While there is substantial promise for productivity improvements stemming from the integration of the Industrial Internet, there are clear challenges that must be overcome as well.
The following are the top difficulties to address:
1 | Security
As is the case in the consumer space, there is much concern about the security and privacy of data in the industrial space. Whether we are defending against terrorism or countering corporate espionage, there will need to be increased focus on securing the exponentially increasing quantity of sensitive data available in the coming years. We have acquired a security company for this reason, and have developed “Achilles”: a first-of-its-kind security system for the Industrial Internet.
2 | Processing
As the digital world around us gains the ability to perceive us, and resulting data volumes grow exponentially, a challenge will be to not only store this data but to process it in a timely manner. To illustrate the problem, from machine data to human thought streams, 90 percent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years. Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, and
that rate is increasing.
Estimates say 17 billion industrial assets will be connected by 2025. To address this, we are working with a company called Pivotal to create data lakes—a more flexible approach to handling large data sets. These allow us to take a data warehousing process that used to take 30 days to ingest, structure, integrate and process… and complete it in 20 minutes. We can now predict part failure far more effectively as a result. More data will mean more managerial difficulty, but can give us the best outcomes eventually. The good news is that we have a head start on the problem before it is fully realized.
3 | Conservation
There will also be a need to reassess how we meet major energy demands by conserving resources and developing more efficient technology. This has been the goal of our ecomaginationSM program, committed to advancing clean technology innovation and resource productivity maximization. It is also a key reason that Current, powered by GE, was formed with a focus on transforming energy usage. And now, thanks to advanced software integration like the PowerUp platform that optimized wind turbine production, we expect to achieve two times the rate of annual efficiency in the next 15 years with our focus on digital resource productivity.
With proper application of innovation and imagination when addressing the inherent challenges posed by the new intelligent environments cropping up around us, the promise of the Industrial Internet to redefine productivity can become a reality. As technology improves in performance while decreasing in price, and as major industrial stakeholders continue setting their brightest minds to the task of getting the most out of newly connected assets, it will continue to be an
exciting time to be in business.
Launched in 2005, ecomaginationSM is our commitment to technology solutions that save money and reduce environmental impact for customers and our own operations. Through ecomagination, our operations have seen a 32 percent reduction in GHG emissions and a 45 percent reduction in freshwater use, realizing $300 million in savings.