By William Ruh, Vice President, GE
When the Industrial Internet Consortium was launched last year, our goal was bringing together organizations to accelerate the growth of a new ecosystem for connecting smart machines, advanced analytics and people at work. It’s an understatement to say that I’m delighted by the progress we’ve made.
Today, our membership encompasses 151 organizations, including large global corporations, start-ups, system integrators, research institutions, universities and government agencies. We have working groups and teams for technology, security, marketing, frameworks, uses cases, data management, analytics and liaison. From my perspective, we’ve developed the foundations of a solid and sturdy industry consortium.
When I look at our collaborative efforts at the IIC, I see three main areas of shared interest: the Industrial Internet, advanced manufacturing and the global brain. The Industrial Internet is the bridge between the physical and digital worlds. Advanced manufacturing enables great speed, flexibility and dramatically lower costs across supply chains. The global brain is a role that human beings play in the production process through open collaboration, crowdsourcing and globally integrated digital communications.
Those three concepts define the future of work. Think about that for a moment: our efforts here at the IIC are defining the future of work. That’s something you can tell your grandchildren: I was here when it all began. I was there when some of the best and brightest minds envisioned the future of work, and took the initial steps for turning that vision into reality to substantially accelerate productivity and economic growth.
When I think about the path to achieving our goals, it seems appropriate to focus on creating a strong and vibrant ecosystem with the space for a truly diverse range of participants, empowered to collaborate continuously and seamlessly, with maximum efficiency and minimal friction.
But we still live in a world in which most of our machines and devices are not being fully utilized and are not connected, and even when there is connectivity, it’s disaggregated. That means we should be focusing on connectivity, aggregation and integration. Without those three attributes, the ecosystem cannot grow. We’re talking about an approach that’s inherently multi-disciplinary, with numerous players involved. Creating a robust ecosystem that’s simultaneously flexible, scalable and “anti-fragile” will take a large amount of work, but we’ve made a great start and I think the consortium has genuinely earned a round of applause.
On a personal level, I am extraordinarily happy with the momentum we’ve established here at the IIC, the quality of talent we’ve attracted and our focus on creating testbeds (such as connected industrial tools), really demonstrate the potential of the ecosystem. The next step, in my opinion, is bringing all the parts together in an “über cloud” that will enable seamless collaboration, cooperation and value creation in every corner of the world, at every level of the economy. That’s the next big step, and I sincerely believe that we’re heading in the right direction to accomplish our mission.
We’re standing at the doorway to the next industrial revolution. Let’s go through that door together.