Editor’s note: John Spooner is director of IoT Practice at Technology Business Research. This is the second of a two-part report about GE’s Internet of Things efforts. Part one was published Monday.

HAMPTON, N.H. – As people — not machines —continue to make decisions, what will evolve is how companies and their leaders adopt and adapt to new levels of insights created by capabilities such as Digital Twin. This feedback will lead to new behaviors, which are the transformative agents.

Ultimately, data plus feedback equals new behavior. However, changes come about where people and insights meet. Teams that utilize, manage and gain meaning from these insights are where transformation will happen and where the face of the industry will change, GE’s executives said at the Minds + Machines event.

Modeling current and future behavior of physical assets and driving continuous improvement in their operation, maintenance and longevity lead to changes: first in operating them and second in monetizing them. The constant monitoring and modeling by smart algorithms created from computer machine learning, artificial-intelligence based monitoring, and herd-based analysis and insights, provide businesses with more informed decisions around their operations. More informed decision making, both around cost savings and revenue generation, come from access to insights by more informed, more collaborative and more empowered humans.

It’s a journey

GE Digital and Predix ultimately exist to foster and then support the journey that comes with leveraging new data in new ways, working to speed customers down the path toward digital transformation by simplifying the decisions to the selection of a handful of options, including service level, apps and implementation services from Predix.io, delivered by GE and partners.

The journey changes the ways in which businesses and the teams they employ gather, analyze and act upon the data they have access to and how the teams engage internally and with customers. TBR believes this will be a slow but steady change, and that for top vendors in their classes, such as GE and IBM, the challenge will be as much about customer education as it will be about business change. Consider the outcome of managing a wind farm differently: Predix allows customers to push the performance and maintenance envelopes of wind turbines to improve efficiency and make more money. The result is operators have a better idea of how to manage their businesses without overtaxing their equipment, while more accurately forecasting availability of their power on the open market.

Numerous examples abound, including with top oil and gas producers and energy providers, such as Exelon Corp. and BP Global:

 Exelon will deploy Predix and GE IIoT apps across its electricity generation network, including nuclear, wind, solar, hydroelectric and natural gas-powered facilities. The applications include Digital Power Plant and Digital Wind Farm suites with Asset Performance management and a range of other operations and business optimization as well as security apps.

 BP will do something similar, according to Ahmed Hashmi, BP’s head of upstream technology, who spoke at the Minds + Machines conference. The oil and gas giant will scale GE APM pilot from the Gulf of Mexico to its global operations in the future. The goal, he said, is to get to insights from data and act quickly to drive new behaviors that ultimately improve operations.

Transformation won’t happen overnight

Digital industrial transformation — like digital transformation for businesses — will happen over a period of years. If it is not a relatively fast pace, transformation will be disruptive, the result of which will be changes in how companies manage their assets as well as their personnel and, ultimately, interact with their customers. There will be experimentation, job responsibilities will change and new business models will emerge.

Ultimately, GE anticipates productivity will increase, based in part on the creativity and leadership of the humans utilizing the machine-generated insights put forth by Predix and the host of applications. Predix and its peers from IBM, Microsoft and Amazon are evolving from platforms to connect devices and sensors to systems, which allows companies to act. Predix becomes a system of assets for a company, like its systems of record, ERP, and systems of engagement, or CRM.

Predix does this by first creating the system of assets — including connecting, monitoring and then modeling the performance of those assets — and then the means to access that system, to optimize for cost savings and business model innovation.

Hashmi urged those in attendance to do something, even if they don’t know what’s next. That something is the first step to next steps. He went on to suggest that while on any given path, the focus should be on value, and going after something that big, with the aim to change the business operating model. Partner with those offering complementary skills, Hashmi suggested, and then put the best people on the job: those who have outstanding behaviors, who hold themselves to account, who are collaborative and allow others to hold them to account. Give people tools and make data accessible to them and they take off, Hashmi said. GE Digital’s approach to IIoT provides the runway.