The advanced industrial predictive and analytics capabilities of General Electric’s Predix IIoT platform will come to Apple’s iOS tomorrow, with the release of the Predix software development kit [SDK].
The new SDK is designed to equip developers with the tools required to build powerful, native apps that combine the advantages of an established industrial internet of things [IIoT] platform with the simplicity and familiarity of Apple’s handheld devices.
GE Digital, the 125-year old company’s digital transformation arm, has been making moves to cement its place at the centre of the IIoT by expanding Predix to the edge. Its advances in edge computing allow enterprises to run predictive analytics as close as possible to data sources, such as pumps, temperature and pressure sensors, and turbines, opening the door to efficiency and cost savings.
The platform is aimed mainly at aviation, healthcare, transportation and oil and gas companies, to help them monitor the equipment that GE provides. With Predix growing in capability, this latest announcement makes the solution more accessible to end-users and the developers looking to use it in new ways.
For example, a Predix app might alert a user on their iPhone of an issue with a wind turbine and enable them to collaborate with colleagues elsewhere to inspect and repair it, serving up relevant data to everyone involved instantly.
IIoT territory gains
“GE is an ideal partner with a rich history of innovation across the industrial world in areas like aviation, manufacturing, healthcare and energy,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “Together, Apple and GE are fundamentally changing how the industrial world works by combining GE’s Predix platform with the power and simplicity of iPhone and iPad.”
Following partnerships with business heavyweights including Accenture, IBM and SAP, this is another blow to Microsoft’s historical claim to the end-user device sector. As analyst Raghu Gopal of CCS Insight explains in a blog post, “By standardising on Apple products for its employees, GE is likely to shift most of them away from Windows-based products, making this a noticeable loss for both Microsoft as well as PC makers.”
“Although such changes tend to happen over several years, this is an important win for Apple, given GE’s reputation as a venerable and conservative company. It’s another example of Apple finding a place in Microsoft’s heartland.”
With the myriad of data generated by IIoT, the challenge has become how best to distil data and metrics into critical information and make it easily accessible and actionable – and iOS is well placed to meet this need.
New insights on iOS devices
The new Predix SDK will be available to download from 26th October. It represents a clear stride by Apple into the industrial space, with Mac products and IOS devices becoming the default for GE’s 330,000 employees.
While clearly a boost to the aims of both companies, some doubts remain over to what extent Apple can convince industrial decision makers.
“Apple says its sales team will pitch GE’s Predix platform to its customers and developers in the industrial space, as it encourages other major companies to adopt and deploy Apple devices to their workforces,” says Gopal of CCS Insight. “However, we’re sceptical that an operations team in an industrial customer would choose this IoT platform based on a recommendation from an Apple salesperson.”
Regardless, the move is likely to help GE’s need to modernize its image, adding design and UX appeal to a company that found form in the early days of electric power generation and lighting.
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