Its recently created GE Marine business is making an aggressive push into the "Industrial Internet," a cloud-based service that uses GE's Predix software platform to maximize machine performance with input from equipment sensors, potentially generating billions in cost savings across a broad swath of industries.
The marine industry is ripe to benefit from the technology, Tim Schweikert, vice president of GE's marine unit, said in a telephone interview. Although GE has operated in the industry for decades, it launched the Marine division in January to more effectively coordinate its efforts.
The unit garners sales from four of the company's major segments: energy management, oil and gas, aviation, and transportation. Orders in the segment are expected to jump to $750 million this year, up 57% from 2014, according to a recent investor presentation. Of a roughly $12 billion market, growing at 6% annually, GE has about $3.4 billion of deals in its pipeline.
"We are investing organically, in other words, continuously improving our marine profile across the four different businesses," Schweikert said. Deals range from electric-power and propulsion systems for liquid-natural-gas carriers -- including Japan-based Kawasaki Heavy Industries -- to sales of diesel engines, complex navigation systems, and most recently an agreement inked in July with Cegelec in Brittany, France, to provide a static power system for the French navy.
"We've been in the marine space for quite some time and we've seen some nice growth, particularly through the boom cycle between 2010 to 2014," Schweikert said. With GE Marine, "we want to unify our assets because it makes it easier to sell to customers, and easier for customers to do business with us," he said. "And it makes it easier for us to think like a ship owner."