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Powerhouse GE Taps Proximetry’s Talents for New Platform

It’s always nice when you are the little guy and the big guy turns to you for some specialized help.

San Diego-based Proximetry Inc. said early this month that its software will be part of a bigger software platform from General Electric Co. Financial terms of the relationship were not disclosed.

GE calls its product Predix, describing it as a cloud platform for the industrial Internet. Predix will carry data from connected machines. Analysts from IDC predict that by 2020, more than 50 billion industrial assets will be connected to the Internet.

Proximetry makes device management software. It coordinates the transfer of copious amounts of data over existing wireless networks. It will consider the available wireless technologies and choose the optimum one; keep track of thousands of tasks; and push through high-priority traffic while saving low-priority traffic for later.

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The San Diego company’s product is embedded into Predix Edge Manager, which “helps control, secure and speed connections between machines and from the network edge to the cloud,” according to Proximetry.

GE (NYSE: GE) said it is tapping a $225 billion market opportunity with Predix.

The partnership is something like a minnow and a whale: Proximetry has 55 employees, with some in San Diego and some in Poland. GE has 333,000 employees. The Connecticut-based conglomerate had $117.4 billion in revenue in 2015 — about four times the revenue of San Diego’s biggest public company, Qualcomm Inc.

(Incidentally, Proximetry is a Qualcomm partner, too, contributing to Qualcomm’s Atheros Wi-Fi-based intelligent connectivity platform for the Internet of Things.)

Proximetry is privately held. Investors include Munich Venture Partners, Aeris Capital, Investec and Rembrandt Venture Partners.

Proximetry, whose office is at the foot of the runway at Lindbergh Field, also works with aerospace contractor Thales to transfer data on and off aircraft while the aircraft are on the ground. Sempra Energy is another Proximetry client.

Tracy Trent is Proximetry’s chief executive.

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Leveraging Linux and Virtual Reality: A Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) blog says the company’s effort to develop the ecosystem for its server chips is gaining momentum.

Qualcomm, of course, is not getting the profits it once got from its smartphone and tablet chip business. It’s exploring adjacent markets, including chips for the Internet data center. Qualcomm’s server chips will be based on 64-bit architecture from U.K.-based ARM Holdings PLC. Qualcomm offered some details during a recent conference in Bangkok about how it is working with North Carolina-based Red Hat Inc., which will provide Linux software for the effort. Qualcomm’s Ram Peddibhotla goes deeper into the weeds on the topic with his post in the OnQ blog, which you can find here: http://bit.ly/1UuA6kk.

In other Qualcomm news, the company says it plans to introduce a software development kit for people writing software for virtual reality. The point is to help those developers wring the most out of Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 820 processor — one of the aforementioned chips for mobile devices. The software development kit should be available during the second quarter of 2016. To make virtual reality an immersive experience, developers and device makers need to tamp down power consumption and keep time-lag (also known as latency) to a minimum. Qualcomm claims its software developer kit can help with both.

• • •

Short Takes: Peter Duffy Ltd., a U.K.-based civil engineering and utility firm, has selected Novatel Wireless Inc.’s Ctrack telematics solution to manage its fleet. Sorrento Mesa-based Novatel Wireless (Nasdaq: MIFI) picked up Ctrack when it acquired DigiCore Holdings of South Africa in a deal that closed in October. … Novatel Wireless also recently offered a glimpse into DigiCore’s work with a South African insurance carrier. In four years, Discovery Insure has fitted more than 100,000 client cars with the Ctrack solution to offer what is called usage-based insurance. Usage-based insurance puts an electronic monitor in the insured person’s car to get a sense of the customer’s driving habits, and adjusts rates accordingly. (Usage-based insurance is not legal in California, though your out-of-state friends insured through Progressive Corp. may know the product by the brand name “Snapshot.”) … Kearny Mesa-based PDQ Connect has released its OneSource antenna system, which provides Wi-Fi, cellular and HDTV connectivity with a single antenna connected to a single cable. The product also works as a Wi-Fi hotspot. PDQ is targeting owners of pleasure boats, yachts and recreational vehicles. … Tricopian LLC said it has installed kiosks dispensing its FuelRod cell-phone rechargers at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (where the slot machines also beckon).

Send San Diego technology news to bradg@sdbj.com.

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