GE Software plans to publish APIs that allow developers to add value to the Predix platform that the industrial giant has created to manage the broad range of equipment it builds and services as part of a platform it calls the industrial Internet.
Speaking at the Machine-2-Machine Evolution Conference held this week at part of a larger ITEXPO event, Nikhil Chauhan, director of product marketing for GE Software, says the company is not ready to release details about its planned APIs, although there are 40 to 50 internal projects involving Predix already under way within GE.
Predix is a set of IoT applications designed to merge the physical worlds of machines with analytical data to create software-defined machines that will ultimately eliminate unplanned downtime, Chauhun says. Those efforts should ultimately eliminate $150 billion in waste that currently occurs when industrial systems unexpectedly go offline. The industrial Internet itself has been valued at trillions of dollars by GE.
GE is trying to move its industrial systems support from a break/fix model to a predictive services capability where potential issues are resolved before the system fails. GE supports Cloud Foundry and is an investor in Pivotal, the arm of EMC that created the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) software that GE is incorporating within the Predix platform. As a result, the IoT application GE is building will be portable across multiple clouds, and will allow organizations to manage access to those systems based on their specific role within the organization.
Chauhun says GE doesn’t plan to charge customers for Predix. Instead, the conglomerate sees Predix as a way to reduce, for example, support costs that would ultimately enhance its profitability.
While software-defined data centers are all the rage within the enterprise, GE Software is taking the concept to a whole new level. Everything from airplane engines to nuclear processing plants will become software-defined. It will take GE years to replace the analog control systems that dominate the industrial landscape today. And even once that happens, the operators of those systems to need to revamp their workflow processes to take full advantage of the digital systems.
But as that process occurs, the opportunity for developers to create applications that extend the Predix platform—which will serve as the digital nervous system for managing those applications—becomes nothing short of immense.