Two of the biggest players in Industrial IoT/Industry 4.0 — Bosch and GE – are to collaborate on open source IoT platform development and on common standards to help machines and devices understand each other. GE Digital and Bosch Software Innovations have signed a MoU to “further facilitate openness and growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT),” they say.
According to a joint statement, their agreement focuses on technology interoperability and platform integration through GE’s Predix operating system and the Bosch IoT Suite. They intend to make complementary software services available on the other company’s cloud platforms “to enhance the overall value of each cloud offering and provide solutions to a wider customer base.”
Predix is GE’s cloud software platform for the collection of data from industrial machines, introduced in 2015. It is built on Cloud Foundry open source technology and is claimed to enable industrial-scale analytics for asset performance management and operations optimisation by providing a standard way to connect machines, data, and people. GE expects Predix software to do for factories and plants what Apple’s iOS did for cell phones.
The Bosch IoT Suite is also based on Cloud Foundry. Bosch describes it as “a cloud-enabled software package for developing applications in IoT that serves as the platform on which Bosch and its customers build a broad range of solutions and projects.”
Bosch claims that more than five million devices and machines are already connected. At present, Bosch IoT Suite services are integrated in the Bosch IoT Cloud marketplace, but Bosch says in the future it will be possible to use certain services via other marketplaces that are based on Cloud Foundry.
Working through Eclipse Foundation
The two companies say they intend to establish an open source-based technical IoT core and jointly grow a larger ecosystem around this technology stack, which IoT platforms can be built upon. Much of this will be undertaken within the Eclipse Foundation, one of the major global open source software communities, of which both companies are members.
“The focus projects Eclipse hono, Eclipse Vorto, Eclipse Leshan, GE-enhanced UAA (user account and authentication) and Eclipse ACS (access control service) are specifically tailored around device connectivity,” they say. “In any IoT application, things need to be connected to a backend where data and functionality of the devices are leveraged to provide higher-level business value. Within the Eclipse Community, through the contribution of many IoT developers, tools and standards are openly created, which many companies can benefit from for their IoT applications.”
Rainer Kallenbach, CEO of Bosch Software Innovations, said: “No company can realise the IoT on its own. It is very important for Bosch to engage in business ecosystems and open source communities. The collaboration with GE Digital is another important milestone for Bosch’s connectivity strategy.”
Bill Ruh, CEO of GE Digital, added: “It’s industrial companies working together that will make a difference in the Industrial Internet of Things.”
Ruh and Kallenbach presented together at the Bosch ConnectedWorld event in Chicago on 27 September. The event “brings together leaders in business and technology to present digital strategies, case studies and best practices around connected products, services and solutions in an ongoing, collaborative effort to advance IoT.”