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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?

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