The scale of the IIoT can be hard to comprehend. There are hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of connected assets and systems from across the spectrum of industries, producing billions of data points at any given time. The sheer scale and complexity is what keeps many businesses on the sidelines when it comes to investing in digital and harnessing the power of their own data.
One of the most effective ways to tackle some of that complexity is to partner with experts in other industries or domains and leverage the collective knowledge from across the ecosystem. GE Digital recognized the value of this approach very early on in our own journey and worked hard to build strong partnerships across a variety of channels, from pure play software makers and integrators, digital consulting companies, to other, like-minded industrial companies. Some of our earliest industrial channel partners were our own ‘siblings’ in the larger GE family of business. GE has a breadth like few other companies, and that diversity gave us a lot of inroads and environments to capture industrial data, test our analytics and push for increasingly advanced outcomes. An added benefit of our GE Business unit partnerships, is the built-in expertise around the critical assets and systems in each of these verticals; from power generation and transmission, to aviation, oil & gas, mining and more. Our digital products are built to address the industrial challenges we initially faced ourselves, and they are infused with hundreds of years of industrial domain expertise from across our corporation.
While we can paint with a broad brush when talking about trends that are universal across industries, the specificity around different verticals matters. The closer we can get to the assets and processes specific to certain industries, the more relevant that domain expertise becomes. The ecosystem is a powerful mechanism to effectively capture the expertise in each of these domains and make it more widely available.
As GE’s structure has evolved, we’ve worked hard to extend those early partnerships with our GE businesses and maintain the strength of the ecosystem. To that end, we recently announced our formal agreement with Wabtec – which includes our former GE Transportation business – to help drive additional growth in the mining vertical, among others. In this case, the mining space provides great use cases for our Predix Operations Performance Management (Predix OPM) and Predix Asset Performance Management (Predix APM) software, and we are already seeing very promising growth with early versions of the Predix OPM offering for mining customers.
The feedback loop
Wabtec provides us with an excellent channel into the mining market, and like many of the other partners in the ecosystem, they also serve as a conduit for additional user feedback. We set out to help our users solve problems and complete their work more easily, and the feedback we gather from the end users is foundational to additional capabilities and features. That feedback is a form of content and when aggregated with other vertical-specific data points, our products become much richer. Partnerships like those with Wabtec and others enable this kind of free exchange of information, and it’s exciting to know that our extensive ecosystem of partners is packed with similar opportunities.
Whether we’re talking about channel partners like resellers or system integrators focused on the automation or manufacturing space, or partners like Wabtec that deliver to a specific vertical, the ecosystem is a powerful and important part of the IIoT. We know it’s necessary to be successful, and we are working hard to ensure our end customers benefit from the power of the ecosystem as well.
Mark Wise, GE Digital