News Release

GE Industrial Systems and Cisco Systems Launch New Business

GE Cisco Industrial Networks Provides Solutions for Factory-to-Office Communication
Jun 06, 2000

NEW YORK, June 6, 2000, - GE Industrial Systems, a global leader in factory control and automation and Cisco Systems, the world leader in networking for the Internet, today announced that they have formed a new company, GE Cisco Industrial Networks. GE Cisco Industrial Networks will assess, design and build network infrastructures for manufacturing plant floor and industrial environments that will enable enterprise-wide communication - an essential component of real-time decision making, e-business and higher productivity.

"A synchronized organization with enterprise-wide connectivity can utilize the power and speed of e-business and e-commerce to create competitive advantage," said Lloyd G. Trotter, president and CEO, GE Industrial Systems. "While companies have connected their office systems, partners and customers, the factory floor - the heart of manufacturing - is disconnected from the rest of the enterprise. With a team of uniquely qualified engineers, GE Cisco Industrial Networks will provide the integral network infrastructure for true company-wide communication by combining GE's tremendous strengths in factory control and automation and Cisco Systems expertise in the Internet, bringing these two disciplines together."

Charles Giancarlo, senior vice president of Cisco Systems added, "Allowing better communication and faster decision-making, a factory-to-enterprise network also permits companies to exploit the full potential of the Internet. Critical factory floor data that was once limited to weekly or monthly reports becomes an integral part of shared, real-time decision making via Internet technology."

The new company combines the expertise of both GE and Cisco to provide unprecedented industrial networking knowledge and services. With nearly 100 years in industrial control technology and application, GE brings automation and manufacturing experience to the Cisco network infrastructure, enabling office-to-factory communication.

Trotter explained, "With a company-wide network infrastructure, businesses can achieve the transparency needed for a boundaryless culture - a model that GE fosters to infuse energy, enthusiasm and Six Sigma quality. Data and knowledge can flow freely and accelerate the pace of an organization to new levels. Quarters and months are no longer acceptable; we're measuring time in days and weeks. Global connectivity - from a factory to the business to partners to customers - is the foundation for the speed of 'e.'"

Additionally, Giancarlo said "GE Cisco Industrial Networks will enable more companies to implement the Global Networked Business model that has been so successful for Cisco and its customers. This model, which Cisco both promotes and practices, utilizes the network for competitive advantage by opening up the corporate information infrastructure to all key constituencies. "

The e-Factory Infrastructure

GE Cisco Industrial Networks will use the Ethernet open standard network infrastructure to bridge the information gap between the factory floor and the rest of the enterprise. Traditionally, Ethernet has been used to network offices, while plant floor information has been exchanged over proprietary networks. Although fast and reliable when used for plant floor communication, proprietary networks often cannot communicate with office networks. The many benefits that Ethernet has brought to office networks - including low installation and maintenance costs as well as seamless integration with the Internet - will now be available to the factory without compromising manufacturing productivity.

"The benefits of communicating real-time plant floor data over Ethernet and uniting it with the office over one enterprise-wide backbone are enormous," said Jeff Pompeo, president and CEO of GE Cisco Industrial Networks. "Users have rapid access to data and can better exploit applications such as ERP (enterprise resource planning), remote monitoring and VMI (vendor managed inventory) via a standard Internet browser, an easy-to-use tool that is familiar to nearly everyone. Additionally, machining and manufacturing cells - each with multiple control devices - can be connected via one open infrastructure rather than several islands of proprietary networks - which allows factory floor communication and improves resource management.

"Installing, maintaining, and managing one type of network throughout the enterprise is also substantially less expensive than supporting several different networks," Pompeo added. "As a result, ROI is realized more quickly. The enterprise-wide Ethernet network helps make companies more productive by virtually eliminating network downtime, bottlenecks and crashes for guaranteed data availability."

Now available, the GE Cisco Industrial Networks suite of products and services includes:

  • Network assessments and troubleshooting
  • Network design
  • Network installation, including the leading networking hardware products from Cisco
  • Network and equipment support, including training and maintenance, and remote monitoring
  • Network integration with existing factory automation and control systems

GE Industrial Systems is a global leader in manufacturing products used to distribute, protect and control electrical power and equipment, and supplying product and service solutions for commercial, industrial, residential and utility applications. GE Industrial Systems is one of GE's major businesses. GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified services, technology and manufacturing company with a commitment to achieving customer success and worldwide leadership in each of its businesses. GE operates in more than 100 countries and employees nearly 340,000 people worldwide.