The rapid development of digital technology is drawing attention to how we can harness the Internet and cloud computing to connect people, places and things, enabling us to better predict and manage our resources in real-time. Invest in Ontario had the chance to speak with GE Power's Chief Information Officer (CIO), Clay Johnson, about how GE's transformation into a digital industrial company is benefiting businesses, people and the environment.

"Something as simple as using temperature sensors in order to recognize that we can bring air from outside a factory rather than generating heating or air conditioning not only saves money, but is also greener from an environmental standpoint"

– Clay Johnson, CIO of GE Power.

Mr. Johnson explains with excitement the digitization of GE, describing the creation of a digital thread that starts at the beginning of the supply chain and runs all the way to services and products.

"The use of 3D printing for rapid prototyping, on its own, has reduced our new product introduction cycle by 20%. We are also adding sensors on our machines so that we can optimize performance and reduce costs by extracting and analyzing data to make real-time decisions," he adds.

The world's most efficient digital wind farm

A great example of how GE's digital thread has enabled smarter energy solutions is their revolutionary digital wind farms, which Johnson describes as a true "game-changer." GE's Digital Wind Farm combines a modular 2MW turbine platform and a digital infrastructure that connects those farms to the Industrial Internet. Beginning from the design of the farm, rather than building an entire farm from a single model, each turbine is uniquely designed to suit particular weather patterns, and is individually customizable. Connected to a digital infrastructure through GE's Predix technology, turbines react to real-world conditions, calculating course corrections whenever conditions change. GE calls it the world's most efficient wind farm—providing up to 20% more energy capacity than the previous generation.

“This is the kind of thing that three years ago people were thinking about or dreaming about, and now it has become a reality,” states Mr. Johnson.

Every year, the World Economic Forum's Global Risks report lists “water crises” as one of the most likely and impactful global risks. But with industry-leading R&D capabilities and recent acquisitions that include the water technology company Monsal, GE Power is ready to solve the world's most complex challenges related to water availability, quality, productivity, the environment and energy. And Mr. Johnson's team of IT professionals helps set the pace for implementing this cutting-edge technology globally, including Ontario-based facilities in Peterborough and Oakville and offices in Markham and Mississauga.

Read more about GE's digital wind farm and water technology solutions

Learn more about Ontario's growing water technology sector

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December 10, 2015

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