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Apple And GE Partner To Bring Industrial Software To The iPhone

Forbes logo Forbes 18/10/2017 Aaron Tilley, Forbes Staff

a windmill on a cloudy day © Wind turbines in South Australia (Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg) General Electric announced a partnership with Apple on Wednesday to bring its industrial software closer to iOS devices.

A new version of GE’s industrial software, Predix, will soon be available for developers to build apps natively in iOS.

Predix collects and analyzing the huge amounts of data coming off big industrial systems like wind turbines, power plants, oil rigs and rail lines. The software serves as a cornerstone in the company’s efforts to transform itself into an “digital industrial” company.

The rollout of Predix, however, has been plagued by technical problems and delays, Reuters reported in August. The Apple partnership could make Predix more accessible to more industrial workers. GE said Apple would also help promote Predix to its enterprise customers.

“Apple will embrace Predix as its industrial Internet of Things platform of choice in their ecosystem,” said GE Digital CEO Bill Ruh in an interview.

For Apple, the partnership offers the opportunity to bring its hardware closer to an industrial workforce.

“GE is an ideal partner with a rich history of innovation across the industrial world in areas like aviation, manufacturing, healthcare and energy,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. “Together, Apple and GE are fundamentally changing how the industrial world works by combining GE’s Predix platform with the power and simplicity of iPhone and iPad.”

The new Predix development kit will be available for iOS developers next week.

Ruh said the partnership has been in the works for about six months and was driven primarily by customer interest. In particular, Chicago-based energy giant Exelon was pushing GE. From there, GE began talking to the iPhone maker and a team overseen by Apple executive Mike Fenger.

“Exelon opened our eyes,” Ruh said. “They wanted to unleash their developers without having to understand everything behind the Predix platform and make it easier.”

GE will of course continue to support the Android ecosystem as well, but not natively.

“The demand from customers is coming from iOS,” Ruh said.

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