Stakeholders call for digital industrial revolution to cope with changing market trends


By Jacktone Lawi

 It is estimated that Digital initiatives will create up to 3.45 million new jobs between 2016 and 2025 – translating to 10.7% job growth in the electricity industry.

This is according to a report by the World economic forum, which points out that there is a significant opportunity in the electricity sector for digitization to create jobs.

Job creation potential is highest in the consumer renewables sector, with energy storage integration creating up to 1.07 million new jobs.


This was revealed during the industrial digital transformation summit that brought together key players in the digital space including General Electric (GE) Digital experts, Microsoft, Safaricom, iHub and Seven Seas for stakeholder panel discussions on the importance of digital industrial transformation in Africa to unlock the region’s digital future.

A significant problem that utilities are facing is an ageing workforce, with a weak pipeline of new talent and a potential productivity gap as new employees are recruited and trained. Digital initiatives go some way in ensuring that experience is captured as the workforce retires, with significant productivity gains expected.

GE is bringing new digital infrastructure solutions to the Kenyan market by connecting software, apps and analytics to industrial businesses, enabling them to operate faster, smarter and more efficiently.

“We are excited to bring our cutting edge digital solutions and expertise to Kenyan businesses to optimize operational and business innovations for increased productivity and profit. We see a huge opportunity for Kenya and the continent at large to benefit from the digital industrial revolution and leap-frog existing industrialization models, and quickly improve competitiveness in the global economy” said Getty Melaku the Chief Financial Officer for GE Africa.

The digital industrial revolution is poised to radically reshape how production, distribution and maintenance of physical assets is done.

“Industrial data is growing twice as fast as any other sector. Yet today, less than 3% of that data is tagged and used in a meaningful fashion.”

“The digital industrial revolution is both a cultural and technology shift and companies that don’t evolve, will fail to deliver critical business outcomes and stunt their productivity gains. Our customers in Africa demand the same equipment performance as the rest of the world and are constantly looking at ways to enhance asset performance. Forty of GE’s Oil and Gas customers in Africa are using Digital solutions to optimise operations,” said Chief Information Officer for GE Africa, Abu Sulemana.

GE has incorporated learnings from its extensive industrial business processes to release “Predix” the world’s first industrial operation system which powers the modern digital industrial businesses. GE is committed to empowering organizations enter a new era of industry digitization. Local businesses will be able to create innovative apps on “Predix” that turn real-time operational data into actionable that can deliver outcomes across many different industries. These outcomes range from the reduction of unplanned downtime to improved asset output and operational efficiency.

Why the digital industrial revolution matters for Kenya,

 Industries such as aviation, healthcare, mining, oil and gas, power generation, and transportation represent upwards of 30% of the global economy, and touch the lives of almost everyone on the planet. These capital-intensive industries have long-lived assets such as aircraft, generators, locomotives, and turbines that are mission-critical and require considerable monitoring and service throughout their 20- to 50-year lives.

A “big data” platform that brings new value to the wealth of data coming from these assets, their processes, and the enterprises in which they exist, will set the stage for a new wave of productivity gains and information-based services.