Industrial internet tipped to deliver productivity gains in the trillions, says GE

Connecting industrial operations to the internet could produce significant productivity gains worth an estimated $US10 trillion to $US15 trillion to global economic output, a General Electric study found.

The report established that gains in efficiency can be achieved when internet-connected machines are able to communicate and operate automatically, news.com.au reported.

"Securing even part of these productivity gains could bring great benefits at both the individual and economy-wide level." GE chief economist Marco Annunziata said.

Realising the potential of the industrial internet through the connection of machines, diagnostics, software, and analytics could eliminate billions of dollars of wasted time and resources and make business operations more efficient.

"The full potential of the 'industrial internet' will be felt when the three primary digital elements – intelligent devices, intelligent systems and intelligent automation – fully merge with physical machines, facilities, fleets and networks.

"When this occurs, the benefits of enhanced productivity, lower costs and reduced waste will propagate through the entire industrial economy." Annunziata said.

The report highlighted the biggest benefit would be for advanced manufacturing, but said savings can also be achieved in the medical, energy and transportation sectors.

Between 1995-2004 internet and communications technologies lifted US labour productivity to an average annual rate of 3.1 per cent, twice that of the previous twenty five years.

The study comes after Manufacturers’ Monthly reported that the Productivity Commission figures showed a slump in manufacturing productivity for the period 1999-2008.

Of the total decline in productivity in Australia, manufacturing made up 45 per cent of this, with the Commission’s interim report finding seven of the eight subsectors recorded a drop in productivity.

The research suggested stagnation in technological knowledge and investment is part of the problem.