Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


Vishal Wanchoo, President & CEO, GE South Asia, touches upon how innovation is rethreading the fabric of humanity as we know it.

In this role, Vishal is responsible for all of GE’s operations in the South Asia region. We asked him, how he strategizes to stay ahead of the growth curve in this evolving world and here’s what he had to say:

“GE has always looked at finding long-term solutions to move, cure and power the world. At the same time, to stay ahead of the curve, organisations need to be agile and prepared to re-invent themselves constantly. This is also true for GE.  We have deployed various techniques to be more agile in this rapidly evolving world, blending the agility of start-ups with the scale and breadth of GE. The company’s foundation is built on a culture of innovation across our core businesses in aviation, healthcare, power and renewable energy. We have invested in contemporary technologies such as additive manufacturing, materials science, and data analytics, as well as building relationships with start-ups that may be developing solutions that are relevant for our industries.

An important aspect of keeping current in addition to technology is keeping a pulse on markets.  We operate in 180 countries around the world with people on the ground that are close to markets and customers.  This ensures that we are providing real time feedback and intelligence on what is important for our customers.”

GE’s technology is changing the face of key industries

As technology and its convergence with industry deepens further, we enquired about what innovations particularly excite him. He says,As a company, we have been tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges harnessing the power of technology.  One great example in India is GE’s John F. Welch Technology Centre (JFWTC) at Bengaluru where minds and machines working together are developing solutions that are more efficient, reliable, and safer.  There are many exciting innovations.

For example, a key technology frontier in renewable energy is being able to provide “Firm” Renewable Power or “Renewable Power all the time”.  This requires a combination of multiple technologies allowing for dispatchable renewable energy. This is crucial for grid balancing. GE has developed a comprehensive energy storage platform called ‘GE Reservoir’ that delivers a suite of customized storage solutions.  This coupled with Hybrid Solution of Wind/Solar and Software technology allows us to help the industry address grid stability concerns and opens up new opportunities in a rapidly transforming renewable sector.

In India, GE has commissioned the world’s largest grid security solution for stabilizing India’s northern power grid. The project will help monitor power flow across more than 100 substations in the Northern Grid and respond to fluctuations within a fraction of a second, which will be critical in addressing power demand-supply imbalances and ensuring grid stability benefitting from the integration of renewable energy with the grid.

In healthcare, we are India’s leading medical technology company improving lives of over 300 million people with the largest installed base in the country. A decade ago, GE became the first company in India to design, develop and manufacture medical technologies ‘In India for India’ by studying India’s unique health requirements and disease conditions.

GE’s affordable CT machine named ‘Revolution ACT’ was completely designed and manufactured in India. Revolution ACT is the result of four years of intense research and development by 75 GE scientists and engineers in collaboration with over 500 healthcare providers from both urban and rural settings. The Revolution ACT also achieved five global patents for its design and engineering.

It is 40% more affordable compared to previous generation 4 slice CT systems.  Making it in India has led to faster delivery, faster response, thereby making it more accessible to the masses.

GE Healthcare has strengthened its R&D facility with the inclusion of a Global Design Studio called eCube in India. The studio serves the vital role of a stage for immersive research and collaborative co-creation of disruptive technologies with willing healthcare providers as partners.

If we look at aviation, at GE, we think about design based on geometry complexity and material selection. The use of ceramic matrix composites (CMC) offer key advantages over other materials— they are as tough as, weigh less, and are more temperature resistant than metals. The first commercial jet engine to feature CMC components, the CFM International LEAP engine incorporates 18 stationary CMC turbine shrouds that can withstand temperatures of 2400 degrees Fahrenheit (over 1300 degrees Celsius). Together with other improvements, the CMC shroud allows the LEAP engine to operate 15% more efficiently than its predecessor engine. Today, more than 14,270 LEAP engines have been ordered. CFM International is a joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines.

All these examples provide evidence of how GE’s technology is changing the face of key industries, and how we continue to drive relevant innovation that is highly scalable.”

Artificial Intelligence and Digital Twin

He also spoke to us about, how the next wave of radical transformation is increasingly becoming a reality. “A few years ago, who had heard of technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Digital Twin. Today they are transforming our lives. With an array of technologies converging, the world is witnessing change at an unprecedented pace. On the industrial side, software tools and applications are making industrial processes smarter, more efficient and easier to track. Even on the hardware side, 3D printing and additive manufacturing techniques are revolutionizing how both industrial and consumer products are being made.

Industrial companies are leveraging cloud computing’s core benefits of efficiency, agility, and scalability. Customers of GE’s healthcare, aviation and power businesses are benefiting from the smart coupling of physical and digital worlds.  We are leading the creation of the digitally-enabled future where GE’s solutions provide new revenue that is complementary to existing businesses by increasing efficiency, enhancing the life of hardware and impacting overall outcomes.”

GE’s key priorities for the Indian market

Finally, he also told us about GE’s key priorities for the Indian market over the next few years.

“We have been in India for over a century, and our partnership with the country is stronger than ever before. We have 17 manufacturing facilities including the state-of-the art GE Multimodal manufacturing facility in Pune. We have five engineering and technology centres which includes the John, F Welch Technology Centre in Bengaluru, the largest integrated multidisciplinary research and development centre for GE. We will continue to drive innovation and growth in aviation, power and renewable energy to solve local problems.

For GE, India is among the top five countries, in the league of the US, China, Japan and the UK. There is huge confidence in India’s talent. With the roll-out of initiatives like Make in India and Digital India in the past few years, India’s position as a global investment destination has improved.

India is among the fastest-growing markets in renewable energy, aviation and healthcare. In power, the focus is on emission control and delivering cleaner energy, which aligns with the nation’s priorities. Our priorities are clearly centered around driving innovation and growth in these sectors, which help the citizens of the country gain access to critical infrastructure needs around electricity, transportation, and healthcare.

GE also stands committed to socio-economic development through skill building, women empowerment and education. We have supported various skilling initiatives aligned to the Government’s Skill India initiative. As part of GE’s partnership with National Skill Development Foundation (NSDF) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a program has been developed to provide vocational skills in multiple skill categories. In an effort towards impacting communities, over 850 women around our factory sites have been provided skills for self-employment. In healthcare, over 7000 people were trained in partnerships with Tata Trusts, Max Healthcare, Narayana Health, Columbia Asia and more are undergoing training. We will continue to build on these partnerships.”

GE is uniquely positioned to meet the country’s needs and drive the next level of growth.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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