GE’s Predix wants to help the industrial IoT shine

GE’s CEO famously opined that the former industrial giant is now a software company. The latest Predix announcements justify that statement.

GE’s Predix wants to help the industrial IoT shine
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GE has always had technology as a core part of its offering. After all, you don’t build wind turbines, jet engines and gas plants without leveraging technology. But in recent years, the company has moved from being an industrial company that uses technology to an outright vendor of technology solutions.

A core part of this approach is by powering what GE calls the Industrial IoT, that is all the connected devices that are used in industrial settings of every kind. Predix is GE’s platform for the industrial IoT, and it promises to connect machines, data and people to drive results. Predix offers a single platform based in the cloud that can reconcile all the disparate data feeds and information streams pouring out of the industrial IoT.

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GE is enhancing the Predix offering today with new Digital Utility solutions that are designed to connect energy traders with real-time plant productivity and capacity data. GE’s Digital Utility solutions are designed to help electricity businesses navigate rapidly changing markets.

This is an interesting angle because traditionally the generating assets of an energy organization have been disconnected from the actual commercial transactions relating to that energy. The idea of this offering is to connect the supply side to the trading side to more dynamically adjust pricing to data delivered from the various IoT devices.

There are a bunch of associated product releases that all build upon the core value GE is trying to leverage for industrial utilities. Specific tools include the following:

  • Business Optimization for more profitable trading — GE’s new Business Optimization application enables real-time communication between trading and plant operations to inform the entire bid to bill process.
  • Updates to GE’s Operations Optimization application — GE’s Operations Optimization offers real-time visibility into plant and fleet-wide performance. Updates announced today will help utilities understand where to invest time and resources to improve these measures. New capabilities include the ability to measure delivery against performance targets, recommendations on how to better meet targets, and closed feedback technology that will help utilities make changes and improve performance.
  • Asset Performance Management (APM) across the Electricity Value Network (EVN) —  GE is introducing a single dashboard view of asset health across the entire EVN, including renewables, traditional power and grid.
  • Digital Worker Capabilities — As part of the APM dashboard, work orders will connect with field service technicians to dispatch and provide information for operations and maintenance.
  • GE Baseline Security Center (BSC) for Power & Utilities — More than 60 percent of power leaders believe their security strategy is not aligned with today’s risk environment. Many utilities struggle simply to maintain current versions of software or to run the latest security “patches” from vendors. With its new Baseline Security Center, GE will offer a set of tools, configurations and services focused on reducing cyber security risk across the EVN.
  • Digital Services for Power and Utilities — GE today introduced three new types of services to help power producers and utilities develop digital strategies. Digital Transformation Services include Digital Visioning workshops, a Digital Effectiveness Assessment, Business Value Engineering and Digital Transformation Mapping.

My POV

GE has a pretty unique set of traits—immense scale, a long-term history in the industrial space and a culture that sees innovation as providing security in turbulent times. Put this all together, and you have an organization that is well-placed to leverage software to innovate.

While it could be argued that nothing has changed and that GE has been offering IoT solutions for years, albeit not called that, the investments the company is making in Predix, and the efforts it is going to in order to position itself in this new hyper-connected industrial world, will stand it in good stead.

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