GE’s Predix Brings Cloud Computing to the Industrial Internet
What do you get when you cross the cloud and the Internet of Things with industrial machines? Six billion dollars, claims GE Digital CEO William Ruh, projecting this year’s revenue from GE’s new industrial platform-as-a-service software, Predix.
Predix connects the big data computing power of the cloud with Internet-connected machines to optimize industrial operations. GE foresees Predix being as disruptive to the industrial Internet as Apple has been to the mobile device market. Read on to learn how Predix is transforming the aviation, transportation, energy and healthcare industries.
Introducing the Industrial Internet
Predix represents a paradigm shift in the evolution of the Internet. When the Internet first became popular in the 1990s, the emphasis was on information. Since then, the Internet has gradually grown into an Internet of Things (IoT) that digitally connects a global network of smart devices, wearables, homes, vehicles and cities through a digital mesh of sensors, electronics and software. This represents a shift from information technology (IT) to operational technology (OT), which uses hardware and software to control physical devices and processes.
Enter Predix, a cloud IT platform for optimizing OT performance. Up to now, cloud platforms and their underlying hardware infrastructures have been optimized for processing digital information. Predix is the first platform to be optimized for industrial applications of digital information. Predix harnesses the cloud’s big data analytics and predictive intelligence capability to power industrial apps to reduce downtime and increase operational efficiency.
To achieve this, GE designed Predix to serve as an app development platform. Just like Apple developers can design custom software for distribution through the App Store, Predix will support a community of developers who can create and share apps that are geared toward specific industrial applications. In this way, Predix will rapidly make its presence felt in a wide range of industries. Here are some examples:
Each year, the aviation industry wastes $22 billion on inefficient processes and unnecessary incidents involving fuel costs, delays and cancellations, and unplanned downtime, according to GE. To eliminate these inefficiencies and optimize asset performance, GE Aviation brought Predix to bear by pooling information from 25 different airlines to analyze 340TB of data on 3.4 million flights.
The results of applying this analysis were spectacular. Performance improved 287 times over. Expenses shrunk to one seventh of previous levels. Innovation time was fast-tracked to seven days. In any industry, these levels of improvement can be considered disruptive.
Predix is bringing similar improvements to other areas of transportation. For instance, in the railroad industry, poor asset utilization, rising fuel costs and network congestion contributed to $28 billion spent on infrastructure and equipment in 2014. GE’s RailConnect 360 solution uses Predix to improve these factors by gathering, analyzing and deploying data from onboard instruments and sensors. GE Transportation chief digital officer Seth Bodnar says that a Predix application, called Trip Optimizer, will save the rail industry 90 million gallons of diesel fuel within a few years.
Predix is also disrupting the energy industry. Utility provider E.ON increased the power output from 283 of its wind turbines by 4 percent by using Wind PowerUp, a customized Predix app that applies data based on environmental and site conditions. GE estimates that applying Predix to the industrial Internet will increase global energy production 100 percent while reducing consumption 44 percent.
Healthcare is another industry feeling the impact of Predix. The GE Health Cloud provides healthcare providers with an integrated analysis of data from hundreds of brands of medical devices and machines from multiple vendors to facilitate better clinical, operational and financial outcomes. Health Cloud reduces clinician time spent preparing for team meetings by 20 percent, decreases the amount of transferred patient duplicate tests by 32 percent and cuts healthcare costs by $30 billion a year.