Apple has taken a significant step into the world of industrial IoT, announcing a software development kit that will enable developers to create iOS apps integrated with GE’s Predix industrial IoT platform.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook said it would give developers the tools to make their own industrial IoT apps and would “fundamentally change how the industrial world works by combining GE’s Predix platform with the power and simplicity of iPhone and iPad.”

He described industrial giant GE as “an ideal partner with a rich history of innovation across the industrial world in areas like aviation, manufacturing, healthcare and energy.”

GE chairman and CEO, John Flannery, said GE’s customers increasingly needed to provide their workforces with mobility. “Working together, GE and Apple are giving industrial companies access to powerful apps that help them tap into the predictive data and analytics of Predix right on their iPhone or iPad.”

The two companies say iOS/Predix apps will give industrial operators more insight and visibility into the performance of their equipment and operations from their iPhone or iPad.

“For example, a Predix app can notify a worker on their iPhone of a potential issue with equipment such as a wind turbine and allow them to collaborate with remote teams when performing inspections and repairs, collecting relevant data instantly. These industrial apps will close the information loop faster, ultimately increasing cost savings and minimising unplanned downtime.”

Apple & GE commit to cross promotion

In addition to the Predix/iOS tie up, under the agreement, GE will standardise on iPhone and iPad for mobile devices and will promote Mac as a choice for its global workforce of more than 330,000 employees.  In turn Apple will promote GE’s Predix as the industrial IoT analytics platform of choice to its customers and developers.

Predix: iOS for factories?

Predix as a cloud-based platform as a service designed to enable industrial-scale analytics for asset performance management and operations optimisation by providing a standard way to connect machines, data, and people. It is built on Cloud Foundry open source technology.

Interestingly, GE is reported to be hoping will do for factories what iOS did for cell phones.  However it is not alone. Another industrial giant, Germany-based Bosch has a similar offering, also based on Cloud Foundry, the Bosch IoT Suite.

Bosch describes it as “a cloud-enabled software package for developing applications in IoT that serves as the platform on which Bosch and its customers build a broad range of solutions and projects.”

In September 2016 the two companies announced an agreement on technology interoperability and platform integration between Predix the Bosch IoT Suite.

Each pledged to make complementary software services available on the other company’s cloud platforms “to enhance the overall value of each cloud offering and provide solutions to a wider customer base.”