Hewlett Packard Enterprise will team up with the industrial giant GE in a new effort to go after the market to connect industrial machinery to the internet.
In a deal announced today at an HPE conference in Las Vegas, the two companies will combine their strengths to attack the fast-moving market for the Internet of Things.
GE, known for its wind turbines, jet engines and train locomotives, has in the last few years strongly embraced software and the ability to analyze data as the way to squeeze more efficiency out of them. It's a point it tries to drive home with humor in its recent series of TV ads.
GE also has Predix, a cloud service for connecting and managing devices. HPE will be GE's preferred hardware vendor when its customers deploy Predix.
HPE's Executive VP John Hinshaw said the two companies will jointly go after business in the aerospace, oil and gas and manufacturing industries, and have been doing so informally for awhile.
"What we're talking about is connecting hundreds of thousands of big machines, and each one of those is surrounded by thousands of little machines," GE Digital CEO Bill Ruh said in an interview. Last year he predicted that GE's digital products like Predix would bring in $15 billion by 2020, and more disclosures from GE about the size of that business are expected this month.
If you remember Marc Andreessen's prediction that software is eating the world, this is the sort of thing he meant. Here's one example: The sensors in jet engines create dozens of gigabytes of data per flight. That data can be analyzed for problems that can be corrected to make the engines run better or use less fuel. Useful if you're an airline trying to keep fuel and maintenance costs down.
Two things GE doesn't have: The basic computing and networking hardware needed to handle all the data, and the reach to traditional IT customers who buy it. HPE brings both to the table.
Still, IoT efforts get a lot of hype but aren't showing much in the way of results. The main complaint is that all the connected things are generating so much data that there's no efficient way to analyze it all to find those money-saving insights without investing huge amounts in more computing hardware and highly paid analysts.
That hasn't stopped a lot of tech players. Networking giant Cisco Systems spent more than $1 billion to buy Jasper, a cloud-based IoT service, and has a strong lead with car manufacturers. Just last week, Cisco teamed up with IBM, a significant HPE rival, to push IoT data into its Watson cognitive computing system. Expect more deals and more hype in the coming months.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.