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








Compressing innovations time needs platforms and ecosystems

We all facing this growing pressure of time. In our daily work, in managing product and service life-cycles, as well as constantly considering business model overhauls as they become ever more connected.

We are not in stable markets anymore but increasingly volatile ones. Innovation needs to be at the forefront of the changes occurring and it above all else needs to find solutions to compress its time from ideation to commercialization.

It is through acknowledging that platforms and ecosystems are today’s new order to deliver innovation. Platforms that connect into the customer needs within its broader ecosystem of design, so the innovation needed to be delivered is capable to match those needs. Innovation requires greater collaboration, a process that is connecting everyone involved in the process from discovery, to design, through to the final viable product, to be on the same platform and contributing their part to the final offering.

Let’s explore some of the parts of the new innovation order: Continue reading

So are you considering a new platform business model? Good luck!

You cannot escape the discussions around platform business models. Recently I saw that 50% of all organizations are either investing or considering a new platform business model. In a report provided by the IBM Institute for Business Value, released last year called “The Incumbents Strike Back” they really encapsulated the survey work they undertook in four topics that tell a story of today, or it certainly should do.

What’s required, now more than ever, according to IBM, is the fortitude for perpetual reinvention and these four topics tell the story of why these are important:

Firstly we are all “dancing with disruption” and it is the reinventors that are finding the way to balance the existing with the designs of the future. This was described as a “balance between stability and dynamism” and exploring the forces at play.

Secondly, reinventors are placing their “trust in the journey” as they are investing in design thinking, testing the assumptions and re-orientating their organizations to engage with their customers to create deep bonds based on trust, the path to personalization.

Thirdly, the whole value is changing based on “orchestrating the future” where organizations scale differently their partner networks, reconsider their value propositions and allocate resources more on business platform designs.

Fourthly, there is a liberating for “innovation in motion” where constant experimentation, getting close to customers and delving deeper into ever-evolving ecosystems of dynamic teams and partnerships are transforming their landscape.

Two really important points for me in this short report was the pull of the platform business model shown in the visuals provided Continue reading

China and Asia for Ecosystem Dynamism

I was trying to capture the Asian dynamism in how they go about Ecosystem designs for their businesses.

The critical captures for me are based on three critical aspects to create this dynamism.

Firstly, in the social conditions within Asia and China for especially smart technology-led connected solutions.

Secondly, the ability of the solution provider in having the capabilities to push the boundaries, in regulatory change and technology innovations, and ‘impose’ radically different structures along the complete supply chain and have as their central focus the customer engagement processes, that delivers the solution needed in the quickest possible time, at the most economical and convenient cost, at increasing scale to drive down costs.

Thirdly having that significant engagement at the top of the organizations, in designing, directing and determining the outcomes and injecting the enthusiasm, drive, and passion for change and commitment.

I believe these three aspects are creating more dynamic ecosystem environments in Asia and especially China.

In Asia, it is a far more top-down but highly entrepreneurial mindset for those that have broken through and built real scale and really very big businesses on their platforms with the excellent technology and a sharp-minded approach to connecting up the ecosystem within the design and solutions. Continue reading

Seamless experience – give me a break!

How can we achieve seamless experiences when we don’t have seamless organizations?

Before we get to argue for this real customer need of seamless experiences we have to resolve the lack of our seamless organizations.

How can any digital transformation take hold within the organization when there is such a serious lack of customer-centricity?

Business units stay locked in silo’s, being measured by how they perform their tasks, they continue to build their individual business case, often over the detriment of others.

They continue to fall into the trap still, they are internally competing for scarce resource and capital and no one actually resolves this, they relish it!  There is this accepted practice to push constantly on the need to invest in the front-and-back-end solutions when they lack this understanding of the customer journey, and in so doing totally filter out part of the customer expectations, preferences and values, if they do not fit their task at hand for them, as the company providing the product or service.

They fail to recognize that today, the decision is in the hands of the customer, not theirs. Can they continue to ignore knowing everything they should need to know about the customer? Continue reading

Moving technologies forward at scale

It seems all IIoT is paved with good intentions. Yet many still are caught up in the “Pilot Purgatory” that McKinsey & Co and the World Economic Forum suggested is plaguing our present pathway to moving towards the 4th Industrial Revolution. In their white paper released in January 2018 called  “The Next Economic Growth Engine- Scaling Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies in Production” they tackle this well.

We seem to be still faced with many problems in taking the “idea” of transformation through pilots into full-scale implementations. It seems many companies are in the investigative phase where it is estimated that the average number of pilots can be around eight different industry 4.0 solutions. That is a fair amount so why do we still seem trapped in pilots.

I think it is for many reasons, let’s take a look at a number  of inhibitors here as my view: Continue reading