Industrial IoT: Plenty of words, too little action, says GE

Industrial IoT: Plenty of words, too little action, says GE

Industrial IoT: Plenty of words, not enough action, says GE

General Electric has unveiled new research at its Minds + Machines event being held this week in San Francisco, which highlights an emerging gap between executive outlooks for digital transformation and the industrial IoT initiatives that their companies have so far put in place.

GE’s new survey of IT and operational decision makers shows a worrying gap between thoughts and deeds on industrial IoT (IIoT). In short, while bosses view IIoT as presenting them with significant opportunities for future growth and competitiveness, the vast majority are not taking the actions needed to reap the benefits.

According to the survey, four out of five respondents believe that the IIoT will or could be transformational to their companies and industries – but at the same time, only eight percent describe digital transformation as “ingrained” in their business. In a more encouraging sign, only one in ten say their companies do not have a digital transformation plan in place.

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Profound impact – or not?

“The industrial internet is already having a profound impact on industrial companies of all sizes. We know this because we are seeing real benefits with our customers and across GE,” said Bill Ruh, the CEO of GE Digital, the company’s digital transformation arm.

At the same time, he acknowledged, “a gap is emerging between outlook for IIoT and actions.” GE, he added, is working to close that gap by partnering with its customers to accelerate change and guide companies of all sizes “along their digital journeys.”

Based on its research, GE has created the GE Digital Industrial Evolution Index to track the real progress of digital transformation.

This index was compiled by questioning executives at 250 US-based companies across five industries: manufacturing, utilities, power/energy, transportation and aviation/aerospace. Participants were scored on the basis of attitudes, outcomes, readiness, barriers and behaviours to draw up the index.  

The inaugural Index reflects a total score of 63 on a scale of 100 and indicates that, while the outlook for the industrial internet is very strong, scoring 78.3, company readiness lags behind at 55.2.

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Customer showcase

The company also took the opportunity to showcase a number of companies that it says are good examples of “harnessing the power of the IIoT”. These include:

  • Exelon – A Fortune 100 energy company, Exelon is using GE’s Predix IoT platform across its transmission and distribution network of six utlities, to increase reliability, availability and efficiency of power supplies to customers.
  • Qantus – The Australian airline is using a new flight data application from GE Aviation, FlightPulse, to provide pilots with data that helps them fly more efficiently and reduce carbon emissions. In its last financial year, Qantas saved more than 30 million kilograms of fuel, supported by the work done with GE. In this financial year, since launching FlightPulse, Qantas is now close to doubling its fuel savings compared to this time last year.
  • Rumo – One of the largest rail-based logistics operators in Latin America, Rumo is to deploy GE Transportation’s Trip Optimizer product, an energy management system, to improve fuel efficiency of trains running across more than 2,000 kilometers of rail in Brazil.
  • JPMorgan Chase – The US-based financial services company is currentlyin the second phase of an ongoing collaboration with Current, a GE start-up subsidiary, to increase the energy efficiency of around 4,500 Chase bank branches across the US. To date, some 3,000 branches have been retrofitted with LED lighting, helping to curb energy consumption by 50 percent.

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