HPE is partnering with Swiss industrial robotics and automation firm ABB to get better insights from the data produced in industrial settings.

The global partnership will use HPE’s hybrid IT services to help customers make the most of the mass of data that is created by ABB’s industrial technology products. This, the companies believe, will help customers improve their businesses with increased efficiency and flexibility.

ABB is a leader in the type of technology likely to be used in what has been termed ‘Industry 4.0’. This means smart, connected technology being used in heavy industry, construction, manufacturing and retail. The advantage of using connected devices in these settings is that the data they produce can give an idea of where processes can be improved.

The firm has an installed base of 70 million connected devices, 70,000 digital control systems and 6000 enterprise software solutions. HPE’s expertise is in optimising hybrid IT environments using what it calls ‘secure, software-defined technologies.’

This combination of ABB’s operational technology (OT) expertise and HPE’s IT base will, the companies hope, turn industrial data into actionable insights. They will use cloud platforms such as Azure, combined with on-premise IT systems, both in centralised data centres and at the edge.

The combined effort of different IT platforms is hoped to accelerate data processing while also providing effective control of industrial processes.

ABB CEO, Ulrich Spiesshofer, said: “Together, we will bring intelligence from cloud-based solutions to on-premises deployments in industrial plants and data centres for greater uptime, speed and yield.

“ABB and HPE will deliver solutions that span the entire range of computing required by enterprises today, from the edge to the cloud to the core.”

Outgoing HPE CEO Meg Whitman described the alliance as “unprecedented and ground-breaking.” Whitman recently quit HPE’s top job, coming as a shock to the industry, given her recent high-profile rejection of the position at Uber. Her resignation also comes at a crucial time for HPE as it sheds many of its legacy departments in favour of cloud and hybrid solutions, causing the loss of around 5000 jobs.