General Electric (GE  ) announced a new partnership with China's networking and telecommunications provider Huawei Technology Co Ltd in mid-July, to develop new Internet of Things strategies. Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provide networks that enable machines (from everyday objects to industrial machines) to communicate with each other via the internet to collect data that can improve productivity, reduce emissions, and lower fuel costs.

The Internet of Things is a major driver behind the "next Industrial Revolution", and we will be able to experience every aspect of our lives being affected by the increasing ability of consumers, businesses, and governments to connect to and control everything around them. 

The partnership is part of GE's initiative to boost its industrial IoT business in China and will give Huawei access to GE's Predix platform, which is considered to be the first operating system and platform for building applications that connect to industrial assets, collect and analyze data, and deliver real-time insights for optimizing industrial infrastructure and operations.  GE expects its Predix software to spark innovation in the manufacturing process similarly to the way Apple's iOS operating system revolutionized mobile devices.

China's manufacturing sector is massive, employing around 100 million people, and IoT solutions are expected to help mitigate growing labor costs for Chinese industrial companies that face rising wages.  Opportunities are huge, with estimates by GE that say the Chinese market for IoT solutions will grow to $166 billion by 2020.  The Huawei partnership will help GE establish a strong presence in China and increase its share of the pre-boom IoT market there.

Manufacturing has become one of the leading sectors in IoT adoption, as automation solutions have proved to be effective in improving productivity and cutting labor costs.  GE is not the only company looking to capitalize from the growing automation trends in manufacturing - American automobile manufacturer Ford (F  ) recently became one of the first manufacturers to adopt human and robot collaboration in its factories, and Taiwanese multinational electronics manufacturer Foxconn announced in early June that it will replace 60,000 workers in one of its plants with robots.

In addition to the partnership, GE announced that it will be opening a software incubator in Shanghai, funding it with an initial $11 million to encourage developers to create new applications on its Predix platform.  Reports say that GE made $5 billion in software revenues in 2015, and is targeting $15 billion in annual revenue by 2020 with Predix as the main driver of that growth.

The Internet of Things is picking up momentum, and major players in tech have already begun to make their mark in accordance to growing trends.  In 2015, Amazon's (AMZN  ) Amazon Web Services launched its Internet of Things platform, which uses real-time streaming services, storage devices, and massively-scalable databases.  AT&T (T  ) is betting on its broadband network being a key enabler of IoT, launching M2X, a cloud-based data storage service, and Data Flow, a development portal for building IoT applications. The present state of IoT has already been exciting, but the future has so much more to hold - stay tuned.