Siemens’ Annual Media and Analyst Conference Underscores the Need for OT-Based Low-Code App Development

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By Ryan Martin | 4Q 2019 | IN-5632

Siemens’ annual Media and Analyst Conference remains one of the most important events in the industry to get a pulse on both the state of manufacturing innovation and where it is headed. There were three main announcements and takeaways from this event.

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What Will Future Factories and Manufacturing Look Like?


Siemens’ annual Media and Analyst Conference remains one of the most important events in the industry to get a pulse on both the state of manufacturing innovation and where it is headed. There were three main announcements and takeaways from this event:

  1. Integrated Offerings Are on the Rise: Siemens announced the launch of Xcelerator, a portfolio that integrates its core Digital Industries software portfolio with Mendix’s multi-experience application development platform.
  2. Low-Code/No-Code Capabilities Are a Critical Success Factor: Mendix is becoming more prominent within and across the Siemens family of products. Another recent development consistent with this trend is DMG MORI’s investment in Tulip, as detailed in the ABI Insight DMG Mori and Tulip Partnering to Bring No-Code Programming to Production Lines (IN-5626). Low-code and Operational Technology (OT) Internet of Things (IoT) in manufacturing will ultimately drive greater digitalization throughout the supply chain.
  3. Industry 4.0 is about More Than Just Product: Siemens Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software is now Siemens Digital Industries Software, a name change that reflects the breadth and direction of its offerings for digital transformation.

Flexibility and Agility Are Key


Every day you do not have a product in the market you’re burning money, so it’s important to get to market, get feedback, and iterate quickly. If you don’t iterate fast enough, someone else will. That is the pace of play in today’s world and the reason why some companies are just starting to talk about product-based digital twins while others are talking about process and even the automation of End-to-End (E2E) delivery. Siemens is very clearly in the latter of these camps.

The company employs more than 24,500 software engineers and has connected more than 1.4 million industrial assets to the cloud. It also commands more than one third of the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) market, has more than 100,000 developers in its Mendix ecosystem, and wears the hat of both an industrial technology solutions provider and a manufacturing end user (among other designations). Together, these data points tell the story of a diverse and well-established market leader with the interest and wherewithal to defend its PLM turf as the audience builds for the next Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Easy Button: low-code app development.

While low-code development technology isn’t entirely new, moving these capabilities to market at Siemens-scale is. Ultimately, this will blur the boundaries between the domains of engineering and operations, much like how connectivity is changing the Information Technology (IT)/OT relationship, but as a matter of necessity as more advanced Industry 4.0 applications take hold.

Digital Industries Software


There are three keys to using complexity as an advantage:

  1. A Comprehensive Digital Twin: This includes everything from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and simulation in product design to Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) in production planning, infrastructure (IIoT), and production itself with Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), automation, and edge. Once you have an E2E digital representation of the product lifecycle, you can layer more advanced Industry 4.0 applications, such as frontloading verification and validation for all phases of a design, by combining simulation and test data.
  2. A Modern, Personalized Approach: The convergence of business, technology, and society is shifting the focus from mass production to mass customization, from Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) to Operational Expenditure (OPEX), and from mega-factories to micro-facilities that produce and assemble products closer to where they are sold, used, and consumed. Companies need to be agile in the face of these changes and doing so means modernizing and digitalizing their business and putting IT tools in the hands of OT professionals (e.g., via low-code app development).
  3. An Open Ecosystem: Industrial organizations, particularly manufacturers, including industrial Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), are very protective of the operational data that’s generated by the operations and the equipment. Private clouds and cloud storage gateways not only provide the means for protecting the data but are also a bridge to the modern capabilities found in public clouds for maximizing data storage and compute infrastructure and flexibly distributing applications and data access. While industrial organizations sit on a continuum of need and comfort with cloud services, compute workloads and data storage by these organizations will ultimately be delivered over distributed infrastructure. This reality calls for orchestration services that can bridge on-premises, private, and public clouds in the near term and multi-cloud environments in the long term, which is why Siemens supports Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Alibaba in China; the company goes where its customers take it.


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