The FINANCIAL — GE and Microsoft Corp. on July 11 announced a partnership that will make GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet available on the Microsoft Azure cloud for industrial businesses.
The move marks the first step in a broad strategic collaboration between the two companies, which will allow customers around the world to capture intelligence from their industrial assets and take advantage of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud applications.
According to Gartner, 6.4 billion connected things are expected to be in use worldwide this year, and that number is predicted to climb to more than 20 billion by 2020,1 presenting a significant opportunity for companies to drive their own digital transformation. As businesses look to connect their industrial machines from the edge to the cloud, bringing Predix to Azure gives customers greater choice and flexibility to securely harness the power of data from machines and systems of intelligence. Companies worldwide will be able to bridge the divide between the operational and information technologies that make up the Industrial Internet of Things.
“Connecting industrial machines to the internet through the cloud is a huge step toward simplifying business processes and reimagining how work gets done,” said Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE. “GE is helping its customers extract value from the vast quantities of data coming out of those machines and is building an ecosystem of industry-leading partners like Microsoft that will allow the Industrial Internet to thrive on a global scale.”
As the shift to a more industrialized information age continues, the opportunity to deliver new digital solutions, insights and increased efficiencies is accelerating the need for higher level services. GE’s Predix platform is already helping industrial customers rapidly build, securely deploy and effectively operate industrial applications. Bringing Predix to Azure means those same customers will now have access to additional capabilities such as natural language technology, artificial intelligence, advanced data visualization and enterprise application integration, according to Microsoft.
Azure will support the growth of the entire industrial IoT ecosystem by offering Predix customers access to the largest cloud footprint available today, along with data sovereignty, hybrid capabilities, and advanced developer and data services. In addition, GE and Microsoft plan to integrate Predix with Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite along with Microsoft business applications, such as Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Power BI, in order to connect industrial data with business processes and analytics.
“Every industry and every company around the world is being transformed by digital technology,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Working with companies like GE, we can reach a new set of customers to help them accelerate their transformation across every line of business — from the factory floor to smart buildings.”
A developer preview will be released toward the end of 2016, and Predix on Azure will be commercially available by the second quarter of 2017.