Viewpoint

0910viewpointThe Next Global Revolution Has Begun

With the economy recovering from various challenges, we at GE are focusing on the huge opportunity realized by the arrival of the Industrial Internet and the positive impact it will have on the industrial sector. The Industrial Internet is an open, global network that connects people, data and machines. It represents the next global revolution and it has already begun.

Ninety percent of the data in the world today was created within the last two years. Industrial data is growing at a rate two times faster than any other segment of industry. The Industrial Internet will power the future by allowing us to make sense of this data and find meaning where it did not previously exist. This all starts with intelligent machines. These are machines embedded with advanced sensors, controls and software applications, which allow us to extract data. Through the use of advanced analytics (the combination of physics-based analytics, predictive algorithms, automation and deep domain expertise) we can understand the data and use it to support more intelligent, proactive decisions. This all culminates in saving money and increasing production.

As an example, think about a situation where you have an offshore oil rig in a hostile environment. There is a need to understand the condition of rotating equipment to plan maintenance, increase availability and, most important, avoid catastrophe. Using advanced sensors and condition-monitoring software, you’re able to measure vibration, temperature, pressure, flow and more. The information can then be analyzed by a team of experts in remote monitoring centers located anywhere in the world. This is the Industrial Internet in action. 

From this single example, now consider that just a one percent reduction in capital expenditures within the Oil & Gas Industry can lead to an estimated $90 billion in savings over the next 15 years. There are similar scenarios in every other major industry. For instance, a similar one percent fuel savings in power generation could add more than $4 billion annually to the global economy. We call this the “Power of One Percent.” And, it is really powerful to think these minor improvements in productivity could add an estimated $15 trillion to the global GDP by 2030. 

In order for the potential of the Industrial Internet to be maximized, there are some essential considerations. Foremost among them is the need for cyber security management. GE’s Bently Nevada business recently held a Customer Advisory Board, which brought together top industry professionals in an open forum discussion. Cyber security emerged as a prevailing theme. Thus, as the Industrial Internet grows, so will the need for defined security processes and controls that include vulnerability life-cycle management, end-point protection, intrusion detection/prevention systems, firewalls, logging visibility, network visibility and security training. 

Also paramount to the growth of the Industrial Internet is continued innovation and deployment. Deployment must be broad-based, involving not just the industrial world but also emerging markets. Emerging markets have become an increasingly important part of the global industrial system and will see the largest share of capital expenditure in the coming decades. 

At GE, we’re not focused on the past. We’re looking to the future: one where the Industrial Internet promises to bring meaningful economic growth. MT         

The opinions expressed in this Viewpoint section are those of the author,
and don’t necessarily reflect those of the staff and management of Maintenance Technology magazine.

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