The mobile internet revolution has been driven by customers rather than companies, with the most innovative work being done for consumers who often then turn around to companies and ask why they can’t use the same tools at work.

Now – thanks to Google and GE – they can. The two companies have launched a partnership for the utility business that leverages the combination of Google’s customer-facing approach with its ease of use and intuitive maps functions with the deep sector knowledge of GE. Customers accessing GE’s information on energy assets can now load that data on top of Google’s maps functions rather than requiring separate custom-built technology with accompanying training hurdles and potential bugs or mismatches.

“Google is the presentation layer” for visualizing the information in GE’s Smallworld application, Doug Daniels, Google Head of Geo Sales, U.S., who worked on the project told Breaking Energy in a recent briefing discussing the new partnership. The two companies – one a consumer giant and the other one of the largest industrial firms in the world – are at the beginning of a broader linkup to explore ways they can help leverage each others’ expertise.

“We are relentlessly looking at ways to bring value to our customers and this agreement brings together two world-leading solutions providers to help improve productivity,” Bryan Friehauf, product line leader for software solutions at GE’s Digital Energy business, said in a prepared statement. “Millions of people are already familiar with Google Maps as seen on their computer screens in the office or on mobile devices in the field. Now we’re able to bring that familiarity to our Smallworld products so that our customers can use a platform that’s completely customized for their assets and networks.”

The new maps functions are live in the current version of the application and a plugin for backfilling existing customers will be available in March, Friehauf told Breaking Energy. Customers won’t need to worry about security, as the Google maps layer exists underneath the data that utilities would layer on top of it and existing firewall protections would extend to those elements as well.

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