ABB boosts status in industrial IoT market with HPE alliance

ABB is continuing to expand its presence in the industrial IoT market through partnerships and acquisitions.

Courtney Bjorlin

December 8, 2017

3 Min Read
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wireless communication network abstract image visual, internet of thingsThinkstock

Continuing to build out its industrial IoT capabilities, ABB will partner with HPE to help customers bridge operational technology (OT) with IT systems, with plans to co-develop, service and sell products that support ABB’s digital offerings on HPE hybrid IT solutions.

The news builds on a series of recent moves. In April at Hannover Messe, the German industrial trade show, ABB announced it would partner with IBM to deliver AI solutions. In July, ABB picked up automation specialist B&R for a reported $2 billion. More recently, it revealed plans to acquire GE Industrial Solutions for $2.6 billion.

ABB Ability – ABB’s platform that includes 180 industry-specific solutions built on Microsoft Azure – will run on hybrid platforms such as HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure, enabling customers to deploy applications on-premise or in the cloud. The partnership includes converged IT and OT solution design, as well as a single system integrator for design, integration, operation and finance, according to interviews. A large part of ABB’s business is software-based, which includes embedded and control systems.

As part of that effort, the companies will develop joint data center solutions, including a “secure edge data center” designed to run in harsh industrial environments developed in collaboration among ABB, HPE and Rittal, the world’s largest manufacturer of IT racks, according to a press release.

“Customers want to be able to use a single platform to manage all of their assets. That’s the future of the digitization of industry,” said Ciaran Flanagan, group vice president, head of Global Datacenter Solutions, ABB. “To really bring the value of IoT, we have to bring together IT and OT.”

With HPE, the vision is “take the mystery out of capturing, managing and securing the data,” to achieve goals like cost savings by managing OT and IT through a “single pane of glass,” Flanagan said.

The first step to bridging historically siloed IT and OT sides will be “making hybrid IT simple,” according to Volkhard Bregulla, vice president, Global Manufacturing Industries, HPE, in order to ease the collection and consumption of data from the edge to the core to the cloud.

“Some 50 to 80 percent of the data is processed at the edge,” Bregulla said. “We’re powering the intelligent edge, and making the back-end hybrid IT simple.”

The partnership includes building an “all-in-one” data center for industrial environments to enable edge computing, which brings together industrial power distribution from ABB, enterprise grade computing, storage and networking from HPE and rack infrastructure from Rittal. In turn, ABB and HPE will build an optimized data center automation platform to enable data center power, cooling and building systems to automatically adapt to changing IT demands or incidents, according to a press release. ABB Ability Data Center Automation will be integrated with HPE OneView, HPE’s IT infrastructure automation software.

The two companies will begin rolling out solutions early next year, according to Flanagan.

“The comprehensive set of things we’ve agreed to do together is unique (because of) the ability to go end-to-end,” Flanagan said.

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