HPE and ABB spell out plans for industrial IoT partnership
HPE and ABB spell out plans for industrial IoT partnership

HPE and ABB spell out plans for industrial IoT partnership

At HPE’s Discover conference, being held this week in Madrid, the IT giant has announced a partnership with Swiss/Swedish industrial company ABB. 

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and ABB have announced a partnership that looks to combine ABB’s operational technology (OT) expertise with HPE’s information technology (IT) know-how and apply it in industrial IoT environments.

Not a great deal of detail was given about the terms of the partnership, but a key focus is clearly ABB’s Ability platform, which brings together the company’s digital products and services for customers.

For example, the partnership will enable ABB Ability solutions to run on hybrid platforms such as HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack, which means that customers can deploy applications such as ABB Ability for Manufacturing either in their own factories and data centres or in the public cloud.

There also appears to be a focus on edge computing; the two companies are keen to point out that “running data acquisition, analytics and control processes near industrial equipment helps customers avoid the latency, security and reliability issues associated with data communication through remote IT systems.”

This would certainly seem a happy fit with HPE’s Edgeline IoT systems, which provide compute, storage and gateway connectivity for IoT devices.

Lastly, ABB and HPE also plan to deliver joint solutions for data centre management. For a start, they will integrated ABB Ability Data Center Automation, which helps managers oversee cooling, power supply and energy efficiency in data centres, with HPE OneView, which helps them keep a check on IT infrastructure held in these facilities.

Read more: ABB: IoT moves from business case to business benefits

Deja vu?

With its focus on the OT/IT combination, this new alliance looks like a bit of a re-run of the partnership announced in May this year between ABB and IBM, a key HPE rival – but this new alliance will at least broaden the net for companies in industries such as manufacturing, utilities and oil and gas that are looking to get actionable insight from vast amounts of industrial data.

“This strategic partnership marks the next level of the digital industrial transformation,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “Together, we will bring intelligence from cloud-based solutions to on-premise deployments in industrial plants and data centers for greater uptime, speed and yield. ABB and HPE will deliver solutions that span the entire range of computing required by enterprises today, from the edge to the cloud to the core.”

(By way of comparison, in his official statement on the ABB/IBM tie-up, Spiesshofer commented: “This powerful combination marks the next level of industrial technology.”)

Meanwhile, outgoing HPE CEO Meg Whitman, who last week announced she will be leaving the company in early 2018, promised that, “Together with ABB, we will shape a digital industrial future where everything computes, equipping machines with intelligence to collaborate, allowing plants to flexibly adapt to changing demands and enabling global supply chains to instantaneously react to incidents.”

Whichever way you cut it, the tie-up between ABB and HPE makes sense, even if there’s a touch of deja vu about it. As 451 Research analyst Ian Hughes told Internet of Business when the ABB/IBM partnership was announced, “Partnerships and cross-industry consortia are the order of the day for industrial IoT.”

And that’s because while OT companies such as ABB are liberating data from their machinery, IT companies such as HPE – or IBM – have the experience needed of processing, analysing and storing that data. Further, similar deals seem inevitable.

Read more: OT meets IT with ABB, IBM industrial IoT partnership