Monday, March 28, 2016


Imagine connecting your car, home systems and appliances to your devices in such a way that you could do some amazing things with the information you collect.

Such “smart” devices are nothing new, but these units are about to get a lot smarter, thanks to an innovation known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT delivers accurate data in real time so that you can act on it to gain a desired outcome when it is most needed. For example, there are devices that monitor your eating, sleeping and exercising habits and suggest how to improve each based on the data it collects and analyzes from your daily schedule. Another device can be programmed to notify relatives if your car is involved in an accident.

IoT Connects people to things via the Internet

 An appliance maker is even experimenting with a way for you to observe a roast as it is cooking in your oven when you’re not at home, so that you can remotely fine tune temperature and time.

This era of “Big Data” is also changing the face of manufacturing. New improvements in software and data storage make it possible to timely collect and analyze enormous quantities of data. Companies can accurately predict when a part for a certain machine needs to be replaced before it fails based on an analysis of long term historical data.

 As a recent Industry Week article notes, IoT has the capability of tracking every aspect of a business from the all the machines on a factory floor to inventory and suppliers: 

“When fully leveraged,” the article notes, “ IoT can mean better inventory management, pulled production instead of pushed production, accurate activity-based costing, automatic adjusted logistics that adapt to changes in the manufacturing layer and productivity increases.”

A GE white paper on the topic notes the impact of IoT implementation:

 “We can be collectively objective, rather than individually subjective. We can do so in areas where we formerly acted based on intuition and assumption rather than by data and analysis.”

If this seems like another passing fad to you, consider GE and its commitment to IoT. CEO Jeffrey Immelt made a bold investment in recent years to position GE as the leading software provider for the Industrial Internet. The company set up a software operation in San Ramon, California, in 2012 and developed its own operating system for the Industrial Internet called, “Predix.”

Job seekers initially found it difficult to take GE’s ads for software developers seriously (think of the GE TV ad where a coder named Owen tells his skeptical friends he has been hired by GE to write “…a new language for machines so planes, trains and even hospitals can work better”).

Soon they got the message and GE’s services have helped manufacturing companies improve operations. For example, GE’s aviation customers are using Predix applications to monitor wear and tear on their jet engines and fine tune maintenance schedules. It’s also giving wind turbines the capability of automatically changing the direction of their blades to catch more wind.

GE’s ultimate goal is to become a top 10 software company by 2020 by helping manufacturing companies utilize advanced data collection and analyses afforded by IoT and the connectivity of the internet.

And that ultimately means better, more reliable products for all of us.

Joe Cappello is Director of Global Marketing for Rotor Clip Company.