Aug 302017

Industrial giant General Electric is finding software is hard, reports Business Insider.

The company, which former CEO Jeff Immelt declared was a ‘digital industrial company’ is finding its Predix software system and associated cloud services are far more complex and difficult to manage than expected.

Back in 2015, I toured the head office of GE Software outside of Silicon Valley and interviewed the division’s boss, Bill Ruh.

Ruh was upbeat about the internet of things – or Industrial Internet in GE’s terminology – with an estimate the IoT was worth $14 billion to the company as it found new efficiencies and markets.

Today that vision’s looking a little tarnished as the company struggles with a 25% share price drop and a self imposed ‘time out’ on Predix’s development.

GE’s IoT predicament illustrates just how complex the engineering and management challenges of the Internet of Things really are.

The software needs of a sensor in a train brake pad are very different to that of fuel pump in a jet engine or the blade controllers of wind turbine.

Added to that is the challenge of organising, storing and securing the information these devices collect. This is the main reason why GE is moving its data management services to AWS and Microsoft Azure.

That a company with the resources and top level commitment of GE is struggling with this underscores the complexity of the internet of things. That complexity is something every IoT advocate and connected device vendor fails to consider at their, and their customer’s, peril.

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