Digital transformation will lead to a cleaner future
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Digital transformation will lead to a cleaner future

Digital transformation will lead to a cleaner future

While sustainability is the future, digital transformation is a key enabler supporting industries make the transition


For countries like Saudi Arabia and its fellow GCC members, addressing climate change has become an integral part of their economic development and diversification strategies.

This approach to growth, which centres on sustainability, draws on many approaches, most notably digital transformation. By deploying digital tools such as big data, analytics, the cloud, and artificial intelligence (AI), organisations can accomplish more while consuming less.

When implemented broadly across economies, these optimisations can enable the sustainable growth that the region and the world need. This is crucial, given that our urgent need to address climate change is happening in a context where demand for almost everything, from electricity consumption to healthcare services to aviation, is rising.

At GE, digital transformation is helping us meet our commitments to become carbon neutral in our own operations by 2030 (Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions) and our ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 – including not just GE’s operations, but also the Scope 3 emissions from the use of our products In the areas of energy, healthcare and aviation – three sectors that are seeing rising demand, as well as the need to find more sustainable ways to operate – digital solutions are helping us and our customers operate sustainably.

In the energy sector, software solutions help grid operators manage electrical systems more efficiently and reliably, even as utilities add large amounts of variable renewable energy and work to control emissions and costs.

For power plants, asset performance management (APM) software is giving operators the tools to monitor equipment and system health and to predict asset failure. This software takes data from local assets, assesses it using algorithms trained on data from millions of operating hours of similar equipment, and helps utility companies reduce unscheduled downtime and maintenance duration. Insights from this software also can lead to increased plant efficiency, improved performance, and reliability for power generation technologies as diverse as gas, wind, solar and hydro.

Digital transformation in healthcare is playing a crucial role in addressing the need for patient care delivered faster, better and more efficiently, particularly given the reality that too many regions face a shortage of skilled clinicians.

By combining data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual and digital technologies, clinicians spend less time on bureaucratic tasks like patient data capture and more time with patients. Emergency departments can diagnose and triage faster by using AI to assist clinicians in assessing medical images. AI also makes it possible to reduce the radiation dose needed for medical imaging scans and to shorten scan durations, allowing more patients to be assessed.

Precision medicine is another important aspect of digital healthcare. By leveraging insights derived from big data analysis of millions of anonymised patient medical records and then assessing each specific patient’s genetic makeup, health history, family medical history and lifestyle
choices, clinicians can deliver precisely the right care at the right time to each patient.

In aviation, digital transformation is helping airlines carry more passengers and cargo, while managing emissions and driving operational efficiencies. This is possible through software that analyses data from across an airline’s fleets, and then finds ways to improve aircraft fuel consumption and design flight paths that optimise routes to take less time, use less fuel and cut carbon emissions. From the aircraft flight deck to the hospital operating theatre to the wind turbine generator, digital transformation is showing itself to be a critical tool in helping organisations embrace sustainability.

That’s good news – and a powerful tool – for governments and economies in the region that are building a future that balances the growing needs of local markets with the climate challenge facing the world.

Hisham Al Bahkali is the president of GE Saudi Arabia and Bahrain

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