Cloud is all-pervasive, and we see its presence in almost every sector today. The many benefits that come from it make it a potent technology for even traditional sectors like manufacturing. Industrial titans like GE and Siemens are vying to make the most out of cloud to boost their manufacturing processes and products.
One of the core things they are working on is the Internet of Things (IoT). To refresh on what this means, IoT is a technology that connects everyday devices like your watches, alarm clocks, refrigerators and more to create a complete digital system.
Such a system would connect different things to create a smooth data flow, that in turn can make life much easier for its users.
For example, your refrigerator can constantly monitor the level of milk, and if falls below a particular threshold, the system can order milk for through your smartphone app. So, the milk will arrive at home without any effort from your end.
That’s the power of technology, and IoT in specific. Since this is an evolving space, there’s a lot of opportunities here, and this is exactly what GE and Siemens wan to tap into.
While some smaller companies are working on specific products, the aim of these big players is to reinvent the manufacturing process as a whole, so individual firms can tap into each stage of the value chain, starting from design to production and maintenance.
In other words, both these companies want to create a cloud-based IoT system that will form the backbone of industrial automation, and will provide vast amount of data about everything – ranging from parts and inventories to the performance of different products.
To achieve such a smart backbone, GE and Siemens are looking to create built-in sensors and protocols that will enable communication between different industrial equipment such as pumps, drones, robots and more.
The key aspect is the sensors that will monitor the systems and will send detailed data to the companies that own the system, and using this, they can learn about the health of machines, their performance and more. Along with sensors, platforms are the key to enable communication between different devices.
According to research firm, Markets&Markets, this market could be worth $150 billion within a short span of three years. They key for the success of this market depends to a large extend on the platform that is being used for the data flow.
Microsoft has been an early leader in this aspect as it has entered into agreements with both GE and Siemens to use its Azure cloud platform.
Besides Azure, Siemens has officially announced six partnerships and has said that hundreds more are in the pipeline, and all this ensures that industrial automation is a reality soon. GE, too has a lead, as its platform is compatible with most other cloud platforms. Already dozens of companies are building their applications on GE’s platform.
In addition, both these companies are working on their automation by acquiring digital companies that operate in this sphere. Overall, it’s going to be a tight and interesting race that is sure to benefit everyone in the long-run.