Over 3,700 persons from 59 countries attended GE Minds + Machines in San Francisco, CA October 25-26, 2017 to learn about the latest new products, industry applications, partnerships and case studies deployed with its Predix operating system for IIoT. The new partner program that got the most reaction was arguably the agreement between Apple and GE. Attendees also heard directly from many of GE’s senior executives, including GE’s new Chairman/CEO John Flannery emphasizing that GE is All In for Digital, and GE’s Chief Digital Officer and GE Digital CEO Bill Ruh backing it up with figures including over 100 percent year to year growth of Predix powered orders, putting Predix and software on track for over $5 Billion in orders for 2017. Other stats presented regarding Predix included its ecosystem of 200+ industrial apps, 33,000+ developers, 960+ partners, and over 300,000 assets under management. Other notable speakers included Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who as part of a panel discussion with John Flannery summed up the evolution of Microsoft from a company that “knows it all”, to a company that “learns it all”.
Some of its latest technologies that GE unveiled at Minds + Machines included expansions to its suite of edge-to-cloud solutions and industrial applications, including new Predix Edge technologies; the Predix platform running on the Microsoft Azure cloud for enterprises; new Operations Performance Management (OPM) software to help bridge productivity from assets to operations; enhanced Field Service Management solutions; advanced App and Digital Twin solutions, and new platform tools to help simplify industrial app development.
New Predix Edge technologies
GE Digital expanded its Predix Edge capabilities to help run analytics as close to the source of data as possible. Predix Edge is designed to provide users with limited connectivity, latency limitations, regulatory or other constraints a way to deploy applications closer to the originating data or at the edge. These capabilities include a Predix Edge Manager to support large numbers of edge devices, up to 200,000 connected devices from a single console. Also included is Predix Machine, which enables microservice-based applications to run at the edge either on virtualized data center infrastructure or on server-class hardware. This also supports Predix Edge Manager, which was previously available only as a cloud service. Finally, Predix complex event processing (CEP) allows for faster and more efficient analytics and other event processing at extreme low latency, available at the edge in the first quarter 2018.
Predix Platform on Microsoft Azure
GE Digital and Microsoft are bringing together the industrial platform services of Predix with the enterprise services of Microsoft Azure. Available in North America starting in the forth quarter 2017 and expanding globally in 2018, this partnership extends the accessibility of Predix to Microsoft’s global cloud footprint, including data sovereignty, hybrid capabilities and developer and data services, enabling users to capture intelligence from their industrial assets. The partnership helps businesses to better connect by converging IT and OT systems and data together in a shared environment.
New Operations Performance Management (OPM) solution
Alongside its APM software, GE Digital introduced a complementary application to help improve the operational performance of assets, such as pumps, valves and heat exchangers. This new Operations Performance Management (OPM) solution uses real-time and historical data, along with advanced analytics, to provide, for example, an early warning if industrial processes deviate from plan, providing the information and time to troubleshoot operational issues and to take preventative actions. The OPM software initially targets the mining industry and will expand to additional industries early next year. Deployed OPM solutions has already helped a platinum operator increase overall throughput by 10 percent and increased recovery by 1.5 percent; a large mining company achieved a 5.5 percent increase in throughput while consuming 2 percent less power; and a gold producer realized a 1.5 percent increase in recovery.
Enhanced Field Service Management Solutions
ServiceMax, GE Digital’s field service management (FSM) solution announced enhancements to its FSM suite, bringing more advanced analytics to service operations. Artificial intelligence-enabled predictive service times now integrate the Apache Spark AI engine to help improve service time estimates. Additionally, a new application integration solution enables service providers to launch and share FSM data with third-party mobile applications installed on the same device. New capabilities in schedule optimization allow for dependent job scheduling between work orders for multiple visits aimed at helping to improve first-time fix rates.
Advanced Apps and Digital Twin Solutions
GE Digital introduced Predix Studio to help users build and scale their own industrial applications and extend their APM suites. Available in the first quarter of 2018, Predix Studio helps to simplify the development process by giving users with little or no coding experience the ability to build apps. Using a mix of AI and machine learning, Predix Studio helps to automate the process of creating IIoT apps, which can open app development to individuals without coding experience.
GE Digital also released the Digital Twin Analytics Workbench, a solution that applies a library of algorithms and templates to help make it faster and easier for companies to build their own digital twins on Predix. GE’s experience in managing industrial assets has generated hundreds of millions of hours of machine data and a deep understanding of how machines perform in various conditions. Modeling that physical data into digital twin models allows GE to deliver applications that help better predict and improve the performance of physical machines. The Analytics Workbench can be used to help augment existing digital twins with new data streams. For example, power producers using drones to inspect wind turbine blades, pipelines or fuel reserves can integrate visual inspection data into the digital twins they already use to manage generation assets and grid infrastructure. The Analytics Workbench also helps users implement machine learning capabilities that allow those models to further improve themselves over time.
Apple and GE Partner to Bring Predix Industrial Apps to iPhone and iPad
Apple and GE announced a partnership to deliver industrial apps designed to bring predictive data and analytics from Predix to the iPhone and iPad. The two companies unveiled a new Predix software development kit (SDK) for iOS, which provides developers with tools to create their own IIoT apps. The new Predix SDK for iOS is available to download, and gives developers the ability to create native apps that leverage the industrial analytics from Predix and utilize iOS as a mobile operating system. These apps will help to provide industrial operators with more insight and visibility into the performance of their equipment and operations directly from their iPhone or iPad. GE will also standardize on iPhone and iPad for mobile devices and also promote Mac as a choice for its global workforce of more than 330,000 employees. Apple will promote GE’s Predix as the IIoT analytics platform of choice to its customers and developers.
At past years Minds + Machines, much of what was presented was GE’s vision of Predix and its own digital transformation, and predictions of its implementation and results that customers would derive from their respective digital transformation. What was evident from this year’s Minds + Machines was witnessing these predictions become reality, with customers from manufacturing, power and energy, utilities, aviation, and transportation, such as New York Power Authority, Qantas, Port of LA, Hubco, Gerdau, BP, Hess, Becton Dickinson and Exelon presenting the business value of digital transformation. This success is also due to the growing ecosystem of developers and partners, such as Microsoft, Apple, HPE, Deloitte, and Accenture, as it certainly takes a village to make digital transformation a reality. ARC envisions more digital transformation predictions coming true in accelerated numbers each day as the journey continues, and companies that do not embrace digital transformation will lose their competitive edge and put themselves at risk for extinction. All of this bodes well for GE and ARC “Predix” that its future is bright.