Rajesh Gill, Group Chief Pilot Technical and Efficiency at AirAsia, shared his version of “data visualization” at GE’s annual Minds+Machines day in New York. He expresses to fellow pilots the impact of certain maneuvers such as shutting down an engine while taxiing to the gate as savings in “pints of Guinness”. AirAsia is one of the most efficient airlines in the world (cost of 2.5c per available seat mile compared to more than 10c for most US airlines) and is constantly looking for small fuel and other improvements.
At lunch with him and several executives from GE Aviation, there was plenty of talk of our favorite and not-so-favorite international carriers and airports. But even more fascinating was the talk of analytics around continuous descents, the huge amount of flight operations data GE’s sub Austin Digital has access to, the economics of meal service on flights, the NOCs airlines run and the complex scenarios they simulate for weather and other other system-wide disruptions.
During a break I ran into Almis Udrys and talked to him about City of San Diego’s use of GE’s LightGrid technology and analytics to manage the LED street lighting. We talked about smart parking, video analytics and other apps many local governments are trying out.
On a panel, Lisa Laurent, CT Medical Director at Advocate Health described analytics around ionized radiation doses in their 280.000 annual CT scans. John Murphy, Chief Mechanical Officer at CSX talked about how much smarter locomotive operations are with GE’s TripOptimizer software. He said he would love to get to the state GE Wind is at in being able to remotely monitor and tune turbines and other assets. Matt Fahnestock, VP of IT at Columbia Pipeline Group talked about maintenance and asset management analytics around its billions of investment in compressors and pipelines. Gerrurd Wallaert, head of asset planning at E.ON Climate and renewables talked how GE’s PowerUp is increasing productivity of its wind farms. I have written about some of these technologies in previous books, but it was nice to hear these executives talk passionately about results, not just promise.
Over the summer as I have written my book on the SAP economy, I have talked to many about HANA. Over the last few weeks of “events season” I have heard about data-as-a-service, fancy visualizations and analytical clouds from a number of application vendors. The majority are focused on white collar – marketing, financial, HR, spend – data. The GE value differentiation was brought into focus when John Lizzi of its Distributed Intelligent System Lab showed off service robots which do “dull, dirty and dangerous” tasks. Actually the whole day was about dull, dirty, dangerous data from the field, the lab and the shop floor. Not only does GE sell the equipment – scanners, turbines etc – which generate much of the data, it also has deep domain talent like the aviation focused group at lunch. Most IT vendors want to sell you tools and expect others to provide the context.
Bill Ruh, head of GE Global Software, summarized it well when I interviewed him for the SAP book. He said we are transitioning from IT to OT (Operational Technology). And that means “Really Big Data” as was in display in slides and wall charts such as
- 146 TB of annual data from over 13,000 locomotives
- 340 TB of data from 25 airlines
That mass of data also forced GE, according to Bill, to focus on
a) Dramatically reducing cost of managing a TB of data
b) Dramatically reducing time to ingest data
Those two principles are in vivid display in GE’s Industrial Data Lakes thinking.
Two other design principles were woven through out the day:
- GE expects thousands of analytical apps across sectors it plays in (like some we describe above) and is looking to open up its Predix platform to third party developers in an iOS like app store
- Industrial security requires an exponential of IT security paranoia and controls – given the junction of what CEO Jeff Immelt calls the junction of ‘physics and algorithms”
Immelt kicked off the day with “If you went to bed thinking you are an industrial company, you woke up this morning as a software & analytics company”. The rest of the day showed a very different vision of a software & analytics company than the mainstream IT industry delivers.
Photo Credit: GE