You probably don't think of General Electric
All these sensors and systems generate rivers of data all the time. Managing it all is an exercise in big data, and even more so if you want to do something useful and not blatantly obvious with this rich information.
All of this is big business, so you can bet I jumped at the opportunity to interview Bill Ruh, GE's vice president of software.
Bill came in from Cisco Systems
Moving to GE hardly disconnected him from the Cisco project, of course. Any major tech company hooks into the efficiency-boosting potential of machines talking to other machines these days. GE's Industrial Internet team talks to Cisco's Connected Cities project, which explores how networking can improve our daily lives in unexpected ways, but that's just the beginning. Ruh also works with IBM's
"Everybody has a different take on it," Ruh says, but "it reflects a broader trend that devices are all becoming more intelligent." GE's unique angle is to improve the productivity and efficiency of industrial systems, leaving consumer-oriented advances to the likes of IBM and Cisco.
Put it all together and you get the makings of a tech-based Utopia or Skynet, depending on your paranoia level. Ruh laughed off the Skynet idea, but conceded that we're building lots of intelligence in the cloud. "We'll see that happen, but I don't believe there's going to be one intelligence source on the Internet. It'll be fully distributed."
Comforting words. GE is pumping $1.5 billion into Ruh's department over the next couple of years, so it's good to know he's not spending it all on building robotic armies.
If you'd like to know more about "the new GE Way" and how the stodgy old industrial giant is adapting to a whole new era, check out this brand-new premium report. In it, the Fool's industrials editor, Isaac Pino, explains whether you should be a buyer of GE shares.