GE Digital announced today it was buying ServiceMax, a cloud-based field service management company, for $915 million. GE Ventures had been an investor in the company as part of the $82 million Series F round in 2015.
The two companies have more in common than you might think. GE is building the Predix Platform, on top of which it hopes companies will build applications that take advantage of sensor data coming off of Internet of Things-connected devices. GE has made a huge bet on the Industrial Internet of Things, using data on huge machines like MRI machines, wind turbines and airplane engines to give customers the data they need to proactively maintain these mega systems.
In fact, when I spoke to Athani Krishnaprasad, co-founder and chief innovation officer at ServiceMax recently, we talked about a future vision where sensors on IoT devices fed information to companies, allowing them to build entirely new business models. In Krishnaprasad’s vision for his company, a hospital would subscribe to an MRI machine instead of buying it and pay for guaranteed up time instead of the physical hardware.