Hannah Maerowitz
Staff Writer

In recent years, General Electric has rebranded as the “Digital Industrial” company. The company’s eager adaptation of technology and the reputation that it has developed since it was incorporated in 1892 have fueled G.E.’s continued success.

Simultaneously, Apple is expanding. Its core products and reputation are solidified, so they’re taking their business in new directions. One method of expansion that Apple has been exercising is enterprise.

In an attempt by both companies to break new ground, Apple has recently announced a partnership with General Electric. Its intention with these partnerships is to migrate the software these companies use to iOS settings.

Along with the partnership comes a software development kit that’s customized for G.E.’s current software, Predix. Predix connects the physical work that technicians are doing, like repairing wind turbines and troubleshooting engines, to the internet. Similar to sending a text to a friend to ask a question about chemistry homework, the software gives technicians quick feedback that enables them to get things done faster.

The G.E.-Apple partnership is also designed to unlock all of the unique capabilities of iOS, one of the most sophisticated operating systems available. Technicians can already collaborate with remote teams using Predix, but under the iOS umbrella, they will be able to use augmented reality, the data broadcasting capability of iBeacons, thermal imaging, and other iOS features to enhance their workflow.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a press release on Oct. 18 that “G.E. is an ideal partner, with a rich history of innovation across the industrial world in areas like aviation, manufacturing, healthcare, and energy.”

G.E. is similarly excited about the partnership, with John Flannery, G.E.’s CEO, stating that it “provides developers with the tools to make their own powerful industrial apps and arms the workforce through mobility” in a press release about the partnership.

Apple and G.E. are also partnering to develop efficient, internal apps for General Electric customers, deploying the 13 million programmers that develop apps for Apple to achieve the task.

Although the partnership is largely about increasing efficiency, it will also help Apple sell more iPhones and iPads. G.E. will streamline the devices their technicians use to consist only of Apple devices, according to techcrunch.com.

G.E. will also reap additional benefits from the collaboration. Apple will market G.E. Digital’s Predix platform to its customers, which could have game-changing results for the powerful analytics platform.

The partnership is also significant as a marker of how industries are adapting to a more tech-centric marketplace. Jacob Morgan, the author of book The Future of Work, said in a Forbes article that “organizations need to think of a laboratory model in order to survive and thrive. Experiment, learn from mistakes, and replicate successes on a larger scale. This is the way to prepare for the future of work in the modern world.”

General Electric’s focus on digital adaptation and their partnership with Apple could well be a strategy to adapt to marketplace changes spurred by tech innovation.

The Predix software development kit is now available for download after being launched at G.E. Digital’s Mind and Machines conference on Oct. 26.

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