In 1998, when Paul Rogers started at GE, implementing optimization software at a coal-fired power plant was easier said than done. Management understood and worked with GE to develop the software. Within the plant itself, though, the vast majority of employees didn’t know how to use a computer, let alone software, and were very suspicious of the system.
These days, says Rogers, now GE’s chief development officer, the tables have turned. Smartphone-toting plant employees know firsthand how technology changes their lives as consumers — and they want to know why the industrial environment isn’t like their home environment.
“They want to optimize equipment, and that’s a sign that the world is ready,” Rogers says. Put another way: “My daughter has radically different experiences about how the world works.”
The tech industry sees the industrial Internet driving productivity and efficiency in a variety of verticals. In GE’s case, it’s the industries where it sells hardware as well as data management and analytics systems. These verticals include oil and gas, transportation and healthcare.