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The Industrial Internet—what many consider to be the next industrial revolution—will shape the future of industry, ushering in a new period of explosive value creation and rebooting productivity growth. The foundation of technical enablement of this new industrial era is Predix, the cloud-based Industrial Internet platform built by industry for industry.

Released generally in February 2016, GE’s Predix has become a game-changer for developers to build and deploy industrial apps in secure environments faster. Today, there are more than 20,000 Predix developers, many looking to deepen their knowledge of the platform. With roughly 700 Predix certified developers, Madhavi Vudumula helped lead the charge, breaking new ground as the first female developer to become Predix certified.

We sat down with Madhavi from Current, a technology-enabled energy startup within GE, to discuss the future of industry software development, how Predix will play an integral role in its advancement, and the benefits to becoming Predix certified. Excerpts of that conversation are below. 

Before we get into the future of industry software, let’s take a look back at what it was like when you first got into the field. What made you want to start a career software development?

I came to the United States in 1999 to get my master's degree in computer science, a program that was dominantly male, even though there were several of women enrolled as well. I was extremely interested in learning more about software because computers started paving their way into every industry. I was especially amazed by what auto cad was capable of doing at that time. The Internet was under rapid growth. Fast forward to today, and we’re now seeing that same rapid growth with the Industrial Internet. But the Industrial Internet is different, and requires a very different platform than what’s on the market. With Predix, we are now able to build industrial apps that can pull massive volumes of industrial data from machines, analyze the data, and provide insights in real-time to help solve problems faster for our customers. 

From a developer perspective, what makes Predix different from other industry software platforms? 

Predix offers a set of services that are far greater than any of its competitors, which typically just offer a basic infrastructure that’s already up and running. These microservices are readily deployable and usable and can be accessed via APIs, which helps accelerate app development on the platform. But that’s not the only thing—Predix’s biggest differentiator is its ability to compute analytics. With Predix, you have the ability to run key complex algorithms on all of your important data sets. It does so much more than just run analytics and actually works to solve for real-world IIoT problems.

What was your biggest motivator for getting Predix certified?

Since all of Current’s products are on Predix, it seemed like a no-brainer to become an expert. I really wanted to learn as much as I could about Predix’s microservices so I could choose the best one for the products. Also, not many people were certified yet when I got the certification in the middle of 2016, so it was a great way to gain additional insights that most other developers didn’t have. I also like a good challenge and I was excited to push my knowledge further.  

Here’s a tougher question. Put on your futuristic, “Star Trek” hats for a moment and think about the art of the possible with Predix. Over the next five years, what major problem or challenge do you hope someone will solve with a Predix app?

A lot can happen in five years in the software world! But, I think it would be beneficial to see services built for artificial intelligence (AI). This can add value to something like Current’s Smart City technology—which helps improve the lives of citizens—through the logical linking of analytics across different modules, and it can also extend its capabilities outside of just GE products as well. An example of this is the object detection feature of Smart City. With AI, you can identify what’s on the road, whether it’s a person, a car, an animal, or even something more granular like a plastic bag. This type of information helps keep cities safer as well.

Holistically speaking, how do you think these types of app advancements will affect the future of industrial software development?

Developers should start thinking about how data is the most important element to this whole situation. No smart analytics, tracking, or reacting is possible without being data oriented. Even if the first iteration of your product is merely storing your data where you can read and transform it later, you’re already miles ahead of your competition, who might still be figuring out how to get connectivity from machine to cloud. Your next step should be applying machine learning to your data, figuring out patterns, and applying those insights to move your product to the next level. 

Have you attended or plan to attend Minds + Machines? If so, what would you say to a developer as to why they should attend?

I plan on attending it this year and highly recommend that anyone with a technical background attends as well, there’s just so much you can learn from this event. From a developer perspective, I’m looking forward to the workshops, Appathon, and hands-on demos since those will give me deeper insights into building an app end-to-end. And as an architect, I’m also looking forward to the keynotes, technical trainings, and sessions on services since those will keep me up-to-date on Predix’s vision and product roadmap, as well as highlight what customers are doing with Predix and the year-over-year accomplishments of the platform across different industries.

Are you ready to help drive industry forward and gain a competitive edge? Register for our developer-focused activities at Minds + Machines, including our Appathon, technical trainings, and Predix certification courses taking place the day before and during the conference.

About Madhavi

Architect, Madhavi Vudumula (GE Current), was the first person to earn the prestigious title of Predix Certified Developer. Her passion is to build distributed, scalable applications to solve IoT problems. In her spare time, she paints, sings, and codes games for her two children. Madhavi has been working with Predix for a year, so when the opportunity arose for her to become a certified developer, she says she “just went for it.” 

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About the author

GE Digital

Driving Digital Transformation

GE Digital connects streams of machine data to powerful analytics and people, providing industrial companies with valuable insights to manage assets and operations more efficiently. World-class talent and software capabilities help drive digital industrial transformation for big gains in productivity, availability and longevity. We do this by leveraging Predix, our cloud-based operating system, purpose built for the unique needs of industry.

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