GE Digital Puts Predix Analytics on IoT Edge

Edgenetwork

By: Michael Vizard

Cloud computing is constantly hyped, but the Internet of Things (IoT) may be about to push more computing to the edge. GE Digital today drove this idea forward with the unveiling of the company's Predix analytics software designed to run as a microservice on an IoT device.

Announced at a GE Minds + Machines 2017 conference, Eddie Amos, GE Digital CTO and vice president of industrial applications, says Predix Edge makes use of the same core Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment and Mesos cluster software that GE uses in the cloud. That announcement comes on the heels of an alliance struck with Apple under which the two companies promised to extend the reach of Predix applications to Apple devices. The goal is to enable IT organizations to create a federated IT environment spanning the edge to the cloud, says Amos.

Despite the rise of other platforms such as Kubernetes, Amos also notes that GE Digital at this point sees no reason to change strategy as it pertains to either Cloud Foundry or Mesos.

Amos says that IT organizations will be able to select between any number of network protocols to connect those environments depending on latency requirements of the use case. In some instances, Predix Edge will make use of application programming interfaces (API) to update Predix Cloud in real time. In other cases, the process will be more akin to a batch process.

"It's all about being able to use the right protocol with the right amount of bandwidth at the right time," says Amos.

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Predix Analysis

GE Digital also announced today that Predix will become available on the Microsoft Azure cloud and that by the first quarter of 2018, a complex event processing engine will be enabled in the cloud and at the edge of the IoT network. Predix is already available on Amazon Web Services and via various co-location alliances that GE Digital has struck.

GE Digital also today launched the Predix Edge Manager to provide a central console for managing as many as 200,000 IoT devices along with Predix Studio tools that organizations can use to build their own IoT applications. Organizations can also make use of a Digital Twin Analytics Workbench, which applies a library of algorithms and templates to make it simpler to build digital twins of physical devices on Predix.

Finally, GE Digital announced that the field service management application it gained via the acquisition of ServiceMax has now been integrated with the Apache Spark in-memory computing framework to provide access to Big Data analytics.

IT vendors across the board are starting to appreciate that the future of IT will be driven by federated applications running at the edge of the IoT network and in the cloud. The challenge IT organizations will now face is managing all the different classes of software-defined networking services need to deploy, update, and secure those applications.