NEW YORK CITY - "If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you're going to wake up today as a software and analytics company," Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of industrial titan GE, told the crowd this morning as he kicked off GE's third annual Minds + Machines conference on the state of the industrial Internet. "This change is happening in front of us. GE wants to be your partner."
Immelt announced that GE will deliver more than $1 billion in incremental revenue this year from more than 40 industrial Internet applications, ranging from offerings that monitor wind turbines to RailConnect 360 — "a movement planner that's really the air traffic control system of an entire rail network."
But it isn't just about GE, Immelt said. He announced that GE will make its Predix operating system for powering the industrial Internet available to any company in 2015, allowing them to create and deploy their own customized industry apps. Immelt said this will help foster a rich ecosystem of industrial Internet application providers and drive a wave of innovation in the space.
"Predix has the opportunity to become the operating standard in the industries we compete in," he said.
"The tools are in place to realize the potential of the industrial Internet to increase productivity for our customers and for GE," he said. "The more we can connect, monitor and manage the world's machines, the more insight and visibility we can give our customers to reduce unplanned downtime and increase predictability. By opening up Predix to the world, companies of any size and in any industry can benefit from the investments GE has made by eliminating the barrier to entry."
From Vintage Assets to the Cloud
Predix is a software platform designed to connect industrial assets from any vintage or vendor to the cloud and to each other, enabling asset performance management (APM) and operations optimization. Immelt noted that GE currently monitors and analyzes 50 million data elements from 10 million sensors on $1 trillion of managed assets daily as part of its APM solutions, all with the goal of helping customers achieve the holy grail of zero unplanned downtime.
For example, GE customer AirAsia has deployed a GE solution dubbed Flight Efficiency Services. Immelt said the company is on track to save $10 million in fuel costs in 2014 because the solution allows it to optimize traffic flow aircraft sequence management and flight path design. AirAsia expects its fuel savings alone to grow to $30 million by 2017.
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Meanwhile, global energy provider E.ON is leveraging a customized GE software-enabled platform called Wind PowerUp to increase the power output of 283 wind turbines by four percent. This increase in output results in an additional 40 gigawatt hours of annual energy production, enough to power 4,000 American homes for a year.
To take its APM solutions even further, GE today launched Predix App Factory, an advanced methodology for rapidly prototyping, validating and developing industrial Internet applications. It is using the App Factory process at its Design Center in San Ramon, Calif. To develop new solutions — like an app from GE Aviation that allows airline and plane operators to blend current information with advanced analytics to actively monitor more than 30,000 jet engines for real-time detection and response to issues.
Intel and Cisco Lend a Hand
Both Cisco and Intel have partnered with GE as part of this industrial Internet push. Cisco and GE are working to integrate Predix software on Cisco's networking products. The first output of that partnership is a new Predix-ready Cisco router in a ruggedized form factor intended to operate in harsh environments like oil and gas facilities.
Meanwhile, Intel is helping GE develop a reference architecture for edge devices that integrates Intel processors with Predix software in an effort to embed intelligence and adaptability in virtually any asset. They plan to make the new design available to gateway manufacturers so new connected devices and sensor networks will be Predix-ready.
On the network connectivity end of things, GE has formed global alliances with Softbank, Verizon and Vodafone to optimize wireless connectivity solutions for the industrial Internet. It is also working with AT&T to connect machines and assets like locomotives, fleet and aircraft engines through the AT&T global network and cloud.