As General Electric (GE) - Get Report and Saudi Arabia begin to collaborate on their Saudi Vision 2030 initiative -- which is expected to involve up to $3 billion in digital and industrial investments -- the kingdom has much to learn from GE's fledgling, cloud-based Industrial Internet.
GE's software initiative, which accelerated last fall in the rollout of its Predix platform, is finding new ways to optimize industrial productivity on complex machines -- including jet engines, rail cars and wind farms -- by connecting machine sensors to GE's customized software.
"Predix leverages insight into data created by industrial equipment," Jack Mohr, co-manager of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust, which holds GE stock, said in a report this week. "The collaboration elevates GE's credibility around industrial software and bodes well for the future of its burgeoning digital business (which already accounts for roughly $6 billion of sales and is expected to ramp to $15 billion over the next four years)."
GE's deal with the Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Co., or SAIIC, is centered on expanding the country's digital innovations and applying them to Saudi Arabia's growing power, transportation and aviation businesses.
Meanwhile, GE's CEO, Jeff Immelt, has called the Saudi initiative a "game changer" for the struggling country, which has considered putting part of its state-owned Saudi Aramco oil giant, a leading member of the SAIIC partnership, on the auction block to cure debt problems.
"This agreement with GE to form joint ventures and co-invest in strategic, high-growth industrial and digital sectors is at the core of SAIIC's mission and supports the Saudi Vision 2030 to strengthen the kingdom's economic diversification," SAIIC Chairman Abdullatif Al-Othman said in a statement.
GE has long been looking to build on its Industrial Internet with new partners, most recently in a deal inked with Oracle (ORCL) - Get Report last month, after signing Cisco (CSCO) - Get Report , Intel (INTC) - Get Report and telecom giants Verizon (VZ) - Get Report and AT&T (T) - Get Report in the Predix rollout last fall, among others.