GE’s new industrial cloud will power planes, trains, and hospitals

ge announces predix its industrial cloud locomotive train steam engine
Ivan Martynyuk / Shutterstock
When you pin something on Pinterest, watch something on Netflix, or send a message to your co-worker on Slack, it’s all powered by the cloud, and specifically by Amazon Web Services. Cloud computing now has a new entrant, as GE announced today that it’s expanding its own Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Predix Cloud, targeting industrial companies.

While anyone who’s watched 30 Rock knows GE makes microwaves and other appliances, it also manufactures everything from locomotives to turbines to oil-drilling equipment to MRI machines. The company has been fitting much of its equipment with sensors for years, allowing a locomotive to send data on its oil levels, for example, or a wind turbine to move its blades based on the direction and speed of the wind. While Predix originally just let third parties harness data through applications they built, GE will now run the applications on its own infrastructure.

“A more digital hospital means better, faster healthcare,” said Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, in a statement. “A more digital manufacturing plant means more products are made faster.”

A more digital hospital also means bigger fears about hacking. The first concern with the cloud is always security, and with these industrial machines, that worry is as big as the equipment itself. GE plans to create “layers” in the applications that can’t access each other. “Each layer will go with the stringent assumption that every other layer has already been breached,” Harel Kodesh, CTO of GE Software, tells Wired. This level of security will make the cloud more expensive, so expensive in fact that it’s priced for the industrial market. While AWS is more egalitarian, offering pricing for small and big businesses alike, GE will have to content itself with a smaller pool of customers.

These clients, however, weren’t finding what they needed when it came to the cloud, according to GE. The company’s customers wanted something “built by an industrial player for industrial players,” Kodesh tells TechCrunch.

All this means that GE’s cloud will process lots and lots of data, leading to better service for these big devices, as it receives alerts right when something goes wrong and learns what conditions caused the machine to break in the first place. On the flip side, this opens the door to someone unwanted gaining access to that industrial equipment.

Product Review

You don't need Alexa in your microwave, but you'd be surprised what she can do

Amazon has added to its long portfolio of products with the AmazonBasics Microwave, a small appliance that works with Alexa. We took the microwave for a test drive to find out more.
Home Theater

Learn how to calibrate your home theater speakers for sheer audio bliss

Make your home theater rumble just right with our manual speaker setup guide, a simple, step-by-step walkthrough to getting the most from your audio equipment without needing to rely on imperfect automatic calibration.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.

Here are the best Amazon Echo and Google Home deals for Black Friday

Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers compete head to head when it comes to smart home tech. Whether you're a fan of Alexa or Google Home, we've found the best prices on your favorite smart home devices.
Smart Home

Wynd’s new air-purifying bundle lets smart home owners breathe easier

Wynd is already well known in the tech industry for its popular Kickstarter-backed air purifier and now the company is launching two new products designed to improve air quality to inform smart home owners.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…

Xfinity indoor/outdoor camera zooms in on Grinch’s faces and license plates

Comcast's Xfinity Home security cameras can help the police catch Grinches who steal delivery packages from your home. The cameras use artificial intelligence to analyze moving objects and zoom in on faces at your door and license plates.
Smart Home

Airbnb hosts are offering free rooms to those displaced by California wildfires

Several thousand Airbnb hosts in California are opening their homes to help those displaced by the devastating wildfires in the state. Free accommodation is being offered to those affected through November 29.