Digital Industrial World: This Disruption Could Match the Industrial Revolution

Digital Industrial World: This Disruption Could Match the Industrial Revolution

October 22, 2015 at 01:10pm

Byline by: Rami Qasem, GE Officer, GE Oil & Gas President & Chief Executive Officer for the MENAT region.

The Industrial Internet — which combines the power of industrial machines with the capabilities of computers and the Internet — may be as disruptive to global economic activity as was the Industrial Revolution and the Internet Revolution.

That’s a big claim.

Dr. Marco Annunziata, Chief Economist and Executive Director of Global Market Insights at GE, recently explained that the Industrial Internet represents the third wave in the evolving relationship between humans and machines. First were tools for agriculture; second were tools for manufacturing. In both cases machines helped unburden humans from certain types of physical labor.

With the Industrial Internet, we are using machines to help with analytics, number-crunching and systems control, taking advantage of the fact that they can perform a larger number of tasks with greater precision and at faster speeds. The result, as in the first two waves, is increased productivity and efficiency.

Here in this region, we’re already seeing the impact of the Industrial Internet across industrial sectors, including in oil and gas. Using GE software that connects advanced field sensors to big data analytics and oil-well optimization software, we have helped a GE Oil & Gas customer increase oil-field production by up to 7%. We’re already in discussions to bring this solution to other oil and gas customers in the region.

Another industry example — this one from the United States — is a new Industrial Internet offering that gives near real time information to oil and gas pipeline operators, helping them make better decisions about the operation, maintenance and safety of their critical machines and assets. The first implementation is on a pipeline running the length of the U.S. East Coast.

Putting numbers to a global aggregation of such solutions led GE researchers to estimate that if the productivity enhancements generated by the Industrial Internet could be sustained globally through 2030, they would add about $15 trillion to global GDP over the period. That’s additional GDP creation equivalent to the entire value of today’s U.S. economy!

In this region, the impact would be similarly large, with the study estimating an $800 million GDP boost across the Middle East and Africa by 2030.

These numbers are driven by what happened during the Internet Revolution, when U.S. productivity grew by an additional 1.5% for a decade. GE research suggests that the Industrial Internet has the potential to deliver a similar percentage gain in productivity, but over a longer period.

Whether you run a small or big business, a government organization, a factory or major infrastructure assets, you will give your organization and your other stakeholders — from co-workers and citizens to customers — a big advantage by being one of the first to catch this next disruptive wave.

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