The industrial Internet: The next great economic revolution

CIO | May 30, 2013

By Michael Friedenberg

What happens when we can merge the power of intelligent devices, intelligent systems, and intelligent automation with physical machines, facilities and networks?

It’s often argued that the most important era in U.S. history was the Industrial Revolution, that period from roughly 1760 to 1840 when almost every aspect of business and daily life changed.

The shift from manual labor to machines, from wood to coal, from farms to cities–those are just a few of the ways our world changed dramatically when a new era of U.S. economic power was born. We are now at the beginning of the next great economic era, which is being ushered in by the Industrial Internet Revolution. Today’s world has approximately 6.8 billion people and 12.5 billion connected devices. At the rate things are going, by 2020 we’ll have about 7.6 billion people and 50 billion connected devices.

What happens when we can merge the power of intelligent devices, intelligent systems, and intelligent automation with physical machines, facilities and networks? One answer is that an estimated $10 trillion to $15 trillion–an amount nearly equal to the current U.S. economy–will be added to the global GDP, according to Peter Evans, GE’s director of global strategy and analytics, and Marco Annunziata, GE’s chief economist.

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