The Industrial Internet Is Always Learning

In an always on, always learning society, companies that embrace the Industrial Internet will be more intelligent and efficient.

The exponential growth of data from connected devices has the potential to create a society that is always on and always learning. Interconnectedness is also poised to transform entire industries, as companies harness the Industrial Internet to gain unprecedented efficiencies.

The connected device trend is only going to accelerate as the consumerization of software continues to redefine the connected device experience. Today there are over 10 billion devices connected to the Internet, a figure that Cisco estimates will surge five-fold by 2020. Worldwide spending on connecting devices to the Internet will could top $500 billion by 2020 — and create as much as $15 trillion in value by 2030.

This always on, always learning society will make us smarter and save capital for forward thinking industrial companies who understand the needs, wants and trends of their customers prior to deploying new products and services. In the coming years, every new product developed by industrial manufacturers will have sensors that will give off tremendous amounts of data that will make the product more efficient.

Companies around the world are expected to spend an estimated $120 billion dollars this year connecting operations and equipment to the industrial Internet, according to IDC, up 18 percent from 2014. The transportation sector is becoming a key beneficiary of Industrial Internet spending

Union Pacific Railroad is making their overall business and locomotives more efficient by placing infrared sensors on every 20 miles or so of track to look for signs of overheating. These sensors combined with Union Pacific Railroad’s bespoke $10 million software investment helped the company drive down derailments caused by bad bearings by 80 percent.

Complex software is needed to discover patterns and disseminate all of the data coming off the locomotive. For example, the new GE Evolution locomotive has about 250 sensors that send out 9 million data points every hour. This large amount of data is only going to continue to grow as sensors become more complex and data rich. As Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE, has noted, “Industrial data is not only big, it’s the most critical and complex type of big data.

In the airline industry, important data gathered from the sensors on the aircraft will create value by increasing the number of miles flown and improving fuel efficiency, flight times and passenger safety. The sensors onboard combined with Big Data analytics will enable the individuals who are monitoring the data to make better decisions.

Across industries, data collected from sensors and analyzed can help save lives, save time and improve the overall efficiency of the company. This is the Industrial Internet — a future in where everything is connected and always learning.

The Industrial Internet Is Always Learning is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on General Electric Reports.