I recently noticed a headline asking, “Is GE Becoming Irrelevant?” The gist of the article involved GE from an investment point of view, and maybe in that context it is becoming less stellar as an investment. However, it is not, in terms of its industrial focus and most likely its Industry 4.0 future.
The company just unveiled 14 new Industrial Internet Predictivity technologies (no this is not a typo) to achieve, “virtually anywhere,” access to machines. Focusing on causing an impact on such important industrial concerns as reducing downtime], providing preventive maintenance, reducing emissions and fuel costs, and increasing productivity.
Why the strange spelling? The GE solutions that are streaming out will be powered by Predix, an industrial-strength platform destined to provide both standardization and security to the connection of machines, industrial big data, and the decision-making people that are involved.
Doesn’t this look like another move to Industry 4.0 without the travel? (See: Want a Great Industrial Engineering Job? Move to Germany.)
Partnerships to help GE pull Predictivity off and boost wired and wireless connectivity include AT&T, Cisco, and Intel. By the company’s own admission, it’s the management and analysis of big-data output within a secure environment that is both the biggest challenge and opportunity -- and these three partners should lend credibility and muscle to the effort.
GE seems to be in a great position for success in predictive solutions. Given the company’s sensor technology and industrial focus, it has the experience, products, and now partners in place not to mention sufficiently deep pockets. According to Jeff Immelt, GE chairman and CEO, “We are developing more predictive solutions and equipping our products with sensors that constantly measure performance so our customers see major productivity gains and minimize no unplanned downtime. Observing, predicting and changing this performance is how the Industrial Internet will help airlines, railroads and power plants operate at peak efficiency."
Just unveiled in the asset optimization category are:
- The Drilling iBox System for oil and gas
- ReliabilityMax, also for oil and gas
- Field360 (oil and gas)
- LifeMax® Advantage (power and water)
- PowerUp (power and water)
- Rail Connect 360 Monitoring and Diagnostics (transportation)
In the operations optimization column:
- Non-destructive Testing Remote Collaboration (oil and gas)
- Hof SimSuite (healthcare)
- Cloud Imaging (healthcare)
- Grid IQ™ Insight (energy management)
- Proficy MaxxMine (energy management)
- Flight Efficiency Services (aviation)
- ShipperConnect (transportation)
The 24 solutions now available provide flexibility for machine management and operations.
GE might be old hat to the investment community, after all it was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Averages in 1907. And, while it may have been a stagnant investment to the financial community, it seems a good bet for the industrial segment going forward.