General Electric is plowing ahead on its mission to transform into a digital company, according to CEO Jeff Immelt, who delivered a keynote address at the company’s annual technology conference Tuesday.
Becoming a technology company is a "transformation not a task," and an "all encompassing change," said Immelt, according to a Fortune report.
Immelt said one of his goals is to make GE a leading software company by 2020.
Immelt has been working to pivot the 124-year old industrial company for the digital age. Its stand-alone software unit, established in 2015, now has more than 28,000 employees. The company is targeting industrial companies, which currently stand in the cross hairs of digital transformation as Internet of Things (IoT) technology ramps up. Recent data from IDC revealed more than 31% of organizations surveyed have already launched IoT solutions and another 43% are looking to deploy in the next year.
GE is betting big on Predix, its cloud-based platform that connects devices on the industrial internet, to help lead the transformation. In July, GE and Microsoft announced plans to partner on a number of efforts to help industrial businesses digitally transform by leveraging IoT data with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Microsoft said combining Predix and Azure will give industrial companies access to new capabilities such as natural language technology, artificial intelligence, advanced data visualization and enterprise application integration.
On Tuesday, GE also 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.
Earlier this year, GE launched a PR campaign to frame it as a hip, new tech company, in part to help it appeal to the tech workers it will need as it works to become a tech company.