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GE Digital

GE Digital and NEC collaborate to drive digitization

In the infrastructure and industrial areas, which support society, improvements in productivity and operational efficiency are vital for sustainable growth. With the economic growth of the last few decades, efficiency in the world of business has been improving; transportation and communication networks have developed and resource and energy development has advanced. On the other hand, the eco-system to achieve success has expanded and become more complicated, and it is getting difficult to improve efficiency.

To address such issues, NEC has been trying to find ways to improve operational efficiency using traditional AI and sensing technologies based on sensing data. For example, NEC implemented a project to improve power generation efficiency by understanding and forecasting the status of power plants from operational data and complex incidental conditions. NEC also started a project to forecast the sales of daily foods on a product basis in convenient stores by analyzing the data correlations of past sales records and the number of discarded products, weather forecasts, and campaign information. Through such experiences, NEC found that it is essential to have knowledge of on-site operations to improve operational efficiency and added value with AI technology and data.

In response, NEC concluded a comprehensive business partnership with GE Digital who has extensive knowledge of industrial equipment and field operations cultivated through GE’s wide range of industrial business experiences. GE develops and delivers various industrial equipment, from aircraft engines to gas turbines for power plants. In order to enhance the efficiency of manufacturing and operating industrial equipment, GE promotes the integration of industrial equipment and digital technologies. For instance, GE successfully increased the efficiency of maintenance and services for aircraft engines by utilizing data that a number of sensors mounted on engine parts collect. With these data, GE’s Digital Twin*1, a data model of a specific physical asset allows analytics-based maintenance by telling how it is being operated, how damage is being accumulated, and when you should execute the next replacement by specific part. The Digital Twin works on GE’s industrial IoT platform Predix*2, which is available throughout the world.

Together with GE, NEC plans to globally offer elemental technology from the cutting-edge AI technologies of NEC the WISE as a service that can be used on Predix. As a first step NEC launched an Image Recognition Service using one of the AI technologies, Fingerprint of Things recognition, as a micro-service for Predix.

Fingerprint of Things recognition identifies individual objects by recognizing the differences in fine patterns, like human fingerprints, generated on the surfaces of products and parts in the course of production. This technology manages the small parts where it is difficult to attach barcodes or install RFIDs. By combining the Fingerprint of Things recognition and Digital Twin, users can simulate the possible situations in advance and take action based on the results when parts are assembled into a product. For example, when the degradation of a part is foreseen, a replacement will be prompted. Also, for product recalls, the technology allows significant reductions in time and the costs required to handle the issue by identifying the parts causing the problem.

The effects of the partnership between NEC and GE are not limited to the provision of added value to the manufacturing process. The partnership increases the efficiency of the whole supply chain, including product installation and equipment adjustments from product shipments to customer signoff. Predix is a software platform that can manage the GE supply chains in the hundred and several tens of countries throughout the world. NEC has implemented a part of GE’s Predix system into their overseas supply chain and is currently verifying the effects. Also, NEC will establish the verified operation and maintenance system on the NEC site, nurture Predix developers within the NEC group of companies and provide the knowledge accumulated from the worldwide implementation of IoT platform to companies that face similar challenging issues.

NEC and GE will demonstrate new value by integrating industries and ICTs, improve the productivity and operational efficiency of companies, and contribute to the achievement of the sustainable growth of infrastructures and industrial areas to support society.

*1 Digital Twin is a method of visualizing the feasibility and better methods in a prompt and affordable manner by reproducing systems and activities in the physical and digital worlds in real-time (like twins) by simulating control and management.

*2 Predix connects devices to GE Digital’s applications to collect and analyze data. This cloud-based platform for industrial applications increases the performance of devices and optimizes the overall production process.

Voice of partner

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Julian LorenGE Digital Director of Strategy & Innovation for Ecosystem and Channels

GE has a strong partnership with NEC, which has in-depth expertise in system integration and vast experience in the advanced technologies of AI and IoT. GE sees value specifically in NEC’s sensing technology and award-winning face recognition technology. By linking the identification data collected with NEC’s technologies and data obtained from GE’s IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) platform, Predix, you can promptly identify the cause-and-effect relationships, evaluate any trade-offs, and support sophisticated decision-making. Also, the joint demonstration opened up new possibilities for further cost reductions. We will use the partnership with NEC and lead the efficiency and productivity of industrial areas to a new and higher level on a global scale.