It’s probably a good bet that one of the reasons GE announced in recent days that it was going into the business of offering industrial cloud services was that its own industrial plants already have recognized and are already exploiting the technology’s efficacy.

As a marketing arrangement, having important internal customers precede external clients may not be optimal, but when it comes to recognizing real demand and developing solutions that work it’s hard to beat.

In the most general sense, cloud computing has been defined as the use of a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process data.

The bullet items listed below, based on material provided by GE, are interesting in that it would seem to indicate what kinds of cloud computing capabilities multi-national corporations are already looking for.

It’s like this

Meant to answer the unique needs and scale of customers across aviation, energy, healthcare and transportation, GE has announced plans to enter the cloud services market with Predix Cloud. It is said to be the world’s first and only cloud solution specifically for industrial data and analytics. Deployed as a “platform-as-a-service” (PaaS) can capture and analyze the unique volume, velocity and variety of machine data within a highly secure, industrial-strength cloud environment.

Predix Cloud, GE says, will drive the next phase of growth for the Industrial Internet and enable developers to rapidly create, deploy and manage applications and services for industry. With $4B in software revenues in 2014 and projected software revenues of $6B in 2015, GE continues to grow its investment in software.

Operators will use machine data faster and more efficiently. By combining GE’s deep domain expertise in information technology and operational technology, Predix Cloud will deliver advanced tools like asset connectivity, machine data support and industrial-grade security and compliance.

“A cloud built exclusively to capture and analyze machine data will make unforeseen problems and missed opportunities increasingly a complication of the past,” said Harel Kodesh, vice president, general manager of Predix at GE Software. “GE’s Predix Cloud will unlock an industrial app economy that delivers more value to machines, fleets and factories – and enable a thriving developer community to collaborate and rapidly deploy industrial applications in a highly protected environment.”

The Industrial Internet is generating data twice as quickly as any other sector. With investment in infrastructure expected to top $60 trillion over the next 15 years, the number of devices connected to the Internet will continue to swell, generating an unprecedented collection of data and analytics. Built for Predix, the cloud platform for the Industrial Internet, Predix Cloud is a secure infrastructure for growth, capable of helping generate insight, improved assets and developer innovation.

Why here? Why now?

The success of the Industrial Internet depends on a collaborative ecosystem of partners. GE’s Predix Cloud is purpose-built from the ground up, but it will also run on other cloud fabrics if required by a customer. Predix Cloud uses Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry to help with application development, deployment and operations.

GE businesses will begin migrating their software and analytics to the Predix Cloud in Q4 2015, and the service will be commercially available to customers and other industrial businesses for managing data and applications on Predix Cloud in 2016.

Also of interest:

  • Estimates are more than 50 billion assets will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Predix Cloud combines proprietary technologies with global telecommunications partners to enable rapid provisioning of sensors, gateways and software-defined machines.
  • Machine data scalability for different types of data, purpose-built to store, analyze, and manage machine data in real time — capturing and analyzing time series data from thousands of sensors, delivering large-object data — for the variety, volume, and velocity of industrial data.
  • Advanced security protocols available include customized, adaptive security solutions for industrial operators and developers.
  • Streamlined governance and reduced compliance costs for individual users, while respecting national data sovereignty regulations globally. This enables services for highly regulated industries such as aviation, energy, healthcare and transportation.
  • Seamless operation with applications and services running in a broad spectrum of cloud environments, to take advantage of optimized security and data structure offerings while interoperating within existing solutions.
  • Unlike public cloud services, which are open to any individual or organization, a “gated community” model ensures that tenants of the cloud belong to the industrial ecosystem.
  • Developers will have visibility into operating environments and actors connected to it, to deploy and monitor machine apps anywhere.
  • Capabilities offered through on-demand pricing model.