Digital enterprise is already a reality: Roland Busch of Siemens AG

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Published: June 3, 2019 2:49:46 AM

"We are seeing an acceleration in interest and demand from customers for our digitalisation portfolio,” Roland Busch, COO, CTO & Managing Board Member, Siemens AG tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview.

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In the digital age, new business models driven by Internet of Things (IoT) are successful in creating customer value through speed and scale, says Roland Busch, COO, CTO & Managing Board Member, Siemens AG. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can potentially give a huge boost to the Indian industry.

“India is a key focus market and plays an important role in our global digitalisation strategy. We are seeing an acceleration in interest and demand from customers for our digitalisation portfolio,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview. Excerpts:

How important is India for Siemens? How well are you placed to meet the country’s technology and manufacturing needs?
India is a key focus market and plays an important role in our global digitalisation strategy. Research and software development in India coupled with the sharpened focus on startup innovations through Next47 will actively drive the implementation of cutting-edge technologies. We feel very comfortable with our India footprint; we have a lot of engineers here, there are 22 manufacturing sites for Siemens here, plus there is a strong customer base. We have a very strong digital offering which is also a part of the local competence. We have been growing 10% over the last five years and are on a high-growth trajectory.

What are the key priorities and growth drivers for Siemens in 2019?
We see growth in the industrial space—that is, any kind of manufacturing process industry, by 4-4.5%. We see a little bit of dip in the automotive sector, mainly pulled back by China and by the tax discussions but we see a pick-up in food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and oil & gas. Then we have a basic growth in smart cities or smart infrastructure for cities. We see a growth rate for the high voltage systems and mobility space, a nice growing market; this is not exceptionally high or low but a very stable growth, says 3-3.5%, where we have proven that we can capture market share.

How have customer sentiments changed with the advent of digital?
Customers now understand that digitalisation is something that they have to do, be it in terms of deploying technology in the R&D space to develop faster, in the manufacturing space to simulate digital twin manufacturing sides, or even at an operational space. This trend towards the adoption of digital technologies cuts across all markets.

Big Data and AI will give Industry 4.0 a huge boost. Intelligent software solutions can use the high volumes of data to identify trends and patterns that can then be used to make manufacturing processes more efficient and reduce energy consumption. Intelligent software with sufficiently intelligent analytical technology is already available. MindSphere, the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens, can be used to link products, plants, systems, and machines. The digital twin enables virtual testing of a variety of scenarios and promotes smart decisions in areas such as optimising production.

Industry 4.0 is the new buzzword, how can Big Data and AI give it a big boost?
AI and Big Data are a big part of Industry 4.0 and this goes along with it and sits in middle. The basic idea about digitalisation or Industry 4.0 is that you can make meaningful use of the data that you capture; storage is less expensive, you have more processing power and you can easily deploy algorithms and create value out of it, thereby increasing your up time, reducing your time-to-market, testing time, etc.

How can AI positively impact productivity in India?
The key point is now you have the data available and the processing power available which make these algorithms work and they can deploy it in India or any other place, be it in the manufacturing or infrastructure space.

Industry is becoming increasingly digitalised; the digital enterprise is already a reality. Digital twins have been used for some time to structure the planning and design of products and machinery—and production operations themselves—and do so more flexibly and more efficiently while manufacturing high-quality, customised products faster and at an affordable price. But what would happen if the machines and processes could gather insights and optimise their processes during live operation? The potential is enormous. The good news is that this can already be achieved, step-by-step, using AI.

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