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The Industrial Internet: An Eco Future

The Industrial Internet is a new term being thrown around that describes the correlation between corporate internet usage and the energy grid.

Currently, we’re living in the “consumer internet”, according to General Electric’s CEO Jeff Immelt. Basically, it means the internet today has predominantly been designed to function for consumers. However, in the not-so-distant future (perhaps 10 years from now), this consumer internet age will pave the way for the industrial internet era, and “Big Data”.

That means that companies will use the internet to cut down on waste and exorbitant spending in all areas of company functions, in order to create a more efficient environment. Immelt recently spoke at the D11 Conference a couple of weeks ago to discuss his vision of the future.

“There is a massive business opportunity in using software to anticipate industrial equipment maintenance needs….tell an oil guy you can use software to save him one percent on something, and that guy will be your friend for life.”

In his speech, Immelt gave the example of jet engines and fuel. He underlined that increasing fuel efficiency by even 1% could save hundreds of millions for the airline company, as well as lowering carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

Solar Impulse plane

Image source: www.inhabitat.com

To GE, the industrial internet will provide the company with the kind of data they need to make everything from jets to your refrigerator run smoothly and efficiently, and cut down on tons of waste each year.

Since, as many journalists have pointed out, GE has largely dismissed the internet as an unimportant tool in the company’s future, how will they accomplish the creation of this industrial internet? The answer is simple: funding, funding, and more funding.

Hiring mathematician and scientist after the other, they’re building a team of innovators to bring this new internet era about. GE is essentially betting their future on this dream, and if the history of the internet is any timeline for success, they might just be striking gold.

Image

Image source: http://www.clare.cam.ac.uk

So why is this so important? Imagine the energy grid functioning exponentially better than it does today, jets consuming far less oil (if not running completely on electricity or solar power), electric cars communicating with one another more efficiently, etc. Basically, “Big Data” isn’t as scary as it may sound, and is absolutely crucial to building an energy efficient future.

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