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Microsoft, GE Partner To Bring IoT Azure Cloud Services To Industrial Tasks

Microsoft on Monday unveiled a partnership with General Electric to strengthen its Internet of Things portfolio so industrial customers can take advantage of the company’s enterprise cloud applications.

Microsoft Monday unveiled a partnership with General Electric to strengthen its Internet of Things portfolio, a move the software giant said would help industrial customers better take advantage of its enterprise cloud applications.

As part of the partnership, GE’s Industrial IoT platform-as-a-service, Predix -- which aims to enable customers to rapidly build, deploy and operate industrial IoT applications -- will be available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

The Microsoft-GE alliance creates a bridge between IT and operating technologies, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a keynote speech Monday at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto. That bridge, along with the availability of Predix in AppSource, Microsoft's new site for Software-as-a-Service applications, provides the Microsoft partner ecosystem with opportunities.

[Related:Partners Applaud Cisco, CenturyLink's Joint Location-Based Analytics IoT System]

"Working with companies like GE, we can reach a new set of customers to help them accelerate their transformation across every line of business - from the factory floor to smart buildings.’

That means users can analyze and share data from their machines – using Microsoft applications like Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Power BI.

Microsoft and GE also will collaborate to integrate Predix with the Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite – enabling customers to access new capabilities like artificial intelligence and data visualization.

For Microsoft, the partnership will help the Redmond, Wash.-based company expand its Internet of Things offerings against competing cloud platforms, like Amazon Web Services.

Tony Safoian, CEO at SADA, a Microsoft solution provider and member of Microsoft’s Azure IoT Red Carpet program, said IoT is no longer a choice, but a ’necessity’ for vendors like Microsoft to continue to invest in – and partnerships are key for vendors to leverage their product capabilities into specific verticals, like the industrial segment.

’Azure is enabling organizations to super-charge the next big practices, including IoT,’ he said. ’Through this partnership, GE will be able to leverage the knowledge and capabilities of Microsoft’s IoT segment.’

Rick Jordan, director of mobility sales at Toronto-based Tenet Computer Group, agreed. Tenet hopes to amp up its efforts in the IoT space through its application, Green Rack, a cloud service built on the Azure platform that clients can use to apply technologies like augmented reality and near field communication tags for marketing applications.

’IoT is catering to the next generation of workforce that wants everything connected,’ he said. ’Moving to Azure will give GE the ability to connect more and have more flexibility with what the cloud offers to embrace IoT technology.’

According to Microsoft, a developer preview of the joint technology will be released toward the end of 2016 – and Predix on Azure will be available on the market during the second quarter of 2017.

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