GE Digital Postpones Annual Customer, Partner Event Beyond 2018


GE Digital has postponed its annual Minds and Machines conference for customers and partners weeks before it was scheduled to happen.

The Boston-based company informed registered attendees last week that the event, which was scheduled for Oct. 30-31 in San Francisco, now won’t happen this year and that it will revisit the event’s timing at a later date, according to a source familiar with the matter. The correspondence said GE Digital will continue to work with customers and partners in one-on-one settings and at vertical- and product-focused events in the meantime.

The postponing of GE Digital’s flagship industrial Internet of Things event comes after parent company General Electric unexpectedly replaced CEO and chairman John Flannery with board member H. Lawrence Culp on Oct. 2.

Minds and Machines started in 2012 under the leadership of former GE CEO Jeff Immelt as part of his mission to turn the industrial giant into a software and analytics juggernaut. The company's Predix IoT platform launched a year later before GE unified its digital capabilities under the GE Digital brand in 2015.

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But GE Digital’s future has come into question after The Wall Street Journal reported in July that GE was looking to sell off key parts of its digital business. The parent company has already been in the process of selling off various business units, including its health-care and railroad locomotive divisions. The most recent deal, the sale of GE’s Intelligent Platforms automation division to Emerson Electric, was announced last week.

Minds and Machines had become a major annual touchpoint between GE Digital, customers and partners, and it has served as the launching point for several new products. Before his departure, Flannery was scheduled as one of the event's keynote speakers this year. Other major speakers included GE Digital CEO Bill Ruh, Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy and Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof.

After seeing its stock price shrink over the past few years, GE recently tapped Culp as the company’s CEO, which appears to have restored some level of confidence to investors. The company’s stock price has risen roughly 20 percent since he became CEO.