GE sees opportunity in cloud, 'Industrial Internet'

Company building software development team in Australia says CIO

GE is focussing on software, data and analytics as it ramps up its industrial Internet and cloud service capability.

GE Australia and New Zealand CIO Mark Sheppard said there is a “real transformation” going on within the company to look at software, data and analytics.

For example, the company is building its software development capability in Australia.

“We have a large oil and gas business, a transportation business and a healthcare business. Our focus will be around those sectors. Mining is a big play for Australia so a lot of the focus may gravitate there as well,” he said.

“We will grow this [software development] organically starting off with opportunities. This will be customer and demand led.”

According to Sheppard, a lot of focus is on asset performance management and the so-called 'Industrial Internet'.

“We have about $1 trillion equipment around the world. We want to get more productivity out of the equipment that is out there with our customer base.”

GE is undertaking an Industrial Internet project with Santos on Curtis Island, off the cost of Gladstone in Queensland.

GE plant managers will receive a notification if a turbine, compressor or other equipment is performing badly, allowing for it to be investigated and addressed, and avoiding any unplanned downtime.

This also allows the company to commit to availability and reliability KPIs in the contract.

The company is also undertaking a technology project with the BG Group’s QCG project on Curtis Island.

“We wanted to provide 99 per cent reliability using performance monitoring capability. We are collecting data in the field, analysing it and using that as the basis for productivity and reliability,” he said.

Last week the company announced the launch of Predix Cloud. Designed for industrial data and analytics, this platform-as-a-service (PaaS) will capture and analyse the volume, velocity and variety of machine data within a secure cloud environment.

According to GE, the cloud service will allow operators to use machine data faster and more efficiently, saving billions of dollars annually.

“Predix Cloud is an underlying platform as a service on which software can be built. We have tried to converge that software into the Predix platform so the respective different divisions of GE are all on a common big data platform,” Sheppard said.

GE businesses will begin migrating their software and analytics to the Predix Cloud in Q4 of this year.

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