General Electric may be a household name, but it isn’t considered a tech titan – at least not yet. However, the company is hoping its Predix IoT platform will transform it into an industrial Internet of Things (IoT) leader.
The company’s Predix IoT platform-as-a-service (PaaS) product, which originally was created as a foundation for GE’s own IoT applications, is being marketed to other companies. GE Digital launched Predix at Mobile World Congress 2016 in February and so far has attracted more than 11,000 developers. “We are open for business,” says Abhi Kunte, global head of technology and strategy alliances for GE Digital. “It’s an open platform for developers.”
The company expects the Predix IoT platform to generate around $15 billion in revenue by 2020.
Kunte says the Predix team is part of GE Digital, which operates as a separate business. Even though some of GE’s businesses may compete with potential Predix customers, Kunte says the platform is agnostic, and customers can build data and applications to customize it for their own business.
So far developers for GE’s platform have created about 50 applications. Kunte says that one of the reasons developers are flocking to GE’s platform is that the company has been able to show cost savings and increased productivity from applications using the Predix platform.
“Each of these applications can demonstrate 15 percent to 20 percent improvement in performance and reduction in costs,” Kunte says. In the industrial sector, even showing 1 percent to 2 percent change is significant, he adds.
Open Platform is Key
GE is committed to being an open platform. That’s one of the reasons GE, along with ARRIS, CableLabs, Cisco, Electrolux, GE Digital, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Samsung, formed the Open Connectivity Foundation. The OCF’s goal is to unify IoT standards so that companies and developers can create IoT solutions and devices that work seamlessly together. Ultimately, the OCF wants to create IoT specs and protocols and open source projects for IoT.
But the OCF is just one of many IoT-related industry groups working on protocols and platforms. GE is also a founding member of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) along with AT&T, Cisco, IBM, and Intel. The goal of this group is to create test-beds for applications and deliver reference architectures, case studies, and standards.
Earlier this month, GE Digital teamed with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to make HPE one of the storage and server providers for Predix. GE will also use HPE for its virtual infrastructure. The goal of the partnership is to deliver real-time analytics from the edge to the cloud.
The two companies believe that by joining forces, they will be able to attract more clients in the aerospace, oil and gas, manufacturing, automotive, and energy industries. “HPE is a great channel for us,” Kunte says. “They have customer relationships in the IT side; expertise that we can pair with the industrial side.”