The hottest view on the future of industrial Inter

2022-09-22
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Looking at the future of industrial interconnection from the big adjustment of GE's digital business

in 2018, industrial interconnection is still the hottest topic in the digital transformation of manufacturing industry. The hot topics of manufacturing industry such as industry 4.0 and made in China 2025 have obviously given way to industrial interconnection in terms of heat

according to the official information of the Ministry of industry and information technology, since the State Council issued the guiding opinions on deepening the interconnection of advanced manufacturing industries and developing industrial interconnection in January, the State Council and the Ministry of industry and information technology have issued 12 documents on industrial interconnection in the past year, with an average of one document issued every month, involving top-level design, development planning, demonstration projects, implementation plans, expert teams and other aspects. The government is not indifferent, but the effect of the policy is still a little vague

in less than two years, typical Internet enterprises such as ofo can complete a boom and bust cycle, and the shared travel industry can go from a hundred flowers to the overall situation. However, for industrial interconnection, despite the name of interconnection, it has been nearly five years since Ge officially launched the industrial interconnection platform predix in 2013, and it is still in the embryonic stage of 180 ° mode. For the manufacturing industry, the transformation cannot be achieved overnight, especially for China's manufacturing industry with complex and uneven development level

there are many discussions, some of which are putting digital technology in all industrial fields into the industrial interconnection basket. The discussion of industrial interconnection itself sometimes makes people forget that industrial interconnection is only a tool, not an end, and creating value is the end

pioneers and latecomers are still exploring, and there is still no obvious leader in this market

Alibaba made a strong entry

in 2018, Ge, the pioneer of industrial interconnection, was still in trouble, and its share price fell below $7, falling to the bottom. In the third quarter, a huge loss of US $22.8 billion was actually incurred due to the provision of goodwill impairment losses for the acquisition of Alstom. Ge in trouble hired the first foreign CEO in history. His first big move after taking office was to cut into digital business. On December 13, GE announced the establishment of an independent company, focusing on the industrial IOT software business portfolio. The assets of the company include the famous predix platform. The new company will be wholly owned by GE, but will have an independent brand, management and board of directors. On the day of the announcement, Ge shares jumped 7.3%

mindsphere, Siemens' industrial interconnection platform, is steady and will finally enter the Chinese market. In July, Siemens announced a cooperation with Alibaba cloud, which will provide infrastructure services for mindsphere in China. Siemens' traditional business customers, including Guangzhou mingluo and China Resources Power, are cooperating with Siemens to develop industrial apps. Obviously, they will become the first users of the Chinese version of mindsphere

in June, Gartner, a well-known consulting organization, released the first Magic Quadrant report on the industrial IOT platform. Among them, the company that ranks first in terms of executive ability (vertical axis) and forward-looking (horizontal axis) is a little-known company: PTC (parameter technology company), an American company that started with industrial software products such as CAD and PLM. After acquiring thingworx platform in 2015, it began to comprehensively transform into industrial IOT. PTC and Ge once had in-depth cooperation. It is said in the industry that PTC played the role of OEM supplier for the initial development of predix

players in new fields are also starting to work hard. Jack Ma, the outgoing chairman of Alibaba's board of directors, talked about new manufacturing on many occasions. Alibaba cloud also released the ET industrial brain development platform for Industry in August. Internet companies' understanding of manufacturing has not been recognized by the manufacturing industry

Ma Yun believes that new manufacturing is the integration of manufacturing and services. The competitiveness of new manufacturing is not in manufacturing, but in the thoughts, experiences, feelings and services behind it. In response, quxianming, director of the manufacturing office of the National Academy of engineering, publicly responded that this is inconsistent with China's national conditions. The key to becoming a manufacturing power lies in the manufacturing industry itself. Without manufacturing, all services, feelings and experiences are empty talk

the logic of the industrial interconnection platform is not complex. It collects data, analyzes, feeds back, executes and creates benefits. However, in the specific implementation, it is crucial to do well in two aspects: first, in the face of complex and diverse industrial fieldbus protocols, data is not as easy to obtain as consumer interconnection. How to do a good job in the connection layer is crucial. It requires not only necessary sensors and communication equipment, but also corresponding software development; Second, can the platform itself be quickly deployed and easy to use, whether there are modules easy to develop, whether the general functions can be quickly copied, and whether it can be implemented in the factory as soon as possible? To meet these needs, we need not only to understand the needs of the factory, but also the design and development capabilities of the platform

at present, industrial interconnection is still in its infancy, Ge is not out, and Alibaba is not fully in. The industry is tired of concept discussion. Creating a platform to create real value and realizing the visible landing effect is the focus of the future

ge's independence of its digital business at the end of 2018 is undoubtedly a landmark event in the field of industrial interconnection in the past year. The process of industrial interconnection pioneer Ge from frustration to transformation is also the process of the industry from ignorance to truth

with regard to the business of the new company, GE announced that it would integrate GE's existing industrial IOT solutions, including predix, an industrial interconnection platform, and other digital and software businesses, including asset performance management (APM), historian, automation (hmi/scada), manufacturing execution system, operational performance management, GE power group's digital business and electrical software solutions

its customers will also be more focused. GE announced that the new company will be based on the existing annual software sales of $1.2 billion and the global industrial customer base; Provide software services for asset intensive industries, focusing on power generation, renewable energy, aviation, oil and gas, food and beverage, chemicals, consumer goods and mining industries

why the pioneers were frustrated

in 2013, Ge took the lead in launching the predix platform, which became the object of imitation and attention of various industrial Internet platforms in the following years. Ge hopes to build an open platform for industry, attract third-party developers and customers to settle in the platform, create an ecological effect, and then make profits by providing and operating a cloud platform for industry. The industry often compares it to industrial Android. From the perspective of cloud technology architecture, predix provides platform services (PAAS). From now on, it needs to cooperate with manufacturers providing infrastructure services (IAAs). From now on, it needs to seek third-party developers to develop software services (SaaS). Ge also provides SaaS services

no one denies the huge role of digitalization in promoting the transformation of traditional industries and manufacturing industries. Through collecting and analyzing data, we can improve the efficiency of production lines, do predictive maintenance on equipment, reduce energy consumption, improve design, etc. As the hub of connecting field devices and developing software applications, the importance of industrial interconnection platform is also self-evident. As a century old industrial giant, GE has many followers after prospectively proposing the concept of industrial interconnection. GE has not chosen the wrong direction

however, GE's industrial interconnection business has not been carried out smoothly. It has been continuously invested and has never been profitable, and the ecosystem outside its own business is not active. Throughout its five-year history, compared with the original assumption, this transformation has two main changes: first, the platform has changed from opening to focusing; Second, I hope to get rid of the Ge color and become an independent company

these two changes reflect the difficulties faced by Ge as an industrial company in expanding industrial interconnection business. It is difficult for the platform dominated by industrial giants to step out of the industry. Many experts from enterprises and academia emphasized to Caijing that the key to industrial interconnection is the digitization of industry knowledge. Digitalization in the industrial field pays more attention to the vertical industry knowledge than whether the horizontal one overshadows the general platform

as an industrial company, Ge can develop software products that meet the needs of users in its accumulated fields, industry knowledge and software development ability; In the field they are not familiar with, they hope to attract third-party developers to develop through the predix platform, and cooperate to sell to users in need

because the core of industrial enterprises lies in industry knowledge, ordinary third parties do not have the ability to develop software related to core processes, and can only develop software with general functions; Enterprises with the ability to develop software related to core processes are unwilling to develop on third-party platforms because they are worried about the risk of disclosure of their intellectual property rights

Siemens, GE's biggest competitor, has different thoughts from GE. In an exclusive interview with Caijing in March this year, Kaisa, CEO of Caijing, compared industrial Internet with consumer Internet, saying that in the field of consumer Internet, consumers often have the same needs, such as wanting to know weather information. Therefore, he revealed to the media that some of the content of the standards to be issued is in pursuit of scalability and scale. However, the industry is vertical, and the production and production of chocolate are completely different. In the vertical industrial system, the application is also vertical, so the application software ecosystem on the industrial cloud platform will not develop as large as the consumption interconnection

for the platform built by industrial enterprises, even in their areas of expertise, due to the sensitivity to core processes and data, its platform is difficult to cover competitors. With the concept of industrial interconnection gradually gaining popularity, large companies will open their own industrial cloud platform, or choose the platform of China cube. This problem also exists when Siemens promotes its mindsphere platform. An executive of a domestic wind power company once told Caijing that he would not choose Siemens' industrial software and mindsphere platform, because the wind power joint venture established by Siemens and COMESA is its important competitor

in this context, the transformation of GE's digital business today seems reasonable: predix's platform positioning itself has not changed, but its business practices will focus more on existing customers, namely, power generation, renewable energy, aviation, oil and gas, food and beverage, chemicals, consumer goods and mining industries mentioned in the announcement. And be more independent in brand and operation, and weaken the color of Ge

in fact, Siemens has been adopting this strategy. Mindsphere's customers in China, Guangzhou mingluo, an auto parts supplier, and China Resources Power, which uses Siemens' gas turbines, are all former customers of Siemens

the setback of Ge industrial interconnection is also related to GE's business structure. In an exclusive interview with Caijing in July this year, abb president Shi Bifu said that industrial interconnection requires three links: perception, analysis and action. The biggest difference between GE and abb is that GE has no control ability. For example, the doctor diagnosed the patient with pneumonia and gave treatment suggestions. Ge is done, but ABB can continue to implement treatment suggestions

behind this distinction is the difference in business structure. Abb and Siemens have industrial automation business that GE does not have. Specifically, in the field of discrete industry, Siemens' industrial control business ranks first in the world and ABB's second; In the field of process industry, abb is the first and Siemens is the second

the weakness of the hardware business structure limits the customer base of its predix platform, because compared with GE's main business, industrial automation products represented by PLC software are more common and have a broader customer base. Lack of industrial automation in digital closed loop

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