Since the launch of GE’s Predix platform, GE has been positioning itself to become the major player in the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) space.

Predix is a software platform for the collection of data – lots and lots of data – from industrial machines.

As the owner or leader of an energy services company why should you care about GE and Predix?

Yesterday, GE announced the $915M acquisition of ServiceMax (http://fortune.com/2016/11/14/ge-servicemax/), which, according to Capterra, is one of the leaders in Field Service Management software.

I am by no means in the inner circle of GE; however, if we follow the bouncing ball, it is highly plausible that using the Predix platform with sensors hooked into industrial equipment and the ServiceMax field data capture software, GE will know the following:

1. Your customers
2. Your purchases
3. Your assembly components
4. Your pricing
5. Your employees

If they know all that, they will also know your growth rates, your production rates, your efficiency and your profitability.

What are my data points?

Data Point #1 – GE has made two strategic moves that will affect the oil and gas industry. First, the bid for Baker Hughes enables this technology to get out into the field more readily. Second, the acquisition of ServiceMax provides field service management software that further expands on their IoT platform giving their people in field the tools necessary to be both timely and disruptive.

Data Point #2 – GE became a sponsor of Zone Startups in 2016, a Toronto-based accelerator operated by Ryerson Futures (http://www.zonestartups.com/). Through mentorship, technology and funding, GE encourages industrial technology firms to build their solutions and integrate with the Predix platform. Several companies have now been purchased by GE as complimentary solutions enabling the Predix platform.

Someday, it could be possible that your customer hooks up GE sensors to your product and links it to the Predix platform, which sends out a request for you or a Baker Hughes / ServiceMax / GE tech to come out and address the problem – all without you knowing or being involved.

In the way that Kodak didn’t react quickly enough to the change from film to digital photography, the same risk lies here with energy service players.

What can you do?

As a provider to the oil and gas industry, GE needs you to adopt their platform to be successful. By choosing to purchase your solution from a software-only company like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft or one of 100 independent solutions, you will ensure that your data remains yours and more importantly your client relationship remains yours.