The next big idea?
This is all tied into what GE sees as the growth of the "Industrial Internet", which is a bit of a nebulous term. One way of looking at it is that as sensors etc get more powerful as a natural result of Moores law, there abilities grow and the amount of data generated from increases as well.
The idea is that the data can be captured and analysed and services built on the data, which are then fed back to the customer. In many ways this is akin to what google does with search data, although in this case the primary source is from machines.
This is already done with things like Jet Engines and GE sees the whole industrial landscape as ripe for this sort of innovation.
Whether they will succeed of not of course is uncertain, but I like big ideas, and this is definitely one of the biggest