GE’s ‘Industrial Internet’ Taps AT&T Network

General Electric announced Wednesday it will use AT&T's wireless network and cloud system as part of an ambitious growth plan for an "Industrial Internet" infrastructure. At its "GE Minds and Machines" conference in Chicago this week, GE detailed the world-class partners it is tapping to expand this goal, in connecting machines to the network and the cloud.

The most recent partners to support the expansion include Intel, Cisco and AT&T.

The AT&T network will provide connections for deployed industrial products in areas such as aviation, power and water, transportation, oil and gas, and health care systems to cloud computing services.

That means workers using the system will be able to remotely track, monitor, record and operate GE machinery virtually anywhere and everywhere. The partnership between the two is designed to help businesses realize the benefits of connected machines.

Going M2M

The scheme to be sure will make "Industrial Internet" an important concept in business management along with another catchphrase, the machine-to-machine (M2M) Internet.

A shortcut though simplistic explanation to what this infrastructure is all about can be boiled down to a few words, smart machines coupled with advanced analytics.

Basically, the scheme will involve putting data-gathering sensors on industrial equipment. Hardware with these sensors will ensure that machine performance can be constantly measured. The key goal is to improve business productivity through equipment monitoring.

This sensor data translates into information useful for business analysis diagnostics and maintenance. GE, for example, said fuel savings in aviation and gas turbines, as well as more-efficient railway and health care systems, could save billions of dollars annually.

Predictive solutions coupled with products with sensors will allow GE customers to see productivity gains and can minimize the risk of unplanned downtime.

"Observing, predicting and changing this performance is how the Industrial Internet will help airlines, railroads and power plants operate at peak...

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