. As such, an operational parameter wasn’t effectively monitored and equipment failure went unnoticed in the machines. The Rapid Response team in GE Digital’s Industrial Performance & Reliability Center detected signs of machine stress on a particular equipment using SmartSignal from GE Digital, and notified the customer of this stress. Rather than waiting months to replace the faulty machine at its scheduled date of replacement, the customer replaced the machine during planned downtime as soon as it detected potential machine failure. This proactive maintenance allowed the customer to avoid tens of millions of dollars’ worth of lost production.

GE's Digital Industrial Playbook

Digital Transformation White Paper

Learn how you can accelerate your digital industrial journey.

While much has been written about the digital transformation of industry, few industrial companies have undertaken the daunting work of actually transforming. GE has and is.

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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.