GE Digital to transform Middle East industry using the power of the internet

Bill Ruh, CEO at GE Digital, outlines the company’s vision of the industrial Internet of things (IIoT) in the Middle East and how it plans to transform industry through the power of the Internet

In the past five years, the IT industry in the Middle East has seen the industrial internet of things (IIoT) evolve from a concept, to a few early successes, to what is now a rapidly growing market.

US giant GE is a leading light and sees a huge opportunity in the Middle East to embark on what is described as the “fourth industrial revolution”.

“We built GE Digital to create digital solutions for the industrial world, and set out to make our own operations the proving ground for new ways of working in a digitised era,” said Bill Ruh, CEO at GE Digital.

He added that digital transformation is an organisation-wide commitment for GE Digital, and it has been central to all that the company does, extending from its internal processes to partnerships with external stakeholders.

Ruh said digital technology can unlock huge potential and billions of dollars in the Middle East. This, he said, is exacerbated by governments focused on leveraging the power of digital technology.

“We estimate that our industrial internet solutions can offer significant increases in performance and can help unlock billions of dollars in economic value annually across Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan,” he said.

“It is heartening to see countries in the Middle East focusing on the fourth industrial revolution,” he added.

He said the success of GE Digital’s IIoT is accelerated with the emergence of new and less-expensive design and production techniques and materials, such as 3D printing, injection moulding and the ‘maker movement’ that refers to individual craftsmen and micro-factories. “We are working very closely with our partners in this regard,” he added.

For example, Ruh said GE Digital is collaborating with Mubadala and Dubai Future Foundation to establish the first Micro-factory in the region that will accelerate revolutionary design, customer innovation, digital manufacturing technologies and access to global problem solving in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Read more about GE’s IIoT strategy

GE, through GE Global, focuses not only in developing next-generation systems but also in building a culture of localised innovation and in scaling up the skills of local talent in the Middle East region, according to Ruh.

“The region has embraced the concept of the fourth industrial revolution and we are seeing tangible benefits from this commitment to promote digitisation and advanced manufacturing,” he said.

Ruh said GE Digital’s commitments are aligned with the development goals of the regional governments, which include creating jobs, boosting the local small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector, promoting economic diversification and creating high-value global supply chains.

“That is what we are doing already in the Middle East; we are working closely with companies from the region across several industrial sectors, offering best practices in how to design and manufacture components,” he said.

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