Early on Wednesday November 16, the cogs begin turning on the most significant digital-industrial event of the coming year: GE’s Minds + Machines. The sold-out event is being held at Pier 48 in San Francisco, but you can tune in to the live stream of this fast-forward, future-thinking conference here: it’s your wake-up call to digital engagement, fruitful collaborations, reduced carbon emissions and accelerated performance.
Hosted by GE global chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt, this fifth in the series of annual digital-industrial festivals convenes luminaries from the worldwide community of GE customers, developers and partners, to explore the digital transformation of industry and the state of the Industrial Internet. Or, as GE’s recent acquisition Meridium expresses it on its website: “Minds + Machines will show you what it takes to become a digital-industrial company and how to get started.”
Belinda Vassallo, country manager of GE Digital in Australia and New Zealand says she has a “laundry list” of power brokers she wants to meet at the event. Vassallo is herself a linchpin of the Australian-US-Asia Pacific digital community. Her aim at Minds + Machines is to form alliances that put Australia in the “engine room” of GE’s digital system development, for industries such as aviation, mining, oil & gas, energy, and what Vassallo calls “white space” areas of endeavour, such as connected cars and agriculture.
“Australia is always at the coalface of the next thing; it’s the accepted location for incubation,” she says, and her team has in the past two months been inundated with requests from customers to help them rapidly build out their digital ecosystems.
Qantas is one company with a long history of partnering with GE, and the resulting successes in reducing fuel costs and carbon emissions, and optimising engine performance, are being further exploited at a US-based collaboration centre. At Minds + Machines, in the session Driving Disruptive Outcomes in Aviation, powerful new apps and approaches born of the GE-Qantas digital partnership will be unveiled.
Alan Milne, head of Fuel and Environment at Qantas says, “We’ve never had the depth of insight into our operations that we’re starting to get from GE software.”
Vassallo is looking forward to several announcements at Minds + Machines: of new applications, and of acquisitions that expand the GE digital capability.
GE’s September acquisition of Meridium, a company offering asset performance management (APM) software, has already yielded an integrated solution—Maintenance Optimization, now part of GE’s APM suite—which will be showcased at Minds + Machines.
Meridium “enhances our asset performance management capabilities, not only from a technical perspective, but from a footprint perspective across the globe,” Kate Johnson, chief commercial officer for GE Digital said of the acquisition. With regional offices in the US, India, Spain, South Africa, Singapore, Australia and Dubai, Meridium already had products licensed for use at 1,200 locations in 80 countries, which extends GE’s reach in the digital realm.
The conference will offer deeper insights into GE’s global and regional digital strategies; and an update on the development of Predix, its operating system for the industrial internet, purpose built for the heavy data lifting required to connect, analyse and improve the performance of the world’s industrial assets.
Vassallo predicts announcements on Predix’s advanced connectivity to virtually any device or data-generating system, to existing databases, as well as new sources of data. She says, “If developers want to work in Ruby on Rails, or in Python, Predix now has the ability to take all the variety of languages. On day one of the launch of Predix, GE probably had 1,000 application programming interfaces; today it probably has 10,000—the goal has been to create as much openness as possible on the platform.”
GE has also, over the past several months, rapidly developed its domain expertise in data analysis on Predix. “So we’ve got domain expertise in data science for Power, and domain expertise for Transport. And we can quickly address really specific issues, such as maintenance on particular truck types—that’s how pointy these conversations get—we now have what we call a blueprint to fix that if you put it on Predix,” says Vassallo.
From Transportation Streamlined to the Digital Transformation journey, to boosting the Electricity Value Network and accelerating the development of Intelligent Environments, the themes of Minds + Machines explore the promise and practical applications of Industry 4.0.
Speakers during the livestream sessions (from 4am to 5.30am AEST on the mornings of November 16 and 17) include GE’s Jim Fowler describing the milestones of GE’s own digital-industrial journey, Michael Nilles from Schindler on Rethinking urban mobility; GE’s John Flannery on A vision for healthcare; Susan Landahl and Brian Hoff from Exelon on Electricity reimagined; and digital gurus from Intel, Tata Consultancy Services and NEC on Global expansion through a partner ecosystem. See the full schedule of events online.
Tune into the conference live stream, check the GE Twitter feed and follow #GEMM2016 for updates on digital-industrial revelations and releases, and subscribe to GE Reports for regular coverage of the digital forum that will shape the near future!