Full speed ahead: Real-time adaptation at GE transportation

GE Transportation’s uses real-time adaptation to optimize its rail network.


General Electric, a leader in locomotive technology, has targeted rail transport as an industry open to the benefits of real-time adaptation. Real-time adaptation is the ability to collect, analyze and model data and then integrate that with knowledge of context to make and enact decisions that can lead to previously unimaginable results.

GE’s Transportation RailConnect 360 uses real-time technology to enable predictive modeling and decision-making that capture windows of opportunities as they emerge. For example, the network optimization system, which analyzes data on the entire rail network, helps operators decide to re-route, slow or speed trains.

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The Impact of Technology on the Future of Work: From Looking Digital to Being Digital


Over the next five years, new digital technologies promise to dramatically change work outcomes and work experiences for employees of all sorts across a wide array of industries. Companies that want to lead in the digital era must rethink the way they get work done.

Real-time adaptation is a work practice that will become much more prevalent among leading companies in the digital era. Digital technologies will help companies respond to changing business conditions in real time.

With GE’s Transportation RailConnect 360, an example of real-time adaptive technology, rail yard operators are able to maximize the overall capacity and velocity of the network.

Real-time adaptation has the potential to bring faster decision-making and greater operational flexibility to industries where a fraction of a percent improvement in productivity can add greatly to the bottom line.

With intelligent digital processes, people and organizations can now do much more than react to change – they can anticipate it, even leverage it to achieve unprecedented results while minimizing risk.


Robert J. Thomas, managing director of the Accenture Institute for High Performance, is the author of “Crucibles of Leadership” (Harvard Business Press, 2008) and “What Machines Can’t Do” (University of California Press, 1994).

Alex Kass, a senior research manager, currently leads the Digital Workforce Innovation Initiative in Accenture Technology Labs.

Ladan Davarzani is a research fellow with the Accenture Institute for High Performance.