IoT News Roundup

Predix gets traction with Exelon license, GE announces software upgrades and new acquisition; Zebra's new handheld devices work and feel like smartphones; SAP announces smart parking application and IoT product-development tools; myDevices unveils LoRa network builder; Tapestry Solutions adds IoT capabilities to software platform.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Nov 17, 2016

Exelon Plugs Into Predix; GE Acquiring ServiceMax
At its Minds + Machines conference, held in San Francisco on Tuesday, General Electric (GE) made a raft of new product, customer and partnership announcements. It said that energy company Exelon has committed to the first enterprise software license for the full suite of GE's Predix software applications. Predix is a cloud-based platform that collects, processes and analyzes data from a range of sources, including sensors integrated into equipment, in order to improve asset utilization, optimize business and operational processes, power cybersecurity functions and boost productivity. Exelon has been pilot-testing GE's Digital Power Plant software, which is built on Predix. The company will deploy the Predix suite across its entire generation fleet of equipment—which, the company reports, has the capacity to generate 32,700 megawatts of power from nuclear, wind, solar, hydroelectric and natural gas.

GE also announced upgrades to its Digital Power Plant software for gas, steam and nuclear power plants. The new features include tools to help customers reduce unplanned downtime by up to 5 percent, reduce false positive alerts by up to 75 percent, and reduce operations and maintenance costs by up to 25 percent. It also includes software that provides power producers with accurate and timely plant operating capacity information, which energy traders can use to generate incremental revenues.

In addition, the firm unveiled a new software tool within the Predix-based Digital Power Plant family, the Digital Hydro Plant. The software extends GE's digital solutions to the hydropower vertical. According to GE, it has the potential to reduce hydro plant maintenance costs by 10 percent and boost plant availability and revenue by 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

GE also introduced a new set of Intelligent Digital Substation solutions for the electrical grid, which is designed to help grid managers to reduce outages through improved asset monitoring, diagnostics and automation applications.

Lastly, GE announced this week that it is acquiring ServiceMax, a provider of cloud-based field service management (FSM) solutions, for $915 million. The acquisition provides GE Digital with enhanced capabilities to advance its Industrial Internet vision, enabling customers to immediately gain more value from their assets and find greater efficiency in their field service processes. Earlier this year, ServiceMax announced a partnership with PTC through which the two firms integrate field service management and IoT solutions.

Zebra Morphs Bar-Code Scanner With Smartphone in New TC5 Series
Zebra Technologies this week announced its latest mobile computing hardware for enterprise applications. The TC5 Series are touchscreen mobile computers running the Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) operating system. They support Zebra's Mobility DNA suite of application security, development tools and mobile end-user apps. The devices, which include the TC51 and TC56, are designed with retail or mobile workforce applications in mind. The have a 1.8 GHz hexa-core 64-bit processor, a removable and replaceable battery pack, and a 5-inch display and customizable Active Edge Touch Zones for one-touch access to the most frequently used device features and apps. The devices support 802.11ac/r/k Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as a 4G LTE modem for wireless wide-area networking.

For data capture, the TC5 Series devices support a SE4710 imager to capture 1D and 2D bar codes, as well as a 13-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and a Near Field Communication (NFC) module. The TC56 also includes a GPS receiver. The devices support WEP (40 or 104 bit); WPA/WPA2 Personal (TKIP, and AES); and WPA/WPA2 Enterprise security and encryption.

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