Today, at its annual Minds + Machine conference in San Francisco, GE announced that the Predix platform had grown into a big business with $5 billion in revenues and $6 billion in orders expected this year.
The company also made a slew of other announcements including Predix.io, their Platform as a Service offering, which enables companies to build their own custom applications on top of Predix. The program has about 4000 developers today, and GE is hoping for 20,000 by next year — although the vast majority of these will be from GE and its ISV partners for now.
This is very much like the Salesforce 1 approach to development where Salesforce has provided a platform and companies have built custom solutions and entire businesses on top of it. GE is likely looking at a much more modest uptake with its platform, but it is a similar idea.
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the company’s August news that it would be offering Infrastructure services to developers on Predix as well. That was a bold move in a crowded market, but GE is trying to offer a soup-to-nuts menu of industrial cloud services. This is similar in some ways to IBM’s cloud strategy with SoftLayer for infrastructure, Bluemix for developers and a portfolio of SaaS products as well.
To fill in that last piece, GE is also offering some industrial software packages on top of Predix to prime the development pump. These include Brilliant Factory and Digital Power Plant, two products designed to help squeeze more efficiencies out these verticals Both products were announced today at Minds + Machines.
These two tools are part of new generation of software that is using big data to make industrial workflows more efficient. In the case of the power plant software, it reads information from sensors and other sources and based on that data provides ways to generate more electricity from the same equipment.
“We are connecting real-time controls and sub-systems and creating models for optimizing [the system]. We use sensor data, then work against models and adjust controls in real time based on that,” Bill Ruh, vice president and global technology director at General Electric told TechCrunch.
He claims that using this suite of tools, the company has been able to squeeze out 20 percent more electricity from wind turbine farms running the software.
Brilliant Factories does something similar for factories, looking at the body of data, comparing it against a model and getting the maximum amount of usage out of machines. GE developed these tools for its own factories and is now making it available for customers, Ruh said.
The software helps factory managers by sending warnings when data shows an imminent part or machine failure, so they can plan accordingly. It also helps optimize the job scheduling based on factors such as how much pressure the equipment can take.
In fact, Ruh says companies running this software can expect $230 million in savings per plant over 20 years, which if true is obviously significant.
Finally, GE is announcing more capability around Wurldtech , the security company it bought last year. The company is protecting more than 4000 wind turbines, gas pipelines and similar industrial equipment from cyber attack. These kinds of equipment require a different kind of protection from the datacenter, Ruh said.
This bushel of announcements is meant to showcase Predix’s capabilities. GE is hoping that as it builds out the platform, it can begin to rely on it as a growing source of business. It sees big growth ahead, predicting business will triple to $15 billion in revenue by 2020.