Industrial IoT Superstars GE, Siemens Are Butting Heads In Manufacturing Market

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"What's fascinating about GE is that because we're such a large industrial company with such a large internal information technology organization, we've almost got this constant pipeline of new innovations built by industrials for industrials that are available on our Predix platform," he said.

Over the past year, GE and Siemens have acquired U.S. tech companies as they look to broaden their reach in the connected manufacturing space.

In November, GE purchased ServiceMax – a cloud-based field services management provider, for $915 million, bringing in the company's array of consulting, integration and IoT partners like NTT Data and ABSI. Siemens in the same month said it was purchasing industrial software provider Mentor Graphics in a $4.5 billion deal -- taking in the company's operational technology-focused consulting partners like Caliber Interconnect Solutions and Mindtree Consulting.

Looking forward, competition in the industrial space will only tighten, especially as other operational technology vendors such as Schneider Electric and Rockwell Automation begin building up their own strategies targeting niche areas of the manufacturing space.

Channel Plays

Siemens and GE are making significant channel investments as they look to snag market share in the industrial market.

GE Digital already has a broad channel ecosystem built up in the North American market "from day one," including large global systems integrators, hardware manufacturers and resellers.

The company's GE Digital Alliance program has four tiers – Certified, Select, Premier and Global Strategic – and provides partners with access to sales, marketing and technical resources from GE, as well as tools, training and enablement, online content and assets, Predix certifications, developer sandboxes, joint deal registration and incentives based on contribution level.

On the reseller end, GE has two initiatives around Industrial IoT – offering its Predix certifications to partners around its Predix platform, and leveraging both IT and operational technology partners.

"We're trying to reach both [IT and Industrial IoT partners], although most of our partners right now are on the operational technology side," said Darcy. "What differentiates our partners in Industrial IoT is that unique understanding of how a power plant operates. A lot of our resellers have that operational technology know-how."

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