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'Industrial Internet' to transform workplace

A breakthrough may bridge the gap between man and machine.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

A breakthrough may bridge the gap between man and machine.

The U.S. spends more money on healthcare as a percentage of GDP than any other country in the world. Each year, $250 million of that budget (and four million hours of man power) are spent servicing high-tech medical devices like CT and MRI scanners.

But a breakthrough in big data proliferation may reduce these costs dramatically by bridging the gap between man and machine.

A new GE report estimates that deficiencies in workplace machines like these currently cost the U.S. up to $20 billion a year--$20 billion that could be saved by making certain data easily accessible. But due in part to GEís efforts, workers will soon be able to store and access maintenance information on simple handheld devices, brainstorm repairs with colleagues, and even monitor and talk to these complex machines themselves, says GE Chief Economist Marco Annunziata. This is the power of the ìIndustrial Internet,î Annuziata says.

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For doctors and medical staff, this means less guesswork andmore hours focusing on patient care.Already, there are industrial internet applications that allow hospital staff to locate patients and available equipment, reducing wait times for patients to see a doctor or have a procedure..

“A key feature of the Industrial Internet is that the information itself becomes intelligent. When workers need it, information will find them—they will not need to hunt for it,” Annunziata said. 

The healthcare industry isn’t the only sector that will benefit from intelligent consolidation of data. Analysts have found that exorbitant amounts of manpower and money are wasted chasing down information when machines need to be serviced across the energy and transportation industries. But soon, a wind farm engineer will travel with a wireless device that can indicate which turbine needs attention and which needs to be fixed. That same device will store and transmit technical information and enable the engineer to share video with colleagues at other locations to instantly tap into their expertise. Similarly, a leader in the aerospace industry is facilitating airplane repairs by adding “smart” features to its digital guides. From the field, crews can now get the most current details on an aircraft model, as well as detailed information on parts and how to make a repair most effectively.

Due in part to the Industrial Internet, man and machine can now work in tandem.  And GE believes that the Industrial Internet—enabled by increased connectivity, collaboration, data analytics, and cloud-based software and mobile applications—will change the way hundreds of thousands of people work.