GE has introduced the first set of companies to graduate from its European startup hub, with five startups making pitches to potential customers.
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The hub, known as GE Digital Foundry Europe, was set up last summer. It is the company’s first digital-focused hub in Europe, with California and India its main locations before this. Its role is to select and support startups as they develop applications for GE’s industrial internet analytics platform, known as Predix.
Companies in the Digital Foundry develop software for GE customers to buy through the Predix platform, which is a bit like an industrial app store. It provides pre-built software components and a hosting platform for software.
For GE, it is a way of providing customers, many of which are the world’s biggest industrial companies, with the digital technologies they demand today. For the startups in the GE Foundry, it is a way of accessing a large number of potential customers.
There are currently five GE Foundry members delivering to customers and 24 at different stages of development. GE is also talking to 200 start ups from across Europe that are at various stages of qualification to join its accelerator program
The first graduates
The five companies now facing customers are the first to be ready to deliver through Predix after going through the GE Foundry acceleration programme.
IrLynx is one. It uses sensors and data analytics technology for people tracking to enable businesses such as retailers and office planners to make decisions on the location and layout of premises and maximise the use of space. The products can be used in real time to manage space, and data collected can help with planning.
Another startup, Cosling, uses algorithms to optimise processes for companies moving physical objects and data. For example, it works with customers’ trucking and warehouse services, where it connects to warehouse management systems to help businesses optimise logistics. It also helps organisations improve the movement of data. For example, it already supports the European Space Agency in optimising its space-to-earth data transfers.
The utilities sector is the target customer base of another of the GE Foundry members, Predictive Layer, whose technology can predict energy supply using advanced mathematics. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help predict energy volumes coming from volatile renewable sources, such as wind and solar. The AI system learns from the past and makes short-term predictions. This helps energy suppliers match supply with demand.
Also in the energy sector, where GE boasts many customers, is Evolution Energie. The company uses blockchain technology to offer an energy management system that makes it easy for businesses to source power from multiple suppliers. It supports organisations attempting to reduce energy waste and buy energy from sources offering the best price at the time.
Finally, Cityzen Data is a startup offering advanced analytics tools through Predix. It supports customers in managing and analysing time series data from sensors. It helps organisations build models to understand and make use of data.
Co-creation on Predix
Vincent Champain, general manager at GE Digital Foundry Europe, said the value of the Predix platform is co-creation.
“Customers don’t ask for a platform, but for problems to be solved,” he said. “This is a place where they can find all the components to solve a problem.”
These might include a data scientist, service centre and developer resources.
GE helps the startups technically and strategically. “We offer them expertise, help them structure their products on the Predix cloud, and help them take their products to customers,” said Champion.
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