Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, June 8, 2023

GE Takes on Amazon in IoT with Predix Cloud 

As part of its effort to provide customers with complete Internet of Things solutions, GE enhanced its Predix IoT platform to include infrastructure-as-a-service.

The new Predix Cloud will leverage GE's expertise in IT and operational technology, and allow organizations to use machine data faster and more efficiently, according to GE. The cloud will provide asset connectivity, machine data support, and industrial-grade security and compliance, the developer said. In the fourth quarter of this year, GE businesses are slated to migrate their software and analytics from Amazon to the Predix Cloud; the service will become commercially available next year.

“By combining GE’s deep domain expertise in information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), GE’s Predix Cloud delivers advanced capabilities like asset connectivity, machine data management, and industrial-grade security and compliance,” said Rich Carpenter, chief technology strategist for GE’s Intelligent Platforms Software business, told EnterpriseTech.

GE built Predix Cloud from the ground up using Predix to support IoT, using Pivotal Cloud Foundry for application development, deployment, and operations. Customers can opt to run Predix Cloud on other cloud fabrics if they choose, GE said. Currently, Amazon leads the IaaS market; competitors include Google, Microsoft, and IBM, but GE believes its record with industrial and manufacturing customers, plus its track record in the fast growing IoT space, gives it an edge.

"A cloud built exclusively to capture and analyze machine data will make unforeseen problems and missed opportunities increasingly a complication of the past," said Harel Kodesh, vice president and general manager of Predix at GE Software, in a statement. "GE’s Predix Cloud will unlock an industrial app economy that delivers more value to machines, fleets and factories - and enable a thriving developer community to collaborate and rapidly deploy industrial applications in a highly protected environment."

Today's IoT customers want more than piecemeal technologies like sensors, RFIDs, or wearables, Mark Bernardo, general manager, Automation Software at GE Intelligent Platforms Software, told EnterpriseTech last month. Rather, they're seeking solutions that address business problems or opportunities, he said. These solutions, Bernardo said, incorporate IoT technologies and analytics.

"It used to be customers would come to us just looking for a technology. They'd put it out to bid and it needed to have these features," said Bernardo. "Now they're coming to us with very different asks: 'If I can squeeze 1 percent of additional production out of my fleet and my competitors can't, that drives massive upside for us, not just in terms of cost, but revenue generation and overall efficiency.' For some customers, it helps in safety concerns; they don't have to send people out to sites for safety checks. If we start with the outcome and really understand what the customer's looking for, it frees us up for the solution design."

Devices connected to the Internet could generate up to 403 zetabytes of data by 2018 versus 113.4 ZB in 2013, according to the Cisco Global Cloud Index. By 2018, 78 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud datacenters, the report projects. And several analysts predict a flurry of specialized clouds – for IoT, analytics, and other services – are in the near future. Given the processing power, security requirements, and storage needs both IoT and analytics require, a specialized cloud made sense to beta site Pitney Bowes, which ran its application performance management (APM) apps in the Predix Cloud.

With our APM apps running on Predix Cloud, we're able to extract and analyze data from our assets faster than ever, and use that insight to drive real business outcomes for Pitney Bowes and its clients, including lower operational costs, greater productivity and output, and higher service levels," Roger Pilc, chief innovation officer at Pitney Bowes, said in a statement.

About the author: Alison Diana

Managing editor of Enterprise Technology. I've been covering tech and business for many years, for publications such as InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Florida Today. A native Brit and longtime Yankees fan, I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats on the Space Coast in Florida.