GE and Bosch’s Open-Source IIoT Interoperability Not Likely to Make Headway Alone

All IoT heavy hitters need to work together to create a standardized IoT framework.

GE Digital and Bosch Software work in collaboration to improve IIoT Interoperability..(Image courtesy of GE Digital and Bosch.)

GE Digital and Bosch Software work in collaboration to improve IIoT Interoperability.(Image courtesy of GE Digital and Bosch.)

GE Digital and Bosch Software Innovations have started a collaboration aimed to facilitate the openness and growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The companies will focus on boosting interoperability and platform integrations using GE’s Predix platform and the Bosch IoT Suite.

In other words, the companies will be sharing the features of their IoT technologies to improve the user experiences of their customers. The companies will also work together to create an open-source-based IoT core that can be used to create custom IoT platforms.

“Our organizations both have a rich history of manufacturing products, big and small, so we share a common understanding and vision regarding the opportunities in connectivity,” said Rainer Kallenbach, CEO of Bosch Software Innovations. “No company can realize the IoT on its own. It is very important for Bosch to engage in business ecosystems and open-source communities. The collaboration with GE Digital is another important milestone for Bosch’s connectivity strategy.”

As a result, the team will be working with the not-for-profit corporation, the Eclipse Foundation, which acts as steward for the Eclipse open-source software community. The foundation was chosen as both GE and Bosch were already members. Eclipse comprises a long list of IoT developers, tools and standards, which can help members ensure that their IoT applications speak to each other.

A Sea of IoT Interoperability Seekers Makes Interoperability Less Likely

The strategy behind this GE and Bosch collaboration, and every other IoT interoperability strategy, is that the end user benefits greatly when the IIoT enables the products they purchase to openly communicate with each other. By working together on this interoperability, companies will reinforce the benefits of the IIoT and grow the market faster. In other words, the dream of true plug-and-play smart connected homes, cities and factories.

The problem with this strategy is that there is a mass of competing organizations and collaborations vying to dominate IoT communication protocol. As a result, even with GE and Bosch’s big names, and their cooperation with Eclipse, they might not be the winners of this “game of thrones.” There are still other IoT consortiums like the AVnu Alliance, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), ODVA, the OPC Foundation and Z-Wave all working toward their own IoT interoperability strategy.

So for now, the IoT stands to be a cold war of communication protocols, tools and standards where large pockets of devices made by members of the same IoT communication consortium will be designed to work together, but these products may not be members of more than one consortium. This is why it’s so important to understand the communication protocols an IoT platform is compatible with before purchasing one.

So until these consortiums and independent collators meet to agree on a single standard, the web of IoT protocols will likely snag many more IoT products promoting the idea of a plug-and-play smart home, factory or city.

For more on this web of IoT communication protocols, read: What Engineers Need to Know about Communication Protocols When Choosing IoT Management Software.

Written by

Shawn Wasserman

For over 10 years, Shawn Wasserman has informed, inspired and engaged the engineering community through online content. As a senior writer at WTWH media, he produces branded content to help engineers streamline their operations via new tools, technologies and software. While a senior editor at, Shawn wrote stories about CAE, simulation, PLM, CAD, IoT, AI and more. During his time as the blog manager at Ansys, Shawn produced content featuring stories, tips, tricks and interesting use cases for CAE technologies. Shawn holds a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Guelph and an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.