Since GE (NYSE:GE) finished the IPO for Synchrony (NYSE:SYF) they've been fairly busy. While the company is cutting out segments that are unrelated to their long term plan, they've also been investing in developing new technologies. The newest of those technologies is being referred to as the "Data Lake". Remember how GE bought into that company "Pivotal" a while back? This article by Forbes can refresh your memory. It looks like that investment may be paying off now.
How does it work?
Arik Hesseldahl explained the process in an article on recode.net. He says:
"Let's say you're gathering data about the performance of engines on a fleet of jets - fuel consumption, performance, response time, operating temperatures… Each bit of that data is assigned a unique ID number and then poured into a massive storage trove. It's not put in folders or individual directories; it all resides in its raw format in one big 'lake' of data."
The technology could be considered revolutionary based on its ability to handle both enormous volumes and incredible speeds. The system will be able to store and analyze petabytes of data. For anyone not familiar with the computer world, that's roughly a thousand terabytes, or a million gigabytes. Most computer hard drives are measured in gigabytes today, but the larger ones can be a couple terabytes. Imagine being able to scoop through the hard drives of a hundreds of computers. It seems like a terribly slow task, and it was, but not anymore.
So they have a new way to store absurdly large amounts of data, so what?
The value here lies in GE's ability to provide services with their new system to many of the customers that were already buying their products. Looking at the "White paper", linked here, GE explains how their product can be utilized for customers in different industries. That table is reproduced here:
Pivatol's CEO, Paul Maritz, said: "The new industrial data lake architecture answers the call for the fast and highly scalable management of the unique industrial big data that is helping global enterprises transform their operations and build a new class of applications."
There is so much potential that the results didn't fit on one page. Here's the second page of that table:
How much faster can it do those tasks?
According to a report on gereports.com, the system can analyze data 2000 times faster than previous methods. That isn't a typo, and it isn't a percent. It also cuts the costs of the analysis tenfold. In a matter of 20 minutes it can crunch through data that previously took over a month to analyze.
Has it been thoroughly tested?
The system has already tracked more than 3 million flights. In my opinion, that's a big enough test to be confident that it works properly. As an interesting side note to this, some analyst wrote "Billion" instead of "Million" and his error was reproduced across several financial websites. I'll trust the data from GEreports.com instead.
They aren't wasting any time before rolling out the marketing. They designed the following graphic to convey their message in a matter of seconds. I thought it did such a good job I decided to incorporate it:
GE has really been getting back to its roots. It's getting out of business that weren't a great fit and getting back to producing high value products for its customers. I wrote before about how their appliance division wasn't worth much. I stand by that opinion. I also believe that a GE focused on innovation is capable of delivering solid returns to shareholders. This is the kind of innovation that makes GE attractive.
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