IOT, 3D Printing are Making GE Cool Again

In case you haven’t seen the ridiculous GE TV commercials, you know that GE is immersed in a transformation to become a more software driven company but, more importantly, to be at the forefront of technology innovation to power the next generation of industrial enterprise solutions.

This week, GE announced its intentions to acquire two 3D printing companies: SLM solutions based in Germany and Arcam based in Sweden. The acquisition price for SLM was value at 38 Euros per share for a total of $762 million. SLM makes laser machines for metal 3D printing. Arcam is also actively working on metal 3D printing and is the company associated with inventing the election beam melting machine. GE agreed to pay 285 Swedish Crowns per share for a total of $865 million. With both acquisitions, GE will be spending almost $1.4 billion to become one of the leaders in the industrial 3D printing space.

Leading the Industrial Enterprise

GE’s new acquisitions are another milestone n a strategy focused on embracing modern technologies and adapting it to industrial solutions. 3D printing is certainly nothing new but the potential of applying at the scale of GE’s operations in industries like healthcare, aerospace or solutions is certainly a strong validation for the 3D printing space.

3D printing is not the only modern technology relevant to GE’s strategy. The internet of things (IOT) is, arguably, GE’s strongest area of focus. In the IOT space, GE is immersed in a battle with technology giants like IBM, Microsoft and Amazon to establish a leadership position in that emerging market.

In just a few yeas, GE’s Predix IOT platform has achieved a market leadership position claiming over $9 billion in revenue in 2015 and forecasting $20 billion by 2020. Predix is based on Cloudfoundry, the open source private platform as a service (PaaS) which represents another example of GE’s investments in modern technologies.

What’s the Next Cool Tech Market for GE

As an industrial powerhouse, there are many emerging technology markets that should be in GE’s radar. Here are some ideas:

— Drones: GE could become one of the most influential players in the drone technology market by applying it to industrial scenarios like asset management or surveillance in verticals such as oil & gas or agriculture.

— Augmented Reality: Augmented Reality (AR) could be another area of focus for GE in the near future. By augmenting worker’s view of their environment with digital information GE could help power a new generation of solutions that improve business processes in industries like manufacturing, healthcare or automotive.

— Robots: No much explanation is needed here. The robot market is experiencing a renaissance across different sectors. With his knowledge of industrial enterprise solutions, GE is in a unique position to become a pioneer of solutions that bring robots to the modern workforce.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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