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Intel, GE Partner to Make Trains Mobile Data Centers

The companies team up on GE Transportation's GoLinc platform, bringing greater data analytics and application management capabilities to locomotives.


Intel and GE Transportation are introducing a jointly developed platform that officials with both companies say will help transform trains into mobile data centers.

At the InnoTrans 2016 show in Germany Sept. 19, the two companies unveiled the GoLinc platform, which includes networking, communications and application management capabilities. The device, which is powered by Intel's 6th Generation Core i7 processor, is supported by GE's Predix, a cloud-based platform aimed at the industrial internet of things (IIoT) and is currently being used on more than 6,000 trains.

The idea is that companies can take advantage of emerging technologies like big data analytics, the IoT and cloud computing to enable locomotives to mobile data centers that can connect with both on-board and off-board GE systems as well as third-party offerings, according to officials with GE and Intel. Through the GoLinc platform, organizations can enable better data management and video analytics on the locomotive, which can improve a company's operations, fuel efficiency, power and emissions.

"Our partnership delivers the most advanced connectivity across the rail industry to create a smarter rail ecosystem," GE Transportation President and CEO Jamie Miller said in a statement. "It enables operators to transfer data, host applications and interface with third-party systems, and can boost operational productivity."

Val Stoyanov, Intel's general manager of global transportation, said in a statement that GoLinc "saves time and lowers costs by reducing the amount of data transferred over cellular connections."

GoLinc also helps Intel further its IoT ambitions. The internet of things is one of a range of emerging markets—which also includes the cloud, virtual reality (VR), autonomous cars, 5G connectivity, and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning—that the chip maker is targeting as it looks to reduce its dependence on the shrinking PC space.

The IoT is expected to grow rapidly during the coming years—officials with both Intel and Cisco Systems expect that by 2020, there will be more than 50 billion connected devices, systems and sensors worldwide—and the chip maker sees a chance to not only get its silicon products into many of those end devices, but also to power the data centers and cloud environments that those things will connect back to and to drive the connectivity technologies.

"With decades of experience in creating open ecosystems, powering the world's PCs and servers, and embedding intelligence into unexpected devices, Intel is uniquely positioned to deliver the comprehensive portfolio of end-to-end hardware and software technologies for this revolution," Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala, president of Intel's Client and IoT Businesses and Systems Architecture Group, wrote in a post on the company blog earlier this year.