So How is the 124-Year Old “Start-Up” Company Doing?


In Greenville, SC; G.E. makes gas turbines.(pictured above)  Because of digital technology and other improvements, the production time of 5 years has been cut in half.

In 2009, Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO of General Electric, realized how much DATA was being collected by jet engines. It could be a lot of value, but G.E. was not really using it. G.E. needed to be more capable with SOFTWARE. G.E. was a manufacturer (turbines, locomotives, jet engines, medical equipment) but needed to treat Amazon and IBM as competitors.

At that time, G.E. was returning to its industrial roots, dumping GE Capital. In 2011, G.E. opened a Software Center in San Ramon, CA. The Center’s biggest mission is to build an “industrial-strength” computer operating system. You know, like ANDROID or WINDOWS! The aim is to realize this goal by 2020.

Instead of just dumping money into San Ramon, G.E. is involving the WHOLE COMPANY. Many of the 300,000 employees are traveling to San Ramon to “soak up the culture”. The goal is to move the digital wizardy of Silicon Valley into the rest of G.E. and into industrial manufacturing.

The big goal is to incorporate the “Internet Of Things” into something that helps manufacturers. For example, how about using sensors to decide when a machine needs repairs?

It will be a transformation. G.E. will sell “business outcomes” not just machines to it’s customers.

Google and Facebook revolutionized advertising. Amazon changed retailing. G.E. will change manufacturing.

Could be that the all the data and analysis will be worth more than the actual machines!!!

Starting out, GE Digital had some early reluctance to efforts to hire software engineers and scientists. But G.E. has always been great with advertising.

The “digital revolution” is already hitting railroad trains. At this week’s InnoTrans 2016 transportation trade show in Berlin, for example, GE is unveiling a “superbrain” platform for locomotives that transforms them into mobile data headquarters—helping make trains smarter and faster. “A decade from now, digital tools will take railroad productivity and efficiency to unprecedented levels,” says Seth Bodnar, chief digital officer at GE Transportation. “The whole network will light up like a brain.”

It’s about time. Bodnar’s train brain will help railways boost locomotive horsepower, improve operations and burn less fuel. “It’s really about enabling self-aware trains in a smart ecosystem,” he says.

Written by Ken Kinlock

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