Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

GE touts "data lake" approach to industrial asset management

Iain Morris
August 20, 2014

GE says it has teamed up with big data player Pivotal to create what it calls a “data lake approach” to the storage and analysis of data that could allow industrial companies including airlines, railroads, hospitals and utilities to improve the productivity of their assets and operations.

The latest move in the company’s “industrial internet” strategy would help industrial companies reduce the costs of managing intensive processes and focus on turning data into “actionable insight” to improve logistics and operational management, says GE.

The organization already claims to be using the “data lake approach” to manage and analyze flight data for airline customers.

“Big data is growing so fast that it is outpacing the ability of current tools to take full advantage of it,” said Bill Ruh, vice president, GE Software. “Working with Pivotal, we have created a unique industrial data approach that merges information technology with operational technology to better match the productivity and efficiency needs of our customers so they get the most value out of their mission-critical information.”

The partnership with Pivotal (San Francisco, CA, USA) has seen GE start work on integrating its industrial internet software platform with Pivotal’s big data systems.

One challenge is to convert data into recognizable formats before it can be used – GE says this process has been the bottleneck when managing industrial big data in the past and that data warehouses can be too slow, expensive and inflexible, with nearly 80% of project time spent ongather and preparing data for analysis.

GE (Fairfield, CT, USA) says that airplane engines are “fertile ground” for big data collection and analysis and that its work in this area has already helped airlines run their operations more efficiently.

AirAsia (Sepang, Malaysia), for instance, has been able to realize savings of more than 1% of its fuel bill on an annual basis as a result of its work with GE.

“Gathering and analyzing data to improve our customers’ operations is no longer a futuristic concept, but a real process underway today, and growing in magnitude,” said David Joyce, GE Aviation’s president and chief executive.

During a pilot in 2013, GE Aviation claims to have gathered information on 15,000 flights from 25 different airlines and identified major cost savings for the companies involved.
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