GE paints rosy future for “industrial internet,” its take on the IoT

Posted on 30th November 2012 in Internet of Things

GE has just released a major report, “Industrial Internet: pushing the boundaries of minds and machines,” in which it projects what it calls the “industrial internet” marrying “smart machines” and Big Data analytics could add $10 to 15 trillion — the size of the current US economy — to global GDP.

The industrial internet — which equates to GE’s own strengths, such as electrical generation and health care (surprise! surprise!) is more limited in scope than the full Internet of Things, so the numbers also indicate a bright future for the IoT as a whole (but why did they feel the need to come up with a new term rather than just trumpeting their own area of the IoT?).

Co-authors Peter C. Evans, GE’s director of global strategy and analytics, and Marco Annunziata, GE’s chief economist, write that “the deeper meshing of the digital world with the world of machines holds the potential to bring about profound transformation to global industry, and in turn to many aspects of daily life, including the way many of us do our jobs.”

The report predicts radical increases in productivity in areas in which GE has major initiatives, including health care, fuel savings and more efficient and long-lasting physical assets.

Among the highlights of the report’s findings, it predicts:

  • the industrial internet could increase average U.S. incomes by 25-40% over the next 20 years.
  • just a 1% increase in hospital efficiency could save $63 billion worldwide.
  • similarly, a 1% reduction in jet fuel use could save $30 billion over 15 years.
  • a 1% efficiency gain in gas-fired power plants worldwide could save $66 billion in fuel costs.
To achieve the savings, the authors urge companies to deploy legions of smart sensors to gather real-time data, improve cyber security, and train a new breed of “digital-mechanical” engineers.
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