GE to Sell Industrial Machines with Own Social Network, Predix Cloud

An airplane’s “black box” flight data recorder helps investigators understand how a crash happened. But with ubiquitous sensors and the ability to analyze petabytes of data online, technology could some day predict how future crashes will happen, and how to prevent them. “I don’t want to promise that we will build it…but it is definitely possible,” says Harel Kodesh, manager of GE’s Predix cloud-computing service.

Predix Cloud is designed to serve the industrial Internet—machines talking to each other to monitor and improve the efficiency of planes, trains, oil wells, wind farms, or medical equipment. GE has been running Predix in-house with its own machinery for about a year. This week, GE announced plans to offer a cloud-based version of Predix to anyone—even makers of competing industrial equipment such as Siemens—starting in 2016.

The Rise Of The Machines

Industrial machines started carrying sensors and spitting out data years ago, says Kodesh, but the processing of that data was very low-tech. “The way to deal with this was with a pickup truck,” he says. “To drive around and write down LCD numbers and go back and put them in an Excel spreadsheet.”Read more