I had the opportunity to witness the first ever GE Predix conference in India, Predix the Future, at the Jack Welch Technology Center in Bengaluru today. GE is one of the most fascinating companies in the world, born out of science, mathematics and innovation symbolised by its founder Thomas Alva Edison.
GE is no stranger to transformation and are on a journey to become the largest digital industrial company in the world. As they morph into a top software company GE will continue to consolidate its industrial power as seen with the Alstom deal. Recently GE had also divested almost $ 200 billion of business, and they have acquired Alstom’s power business. So the focus is clearly on its core- Infrastructure, energy and manufacturing.
While waiting for the session to begin, I was chatting with some of the other delegates at the conference and what I understand about Predix is that it has a very strong analytics embedded into it. This is in contrast with the Thingworx platform which does not analytics embedded into. So clearly GE is focusing on the twin towers of digital and analytics.
GE is heavily invested in India. Almost 1/3 rd of hospitals in India use GE equipment. GE has in the past worked on low cost innovation like infant warmers and portable ultra sound. Two years ago Harel Kodesh formerly with companies like Motorola, Microsoft, EMC and VM WARE to head the digital initiative, as the VP and CTO for GE Digital. Harel discussed that they to jump into the space as existing platforms available were not going to work for what GE had in mind. So 4 years, many software developers and a campus in San Ramon later, GE today is the largest Digital Company in the world powering to $20 Billion target for 2020.
Now Predix is a asset based system, that means sensors attached to the assets would collect information and relay it back to you for analytics. This improves efficiency and improves quality of life. In a healthcare setting it could be all the fitness trackers, CT machines, Ultra sounds share data with the Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) and helps the physician make informed decisions.
The higher the value associated with the asset and its unavailability, the more investments would be necessary in the machine learning as well as analytics. So if you receive recommendations from Amazon for example, for a good book, they don’t invest that much in that analytics. As the stakes are low. But that would be change if one had to take an aircraft engine out of service for maintenance, the analytics needs to be more accurate then. So the percentage spend on machine learning would be different for someone like Amazon as compared to GE. So Internet of Things (IoT) has just received a big boost with Predix and it would interesting to see the implications in Healthcare.
So essentially GE intends to move the system from a condition based maintenance to an asset based maintenance through Predix. So these sensors speak to each other, educating other new assets that are plugged into the system. GE is also looking at partners to build more applications on top of Predix, leading to continuous integration and employment.
So not only Predix can be used for asset but also for processes and people. So every physical asset would have a digital twin, integrating digital and physical worlds.
Now from the Healthcare perspective, the one thing of interest to me was the GE healthcare Cloud based on top of Predix. UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH MEDICAL CENTER (UPMC) and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are two hospital systems in the US who have already implemented the GE Healthcare Cloud. Currently the system is configured to share records in DICOM. That means most PACS like Ultra Sound records can be shared through the Healthcare Cloud.
So essentially it can be used for peer review, integrates well with other 3rd party tools for PACS. It had a Care dashboard, with no analytics. There is role based access, and the platform is good for having a multi disciplinary review of a particular medical case.
Now I am not sure if this would work in India, probably using GE Health Cloud coupled with some of the GE Equipment. This would particularly helpful in Telemedicine specially in remote areas of the country. I plan to revisit the campus to talk to more healthcare specialists from GE on the implications for India. As always comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.