Digital Industrial World: Enthusiasm and Opportunities in the Region

Digital Industrial World: Enthusiasm and Opportunities in the Region

November 26, 2015 at 01:11pm

By Nabil Habayeb, CEO, GE Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan

What struck me most about Minds + Machines Conference that was held in Dubai beginning of this month, was the palpable sense of excitement and interest in the idea that we, in the industrial fields, are moving toward a hybrid digital-industrial model. From the moment we opened the doors until long after the last panel wrapped up, the hundreds of customers and partners present were engaged in conversations and discussions about the intersection of these digital and industrial worlds.

It is the sense of opportunity, potential and possibility right here in the region that really animated the discussions and had customers so excited by what they were seeing in action today using the Industrial Internet.

GE is leading this evolution into a new era of dramatically increased industrial efficiency and productivity. We’ve already achieved improvements in the range of 20% across a range of our customers’ industries.

What was even more exciting for the audience, which was coming from across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan, is that this digital-industrial approach is already being applied right here in the region, delivering real results in these markets. Examples include RasGas in Qatar, and Sapphire Group and Engro Fertilizers in Pakistan. They are implementing software applications that run on GE’s open operating system for the industrial world, what we call Predix.

While the Industrial Internet is still in the early days, we’ve calculated that the net positive annual impact on GDP for this region could be $465 billion by 2025.

Particularly for this region, the Industrial Internet could enable industries, countries and markets to leapfrog older technologies and infrastructure, and provide a more efficient path toward sustainable economic growth. Whether it’s pulling more oil and gas out of the ground at lower cost; treating more patients with a higher level of care by using big data and software analytics; putting more electricity into the grid by improving power plant efficiencies; or keeping aircraft engines “on wing” and in the air longer between required maintenance — the Industrial Internet can be a dramatic enabler in the region.

This big opportunity for the region was behind the participation at the region’s Minds + Machines Conference of GE CEO and Chairman Jeffry Immelt; GE Chief Digital Officer Bill Ruh, and senior members from our Aviation, Healthcare, Global Research, Oil & Gas, Power & Water and Lighting businesses.

In panel discussions and presentations, as well as in the conversations with customers throughout the day, there were several themes that really resonated with customers:

  • Every industry will become a hybrid digital-industrial industry, driven by the intersection of the physical equipment with the data- and software-driven analytics.
  • The most lucrative opportunity is to use the Industrial Internet to achieve zero unplanned downtime.
  • Industrial Internet data analysis and process optimization can be done across assets and across the entire operation.
  • Breaking down data silos within organizations unlocks big opportunities for efficiency gains and emergence of “Brilliant Factories.”
  • The return on Industrial Internet investments can be seen in months, not years.
  • In this new world, the chief information officer is central to a business’s success and one of its biggest drivers of productivity.
  • The value of the Industrial Internet is likely to be twice that of the consumer Internet by 2025.
  • Industrial equipment no longer needs to be managed as a “fleet,” but rather as a “unit of one,” where the operator has huge amounts of data for each specific piece of equipment, whether an aircraft engine, a gas turbine or a health-care diagnostic imaging machine.

Several other key ideas kept popping up across our different businesses and in conversations with customers. The first is that GE is the best partner to build the operating system for the industrial sector because we have been industrial company building and servicing industrial equipment for more than 100 years. So we understand industry’s needs.

We understand this across aviation, transportation, oil and gas, power and water, health care, lighting, and manufacturing. So when we developed Predix, we built it with this knowledge, and when we build software apps for that operating system, we understand those industries.

The second idea is that GE made the right choice in making Predix an open operating system, enabling our customers and third parties developers to build their own applications on the Predix operating system. We think this will unleash enormous value for our customers and others in the industrial sector.

GE has been collaborating with customers in the region to address their toughest challenges for more than 80 years. As we work to bring the enormous benefits of the Industrial Internet to the region, we expect the positive impact on our customers’ businesses and the broader economies to be truly transformation. This will cascade into other positive implications across a wide range of areas, from increased innovation and an expanded local supply chain to job creation and youth employment.

The Minds + Machines Conference gave a feel for the energy, enthusiasm and eagerness that exists in the region to work together to make this an exciting and productive time for the entire region.

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