The Need for Speed to Benefit
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the FT Digital Energy Summit in London. While many themes emerged, one consistent takeaway for me is the desire and the need for greater openness, collaboration and interoperability across the industry. This means speaking the same digital language, working on a common platform, and connecting our systems. Moving from islands of isolated systems, processes and data to a digitized industry.
Being smart about data storage and compression is one thing—making use of analytics is everything. IIoT isn't a hobby, it's about driving productivity. Machine learning, deep learning - these technologies are allowing us to use the data lying dormant in 'data graveyards'. With the right algorithms, and learning across the value chain—applying insights from an upstream offshore application to a downstream refining need—we can drive faster, better decisions.
Here is the challenge, though: We are living in a two speed industry: while a typical equipment development and usage cycle can span a 15 to 30-year timeline, adopting digital requires definitely overnight capabilities. So, how do you pick up speed?
Connect the Edge
Retrofitting equipment with sensors, for instance, can have a very quick payoff. Just by reducing the manual servicing, support and IT infrastructure for sensors or other edge devices, and connecting them to Predix, companies will see immediate savings in maintenance cost and improved reliability.
Today, only 3-5% of oil and gas equipment is connected. 99% of data is just noise, we need to tune into that 1%. How do you know what 1% to listen to? Again, that’s where machine learning, historical knowledge or data from an asset or system, and the right algorithms come to play.
Cloud is Key
The cloud is the core of our ability to create integrate across our industry fast and in an easy manner. Predix is GE’s operating system for the Industrial Internet, that provides a common platform for developing, deploying, and operating Industrial Internet applications. Highly optimized for the unique and demanding requirements of industrial applications, Predix works with operating assets from a variety of vendors or vintage, and can capture and analyze the unique volume, velocity and variety of machine data generated across the industrial world within a secure, industrial-strength edge to cloud environment.
Using Predix and driving integration through the cloud is important for three reasons:
1. Centralized storage of asset data that’s accessible real time- and can drive coordination and machine-learning optimization across the value chain.
2. Reduced infrastructure- Cloud based operations eliminate the need for heavy IT infrastructure. One can start immediately.
3. Automatic Updates—with the cloud, the latest, greatest features and updates are at your fingertips immediately
Build Digitally-Enabled End-to-End Processes step by step
If integrating the entire value chain sounds daunting—one can start small. Pick a process and use data to optimize. Start with getting connected—acquiring sensor data that provide historical information and enable predictive analytics. Once you have data-based insights, then comes the potential for predictive insights that can lead to automation. Everything from routing, initiating orders, scheduling and prompting proactive mitigation actions can be driven by Big Data, allowing the industry to optimize maintenance, production and operations. And, the benefits are significant. Research from EY has shown this can equate to:
- 2-3% improvements in production volumes
- 5-10% reductions in variable costs
- 15-25% reduction in primary preventative maintenance costs from maintenance optimization
We have been using data analytics across our own GE enterprise, leveraging Predix for agile development, using digital twins to test, learn, and pivot. As a result, we have optimized operations in our 500 manufacturing and service facilities globally and achieved greater speed. More important, the initial results have led to a continuous cycle of data driven innovation. Based on our industry-leading digital industrial innovation, this week GE was named Technology Company of the Year by Petroleum Economist. In all this, speed to benefit is the critical success factor.