General Electric today unveiled a new cloud-based Big Data management platform to support analytic applications associated with the Industrial Internet. The industrial equipment maker also released a series of what it calls Predictivity analytic applications that will be delivered to GE customers via the new platform.
The platform is designed to accommodate the data management requirements faced by companies in sectors such as healthcare, energy, and transportation. As Wikibon detailed in recent research notes, the Industrial Internet holds significantly more potential value on a size-adjusted basis relative than other Big Data application areas, but with this potential comes stringent platform requirements related to scalability, security, availability, flexibility and analytics.
GE's new analytic applications aim to enable its customers to reduce industrial equipment downtime by predicting the likelihood of part failure in advance to facilitate preventative maintenance. Operators can also better understand the impact of varying performance levels on the lifespan of industrial equipment. The harder a machine is pushed, the more maintenance it may need and the shorter its lifespan. GE's Predictivity applications should help machine operators better understand and balance these trade-offs.
The platform and accompanying analytic applications are the initial results of co-development between GE and Pivotal, the recently created company comprised of former assets from EMC and VMware. GE is a 10% owner of Pivotal, having invested $105 million in the new company in April. In addition to its ownership stake, GE executives said at the time that it would work with Pivotal to develop an industrial-grade data management platform, analytic applications, and associated services.
The platform itself is not currently available to outside parties. Rather, the new Predictivity applications will be delivered to customers by GE as a service on top of the platform. It is based on a scale-out storage and analytics architecture and includes Proficy Historian HD, a new time-series Hadoop-based database that will provide “machine-to-operations” connectivity, according to GE.
GE said the platform itself is cloud agnostic – meaning it can theoretically run in both private cloud deployments and public cloud environments such as Amazon Web Services -- and will probably be opened up to customers, ISVs, and third-party cloud service providers in the future.
Action Item: GE is well positioned to deliver the industrial-grade Big Data management platform needed to truly leverage the emerging Industrial Internet. The company is the largest manufacturer of industrial equipment in the world, has significant domain expertise and, with its investment in and research partnership with Pivotal, is building out the required technical and analytics capabilities needed to deliver on its promise. It is not alone in this market, however. IBM has a five-year head start, having launched its version of an Industrial Internet line of business with its Smarter Planet initiative in 2008. Indeed, Big Blue is currently the largest Big Data vendor by revenue, due in large part to its success with government and industrial customers. Expect the two companies – GE and IBM – to battle it out to lead the Industrial Internet market in the years ahead.