Skip to Content

Now You Can Manage Entire Factories from a Phone

October 18, 2017

If you think Facebook’s infinite scroll is endlessly compelling, imagine what it would be like to track the daily rumblings of an entire factory on a phone. That’s what Apple and GE have decided to make possible, by launching a software development kit for iOS that will allow firms to build apps that let people manage factories and power plants from iPhones and iPads.

GE has been building its own Internet of things system, called Predix, for a while now. But while that creates huge fire hoses of data inside industrial plants, actually making use of it is another matter. So the new system is supposed to provide the industrial world with some of the slick software interfaces we're used to as consumers. GE says it should allow workers to receive notifications about faulty equipment on their phones, for example, or check to see how efficiently a turbine is running from, well, anywhere.

It may not sound like a particularly thrilling advance. But as factories and industrial plants become increasingly automated, changes like this will allow humans to spend way less time poring over hardware. Sorry, did someone mention job erosion?

Keep Reading

Most Popular

DeepMind’s cofounder: Generative AI is just a phase. What’s next is interactive AI.

“This is a profound moment in the history of technology,” says Mustafa Suleyman.

What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines

New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.

Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats

With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure

Next slide, please: A brief history of the corporate presentation

From million-dollar slide shows to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the iPhone, a bit of show business never hurt plain old business.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.