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General Electric Pitches an Industrial Internet

•, By Jessica Leber
 General Electric has a new name for where it thinks its business is headed: the “industrial Internet.”
The term, coined inside GE’s R&D division, reflects the company’s hope that adding more sensors to machinery will result in a deluge of data that will in turn let companies squeeze more efficiency out of locomotives, jet engines, MRI machines, and other equipment GE sells.
GE says it is investing $1.5 billion in the idea over a three-year period. Some of that money is being spent on research at a large new software R&D center the company has created in San Ramon, California.

At the San Ramon center, for instance, machine-learning researcher Anil Varma has been experimenting with ways to sift out subtle warning signs that can predict which of the 20,000 GE jet engines in service will need maintenance. For some types of engines, he says his algorithms can identify those needing attention with 70 percent accuracy and a month ahead of time, which could help prevent costly flight delays.

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