General Electric has made no secret of its plans to create what it calls an “Industrial Internet,” in which old-school manufacturing is improved by the addition of sensors and the latest analytics tools.
The latest software in that initiative, Proficy Vision, unites Web-based data from GE’s Proficy analytics platform with third-party displays, offering a single viewpoint into industrial operations. Proficy Vision combines structured data (ERP, EAM, and the like) and unstructured data (from spreadsheets and other sources). A Role-Based Access feature ensures that only those employees with authorized access can see certain types of data.
“Disparate systems, limited resources, and multiple roles and responsibilities often create silos of information that limit visibility and make collaboration and driving operational improvements difficult,” Don Busiek, general manager of Manufacturing Software for GE Intelligent Platforms, wrote in a Feb. 7 statement. “With Proficy Vision, users can organize content the way they want, whether that means tying content to a piece of equipment or within a specific area of the facility—putting data they need at their fingertips when they need it.”
Indeed, heterogeneous data environments are one of the major challenges facing organizations that want a holistic view into operations. As such, a number of analytics products hitting the market over the past several quarters have focused on flowing all those disparate data streams through a single dashboard. The technology is by no means mature; for every IBM or GE issuing software designed to tackle multiple types of structured and unstructured data, a handful of vendors produce a solution meant to analyze just one.
Nonetheless, GE clearly believes that analytics is the future of industry. “The next holy grail is about decision support and analytics,” GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt told the audience at his company’s Minds + Machines 2012 conference, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
Beyond selling its Proficy products, GE has a vested interest in such a future. It builds energy infrastructure, aircraft engines, motors, and other technologies that could benefit from more refined manufacturing processes. In addition, it can actually afford to install all the sensors and backend software necessary to collect and analyze data from physical components.
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