New customer positions Uptake to take on GE – Technology News

on Jul18

18 July 2017 | 2:21 pm

Uptake has landed a new customer that positions it to rival GE in the drive to use data to improve factory operations.

Panduit, which makes cables, connectors, cabinets and racks, fiber-optic components and other products to build the physical network for a telecom or computer system, is licensing Uptake software, which offers predictive analytics. That allows Panduit to market that service to the manufacturers who make up its customer base.

“They want to enhance the hardware to software,” said David Murray, director of business development for Uptake, co-founded by Brad Keywell, its CEO. “They have the channel, and they also have data. … We have an (Internet of Things) platform and also data science.”

Uptake is one of Chicago’s most closely watched tech startups. It was founded three years ago by Groupon co-founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, who’ve had a string of hits as tech entrepreneurs. It’s one of a handful of Chicago “unicorns,” or venture-backed companies valued at more than $1 billion. It recently raised more than $90 million and is valued at more than $2 billion.

Uptake isn’t alone in pursuing the industrial predictive analytics market. Siebel Systems founder Tom Siebel started C3 IoT in 2009. Murray said GE represents Uptake’s only significant competitor in this market. The Boston conglomerate sells Predix, cloud-based software that collects and analyzes data from industrial machines. Last year GE Chief Digital Officer Bill Ruh told investors he believed Predix would generate $15 billion in revenue by 2020.

Caterpillar, which was Uptake’s customer at launch, uses Uptake’s technology in its locomotive business, on heavy equipment and at dealerships, Murray said.

The deal with Panduit, a Tinley Park company with more than $1 billion in revenue, focuses on different terrain: the factory floor. The goal is to use Panduit’s network management software and equipment sensors to monitor plant machinery, then for Uptake to analyze that data to make sure the machinery runs at peak efficiency.

Manufacturing creates more data than any other sector, said Caralynn Nowinski Collens, chief executive at UI Labs. When transformed into a useful format, it can tell a business when a machine needs maintenance, or when it needs to be retired. That can minimize downtime, when a factory’s equipment stops and the business stops making money.

“The companies that can turn that data into information on how to make things better … are the companies that are going to win,” she said.



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