AT&T has agreed to provide connectivity for GE’s ambitious M2M program. It will enable employees of companies that use GE industrial machinery to remotely and securely access those products.

The deal is an element of GE’s “Industrial Internet” plan. Industrial Internet looks to combine GE heavy industrial products, including equipment used in transporation, aviation, utilities, and sensors in all types of products, along with big data analysis for increasingly sophisticated control of all of it.

GE already has connectivity deals with Accenture and with Amazon Web Services, and an ongoing relationship with Cisco Systems, which has been pursuing a similar strategy it’s been calling The Internet of Everything.  

GE also said it will be working with Intel on sensors and connectivity chips for its products.

People using AT&T network connectivity to access GE products will be able to remotely track, monitor, record and operate GE machinery. AT&T’s wireless network covers the U.S., but the two companies said the connectivity deal would provide global reach.

The two companies are initially saying that the deal would enable human control and monitoring of GE gear, but GE and AT&T expect the same network will eventually also support machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity.

AT&T and GE plan to use AT&T’s network, single Global SIM (subscriber identity module), device expertise, security, and cloud access for industrial products such as electric vehicle chargers, lighting and engines.

The companies also plan to collaborate in the AT&T Foundry innovation center to build M2M solutions for GE’s software platform Predix. Predix is a management system that can maintain and remotely control industrial machines.

“Imagine a world where an airline for example can remotely monitor, diagnose and resolve issues with its fleet engines virtually anywhere in the world,” said Andy Geisse, chief executive officer, AT&T Business Solutions. “GE’s vision of the Industrial Internet combined with our global network and leadership in machine-to-machine solutions are a powerful combination to help businesses realize the benefits of connected machines.”

"GE's collaboration with AT&T validates our shared and common vision for the Industrial Internet," said Bill Ruh, Vice President and Corporate Officer, GE Software. "Together, we see a future where the intersection of people, data and brilliant machines will have an enormous impact on the productivity and efficiency of industries around the world. By connecting machines to the network and the cloud, we are taking an important step to enable workers all around the world to track, monitor, and operate our machinery wirelessly and remotely through highly secure and machine-to-machine communications.”