The Industrial Internet: Like Facebook For Things
Guest post written by bill Ruh
Bill Ruh is VP and Global Technology Director for General Electric.
There are over 50 billion things on the planet, compared to 7 billion people and 1 billion places. In the short history of the Internet, we have already successfully connected people-to-people, people-to-business, and people and businesses to places. Now, it’s about adding things, which is not just a “next-step” in how we currently use the Internet, but rather is a movement that, like the Industrial Revolution, will have a profound effect on our social, economic and cultural circumstance. At GE, we are working to maximize the potential of the “Industrial Internet,” a software-driven movement that will advance industry and improve lives by connecting people and businesses to the nearly 50 billion machines and systems that move our world.
So what does the Industrial Internet look like?a good analogy is that it is like Facebook or Twitter for things. Enabled by customized, innovative software, things will provide the right people and right businesses with ‘status updates’ on performance, issues, reminders and more. and like Facebook, these status updates and information are not just words on a page; they are part of an expansive network that is connecting things in a meaningful way – expanding the reach of information to all relevant sourcesso industries, businesses, and ultimately people’s life will run smoother as the promise of the Internet is fully realized.
As an example, let’s explore the impact of connecting a jet engine to the Internet. The ability for a jet engine to proactively communicate performance and issues (think ‘status updates’) with the technicians responsible for its performance could actually transform the airline industry, which does hundreds-of-billions of dollars in business each year. By knowing how engines are performing, when they need maintenance and exactly what the issues are, airlines can be proactive and efficient in troubleshooting – leading to far less delays and big gains in revenue.
In this example, it’s important to note that by simply connecting a jet engine to the Internet, along with software to enable it to communicate, everyone within the ecosystem of the airline is positively affected:
- The airline itself is able to run more efficiently from the ability to monitor engine performance and proactively perform maintenance at times when the plane is not scheduled to carry passengers and cause delays.
- Airports and air traffic control are able to run more efficiently as more planes arrive and depart on schedule.
- Consumers not only enjoy less flight delays due to engine issues, but are safer as technicians have optimal insight into engine performance. Additionally, savings for the airlines translates into lower fares.
So, considering how simply connecting a jet engine to the Internet impacts everyone involved in an airline’s ecosystem, you can see that, like the industrial revolution, the Industrial Internet will bring profound opportunity and change. GE believes all industries will be revolutionized by the Industrial Internet as things like cars, trains, solar panels, wind turbines, building machinery, consumer products, life-saving hospital equipment and much more are able to communicate the right information to the right people at the right time. The promise of the Industrial Internet is a more interconnected world that thrives on using information to build stronger and safer products, to be more responsible and sustainable with energy, to make travel more efficient, and to advance healthcare for the good of all.