Siemens’ new $500m IoT middle-east investment – proof of concept for a truly connected factory?
by Heat Recruitment
By Steve Auburn
IoT is a booming industry in today’s economy. The global market is now predicted to rise from $2.99 Trillion in 2014, to $8.9 Trillion in 2020 – a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.92%. This growth is, however, hugely influenced by the consumer market. Smart homes, the Amazon Echo and various other internet connected technologies have effectively disrupted a number of industries.
Within business, however, things move a little slower. Whilst the consumer sector is a hotbed of innovation, with engineers and specialists able to build and push products to market for relatively quick uptake, when these solutions are applied to factories they hit a roadblock.
Siemens, the global manufacturing giant, has now announced a $500m investment, boosting its digital presence in the Middle East over the next three years. MindSphere, their cloud-based operating system (OS) for the Internet of Things, is set to be at the forefront of two new centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Dubai centre is set to handle airports, logistics and cargo, and the Abu Dhabi hub will be utilised to serve process industries – specifically oil and gas, water and wastewater.
Siemens’ Chief Technology Officer Roland Busch confirmed that: “The Internet of Things has arrived and is set to transform industries and cities. However, many companies are still in the early stages of adopting digital strategies and incorporating them into their business models … We see vast potential for the adoption of digital technologies in the Middle East and want to support the region’s transformation in various ways, ranging from youth development to setting up our MindSphere Application Centres.”
In practice, this is one of the company’s first moves to truly connect industry from start to finish. Proof of concept for a truly connected factory.
So, can this innovation be properly utilised in the UK? The answer is predictably complex.
Sweating assets is currently one of the largest issues holding back the UK’s productivity. Compared to other G7 nations, we’re lagging woefully far behind. Factory owners retail the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset. Despite this, once the UK became established in its own manufacturing undertaking, the industry had already changed. Those who had not made significant investment in their systems were at an advantage. Companies that invested too early then locked themselves in to that technology for the next decade… or at least until the case could be made for an upgrade.
Today, however, the industry seems to be more open to the idea of an upgrade, the global IoT market within industrial manufacturing is now predicted to rise from $473bn in 2014 to $890bn by 2020 – a strong signal of intent.
With Siemens putting their money where their metaphorical mouth is, it’s clear that the IoT-enabled factory of the future is no longer just rhetoric. Connected supply chains, factories, and distributors are the next step for British manufacturing. What’s next is deciding how we get there.
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