The Internet of Things can best be thought of as an ecosystem of interrelated parts. There are smart devices on the edge packed with connectivity, memory, processing power, and sensing ability. Networks connect the devices with each other and with controllers, servers, PCs, and mobile devices. Databases store the data in such a way as to enhance retrieval.
Speaking of databases, these days they can reside in all sorts of places. The “cloud” is a perfect place. Actually cloud is a misnomer. It just means there’s a server somewhere. All you really care is that the server is secure, accessible, and backed up.
Amazon showed us with AWS a business model for selling cloud services. Google, Microsoft, and others also have developed businesses around cloud services. It was only a matter of time for a specific cloud service for industrial applications.
Enter GE Predix Cloud
GE has announced plans to enter the cloud services market with Predix Cloud. The world’s first and only cloud solution designed specifically for industrial data and analytics, this platform-as-a-service (PaaS) will capture and analyze the unique volume, velocity and variety of machine data within a highly secure, industrial-strength cloud environment.
Predix Cloud will drive the next phase of growth for the Industrial Internet and enable developers to rapidly create, deploy and manage applications and services for industry. With $4B in software revenues in 2014 and projected software revenues of $6B in 2015, GE continues to grow its investment in software.
“Cloud computing has enabled incredible innovation across the consumer world. With Predix Cloud, GE is providing a new level of service and results across the industrial world,” said Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE. “A more digital hospital means better, faster healthcare. A more digital manufacturing plant means more products are made faster. A more digital oil company means better asset management and more productivity at every well. We look forward to partnering with our customers to develop customized solutions that will help transform their business.”
Predix Cloud will enable operators to use machine data faster and more efficiently, saving billions of dollars annually. By combining GE’s deep domain expertise in information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), GE’s Predix Cloud will deliver advanced tools like asset connectivity, machine data support and industrial-grade security and compliance.
“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, General Manager of Predix at GE Software. “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.”
“Like GE, Pitney Bowes is in the midst of its own physical and digital transformation,” added Roger Pilc, Chief Innovation Officer, Pitney Bowes. “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. GE knows industrial machines and related data analytics better than anyone, and we look forward to continuing to partner with them on more Industrial Internet solutions.”
The Industrial Internet is generating data twice as quickly as any other sector. With investment in infrastructure expected to top $60 trillion over the next 15 years, the number of devices connected to the Internet will continue to swell, generating an unprecedented collection of data and analytics. Built for Predix, the cloud platform for the Industrial Internet, Predix Cloud is designed to provide a highly secure infrastructure for this next phase of growth, which will generate a new level of insight, asset performance management (APM) capabilities and innovation in the developer community.
The success of the Industrial Internet depends on a collaborative ecosystem of partners. GE’s Predix Cloud is purpose-built from the ground up, but it will also run on other cloud fabrics if required by a customer. Predix Cloud uses Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry to help with application development, deployment and operations.
GE businesses will begin migrating their software and analytics to the Predix Cloud in Q4 2015, and the service will be commercially available to customers and other industrial businesses for managing data and applications on Predix Cloud in 2016.
- Asset Connectivity: Analysts estimate that more than 50 billion assets will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Predix Cloud provides advanced connectivity-as-a-service for these industrial assets, combining proprietary technologies with global telecommunications partners to enable rapid provisioning of sensors, gateways and software-defined machines.
- Scalability for Machine Data: Machines produce different types of data, which consumer cloud services are not built to handle. Predix Cloud was purpose-built to store, analyze, and manage machine data in real time. From capturing and analyzing time series data from a locomotive with thousands of sensors to delivering large object data like a 3D MRI image to a doctor for diagnosis, Predix Cloud is built for the variety, volume, and velocity of industrial data.
- Security + Compliance: Incorporating decades of experience in operational security and information security, Predix Cloud is designed with the most advanced security protocols available, including customized, adaptive security solutions for industrial operators and developers.
- Governance: Leveraging GE’s global network and deep expertise across more than 60 regulatory areas, Predix Cloud is designed to streamline governance and drive down compliance costs for each individual user, while respecting national data sovereignty regulations globally. This enables GE, partners, and developers to more easily build and deploy services for highly regulated industries such as aviation, energy, healthcare and transportation.
- Interoperability: Predix Cloud will operate seamlessly with applications and services running in a broad spectrum of cloud environments. As such, businesses will be able to take advantage of its optimized security and data structure offerings while maintaining and interoperating within existing solutions.
- Gated Community: Unlike public cloud services, which are open to any individual or organization, Predix Cloud is based on a “gated community” model to ensure that tenants of the cloud belong to the industrial ecosystem.
- Developer Insight: Developers will have visibility into their operating environments and every actor connected to it. In doing so, businesses will be able to deploy and monitor machine apps anywhere, continuously adjusting to new demands in the physical and digital world while providing the security and visibility required for operational effectiveness.
- On-Demand Availability: Businesses will be able to easily access and scale with the Predix Cloud, which will be offered through a convenient on-demand, pay-as-you-go pricing model.