GE Brings Industrial Tech to Microsoft's Azure Cloud Platform
Microsoft and General Electric (GE) have announced a new partnership to bring the latter’s Predix platform to Microsoft's Azure enterprise cloud service. The agreement combines GE’s software tools for collecting data from industrial machines with Microsoft's computing platform for building, deploying, and managing applications and services in the cloud.
The move is only the first step in what is planned to be a broad strategic collaboration to eventually allow customers around the world to capture intelligence from industrial assets while taking advantage of Microsoft's enterprise cloud applications, the companies said. The announcement was made today at Microsoft's 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.
Higher Level Services
"Connecting industrial machines to the Internet through the cloud is a huge step toward simplifying business processes and reimagining how work gets done," Jeff Immelt (pictured right), CEO of GE said in a statement. "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."
Predix is a cloud-based software-as-a-service platform designed to enable industrial businesses to perform large-scale analytics on industrial machinery to manage asset performance and optimize operations. Azure, meanwhile, offers both infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service capabilities to enterprise clients.
Combining the services will give existing Predix clients access to Azure’s enterprise tools such as natural language technology, artificial intelligence, advanced data visualization and enterprise application integration.
"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," according to the statement. "GE's Predix platform is already helping industrial customers rapidly build, securely deploy and effectively operate industrial applications."
Access to Industrial IoT
The addition of Predix to its Azure platform will let Microsoft get its hands on a potentially crucial tool for the industrial IoT ecosystem. "Every industry and every company around the world is being transformed by digital technology," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (pictured left) in the statement. "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."
In addition, the companies plan to integrate Predix with Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite as well as Microsoft business applications, such as Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Power BI, to connect industrial data with business processes and analytics. The combination of both platforms will offer clients data sovereignty, hybrid capabilities, and advanced developer and data services, the companies said.
A developer preview of the new strategic partnership will be released toward the end of this year, and Predix on Azure will be commercially available by the second quarter of 2017.
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