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Ganesh Bell
Most Creative People 2017

Ganesh Bell

Chief Digital Officer, GE Power, GE

For rethinking the grid

As GE Power’s first chief digital officer, Ganesh Bell is leading the 125-year-old company—known for building industrial turbines and generators—toward a software-driven future, where data analysis is as important as energy-producing hardware. He began by aggregating the data from sensors on machines used by GE Power customers, which include Japan’s Futtsu natural-gas power station and the New York Power Authority, operator of the Niagara Power Project, among other clean-energy plants. Then he ran that information through GE’s five-year-old industrial operating system, called Predix, which analyzes machine data on everything from jet engines to freight trains, to offer energy customers vital, actionable information. Over the past couple of years, Bell and his team have built suites of apps to help utilities such as wind farms and steam plants monitor their equipment (GE-made or otherwise) and notify workers when something is awry. They can also incorporate external information, like weather and energy prices, to predict a machine’s performance. Bell recently opened Predix to developers, allowing clients to create custom apps. The effort is paying off: In 2016, revenue from GE’s digital services hit $3.6 billion—up 16% from the year before—thanks in part to the power segment’s rapid growth as more customers, such as U.S. energy giant Exelon and Qatar’s RasGas, sign on to use Predix technology in their facilities. Just as significant: Bell’s software is helping these utilities become more productive. “Thomas Edison developed the grid for a different world,” says Bell. “We have to be more agile. By going digital, we can modernize the grid structure and improve efficiency and reliability.”

Ganesh Bell On The Web
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