Are the next steps of IT/OT convergence at hand? Siemens would say yes. IT and OT are blending more than ever in some new offerings under an umbrella of data-driven manufacturing.
Siemens just announced the expansion of their Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) framework into Industrial Operations X. Industrial Operations X includes Industrial IoT, Industrial Edge, and Mendix Low-code technologies. The focus is on making it easier to integrate manufacturing IT (such as MES, HMI/SCADA) and OT (such as PLCs, DCS, and other automation). Siemens aims to deliver more flexible, interoperable, scalable, and open solutions. If they succeed, it should lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
Software-defined automation for speed and ease of converging IT and OT is another angle. News there includes the virtual PLC, an S7-1500 controller with no hardware to install. Another breakthrough is configuring OT with modern IT tools such as GitHub and text-based programming. Beyond bringing their products together, Siemens intends to help transform manufacturing engineering processes. With the skills shortage, this may be crucial.
They also announced that the IIoT platform MindSphere will be called Insights Hub starting this week. Insights Hub is one domain capability within Industrial Operations X. The foundation for all other Insights Hub applications is an app called Monitor. Other apps include OT such as SIMATIC Energy Manager and Manage MyMachines as well as new ones in IT such as OEE, Quality Prediction (combining asset and process data to feed a machine learning model), and Asset Health and Maintenance.
Siemens explains that this set of announcements is the beginning of a journey. Clearly, it expands the ecosystem they started with Industrial Edge. New IoT-based applications are in the works both from Siemens and from partners and customers leveraging low-code capabilities. HANNOVER MESSE is always a big time for Industry 4.0 announcements, and Siemens always has a big presence. Thank you Jon Heidorn, Raymond Kok, and Roland Melzer for delivering us a preview of these announcements. We look forward to following the continued convergence of Siemens’ automation and software offerings to enable manufacturers to accelerate their success.