I am pleased to present an article today from a top consultant in today’s technology field, Fasih Sandhu. Fasih writes extensively on the Industrial Internet as well as on the Internet of Everything through his blogs at http://www.gghc.ca/. I asked Fasih if he would provide my tech readership with an overview of the current state of the Industrial Internet and some advice on what it means for tech careers.

The following text is what he submitted to me:

The Industrial Internet (aka Machine to Machine Communications or Internet of Things) is a term that was coined by General Electric. It brings together the advances of two transformative revolutions: 1) the myriad machines, facilities, fleets, and networks that arose from the Industrial Revolution and 2) the powerful advances in computing, information, and communication systems brought to the fore by the Internet Revolution. Together these developments combine three elements that embody the essence of the Industrial Internet: 1) Intelligent Machines, 2) Advanced Analytics, and 3) People at Work.

Watch GE CEO, Jeff Immelt, Keynote Speech at Minds + Machines 2013 – GE:

In 2013, GE formed partnerships with Amazon‘s Amazon Web Services (AWS), Accenture Plc, Pivotal (EMC and VMWare), AT&T, Cisco, and Intel for an “Industrial Internet” service that allows its customers to analyze data and predict outcomes. Watch the panel discussion of VP GE Software, Bill Ruh, with partners from AT&T, Cisco, and Intel.

GE’s vision is that eventually all GE products will become intelligent with software and connectivity and that those products will become more reliable and productive because of that intelligence. By connecting advanced software to GE equipment and systems to deliver real-time performance analytics, GE’s customers will also have more insight into their own operations, including the ability to predict and proactively address performance issues before becoming a problem. GE projects that its annual commercial opportunity in the Industrial Internet will eventually be in the neighborhood of $5 billion from products and services associated with Industrial Internet systems and analytics.

Watch industry business leaders from the Energy (Apache Corporation, Statoil ASA), Utilities (Commonwealth Edison), Airline (United), and Healthcare (St. Luke’s Campus Health Care Center) sectors convene with GE to discuss the challenges and opportunities as they deploy the Industrial Internet in their businesses.

What Does It Mean for Vendors in the Tech Sector?

Cisco has estimated that 25 billion devices will permanently connect to the Internet by 2015, rising to 50 billion devices by 2020. At that rate, there will be nearly 7 times more devices permanently connected to the Internet than people in the world!

Gartner estimates that there will be more than 200 billion devices that intermittently connect to the Internet by 2020.

According to the IDC, the installed base for the Internet of Things will grow to approximately 212 billion devices by 2020, a number that includes 30 billion connected devices. All such devices will generate a tremendous amount of data that needs to be stored in databases and made available for operational & maintenance reporting and predictive analytics. Hence, vendors such as AT&T, Cisco, HP, IBM, and SAP could facilitate and/or interface with the conventional M2M Systems, and the industrial ecosystem incumbent players such as GE, Siemens, and Honeywell could foster partnerships with the leading players in the Internet World and play an instrumental role in developing and implementing use cases for different verticals for transactional, operational, maintenance, and analytical applications. It will be an evolution rather than a revolution, and as such, both vendors and clients will have to go through a lot of pain to achieve the target states.

A Few Use Cases from Vendors

Remote Maintenance and Service

Transform enterprise asset management and field service with industry solutions for Remote Maintenance and Service. Predict equipment malfunction, proactively provide service, and replace faulty parts before system breakdown. Lower service cost by performing remote maintenance.

Connected Logistics

Solutions for Connected Logistics can reshape your supply chain by integrating real-time data from freight, containers, and shipped goods with distribution analytics to optimize your transportation operations. Identify and resolve with up-to-the-minute information.

What About “Security,” “Privacy,” “Data Integrity,” and “Liability” of the M2M Communications?

One of the biggest challenges with the early adoption and proliferation of the Industrial Internet concerns information management and legal aspects that surround the storage, distribution, and sharing of the Industrial Data that are mostly proprietary in nature. A malfunction in the M2M systems could impact human life and communities at large. The National and Internet Regulators (Aviation, Railways, Shipping, Transportation, Utilities, Healthcare, Telecom, etc.) have to work in tandem with the National Security and Intelligence Agencies to develop policies, standards, guidelines, and best practices and to enforce compliance through some kind of rating system.

What Does It Mean for Students and Professionals in the Science and Technology Sectors?

According to Laszlo Bock, the Sr. VP of people operations for Google, there are five hiring attributes Google has across the company: 1) General cognitive ability — and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability……It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. 2) Leadership — in particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership. What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead? 3) Humility — the humility to step back and embrace the better ideas of others. 4) Ownership — it’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in. 5) Expertise — the least important attribute they look for is “expertise.” For more on that, see the article in the NY Times.

In my opinion, success in the age of the Industrial Internet will be a combination of science and art. Both students and professionals have to first learn the science and then be creative with the use cases of the myriad applications to improve the quality of human life and industrial productivity.

Author Bio

Fasih Sandhu is the Director of Greater Golden Horseshoe Consultants in Ontario, Canada. He specializes in optimizing IT and telecom ecosystems to extend business capabilities, cut costs, and drive ROI. His background as an advisor, management consultant, project manager, and ICT leader has provided him with a unique look at how improved workflow, technology, robust project delivery, and optimized organizational structures can impact business growth, innovation, and productivity. Fasih holds the PMP certification and is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC). He also has a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer and Information Systems and is a senior member of the IEEE.

Fasih can be reached via info@gghc.ca or www.gghc.ca.