GE and Microsoft yesterday 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 to capture intelligence from their industrial assets and take advantage of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud applications.
Power plants are increasingly digitized, utilizing so-called “big data” to exploit thousands of data points and metrics for greater efficiency and profitability. GE’s Predix platform harnesses digital assets to help industrial customers build, deploy, and operate their infrastructure. This trend toward digital operation is not unique to power generation. According to Gartner Research, 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.
The partnership between GE’s Predix and Microsoft’s Azure is positioned to afford industrial customers greater choice and flexibility in securely harnessing data from their intelligent machines, and connecting their assets from the edge to the cloud. Once Predix is operational on Azure, customers will have access to additional capabilities such as natural language technology, artificial intelligence, advanced data visualization, and enterprise application integration.
“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.”
Azure represents the largest cloud footprint available today, according to Microsoft. Predix customers operating on Azure will benefit from 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.”
Predix on Azure will be commercially available by the second quarter of 2017.