At the NASEO-ASERTTI 2013 State Energy Outlook Conference on Wednesday, February 6, Peter Evans, Director of Global Strategy and Analytics with GE Energy shared the vision for an “industrial internet,” a blending of processes and technologies that resulted from 200 years of an industrial revolution followed by 50 years of an internet revolution. The vision rests on the concept that by applying digital technologies to the industrial sector—computing power and sensors powering intelligent networks and automation, among other applications—productivity and efficiency gains will result. A virtuous loop of intelligent machines generating data feeding into advanced analytical networks will inform the work of individuals who will then provide enhanced productivity and learning back into the system.
The challenges in achieving the “industrial internet” include managing cyber security concerns, addressing proprietary information sharing sensitivities, diffusing the practices and products of developed to emerging markets, and fostering new talent that blends digital and mechanical skills. If such challenges can be overcome, the economic benefits of harnessing just a 1% efficiency gain through the “industrial internet” will be in the billions of dollars across multiple industries such as aviation, power generation, healthcare, and rail. As GE presents it, the “industrial internet” can be a defining movement in advancing energy and economic development in the United States.