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GE wants to plug in the 'Industrial Internet'

The conglomerate unwraps a new suite of technologies that it says will fundamentally change the operation of businesses like airlines, railroads, hospitals, manufacturing, and energy companies.

Andrew Nusca Special to CNET News
Andrew Nusca is the editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor at ZDNet. He has written for New York, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics, and Money. He is based in New York.
Andrew Nusca
2 min read

American conglomerate General Electric believes machine-to-machine, or "M2M" for short, advances will fundamentally alter the way business operates.

This morning at its "Minds and Machines" conference in San Francisco GE took the wraps off a new suite of "Industrial Internet" (PDF) technologies and services that it says will help airline, railroad, healthcare, manufacturing and energy companies increase productivity and reduce costs -- $150 billion in waste, it claims.

All this, just by connecting industrial machinery to the Internet (and the people that use it).

The quick and dirty of the announcement:

  • Who: GE, pitching the energy, oil & gas, healthcare, aviation, rail, and manufacturing industries. Also, a joint venture with Accenture ("Taleris") specifically for aviation analytics.
  • What: Nine new technologies and services, centered on product diagnostics software and analytics.
  • How: Optimize networks, assets, plants and facilities to improve service quality and productivity.
  • Why: GE calls the initiative the "Industrial Internet," and believes it's the next revolution in technology.
  • When: All of the services are available starting today.

The services in question:

  • Taleris, in conjunction with Accenture, which uses data from aviation parts sensors to diagnose on the fly;
  • RailConnect Transportation Management and Movement Planner, which uses analytics to move freight around more intelligently;
  • Grid IQ, a software-as-a-service platform for utility companies to monitor the grid more dynamically;
  • Hospital Operations Management, a services set that integrates bed assignment, departmental workflow, patient flow, transport, and equipment management data to reduce wait times;
  • Fuel & Carbon Solutions, a set of algorithms designed to find fuel savings for airlines;
  • Real-Time Operational Intelligence software, intended to help manufacturing companies get a plant-wide view on operations;
  • Flex Efficiency Advantage, which is essentially real-time monitoring for power generation equipment;
  • DoseWatch, software to help health providers keep an eye on a patient's radiation dosage;
  • Subsea Integrity Management, which is a remote underwater monitoring system to keep offshore oil and gas drillers informed of what's going on below the surface.

The company's ultimate goal is both modest and massive: a 1 percent efficiency gain across global industries.

(For energy, 1 percent fuel savings translates to $66 billion. For aviation, 1 percent fuel savings translates to $30 billion. For health care, 1 percent operational savings translates to $63 billion. And so on.)

"The Internet has changed the way we consume information and talk with each other, but now it can do more," CEO Jeff Immelt said. "By connecting intelligent machines to each other and ultimately to people, and by combining software and big data analytics, we can push the boundaries of physical and material sciences to change the way the world works."

Today's announcement appears to be an appetizer to the main course; GE says it will announce 20 more such technologies next year.

This story was first published as "GE unwraps 'Industrial Internet': M2M for planes, trains, manufacturing" at ZDNet's Between the Lines.