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GE Joins Forces With Cisco, Intel, and AT&T for 'Industrial Internet' Revolution


The technology company is bringing Internet integration to industrial equipment to give companies the ability to measure -- and enhance -- performance.

Today, General Electric (NYSE:GE) announced 14 new products that will bring the so-called "Industrial Internet" to aviation, power, water, transportation, oil and gas, health care, and energy management industries. These products combine standard industrial equipment, like turbines or engines, with sensors and software linked to the Internet. They will allow companies to gather major data streams from their equipment, and thereby analyze and enhance performance.

Additionally, GE announced that it will be partnering in this venture with other connected tech companies like AT&T (NYSE:T), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), the latter of which is involved in developing technologies for the so-called "Internet of Things" -- that is, the connection of all consumer products to the Internet. Additionally, GE already has partnerships with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Web Services, management consulting and technology services company Accenture (NYSE:ACN), and Pivotal, a company that's building applications for the Industrial Internet, and which IBM (NYSE:IBM) actively invests in.

Said William Ruh, Vice President of Global Software at GE, "Everyone wants prediction about performance, and better asset management. The idea of speed, of information velocity, is what will differentiate the winners from the losers."

One of the new products is designed to maximize a jet's fuel burn by monitoring carbon emissions. In the announcement, Ruh said that this product could save a single airline $90 million in fuel costs over the course of five years. Another product is used in power generation plants to optimize turbine usage, and can, according to the company, increase a utility company's profits by $28 million while decreasing emissions per megawatt.

This announcement follows last week's news that Monsanto (NYSE:MON) will acquire the data analytics firm The Climate Corporation for $930 million. The purchase will give the massive agricultural company access to trillions of data points on historic and current agriculture and weather information, allowing it to optimize its crop production to maximize profit. (See also: More Internet of Everything: Monsanto Spends $1 Billion on Climate Analytics Company.)

Analyzing massive amounts of data is already a huge asset to major companies. For example, Cisco released research last week on the retail business, claiming that $81 billion of global retail revenue was made possible through the use of data. Furthermore, the report insisted that an additional $99 billion in revenue might have been unlocked had companies been more connected across all operations.

As useful as data research has become for the retail sector, it may be even more beneficial to the industrial sector. The technology research group Wikibon has projected that the industrial data field will grow at twice the rate of any other big data segment over the next decade. If that is the case, then GE and its partners are well-positioned to capitalize on the burgeoning Industrial Internet.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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