(photo credit: Courtesy GE Israel )
General Electric (GE), one of the world’s largest companies, is scouting Israel
for talent, technology and, of course, start-ups as it sets its sights on what
it calls “industrial Internet.”
“We’re trying to create a start-up within
a big company, a group to innovate and identify the kinds of things we might
build to take things out globally,” vice president of GE’s software and
analytics center William Ruh told The Jerusalem Post Thursday. “I’ve been here
for two days and I’m enormously impressed both with the venture-capital firms
we’ve met with as well as the start-ups, and I fully expect that in the coming
months we’ll be able to talk to you about some interesting
According to Ruh, the world of industry is on the brink of an
Internet revolution that will transform it in much the way Internet has
transformed the world of retail, music and social networking. Industries from
rail to aviation are moving from “unintelligent” machines to “brilliant”
machines, which are able to harness massive efficiencies by taking in real-time
information and adjust accordingly, he said.
“We think that’s a
trillion dollar opportunity,” Ruh said.
In rail, a 1 percent improvement
in efficiency can save $27 billion, he said.
New, wired infrastructure
offers countless opportunities to find those kinds of improvements, Ruh
And that’s where Israel comes in.
To wring out
inefficiencies, GE needs software to gather, process and analyze huge amounts of
data that will go into its systems. Then it needs to safeguard those systems
from outside interference.
“This is probably the best place in the world
to do cyber security,” Ruh said. With very real threats from foreign governments
and terrorist groups, “only the companies that take cyber security seriously and
have products that support them are going to be credible.”
left empty from a spate of recent layoffs in its health-care operations in
Herzliya, GE has assembled a team of seven people to, first and foremost, hire
Israeli minds for its operations.
“It’s a talent game,” Ruh said. “You’ve
got to go where there’s talent because these are really hard problems to
Beyond that, he also sees GE working with start-ups and
technology firms to develop the technologies it will need.
been amazed by how inventive these start-ups are and how they develop
mind-blowing technology,” Ruh said. “I came here not knowing what to expect, and
I walk away knowing this is the place I’ve got to be.”