An Wittelsbacher Platz in Munich – the Siemens headquarters – there is a lot of activity this week. There are all sorts of new collaborations and projects to announce, as well as takeovers. Overall, they all flow into the goal of increasingly shaping the traditional industrial group into a digital software forge. “Today’s launch of Siemens Xcelerator, the recent acquisition of Brightly Software and the expansion of our partnership with Nvidia are milestones: We are consistently implementing our strategy and accelerating our value-added growth,” said Siemens CEO Roland Busch on Wednesday.
Busch presented his new strategy last year. An essential part for the industrial group is to increasingly sell suitable digital offers in addition to hardware. In the future, software will also increasingly be distributed via a type of subscription model (as a service) instead of via one-time license fees. The manager did not raise the goals set last year on Wednesday, but instead confirmed that he wanted to increase digital sales by an average of 10 percent a year. In the past fiscal year (ending at the end of September), revenues in the digital business amounted to 5.6 billion euros. Overall, the group earned around 62 billion euros.
On Wednesday, Busch gave the go-ahead for the Xcelerator platform. Siemens understands this to be a kind of open marketplace where customers can find a portfolio of Internet-enabled hardware and software from their own company, but also offers from third-party providers. In the future, customers and partners should be able to find each other more easily, exchange information and jointly advance their developments.
Among other things, Siemens itself will gradually design the entire range of Internet-enabled hardware and software in a modular manner and connect it to the cloud. Standard interfaces should also be used. The idea is to enable companies to integrate their own systems with Siemens technology and vice versa. The technology should also be interesting for medium-sized companies that do not want to change everything.
50 certified partners
So far, the new platform, which Siemens started developing around three years ago, has a good 50 certified partners, as Peter Körte, Head of Technology and Strategy, explained in a press conference – and thus initially only a fraction of the approximately 4,000 companies that Siemens as a whole referred to as a partner. The management is also not interested in generating sales directly with the platform. The strategy is very clear to increase the number of interactions, “our idea is not to monetize the platform too early,” said Körte.
An essential first step – and part of the new platform – is an extended cooperation with the tech group Nvidia. Siemens and the Americans want to improve the so-called digital twin. This is a digital image of what is to be built. In this way, for example, errors can be eliminated digitally and prototypes can be created better.
Siemens is a global leader in industrial automation and has a lot of experience with digital twins. Nvidia, on the other hand, has an AI-supported platform that, in combination with the technology from Munich, should lead to true-to-the-original, even three-dimensional digital twins in real time.
What potential the two CEOs hope for from this technological partnership, they left no doubt on Wednesday: “Photorealistic and physically supported digital twins […] offer enormous potential to transform economies and industries,” said Busch. The two companies share a common vision of “how the industrial metaverse will drive digital transformation,” said Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang, referring to the idea of a virtual space that connects to the analog world. However, the two left it open how much sales they are aiming for with this cooperation.
However, Siemens already gave figures at the beginning of the week when the group announced that it wanted to take over the American software company Brightly for around 1.6 billion dollars. The Americans offer software for plant and building management that is easy to install and use and is therefore suitable for a larger group of customers.