GE and PTC Form Broad Strategic Alliance to Pursue Brilliant Factory Opportunity; ThingWorx a key

Tom Paine

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GE (NYSE: GE) and PTC (NASDAQ: PTC) announced late last month that the two companies would form [a} broad strategic alliance to "partner to deliver an innovative manufacturing solution that will be available within GE’s Brilliant Manufacturing Suite. This new GE-branded manufacturing solution leverages the capabilities of PTC’s ThingWorx Industrial Internet of Things application enablement environment."

GE beleives the collaboration will deliver a "shop floor to ERP solution" that will be of particular value.

PTC's ThingWorx has been working with GE for a while, so the partnership is not really a surprise. But the endorsement of GE, perhaps the leading US industrial company, certainly will help ThingWorx secure a place among the leading industrial IoT platforms.

ThingWorx, based in Exton, was founded in 2009 by three veterans of the factory automation industry (before the term Internet of Things stuck), Russell Fadel, Rick Bullotta and John Richardson. Funded during the venture stage in large part by Safeguard Scientifics, ThingWorx was acquired by Massachusetts-based PTC at the end of 2013 for about $112 million plus a potential $18 million earnout.

People often think of IoT as being for consumer or light office application, but ThingWorx' founders understood the unique needs of the industrial enviroment and focused from the beginning on serving that market.

And its a rather big company now, though its hard to believe that LinkedIn has 262 employees listed for ThingWorx, of which 63 are in the Philadelphia area.

It is GE's intent to market the IoT platform to other manufacturers, as well as deploying it internally.

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