A client recently discussed the impacts of the Internet of Things on its business. I mentioned that if you look at the entire system, you have to consider both all the inputs from the huge variety of sensors and the data collection, analysis, and presentation that make sense of the whole thing.

Add that idea to GE’s emphasis corporate-wide on what it calls the “Industrial Internet,” and you can understand the basics behind this partnership agreement. I expect to see many more acquisitions, partnerships and collaborations around the IoT in the next two years. If you are a small and innovative company (think ThingWorx and Axeda, for example), this is going to be an ideal time to position yourself for a sweet buy out.

GE’s Measurement & Control business announced a minority equity investment in Meridium. The companies intend to enter into a joint development and distribution agreement that will integrate Meridium’s asset performance management (APM) software and GE’s Bently Nevada System 1 Asset Condition Monitoring (ACM) technology.

From the press release:

GE’s System 1 ACM technology is part of the Bently Nevada product line that produces machine condition sensors, data acquisition hardware and software. Meridium’s APM aggregates data from System 1 and other plant maintenance systems to provide plant engineers with a dashboard of reliability metrics. This new Industrial Internet software offering will enable condition-based maintenance with pinpoint precision, in near real-time, resulting in an estimated 10-30 percent in maintenance cost reduction. This is a critical capability for customers in the Oil and Gas, Power Generation, Hydrocarbon Processing and other asset intensive industries.

“The way we do business is being dramatically altered in the era of the Industrial Internet. We are realizing the increased productivity and efficiency gains from big data and analytics delivered in real-time. The partnership with Meridium will increase value for our customers, allowing them to quantify risk in a near real-time manner. We are unlocking the value of condition-based maintenance, which will lead to reduced maintenance costs, increased mechanical availability and less downtime for our customers,” said Art Eunson, General Manager of GE’s Bently Nevada product line.

“Working with GE across mutual clients over many years taught us that together we could produce additional significant tangible value through collaboration and interfaces,” said Bonz Hart, Meridium’s Founder and CEO. “As we looked at the strengths of each company and our rapidly expanding global markets, working closer together made sense for our clients and to better serve our markets. GE’s Bently Nevada operates in a multi-OEM and multi-system world, as does Meridium, so we’re also tightly aligned on strategy. GE’s minority investment allows Meridium to stay focused on innovation and support our global growth.”

The investment aligns closely with GE’s focus on leading the Industrial Internet by connecting intelligent machines, advanced analytics, and people at work. The combination of ACM and APM will allow customers to derive more value from big data through contextually relevant insight into asset performance and plant operations. By connecting sensors to maintenance management systems, customers also gain the ability to better manage their reliability strategy and operational risk.

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