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 certainly do get some fascinating insights.
IT and OT have been notoriously hard to bring together.
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 solution.
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: https://sie.ag/2ReojOY