- General Electric teamed with Apple to make mobile applications for enterprise settings as workers seek to use smartphones and tablets to help manage machinery, factories and power plants. The companies next week will publish a software development kit (SDK) so programmers can create iOS apps that work with GE’s Predix, the cloud-based service to help industrial customers track the health of industrial equipment, a statement said.
- The companies plan to use Apple’s recently released ARKit to help make augmented reality (AR) apps for the iPhone and iPad that will help spot problems in machinery and train factory technicians. Apple has made GE’s Predix its preferred tool for connected factories.
- GE is also developing apps for both internal use and its customers. The company’s Asset Performance Management (APM) Cases app, which is available in the App Store, helps factories boost machine reliability while cutting maintenance costs and managing operations risks. The Predix SDK for iOS will be available to download Oct. 26.
GE and Apple’s partnership comes as smartphones and tablets keep transforming the way people communicate, navigate the world and manage their everyday lives. Those same people want their mobile devices to help them work in such specialized settings as factories, repair shops, construction sites and warehouses. As Kevin Ichhpurani, head of sales at GE’s digital division, told Bloomberg News: “Employees within those enterprises want those same experiences that they have in a consumer world.”
For GE, the partnership with Apple may give the industrial giant a competitive edge against industrial behemoths such as Germany’s Siemens AG, Switzerland’s ABB and France’s Schneider Electric, which have their own software and data-analysis technology. Software is becoming a key part of selling and servicing industrial equipment. GE’s Predix Internet of Things (IoT) tools help to monitor products like jet engines and medical scanners to make sure they’re running smoothly and with fewer breakdowns.
For Apple, the partnership with GE is one way for the tech company to push its products into enterprise settings as the global smartphone market matures and growth slows. Apple has partnerships with other companies such as Accenture, Cisco, Deloitte, IBM and SAP. Apple’s sales team is also going to promote the GE Predix platform among industrial customers, while GE is going to offer iPhones, iPads and Mac computers to its 330,000 employees, TechCrunch reported. That kind of cooperation hasn’t been seen in Apple’s other partnerships.