At GE's Minds + Machines conference today it was announced that GE will start using the power of Microsoft Azure to build powerful apps. The change takes effect on November 30th, meaning North American customers and developers using GE's Predix (an application development platform for the Industrial Internet) will soon have expanded capabilities in the next few months.
Kevin Ichhpurani, GE Digital’s executive vice president in charge of ecosystem and channels, believes that Predix developers will be able to "benefit from a network of Azure regions sprinkled all over the globe." Since many GE customers are already Microsoft customers, Ichhpurani also remarked that the "the intent is to go to market together."
The plan is for the Predix-Azure combination to expand into additional markets next year. According to Kevin Dallas, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of business development, Intelligent Cloud, there are other benefits, including optimized operating, the ability to work with real-time data, and build apps without switching platforms:
We are bending the productivity curve … [for industrial customers] looking to digitize their products, be it a jet engine or an elevator...The notion of shipping a machine and not being able to communicate with it and gain insight into how it’s being used is a thing of the past.
Developers using GE's Predix long called for closer integrations with Microsoft's Azure, so this is great, especially since most companies already use Azure to store data and run enterprise software. Again, possibly another win in Microsoft's wallet, especially after GE recently announced it would be ditching Microsoft hardware.