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GE and design may not seem to go together, but as it connects its industrial products, medical devices and home appliances to the internet and rethinks its business for the connected age, the company is focusing on user interfaces and data. Onstage at the Roadmap 2013 conference in San Francisco, Beth Comstock, SVP and CMO at GE explained how the company is designing processes and interfaces that optimize the skills that machines and people each bring to a job.

So a repairman might use sensor data and augmented reality to repair a complicated piece of machinery, or a hospital might use robots to track equipment and move it around, freeing nurses up to do more patient-focused jobs. As a result of this shift Comstock believes that jobs like data scientist or user interface designer will become far more important.

“You need to get the data to do the right things for the right people in a way they can understand,” Comstock said. That’s a big order that requires a lot of background analytics on the machine side and field research and a deep understanding of the process brought in by designers.

Comstock explained that these machine and human interactions require thinking about everything from figuring out what information is valuable at that moment but also considerations like fonts that differentiate from humans speaking (or typing) and machine-generated information. The net result of this is that data scientists and user experience designers will be jobs that grow in importance as companies seek to take advantage of the benefits of connected machines and people.

Check out the rest of our Roadmap 2013 coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:

Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
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