The infinite possibilities with Siemens Industrial IoT.

I recently listened to a great topic from a panel of experts that certainly opens all our thinking to all the possibilities ahead of us in the Industrial IoT world.

At the Siemens Digital Enterprise Virtual Experience, held in the Hannover Messe 2021 week, entitled “Infinite opportunities from infinite data”, one specific panel discussion stood out.

When you have three leading experts offering insights into a new world of industrial possibilities, you do expect some exciting opinions from each of these leaders in their specialized area.  You hope and get some fascinating insights.

The discussion was between Rainer Brehm, CEO Siemens Digital Industries Factory Automation, Raymond Kok, Senior Vice President, Cloud Application Solutions and Derek Roos, the Co-founder and CEO of Mendix, the low-code application and development platform, facilitated by Sebastian Wolf, the Senior Marketing Director for Siemens MindSphere.

IT and OT have been notoriously hard to bring together.

Although there have been significant developments in recent years, far too many solutions and individual knowledge understanding stay in silos. Siemens’ approach is to bring together the virtual and real worlds, recognizing the “play of the infinity loop” to optimize and simulate the digital world as applied in the real world to learn.

This panel discussed how this solution would work in this real world to optimize its digital twin model and bring together the domain expert (OT) with the digital aspect (IT). This digital model approach will bring completely new opportunities in the advancement of manufacturing, advancing processes as manufacturers are looking to ride the next S curve of productivity.

Today many manufacturers still have no comprehensive plan for digitalizing their operations. As the recent crisis showed, it was flexible, connected, and digitally ready manufacturers who were flexible and highly adaptive to react, respond, keep operating, and even raise their production to meet radically different demands.

Siemens is not just a provider of digital solutions.

Its history and reputation are in building, designing and producing technology solutions for customers worldwide. The term “eating your own dogfood,” in the software industry, comes to mind here, means using the code you’re developing for your own daily needs: basically, being a user as well as a developer.

As advancements are made, it offers customers new solutions on what can they now do they could not do before. As IoT connects the physical world, then to the IT world, you can empower a large community of developers (IT / OT) to evolve the business side to do new things. The interoperability potential of both unlocking workforce and domain knowledge into the (digital) mix to turn this into finding new business solutions.

So why is this important? Producers are constantly under cost pressure; customers expect personalized, high-quality, safe, healthy, affordable, and eco-friendly products. The game-changer for resolving complexity is the integration of digitalization, automation and new technologies. Batches or production runs need to be more customized, highly flexible and able to speed up development cycles from design concept to finished product to meet the rapid demand changes.

In the past production, runs were set up just to run continuously. Today that manufacturing philosophy is outdated for most industries. Rapid response is increasingly reliant on digitally connected environments. This move from “static” to “flexible” operations. They need the optimization provided by managing both in this physical and digital world to plan this and enable even more business models.

The panel suggests we are moving into a far more goal-based, not rule-based environment with the IT and OT’s combined convergence to allow their worlds to merge, enabling technologies and greater collaboration to take place.

In Siemens, their IIoT stack sits in the middle of this convergence. It brings together the edge; it provides IIoT as a service and offers visibility to all involved.  It becomes the core to transforming a digitally connected enterprise.

The key is to search for the integrated value, think big on possibilities, start small in experimentation and collective learning and then make the scaling out fast to generate the return on investments to create the impact demonstrated in this.

Today it is all about interplay.

The interplay between software and hardware, the IT and OT experts, the solution “stack” that manages, stores, and enables the simulation and optimization required of operating in the digital and physical world of infinite possibilities.

As operators start to contextualize the data, they gain insights. In unlocking data through machine learning, it brings a greater understanding to more people, from the shop floor to the top floor. It is through exploiting all these stacks (shown above)

Each manufacturing environment is unique.

It is the interoperability of technologies and solutions coming together for a common goal of delivering customer impact in the finding of new solutions to generate new business models and offer digital experiences to all involved to have a greater understanding and transparency. It is finding the integrated value and planning out the new landscape to optimize and stimulate.

Insights need to lead to action. The need is to connect data, take it and apply it in more valuable ways; this could be in process optimization, predictive maintenance. It could be in new innovative concepts, different shop floor designs combining AI, Robots, Humans to work in other, more intelligent ways.

The IT / OT convergence

Siemens is taking a holistic approach to enable your IIoT business by combining three solution stacks that offer versatile and robust industrial IoT solutions- Industrial edge, Mindsphere and Mendix. The new stack supplies speed, scalability and versatility. This solution set is following on from the recent launch of the Siemens Industrial Edge.

With Industrial Edge, you leverage machine data in real-time and at scale to improve processes. Mindsphere helps you maximize the benefits of industrial data with AI and advanced analytics in the cloud. And with Mendix, you have application development capabilities to hand, even without coding experience.

This solution set is about unlocking the interplay of the different solutions found in the solutions to transform your business into a Digital Enterprise.

The aim is to take IT technology and make it industrialized for broader connectivity, optimization, and insights.

This solution stack takes a total view from the shop floor firstly in machines, processes and data connectivity, and data from products in the field. Then along with Mindsphere, the application and cloud-based analytics with low-code application capabilities development from Mendix, it enables an integrated portfolio of software, services and application development platforms.

Where should one start in building the Digital Enterprise?  

The panel’s advice, do not overthink, get going quickly, start learning and empower your people to discover the solutions that give impact and return and making sure you remove all the unnecessary friction.

As Derek Roos nicely put it, “Remove the friction”. It is about unlocking the interplay of the different solutions found in this combined stack to help you transform your business.

This solution stack combines the two worlds of digital and domain knowledge through connecting digital to physical in the digital twin solution. Siemens makes the OT world accessible to the IT world and vice versa in intuitive ways; they become more empowered and create the future potential, more assessable and valuable.

The goal here is in unlocking and translating insights into new business value. Achieving real impact and return to enable the existing and potential new business to find new opportunities and models. The ability for clients to find a unique competitive advantage combining the two worlds of digital and physical.

Resources and links

Explore your infinite possibilities now: 👉

Disclaimer: This article is published in partnership with Siemens. Siemens is paying for my engagement, not for promotional purpose. Opinions are my own. #SIEx








Accelerating Innovation comes from Ecosystem thinking

Just a reflective moment I am sharing here on the place of Ecosystem thinking.  We need to recognize the changes we need to undertake, even in a world of infinite possibilities. We chose to explore new ways of working; new solutions to difficult challenges need a new approach to accelerating innovation through ecosystem thinking.

In my view:

“Today and in the future, to take where we are in our technology and digital understanding and feed it greater human ingenuity, we give it intelligence, real new intelligence not just the artificial stuff. When we combine the collected knowledge found in a network of collaborators, we can dramatically advance the solutions sought by unlocking previously intractable problems.”

The new environment offers us infinite possibilities

We have new frontiers and unexploited opportunities everywhere when we push through today’s constraints. We have more connected hardware to open up our physical and digital realms, and thirdly we have access all the time to more real-world data than ever before. The birth of the digital and physical ecosystems that enable innovation like never before.

We have some awesome power available to us; can’t we unlock the potential to change where we seem to be heading?

We have entered the new innovation era as we combine in ways not possible until recently. If we take any industry, any societal problem, as we tackle climate challenges, it is the power of connected innovation to make a difference and give us our breakthroughs. We have the tools to tackle big (and stubbornly small) challenges in collective environments.

We are not changing everything as we are still searching for the “how and what”, but we are pushing ourselves by opening up to the “where and why” in such different connecting ways. We are recognizing sharing what we know accelerates understanding for all those involved.

Understanding Ecosystems and how they work is becoming essential for us.

Recognizing ecosystems are vital, combining human, technology and data allows us to pursue multiple possibilities, explore them faster than before, evaluate them in quicker, smarter ways and scale those that show promise for all of us to be more efficient, considerate and respectful of finite resources to undergo a change from individualism to revaluing community and supporting each other in resourceful ways and respecting all that is around us needs to be more balanced.

We can search not just for entirely new capabilities, but also we can take real advantage of actively reshaping so much to rejuvenate and value much that is all around us in different ways of behaviour and reflection. It is the power of ecosystems that can allow us to innovate differently, more designed for sustaining .what we have of this plant we rely upon.

We need a new way to work in ecosystems, different from our past. In simple terms, we begin in well-judged steps:

  • We must constantly look beyond the walls we build around ourselves, we think they protect us, but actually, they trap us in a limited universe.
  • If we do not cultivate sharing and embrace cross-collaborations, we never gain real agility and see “value” beyond our limited experience.
  • When we stop from exploring, in investing time to ‘force ourselves,’ we stop failing. We need to learn faster and learn the ability to correct as we go. We need both the ability for marathons and sprints.
  • What we value needs ethical guardrails; if we just rely on what we are “fed”, we lose the ability to balance and reflect.
  •  We need diversity to fill our lives; however painful this sometimes can be, it gives balance and new structure.

We need the power of those around us to coalesce into a collaborative environment where innovation thrives in an Ecosystem world that recognizes the importance of collective system learning to interact with all of its parts in better, more thoughtful ways. Ecosystems offer the environment for us to evolve.

Making the case for Ecosystem thinking

Business is certainly changing

Credit Tatiana Plakhova @

Regretfully many businesses are still caught in the change over from the past industrial era, we have not fully absorbed or translated the impact of the digital effect. The rising expectations from technology are ‘running way ahead’ of our ability to transform the organizations to be digitally ready.

We are in need of finding and developing environments that are far more connected and open, simple yet intelligent to reduce complexity, yet fast and scalable as the frequency and collaboration needs are changing, all placing increased demands on the organization.

With the consistent onslaught of social media, the potential of cloud computing and the increasing reliance on the mobile or smartphone, the pressure is on organizations to adapt and respond accordingly. The consumer expectations are dramatically shifting to expecting these connected experiences we have written about, they are seeking higher levels of personal gratification.

Everything is about “getting connected”.

Working in Ecosystems will change the nature of business activities

Ecosystems will have the potential to expand capabilities and enable experiences beyond anything possible today in the present ‘disconnected’ world, where technology is not playing a significant part. It is by the very nature of the interacting and interdependence in relationships that is driving this need of participating in an interconnected system.

We are all increasingly searching for designing new ways to do business, ones that are buildimng networks that are collectively finding, exchanging and looking to create and allocate new business value together. It is the need of acting together, that offers the potential for the outcomes to be greater than the sum of the individual parts and it will be technology driven.

Recognizing the significant changes underway let’s look at many parts of today’s environment that are coming together to make the conditions for a ‘perfect storm’ that we have to navigate through.

Multiple elements are combining to drive change and get us all to consider Ecosystem designs as a solution to reduce complexity.
  • Business has a growing need for finding new competitive battle zones as they exhaust the traditional ones
  • There are these higher risks of disruption happening today, across all industry sectors
  • The scramble to scale and globalize is increasing the pressure for speed, adaptation, and new outlooks.
  • Customers are more sophisticated and demanding, expectations and empowerment are on the rise.
  • Customer experience is becoming more compelling, individualized and offering integrated experiences.
  • Digital transformation, big data analysis and the ubiquity of information is changing the knowledge game
  • Industry lines and conventions are blurring and merging through the need for technology and overhaul
  • Power is shifting from single company offerings into platform offerings, built on collaboration needs
  • The existing Business Model is increasingly under threat and shorter in its ‘shelf life’
  • Collaborative Needs are increasingly the basis for achieving competitive advantage
  • Reality is that every innovation and company is part of a broader, evolving ecosystem
  • Our futures are far more intertwined and dependent on others
  • Technology is leading us all in an unparalleled rate of change in most of what we do in our lives.
  • The reinventing of the rules of competition have dramatically opened up (startups, venture capital etc)
  • We all cannot navigate the future alone, we are becoming increasingly reliant and dependent.
  • Technology offers business greater access to intelligence that is fast and scalable
  • There is a shift in the economic equation to collaboration, transparency and customer engagement.

These shifts are altering the business environment and organizations have got to find solutions to address these, as these shifts are increasingly making the environment highly complex to navigate through. Ecosystem thinking holds a crucial key to managing this growing complexity, in radically connected ways.

Business Ecosystems are not new but they hold tremendous promise for innovation

Business Ecosystem thinking, although not new, is rapidly becoming the new organism to coalesce around to tackle growing complex challenges and a more demanding consumer. It has the mechanisms to encompass all necessary players to share and relate to the challenges and collectively work on solutions together, often in a growing world of complexity.

Creating A Unique Nested Hydrogen Ecosystem for the Energy Transformation

Ecosystems hold a certain fascination for me. The ecosystem approach can tackle and help resolve some of the more complex issues we face.

We increasingly use the word “ecosystem” to describe our environment that we operate with, but we are often diluting its true positioning.

Truly unique ecosystems are hard to find and certainly to manage. One I really feel reflects a collaborative model worth explaining is the ones that are forming around Hydrogen as the alternative energy vector based on renewables. To replace or become a significant part of any entrenched energy system requires a system design approach. This part of the energy transition fits within the ‘greater’ energy system design.

Let’s look at this with some context and then clarify that approaching Hydrogen needs a unique Ecosystem design. We are presently building a unique ‘nested’ Hydrogen Ecosystem within the Energy Transition. It is interesting to explore, firstly here and then in a follow-up post on one of its specific parts. Continue reading

The Power of Innovation Ecosystems

The power of a powerful networked ecosystem

We are entering the world of innovation ecosystems where broader, more complex innovation challenges, through greater collaborations can be achieved. So to help, there is a dedicated site to building the arguments and explore options for your future here in collaborative designs and you have found it!

Collaborative Ecosystems are forging a new direction and momentum for innovation to travel and tackle more demanding innovation that requires the capabilities of more than one to deliver what is becoming increasingly possible through technology and the network effect we see through our growing connections.

For many today, innovation is simply not working, it remains a disappointment for a variety of reasons, especially for those leading organizations required to be seeking out new growth, operating in increasing volatile and tough markets where disruption and copying are increasing the pressures. Something has to change and it is this recognition that it can come from managing innovation in ecosystems can provide part of the answer.

We believe innovation needs to enter a new era of prosperity.

Incremental innovation can only take you a very limited way, it needs a bolder resolution as we must move from the era of discreet products, There is a need to deliver some changes in the way we operate, collaborate and create. Perhaps this is even more radical than we initially would like but this needs a different set of thinking and growing understanding and here, we aim to provide part of this.

We are finding ourselves in a race to the bottom when it comes to maintaining a competitive edge. As soon as the product is available within ever-decreasing time, it is being copied and any advantage has vanished. Can we continue to chase our tail?

We require a different way of thinking. This is more centred on innovation ecosystems.

So on this site; it will be dedicated to telling the innovation stories that provide the understanding of the value and growth opportunities that can come from exploring innovation ecosystems.

These will include what makes up innovation ecosystems and the changes this can offer. How the platforms we see everywhere can fit and work for us.

We all need to explore ecosystems, understand the delivery mechanisms of platforms along with other collaborative methods and push towards the new need of today, to deliver a seamless total solution that provides customers what they are constantly asking for, to solve their needs and give them greater engagement and experiences. This thinking is driven by a need for new products and services and experiences, otherwise, we believe customers will continue to turn away from discrete, disconnected products and services increasingly over time

Shaping and introducing new innovation ecosystems is not easy but it has enormous potential to transform competition and deliver on this ‘seamless experience’ that will be valued and recognized by its unique set of offerings. It can become the unique competitive positioning due to this connected ecosystem of collaborators, it offers an advantage to all engaged in its potential as it has diversity, dynamics, differentiation and distinctiveness in its  design and delivery

Continue to browse on this site to help in this understanding of a new innovation era where ecosystem thinking and platform management are combining in ways that are giving far greater impact and growth to the business that participate. They offer a multiplier effect.

Thinking About Relationship and Network Management

By looking outside we open up. More and more demands are being placed on us via our customers, suppliers, our regulators and a host of other stakeholders all wanting to contribute into our existing knowledge. The ability to collaborate, to cooperate is coming by purposefully designing ecosystems and platforms

We struggle to adapt to these new external pressures as the more we engage outside we realize there are (often) stark differences in approaching problems. This adaptation demands a very different approach to anyone organizations structures, processes and systems. They need to adapt to and support these changes in working within an ecosystem designed one.

We all need to be more flexible, adaptable and agile so our resources grow their capacity to absorb and strengthen the competency and capability in new more dynamic ways. To design in ecosystem thinking needs a very different approach.

Continue reading