GE unveiled expansions to its suite of edge-to-cloud technologies and industrial applications, designed to help its customers build a complete asset strategy. These additions to the GE Digital portfolio complement the key software applications that drive industrial productivity, and extend these benefits through Predix, the application development platform for the Industrial Internet.
To help industrial companies get the most out of their industrial assets and drive better buisness outcomes, GE Digital introduced: Predix Edge technologies to accelerate computing at the edge; the Predix platform combined with Microsoft Azure, the cloud for enterprises; new Operations Performance Management software to bridge productivity from assets to operations; enhanced Field Service Management solutions to improve the customer experience; and new platform tools to simplify industrial app development.
“Industrials that unlock data to master asset productivity will be positioned to lead,” said Bill Ruh, chief digital officer of GE and chief executive officer, GE Digital. “To power digital transformation, industrial organisations must understand every stage of the asset lifecycle. The company that designs, builds, operates, maintains and services industrial assets is best equipped to help others with their Industrial IoT journeys. And only GE offers the combination of industrial apps, underpinned by an industrial platform, to ultimately drive customer outcomes.”
Edge-to-cloud intelligence on any industrial asset, anywhere
By 2022, Gartner predicts that 75% of enterprise data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud. The ability to compute and manage this information both at the edge and in the cloud are essential for industrial companies to truly optimise their operations.
To help customers accelerate their edge strategies and make any asset an intelligent asset, GE Digital is expanding its Predix Edge capabilities to help run analytics as close to the source of data as possible. Predix Edge gives customers with limited connectivity, latency limitations, regulatory, security or other constraints a way to deploy applications closer to the originating data – or at the edge.
- Predix Edge Manager allows customers to support large fleets of edge devices – up to 200,000 connected devices from a single console.
- Predix Machine enables microservice-based applications to run at the edge on customers’ virtualised data centre infrastructure or server-class hardware from GE or its partners. This also supports Predix Edge Manager, which was previously available only as a cloud service.
- Predix complex event processing (CEP) allows for faster and more efficient event processing at extreme low latency, available at the edge in Q1 2018.
These edge solutions can help companies move from intelligent asset management to automation to insights-led machine learning across a distributed system. One example is EdgeLINC, a comprehensive edge-to-cloud solution from GE Transportation integrated with Predix Edge Manager, Predix Machine and Asset Performance Management applications. EdgeLINC enables efficient device management, configuration and streaming analytics even when machines, such as rail assets, are constantly moving in and out of communication.
Predix platform on Microsoft Azure
GE Digital and Microsoft are bringing together the advanced industrial platform services of Predix with the flexible, enterprise-proven services of Microsoft Azure. Available in North America starting Q4 2017 and expanding globally in 2018, this partnership extends the accessibility of Predix to Microsoft’s global cloud footprint, including data sovereignty, hybrid capabilities, and advanced developer and data services, enabling customers around the world to capture intelligence from their industrial assets.
The partnership helps businesses better connect their information technology (IT) systems with their operational technology (OT) by bringing a company’s systems – and data – together in a shared environment. While IT and OT have traditionally existed in silos, Microsoft and GE are bridging this gap and giving industrial customers a way to more easily improve performance, increase operational efficiency, and accelerate the shift from automation to intelligence.
Advanced applications to make the industrial internet more actionable
Understanding how an asset operates and its maintenance needs is critical to mitigating risk and improving productivity. Alongside its Asset Performance Management (APM) software, the core application deriving value from industrial assets, GE Digital introduced a complementary application that improves the operational performance of assets – like pumps, valves and heat exchangers – and drives a comprehensive asset management strategy.
This new Operations Performance Management (OPM) software helps industrials increase revenue and margins, optimise the throughput of industrial processes, and make their sites more profitable. OPM uses real-time and historical data – along with advanced analytics – to help customers make better operational decisions.
The solution provides an early warning if industrial processes deviate from plan, arms operators with the information and time to troubleshoot operational issues, and helps them take preventative actions to meet business goals. GE Digital’s OPM software initially targets the mining industry and will expand to additional industries early next year.
The OPM solution has already helped customers achieve significant improvements to revenue and profit including:
- A platinum operator increased overall throughput by 10%, consistently reaching maximum design capacity and increasing recovery by 1.5%.
- A large mining company saw a 5.5% increase in throughput, while consuming 2% less power.
- A gold producer realised a 1.5% increase in recovery, while reducing equipment-related costs through improved process efficiency.
Enhanced field service management solutions
With service technicians looking to embrace technology to improve their productivity and deliver a better experience for customers, ServiceMax from GE Digital, the leading field service management (FSM) solution, announced several enhancements to its FSM suite – enabling even greater efficiencies and bringing advanced analytics to service operations.
Artificial intelligence-enabled predictive service times now integrate the Apache Spark AI engine to improve service time estimates. Additionally, a new application integration solution enables service providers to launch and share FSM data with third-party mobile applications installed on the same device.
New capabilities in schedule optimisation allow for dependent job scheduling between work orders for multiple visits, aimed at improving first-time fix rates. As part of GE Digital’s FSM portfolio, these new features allow operators to minimise downtime, optimise costs, reduce risk and improve productivity for your services team.
Advanced app and digital twin solutions
GE Digital also introduced Predix Studio to help companies build and scale their own industrial applications and extend its Asset Performance Management (APM) suite, available in Q1 2018. Predix Studio simplifies the development process by giving customers the ability to extend applications and empower industrial subject matters experts – or citizen developers – to build apps in a low-code, high-productivity environment.
A vital demographic, citizen developers comprise controls and reliability engineers, OT operators and line of business users with domain expertise but little or no coding experience. Using a mix of AI and machine learning, Predix Studio automates the heavy lifting of creating Industrial IoT apps – opening app development to an entirely new kind of developer.
To help customers capitalise on new growth opportunities, GE created the Digital Twin Analytics Workbench, a solution that applies a library of algorithms and templates to make it faster and easier for companies to build their own digital twins on Predix. GE’s experience in managing industrial assets has generated hundreds of millions of hours of machine data and a deep understanding of how machines perform in various conditions. Modeling that physical data into digital twin models allows GE to deliver applications that better predict and improve the performance of physical machines.
The Analytics Workbench, currently a technology preview from GE Power, can be used to augment existing digital twins with new data streams. For example, power producers using drones to inspect wind turbine blades, pipelines or fuel reserves can integrate visual inspection data into the digital twins they already use to manage generation assets and grid infrastructure. The Analytics Workbench also helps users implement machine learning capabilities that allow those models to improve themselves over time.
Unveiled as part of GE’s Minds + Machines conference, these solutions from GE Digital are designed to help customers successfully advance their digital industrial transformation journey, while realising real and immediate benefits to their bottom lines.