HPE President Neri: New ABB Global Partnership Deepens HPE's Focus On Industrial IoT

A new strategic global partnership with industrial digital company ABB will tighten Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s focus around the Internet of Things in the manufacturing space, said HPE President Antonio Neri.

At the HPE Discover Conference Tuesday, behing held in Madrid, the companies said the partnership will help industrial customers merge operational technology and IT so they can better turn industrial data into insight and automatic action.

’We are very proud to partner with ABB on this global alliance because that is a space that is exploding, whether it is predictive maintenance or other types of solutions for environments that require unique expertise,’ Neri said in an interview with CRN. ’The power of their expertise and our expertise and IT can deliver on that promise.’

[Related: HPE Partners: Neri's Technology Vision, Proven Channel Track Record Make Him 'Perfect Choice' For Next CEO]

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At the heart of the partnership is ABB’s offering, ABB Ability, which is a set of performance management solutions, remote monitoring services and control solutions for buildings. These solutions are designed to help customers in industrial verticals like utilities, transport and manufacturing.

While ABB has a deep understanding of industrial processes and operational technology, HPE brings its IT software, solutions and platform offerings to the partnership.

For instance, the partnership will enable ABB Ability solutions to run on hybrid platforms like HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack – so customers have the flexibility to deploy applications on HPE infrastructure in industrial plants, in data centers or in the Azure cloud.

’That is a great example of what I call a 'digital industrial solution' in terms of edge to core to cloud,’ said Neri. ’[Key is] our focus on hyper-connectivity, industrial IoT with compute storage with analytics and security, our focus on the ability to deliver on critical applications for specific vertical markets at the core. For me ABB is an awesome use case that shows the power of our portfolio coming together and delivering on that digital transformation that customers are looking for.’

HPE and ABB will deliver joint offerings for data centers, including data center automation to help control, monitor and optimize data center facilities infrastructure, as well as secure edge data center capabilities.

The two companies said they will also jointly develop industrial offerings to help customers create insight and automatic action from data and manage and control industrial processes across the supply chain.

Jim Gillespie, CEO of Pittsburgh-based GrayMatter, an operational technology-focused solution provider, said that deriving insight from data on the manufacturing floor is critical for industrial customers who invest in IoT.

’Industrial IoT is a conversation around the outcomes… you have to understand the right questions to ask when you’re designing and deploying applications,’ he said. ’The first steps are connecting the products and transforming the services … this wasn’t possible five years ago.’