GE Digital Acquires Startup IQP To Boost Predix And Help Partners Build IoT Applications

GE Digital on Monday announced it has acquired Japanese startup IQP to help bolster its investments in the industrial Internet of Things.

"By adding IQP to Predix Studio, our integrated workflow for rapid application development, more average industrial developers, including IT, operations and finance professionals, can now create their own IIoT applications – giving our customers the tools they need to build customized applications that make sense for their business," said Bill Ruh, CEO of GE Digital, in a statement. "This integration makes Predix Studio the only high productivity application development tool purpose built for the IIoT."

GE did not disclose the terms and conditions of the deal. According to a report by Haaretz, the Boston, Mass.-based company agreed to acquire IQP for an estimated $30 million to 40 million.

[Related: As GE CEO Immelt Announces Retirement, Industrial IoT Strategy Is Top Of Mind For Partners]

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IQP touts a development tool that helps developers create their own code-free IoT applications. The company, founded in 2011, has raised about $10 million from Fujitsu and SBI Investment Co.

GE hopes that IQP's technology will help jump-start adoption amongst partners and customers for its Predix IoT platform. With IQP's capabilities on Predix Studio, more industrial developers can now create their own IIoT applications. According to IQP, partners and customers can build IQP applications using a web-based visual programming interface and ready-to-use design templates that are optimized to view on all mobile phones, tablets and PCs.

’IQP helps eliminate IT bottlenecks and lengthy app development cycles by enabling people with no programming skills to build applications in a matter of hours or days," said Guy Kaplinsky, founder and CEO of IQP in a statement. "GE Digital’s acquisition underscores our belief that IQP has been a thought leader in making code-free IoT application development accessible to everyone.’

IQP's U.S. marketing and sales expertise is also a "strong complement" to GE, according to IQP co-founder and vice president Maki Kaplinsky.

"All the operational technology vendors are looking to come out with IoT solutions," said Jeff Miller, chief technologist of smart manufacturing at Avid Solutions, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based systems integrator. "The current trend is that customers want to digitize as much as possible and get data from their systems, and vendors are trying to keep up with that."

GE Digital has been making acquisitions over the past year to improve its industrial IoT business. the company in 2016 announced it acquired field service management company ServiceMax in a $915 million deal.

In November 2016, GE made two more acquisitions – data integration platform company Bit Stew and machine learning company

"To unlock that value, and drive digital industrial transformation, GE Digital believes the keys to success are a powerful ecosystem filled with equipped partners and developers, as well as purpose-built industrial technologies," said Ruh. "We know industry, the IIoT and digital transformation; and together with IQP, we are now making Predix and our industrial applications more accessible to all."