At the Hannover Messe 2016 conference today, GE Digital unfurled its first commercial application running on top of the GE Predix cloud analytics platform.
Built on top of an instance of open source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) software, Predix is at the heart of an ambitious effort to transform the largest company in the world. The first commercial Predix offering is a suite of Asset Performance Management (APM) applications that GE envisions its customers will use to monitor a broad range of industrial equipment.
In general, Derek Porter, general manager for Predix applications, says GE is investing heavily in analytics to better manage the lifecycle of industrial equipment. Rather than replacing that equipment on a pre-determined schedule, analytics applications allow GE and its customers to more proactively manage equipment by replacing parts before any given piece of industrial equipment fails. In that way, APM can extend the lifecycle of industrial equipment ranging from airplane engines to transformers, says Porter.
As part of that effort, GE Digital has also developed an Efficiency Analyzer module for its Brilliant Manufacturing Software Suite, designed to allow manufacturers to leverage their data to reduce equipment downtime and scrap maintenance costs.
Porter says the majority of organizations managing industrial equipment don’t have the time or expertise required to build analytics applications. Relying on a cloud platform developed by GE Digital eliminates the need for those IT organizations to stand up their own stack of software and infrastructure to build those applications. GE Digital claims that 7,500 developers from inside and outside of GE are building applications on Predix.
Porter says the cloud is also providing a means through which organizations are creating new workflows involving, for example, field engineers. Cloud applications make it simpler for teams of engineers to collaboratively work together, independent of the organization they are affiliated with or their location.
GE Digital is certainly at the forefront of what is expected to be a larger trend that will see leaders in specific vertical industries take the lead in developing “community clouds.” At the moment, however, most of the community cloud initiatives are fairly nascent. But as cloud computing matures, most organizations will probably find themselves relying on both community cloud and horizontal cloud services to run analytics and transaction processing applications that are optimized to meet the needs of a specific vertical industry.