Selling connected devices to the public continues to be hit or miss, but General Electric and Hitachi have no qualms about going all-in for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
According to Application Resource Center (ARC), the technology leviathans Hitachi and GE are betting big on IIoT, a market which GE recently estimated could be worth $225 billion in four years. By 2030 GE Digital predicts total investment in IIoT will reach a mind-boggling $60 trillion.
With an increasing flood of data that IIoT technology is producing, various industrial sectors could be revolutionized if they can efficiently harness this information.
“If we look at the next 10-15 years we anticipate an investment in harnessing all this data around the end-to-end value chain of industrial companies across many industries,” said Greg Kinsey, vice president of Hitachi Insight Group. “For example, if you look at aerospace and automotive manufacture, there is still massive potential in digitizing and integrating those end-to-end value chains.”
Kinsey also identified the food and agriculture industry as another sector that IIoT will help flourish.
“If we look at the food industry, we have value in farm-to-fork—that entire value chain from the planting of the seed to the meal on the table,” said Kinsey. “There is a massive opportunity to make that more efficient, to improve the quality, to improve the safety and eliminate waste.”
IIoT means a new view on asset management
One of the revolutionary aspects of IIoT is the change in how companies conceive their industrial assets.
“The center of the Industrial Internet of Things is assets – plane engines, locomotive engines, oil refineries etc.,” said Vish Soaji, GE Digital’s head of engineering for industrial IOT application.
“How do I improve the performance of my asset and how do I get more juice out of it by spending less?”
“Around these assets there are so many things that we can do to maximize the life of assets, to do predictive analytics so we can catch failure before it happens,” adds Soaji.
GE is prioritizing investment in software solutions like its Predix cloud-based platform-as-a-service that provides tools for improving assets’ productivity and efficiency. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, GE plans to invest $1.4 billion into its software business this year.
“There are three big things in play,” said Soaji. “Machine learning … sensors collecting data, then you combine that data with other types of data to make changes. Second is big data and third is analytics.”
Meanwhile, Kinsey said Hitachi had identified three areas where IIoT can produce a major impact on the manufacturing sector: smart maintenance; improving quality in production; and dynamic scheduling.
In light of this, Hitachi is investing $2.8 billion over the next three years on predictive technology to help its clients achieve significant productivity improvement in factories.