General Electric Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt speaks to the media in Dubai on Monday Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: General Electric Co. (GE) Chairman and Chief Executive, Jeff Immelt, was in Dubai on Monday, the latest in the company’s round-the-world campaign to tout its digital credentials.

This past month, Immelt has been in the United Kingdom, Australia and on the West and East Coasts of the United States outlining GE’s plans to become a top 10 software company within the next decade.

“This is the single biggest initiative inside the company today,” Immelt told reporters on Monday at GE’s Minds and Machines conference in Dubai that very much appeared to be a roadshow, with 500 people, mainly customers, flown in for the event, according to GE.

“We believe every industrial company is going to be a data analytics company in the future,” he said.

GE, which makes everything from lightbulbs to aircraft engines, sees “hundreds of millions” of software orders in the Middle East up for grabs over the next few years. The industrial digital era that GE is pitching will also translate into billions of dollars in savings. GE estimates industrial internet solutions could find as much as $465 billion in economic value in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan by 2025.

“[There are] huge airlines, huge power companies, huge oil and gas companies here, big needs,” he said.

GE is convinced that all industrial companies will have to step into the Internet of Things, the concept of everyday objects having network connectivity.

“Analytics and digitalisation is the next big wave of productivity for industrial companies,” Immelt said.

Data analytics is already used today to collect information on things like oil rigs and aircraft assessing performance and determining when maintenance is needed. But GE sees this enhancing to having every major and minor part connected in a move that it says will improve productivity.

“This is uniquely something that industrial companies can do,” Immelt said.

As part of the digital push, GE plans to build data analytics centres in the region on its own and with joint venture partners that will be run by local staff. The company already has an aviation analytics centre in the UAE.

Immelt identified Emirates, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), Saudi Aramco and Saudi Electric as regional customers who will be “big player[s]” in its new digital era.

“A region like the Middle East can actually be quite active in the development of the industrial internet,” he said


[BOX] GE completes Alstom acquisition


General Electric Co. was set to complete the €12.5 billion (Dh50.7 billion) acquisition of French multinational Alstom’s energy operations on Monday, November 2, according to GE Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Immelt. He announced in Dubai early on Monday that the company was set to close the deal.

“This day we’ll complete the Alstom acquisition,” he said during an address to staff, customers and the media at GE’s Mind and Machines conference in Dubai.

The transaction will expand GE Power & Water, its biggest manufacturing business, and is part of GE’s plans to focus on growing its industrial arm while dropping many of its finance and consumer units.

— By Alexander Cornwell, Staff Reporter