Blog: Alan Norbury, Central Technology Officer, Siemens

END-TO-END THINKING

Digitalisation is going to be the great enabler when it comes to helping transform the UK’s industrial landscape and allow the country to reap the economic benefits that will follow from improved productivity rates, flexible manufacturing capabilities and a sharper competitive edge in a globalised marketplace.

Digital technologies are the central part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and will deliver a data-rich, interconnected world where seamless and intelligent digital technology platforms will make all the difference.

Virtual and augmented reality, digital twins & simulation, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, advanced robotics, cloud technology, 3D printing and cyber-security protection are among the many high profile digital tools now at the disposal of companies who want to secure their competitive futures.

On a practical basis, such tools will deliver a pathway to achievements that can be the foundation of tangible business success including reduced time to market thanks to shorter innovation cycles, enhanced flexibility to provide for individualised production and higher productivity, as well as increased optimisation across the entire digital enterprise.

Siemens is leading the charge to help industrial sectors, be they manufacturing, energy, power, healthcare or transport, to recognise the great opportunity that lies before us within an interconnected, data-driven environment. This is a world that can support fantastic ideas such as a capability to manufacture personalised medicine regimes within the pharmaceutical industry, creating decentralised and highly effective energy generation infrastructures to serve local populations, as well as tackle the challenge of changing consumer demands which are increasingly seeking choice at every turn and access to new products within ever shorter timescales.

In order to achieve such ambitions, it is vital to think holistically along the digitalisation value chain and try to integrate touchpoints throughout a product lifecycle in order to extract full value. This, in essence, means having a target in mind for any digital implementation.

This could range in scope from improving daily production performance based on the intelligence provided by data interrogation in order to undertake strategic decision-making from a position of certainty, through to ultimately evolving new business models. Limitations are purely based upon company ambition, as today’s industrial digital technologies with connectivity at their heart can certainly deliver.

Siemens recognises the fundamental importance of this interconnectivity. So as well as being a global leader in hardware and software and designing, manufacturing and supplying the range of industrial digital technologies I have alluded to, we also bring with them a practical method to derive ultimate value; one that truly harvests and optimises the vast amount of data intelligence companies will be able to access in a digital future.

Our end-to-end service includes the development of MindSphere, considered to be one of Siemens most significant and ambitious innovations to date.

It is an open IOT operating system for the cloud that enables simple, secure and encrypted connections from machine to machine or process to process on an unprecedented scale, helping transform IoT data to deliver productive business results and offer opportunities for product and business model innovation.

MindSphere is setting the standard for connecting real things, including intelligent devices, to the digital world and by leveraging such scalable connectivity industry can begin to realise immediate benefits that support set objectives and ambitions around performance, competitiveness and the evolution of new business models.

If such ambitions include upscaling productivity, promoting flexible production capacity, tackling cyber security concerns, reducing environmental impact, delivering customised products to market more quickly, creating high value jobs and driving commercial growth, they can be the new reality for industrial enterprises who believe in and act upon a digital vision.

Thinking for the long term, not focussing on short-term fixes, realising the benefits from system connectivity and data intelligence, and using the derived insight to inform the future, will, ultimately, enable companies to make the most from any initial investment as they embark on an exciting digital journey.

Siemens stands ready and able to support such organisations every step of the way.

For more information read our MindSphere white paper.

Alan Norbury was a keynote speaker at Industry 4.0 Summit in 2017. This year, Brian Holliday, Managing Director, Siemens Digital Factory, will join the Industry Leaders panel at the 2019 Summit to discuss opportunities for Britain’s manufacturing industry post-Brexit and up to 2030.

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