American tech giant General Electric has announced a string of new products, acquisitions and partner programs in a bid to accelerate the lucrative industrial internet market.
The company is looking to expand the adoption of Predix, its dedicated operating system for the industrial internet. It wants to become the sector’s biggest technological solution provider.
Predix makes it easier for industrial companies to capitalise on the power of connected technology and to develop digital strategies to drive internal productivity, boding for better business results.
Earlier this year, GE opened the platform to development companies from right around the world. There are now 19,000 developers building on the platform, and GE expects this number to grow to 20,000 by the end of the year.
However, it wants to get Predix in front of even more people, including operators, business analysts and non-technical professionals. To do this, it’s announced a new suite of software and applications.
The Predix System is a software architecture that’s been designed to turn any machine into a IoT device and to improve visibility in all aspects of industrial operations. It can work on a variety of operating systems and devices, including sensors, servers and controllers.
GE is also looking to scale the development of Digital Twins, which provides visual representations of the assets powering the world’s industrial infrastructure. The firm is also looking to expand its products to the edge.
Cloud solutions play a pivotal role in the Internet of Things industry, and GE wants to reinforce its focus here. Field Agent, a component of the GE Industrial Internet Control System, proves this. It connects thousands of machines to the cloud.
A number of other solutions have also been announced. Current, GE’s own energy services company, has released a new product for digital energy management. It optimises efficiency across areas such as lighting and HVAC.
New GE solutions for big industries
GE Energy Connections has unveiled Digital Substation, a solution aimed at extending the maintenance optimisation of the company’s asset performance management software. Meanwhile, GE Healthcare is pioneering the Health Cloud to improve patient outcomes.
As well as these announcements, GE Oil & Gas has launched a new asset performance system for oil firms, and GE power has just released a software package for gas, steam and power plans. GE Renewable Energy, yet another subdivision, is rolling out a suite of apps to help support hydro customers globally.
Key acquisitions and partnerships
The company has also made several key acquisitions to expand its grip on the Industrial Internet of Things. It’s acquired Bit Stew Systems to improve its data intelligence capabilities, as well as Wise.io – a leading machine learning firm.
GE has formed a plethora of new partnerships, too. To develop Predix, it’s teamed up with Box, Decisyon App Composer, Entercoms, Ericsson, Mobideo, Nurego, OAG Analytics, Pitney Bowes and Splunk.
Its alliance program is constantly growing, and it now has over 270 companies involved globally. These include major enterprise companies such as AT&T, EY, Intel, Microsoft and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Bill Ruh, chief digital officer of GE and the CEO of GE Digital, said: “The Industrial Internet is profoundly transforming how we operate and our ability to deliver greater productivity for GE and for our customers. Connected machines, coupled with deep machine learning, are more powerful than anything we have seen
“These strategic investments in both the Predix platform and our partners continue to attract industrial companies and provide them with tools they need to embark on their own digital industrial transformations.”
IIoT is growing in momentum
Ciaran Dynes, vice president of products and marketing of Talend, believes that while IoT is gathering a lot of momentum generally it’s making major waves in the big industry arena.
“There’s been a lot of buzz around the Internet of Things, or IoT. However, recently a subcategory, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), has been getting attention,” he said.
“The IIoT is basically the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in manufacturing. It brings together key technologies like machine learning, big data, sensors and machine-to-machine (M2M) computing in an orchestrated fashion within manufacturing operations.
“There are many benefits that the IIoT promises to deliver, like shorter production cycles, more timely responses to supplier orders, the ability to predict consumer shifts and optimise supply chains to meet new demands, and the ability to quickly retool for design changes.”
Dave Sutton, product marketing manager at Schneider Electric, said: “The IIoT provides significant transformation potential for industrial organisations, offering a means to increase the value they derive from modern IIoT open standards based automation technologies.”