The trend emerging from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been connectivity in the age of big data. As gadgets are getting more mobile and powerful, they also generate and process more information than ever. This leaves companies and consumers alike grappling to make sense of it.
GE has been a leader in using technology to gather, process, understand, connect and capitalize on the vast amounts of data produced by the digital world and smart industrial machines. This learning process helps GE make better and more efficient products and form close digital bonds with its customers.
GE’s Chief Marketing Officer Beth Comstock talked about the changes brought by technology at a CES keynote panel yesterday. She said that it was her job as a marketer to “make sense” of the vast universe of data and find the value of it. “I get breathlessly excited about data,” she said.
Comstock also made a point that she couldn’t “live without connectivity.” Mobile technology and social media started in the consumer market. But they both now play a key role at the workplace.
GE’s marketers and innovators are now connected to customers and exchange information to support their needs. Customers use innovative GE smartphone and tablet applications to stay connected and optimize their GE products. For example, GE’s MyEngines application lets airlines monitor where their engine is in the maintenance or repair cycle. The company’s Movement Planner software platform allows railroad operators track train traffic, scheduling, speed and location. Healthcare software solutions like Centricity Perinatal help clinicians in maternity wards keep an electronic eye on mothers and babies. GE’s Yves Behar-designed WattStation for charging electric vehicles is using Smart Grid technology to deliver a speedy charge.
All this connectivity and data crunching result in greater efficiency and lower costs for both the customer and GE.
But this is just the beginning. The role of big data and digital networks in business, from the possibilities of better collaboration promised by “social business,” to the emerging industrial internet, which now links the world’s machines, has become a primary focus for GE.
In October, GE announced that it would open a new software center in San Ramon in the Bay Area. The center will have 400 software engineers and support staff after it opens later this year. That’s on top of the 5,000 software engineers the company currently employs. GE’s annual software revenues are about $2.5 billion and the company expects a double-digit growth in the segment from now until 2015. Stay connected.