GE Invests $105 Million in Pivotal: Possible Game Changer for Big Data and Internet of Things

Pivotal, which recently become independent of its mother companies EMC and VMware, recently announced that they will be improving the speed of cloud-based industrial software applications, and they’re not doing it on their own, though, as General Electric will be backing them to the tune of a $105 million investment.

It was General Electric’s involvement that allowed Pivotal to venture off on their own last April 1, with a value of almost $1 billion, and about eight months away from having their own product.

One of the more noticeable changes in Pivotal is the fact that they are now referring to themselves as a Platform as a Service (PaaS), and they have admitted to drawing a lot from technology from their days with EMC and VMware’s stable of industry-level products and services. Pivotal is boasting integrated data fabrics, support for lecacy infrastructure, and programming frameworks, with their biggest target being the inclusion of real time telecommunications and future retail scenarios.

Pivotal’s success, if and when it happens, will be a milestone for the technology industry, which has a lousy record when it comes to making a successful company that starts out big. Pivotal is currently banking on a chance to revolutionize the way in which big businesses create software. Now that everything from cars, to turbines, to household appliances have sensor-enabled telemetry that can collect data about place and status, it has become possible to create industry-level applications in a matter of days or weeks, as opposed to months or years.

Pivotal is currently 1,250 employee-strong, with majority of the staff coming from earlier acquisitions by both EMC and VMware. They still have a strong library of software for cloud computing system building, data storage, management and analysis software, which came from its mother companies. Pivotal will be filling in gaps in the services offered by Amazon’s AWS, Google, and Microsoft – all of which offer similar cloud-based services but lack aspects of the business software creation capability.

General Electric’s goal, on the other hand, is to build businesses for the so-called “Internet of Things,” which has greater awareness of the status of its engines, power systems, and medical devices. It’s not as easy as it sounds on paper, though. Industrial data is vastly different from consumer data, and will need a highly reliable software to serve as the backbone. For instance, if the software powering Twitter encounters an error, the worst that would happen is that users will see a “fail whale” graphic. But if a software that’s controlling a jet engine goes awry, lives and property may be lost. This is where Pivotal will be proving its mettle in the months to come.

As mentioned above, the industry is keeping a close eye and hoping that Pivotal makes a lasting mark even if it didn’t go through the small startup phase. Going by past experience, tech companies that started out big eventually fizzled out, such as the high speed cable provider backed by several cable companies, @Home, or IBM and Apple’s answer to Microsoft, Tagligent.

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