GE's digital transformation could tap into what Immelt estimated to be a $100 billion market. At first, he didn't know where GE stood in that pool. He quickly realized it was both a good and big idea.
The 124 year old industrial giant also established a presence in Silicon Valley by opening up a software center in San Ramon, California that now has 1,400 employees.
"From an offensive standpoint … but also from a defensive standpoint; every industrial company is going to have to stake its digital claim in terms of how you do a better job with customers, how you can drive costs down, and we can lead this," Immelt said.
While GE is certainly not trying to become Facebook or Google, it does already have 30,000 employees who are capable of pushing forward the initiative. What distinguishes the company from the competition is GE's ability to bring both the physics and the analytics, Immelt said.
GE launched an operating system called Predix for the industrial internet. The industrial internet is a term coined by GE that refers to the integration of big data, wireless networks and analytical tools with physical and industrial equipment.
"In the industrial internet world, we have a brain and a body. People just have a brain. I think ultimately the guys that are going to win this are the ones that can deliver these solutions point by point by point. That's how the industrial world works," Immelt said.
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