Rolling out the Industrial Internet of Things through industry partnerships

13 January, 2018
Rolling out the Industrial Internet of Things through industry partnerships

Ali Saleh is Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at GE Digital Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

2017: YEAR IN REVIEW

GE Digital is driving digital transformation at the right juncture as regional governments are increasing focus on digital transformation, especially with the goal of leveraging the skills of the tech-savvy Arab youth. There is a clear understanding that digital is here and now, and not something to be applied in the distant future.

Further, the value that digitisation brings to the economy in the short- and long-term is well acknowledged and understood by policy makers. The advantages of digitisation are aligned with the development goals of regional governments, to create jobs, to boost the local SME sector, to promote economic diversification, and to create high-value global supply chains.

“The regional challenges to embracing digitisation are similar to global concerns. First, there are concerns relating to the security of the data collected, which is something GE Digital views seriously and have made considerable investments in to ensure peace of mind for our customers. We understand the data that GE Digital deals with is sensitive and important, so our range of solutions addresses challenges specific to infrastructure and industry,” explains Ali Saleh, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at GE Digital Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Secondly, in the region and around the world, it is the leadership mindset and vision that is crucial in driving the digital transformation. Many business leaders also do not have clarity regarding the business benefits of digitisation and GE Digital is highlighting this to partners.

However, more and more, GE Digital is seeing that industry leaders in the region are now open to deploying IIoT solutions and GE Digital are confident that with governments also supporting the change, deployment of digital solutions will gain further momentum.

For GE Digital in the region, 2017 has been particularly defining as GE Digital partnered with clients in driving digital transformation of assets. Across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, most notably, GE Digital rolled out a series of Industrial Internet of Things initiatives that will have a long-term effect in driving productivity and operational efficiency. Across the region, GE Digital partners are leveraging digital applications such as Asset Performance Management, which tracks and optimises assets, and ServiceMax which allows field service engineers’ time to be utilised more efficiently.

Globally, GE Digital have made path-breaking partnerships such as with Apple to bring Predix, the software platform for the IIoT, to Apple’s iPhone smartphones and iPad tablets, used by 700 million people around the world. The new Predix-iOS software development kit includes tools that software developers can use to write industrial applications that will run on Apple’s iOS operating system. GE Digital have already developed an iOS application called Asset Performance Management Cases. The application tracks data streaming from sensors inside a power plant and helps operators determine whether a machine part can remain in service and when it needs to be replaced.

GE Digital has also joined hands with Microsoft, whereby customers and developers using Predix can build powerful industrial applications on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud for businesses. The insights delivered by Predix applications built on Azure will allow users to transform products, optimise operations, empower employees and improve communications with customers.

Finally, GE Digital have further enhanced the Predix platform with Predix Studio to simplify industrial application development, Predix Edge technologies to accelerate computing at the edge; a new Operations Performance Management software to bridge productivity from assets to operations; and enhanced Field Service Management solutions to improve the customer experience.

In strategic partnerships in the region, GE Digital have signed an agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to bring GE Digital’s breakthrough digital industrial solutions at scale to the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. The three-year agreement with HPE is the first collaboration of this scale and scope in the region, and will focus primarily on cyber security solutions in Operational Technology, with the potential to move into other digital solutions in the future.

Further, Saudi Arabia’s National Digitisation Unit signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GE Digital to drive digital industrial diversification and the application of innovative business models, supporting Saudi youth in becoming key partners in progressing the digital transformation of the Kingdom. This will see GE train Saudi youth on ideas and concepts relating to the Future of Work, empowering them with the advanced skills needed in digital and software development.

Also in Saudi Arabia, GE Digital are working with Obeikan Investment Group to transform its manufacturing facilities into smart factories, increasing productivity and efficiency across their network. Additionally, under the patronage of the Saudi Ministry of Health, GE Digital are working to support the digitisation of healthcare in the Kingdom through various digital solutions that will touch primary care facilities and hospitals.

In the UAE, Al-Futtaim is digitising its end-to-end service and operational processes using the ServiceMax field service management platform – a leader in cloud-based field service management solutions by GE Digital. This will be deployed on mobile devices of more than 800 users at Al-Futtaim and is expected to go live in Q1 2018.

In Turkey, GE Digital are partnering with Calik Holding to create a digital transformation roadmap and to activate the in-house digital capabilities of Calik, to serve industries such as construction, energy, mining and healthcare. GE Digital are also working with Turk Telecom to accelerate digitisation.

GE Digital believe that local developer ecosystem engagement is critical in driving digitisation and that is why GE Digital have also focused on hosting hackathons in Turkey and Saudi Arabia on Predix. In Egypt, GE Digital have provided funding and Predix training for our Digital Innovation Challenge winners. With NYU Abu Dhabi, GE Digital participated in startAD, and GE Digital partnered with Accenture on Think Hack Global Hackathons in Istanbul and Dubai.

Finally, to focus on new customers and partners, GE Digital also hosted digital roadshows covering emerging verticals such as automotive and F&B industries in Turkey and the UAE, bringing together industry leaders to discuss digital transformation in these important sectors.

Key takeaways

  • GE Digital is driving digital transformation at the right juncture as regional governments are increasing focus on digital transformation, especially with the goal of leveraging the skills of the tech-savvy Arab youth.
  • There is a clear understanding that digital is here and now, and not something to be applied in the distant future.
  • The value that digitisation brings to the economy in the short- and long-term is well acknowledged and understood by policy makers.
  • The advantages of digitisation are aligned with the development goals of regional governments, to create jobs, to boost the local SME sector, to promote economic diversification, and to create high-value global supply chains.
  • The regional challenges to embracing digitisation are similar to global concerns.
  • There are concerns relating to the security of the data collected, which is something GE Digital views seriously
  • In the region and around the world, it is the leadership mindset and vision that is crucial in driving digital transformation.
  • Many business leaders do not have clarity regarding the business benefits of digitisation and GE Digital is highlighting this to partners.
  • GE Digital is seeing that industry leaders in the region are now open to deploying IIoT solutions and GE Digital are confident that with governments also supporting the change, deployment of digital solutions will gain further momentum.

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