Of course, GE is no stranger to equipment diagnostics. The company has many long term service agreements on its equipment and also services equipment manufactured by others. Mostly this is complex equipment like turbines. According to GE, "We will be combining our current knowledge service capabilities with that of SmartSignal and continue innovation in predictive analytics and knowledge management solutions that address a wide range of assets and equipment manufacturers." The SmartSignal acquisition will likely enhance GE's reach deeper into the "balance of plant."
SmartSignal will form the core of GE's Knowledge Services business within Software & Services and similar to their Automation Software and Operations Management Software businesses in structure. This is not surprising given GE's commitment these days to the software side of the business. Plans going forward are to integrate SmartSignal technology into Proficy product family through open architecture. This makes sense in that, especially for the larger energy companies, there is an interest in keeping the analytics in-house in performance centers of excellence. However, we expect tier two companies to find a services offering attractive. GE expects that the growth of the Smart Signal performance center will accelerate with the acquisition.
In any event, the next challenge is to be able to pull in all the necessary data from sensors with proprietary communications protocols and to easily get it to a place where it can be analyzed. So the discussion may shift to the platforms for business analytics. Your thoughts?