A GE foi um dos mais importantes fabricantes de mainframes nos anos 60 e o seu sistema operacional, Multics, "um conceito muito adiante do seu tempo - ou do nosso".

GE’s Software Future Starts With Selling Computer Hardware

Ted Mann
Dec. 14, 2016

General Electric Co.’s corporate vision is to reshape the industrial world and its core businesses with advanced software. But to get there, it needs to sell some basic computer hardware first.

The conglomerate is developing and testing networking gear—rugged sensor boxes and customized routers and servers—to harness the data spewed out by massive industrial machines at power plants and oil rigs. GE is building some devices itself and working with tech giants including Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and Cisco Systems Inc. on others.

Its newest hardware offerings address what communications experts call the last-mile problem: for those customers who accept that advanced sensors and cloud computing will make their machines more efficient, there is still a question about how to get data off these devices and into the cloud, computing environments with shared software and processing power.

“Not every customer is ready to rip out their control system infrastructure, but they still want to get some benefit by being connected to the cloud,” said Jim Walsh, CEO of GE’s Automation & Controls business unit. By supplying the hardware, GE is trying to make it easier “to get started in a very noninvasive way” with the company’s software.

GE’s digital push, including its Predix software platform for industrial customers, is expected to be a focus when executives gather on Wednesday for the company’s annual outlook meeting with investors and financial analysts. The maker of power plants and jet engines is stretching to reach its profit targets for the year amid sluggish global growth. GE shares have gained 2.3% this year, compared with a 10.4% advance in the S&P 500, through Monday.