General Electric Co. is developing, and plans to sell, rugged networking hardware to enable companies to capture data from industrial machines, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The gear includes "rugged" sensor boxes, servers and customized routers. GE is building some of the equipment and working with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco Systems on others.
The goal of the hardware is to help companies solve the "last mile" problem, allowing sensors to talk to existing corporate hardware and software and thereby giving customers an easier way to get started with new GE software.
GE CEO Jeff Immelt has worked to pivot the 124-year old industrial company for the digital age. One of his goals is to make GE a leading software company by 2020. But the company needs some basic, but critical, hardware first.
GE is targeting industrial companies, which currently stand in the cross hairs of digital transformation as Internet of Things (IoT) technology ramps up. The company is betting big on Predix, its cloud-based platform that connects devices on the industrial internet, to help lead the transformation. But getting customers to buy Predix requires figuring out the last mile problem first.
Last month, GE announced it acquired to artificial intelligence startups, Bit Stew Systems and Wise.io. According to a company announcement, Bit Stew "collects data coming from hundreds of sensors and quickly funnels it into software that analyzes the data," which will work to make Predix faster and more effective.