>> General Electric is making a $4 billion bet on the digital revolution and bringing it right to the factory floor. Reuter's correspondent Al Scott has seen the emerging technology first hand.>> The centerpiece is Predix, this operating system they built that pulls in data from all sorts of machines that are running and can combine it with other data and figure out how to run the plant more efficiently.
With the right applications, it can create what they call a digital twin. So it's a computer simulation model. Predix, in these applications, can actually monitor and it'll say, wow, this drill bit in this milling machine that makes parts for an aircraft engine is actually showing that it's running hot.
It's hotter than normal, it's up 20 degrees. And that suggests that it's about to break.>> And then without any human interaction the part can be ordered. Therefore avoiding a long and costly shutdown of the entire assembly line. The same could be done for repairing larger items like airplane engines and train locomotives.
That kind of digital automation could go a long way in saving time and money, not only for GE, but also for its customers. CEO Jeff Immelt is pushing ahead with the transformation, but not all of his investors are buying into the digital factory revolution.>> The problem is for investors that it hasn't really paid off much yet.
There hasn't been huge revenue growth in the bottom line or huge profit growth. The potential is there, because these types of services, you build it and then like a software product, you sell it many, many times for no additional manufacturing costs.>> But GE is going to have to keep on spending to keep up with others, like IBM and Siemens, which are also doing the same thing.
And with GE stock in underperformance since Immelt took over in 2001, some investors would rather see a stock price revival than a digital revolution they can't take to the bank.