NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As General Electric (GE) rolls out more industrial software products, partners such as Intel (INTC), Cisco (CSCO) and AT&T (T) stand to benefit from contributions including cybersecurity measures that safeguard computers making real-time adjustments in operations from railroads to wind farms.
GE predicts revenue from its Predix platform, a complex system of data analytics that interprets how machines are performing through built-in sensors and modifies them for optimum results, will grow nearly five-fold to $5 billion this year. If the Fairfield, Conn.-based company reaches that target, the revenue would be more than 3% of the entire $149 billion the company generated last year.
The new product line will benefit almost all of GE's existing industrial customers, from airlines to oil drillers, the company says. Its success will turn on how easily buyers can integrate it, how effectively built-in sensors on a variety of devices can communicate with remote computers and how secure it can make systems that might even be able to access an airplane's control board.
"It's the next major wave and could be the most significant wave of all," Hank Skorny, Intel's vice president of network product services, said in a company video. "With predictions of 50 billion devices, it dwarfs PCs and it dwarfs mobile phones. This could be Intel's next big thing."
Intel's primary function in the partnership is creating an application programming interface, or API, that allows separate apps running on the Predix platform to work together more easily, according to a presentation at a recent Deutsche Bank conference. With a good API, developers from different firms can more efficiently design apps powered by the same software.
"What you get is a common language and framework that you can utilitze so all the machines are talking between one another and among one another using the same nomenclature," Chris Boody, an Intel vice president of network product services, said in a company video. "This is something that can be done in a real-time analytical basis and is also a flexible enough solution so that you can iterate and innovate on top of it as individual business needs change. "
Cisco's contribution will be "intelligent networking" between machines, which will focus on gathering and transmitting a coherent stream of data from smaller and varied processes within a large system such as a freight train.
AT&T is providing a private wireless service through its "machine-to-machine" communications system, or M2M, which will be pivotal to limiting access strictly to verified controllers, according to a 2013 statement on the partnership.