There is a difference between book smarts and street smarts. The same applies to data. You can measure every action, gather gigabytes of information, but gain little knowledge. “Big Data is not just that there is value within, but rather there are connections to be made to make Big Data more proactive and predictive – or making information more intelligent,” says Bill Ruh, GE vice president and global technology director.
Ruh is talking about the Industrial Internet, an intelligent network of interconnected machines that can extract data and find meaning where it did not exist before. Writing in Forbes, Ruh has used a simple MRI scan to illustrate the concept. “An MRI scan is the best way to see inside the human body,” he says. “While effective in helping to diagnose multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, torn ligaments and strokes, the data produced by an MRI machine is disconnected from the person that needs it the most” – the right doctor.
If the data were “intelligent,” the right doctor could “automatically receive a patient’s rendered MRI images – so the information is finding the doctor instead of the doctor finding the information,” Ruh explains.
GE is already using “intelligent” data to connect locomotives, jet engines, hospital equipment, wind turbines, and other machines. The Industrial Internet is helping customers cut costs, save fuel, boost efficiency, and improve patient outcomes.
But intelligent data is much more than a simple upgrade in information flow, says Ruh. “In actuality it represents what could be the most profound convergence of business and technology since the industrial revolution – at GE, we call it the Industrial Internet – and it is nearer than you think.”