If you follow the future of work or technology, you've likely heard of the Internet of things--a way to connect devices together to make life easier and more efficient. The Internet of things is used in anything from connecting a fitness tracker to a scale and watch or connecting work documents and programs through the cloud. We've already seen lots of development with the Internet of things and are sure to see more progress as technology develops, but now GE has taken the concept one step further by applying it on a larger scale.

Known as the "industrial Internet", GE is working to connect large-scale physical machinery together to increase productivity and efficiency. Just like the Internet of things can connect smaller things like mobile devices and cars, the industrial Internet can connect large-scale wind turbines and a grid of computers. The industrial Internet is so powerful that an estimated 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020 and have a huge impact on the global economy and international GDP. One example of the industrial Internet in action comes from GE's connection to nearly $12 billion of large assets around the world. Using a central data center, GE representatives can monitor the machines, input their actions, and then use that information to make the process more efficient. Using collected data, the industrial Internet can run a series of analytics to predict future failures in the equipment and alert companies to issues before they arise. Thanks to the industrial Internet, connected companies are now taking preventative measures to avoid malfunctions rather than waiting until something unexpectedly goes wrong.

The industrial Internet opens the doors to increased manufacturing around the world, especially in developing countries. Information gathered from connected devices can be used to guide people through processes where they might not have experience, such as a developing factory or a new company. As more nations and organizations gain the skills and knowledge to be more efficient in their areas, the entire global economy will develop.

In essence, the industrial Internet helps power the world and makes everything more productive. Even if your organization doesn't work directly with manufacturing or production, it can still feel the force of the industrial Internet. The basic premise of the industrial Internet is to collect information, store it, and then sort it in an accessible and efficient way. This same principle can be applied to large-scale jet engines just as it can be to customer satisfaction in a start-up.

The industrial Internet shows how innovation and efficiency can have a huge impact around the world and right in our own organizations. By applying similar principles in your workplace, you can increase efficiency and enjoy the benefits of technological innovation.