Marquee Stands at Hannover Messe 2022 Demonstrate the Partnerships Required to Sew Digital Threads

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By Michael Larner | 2Q 2022 | IN-6583

Formal partnerships between vendors with disparate expertise are the order of the day to deliver digital threads on manufacturers’ behalf.

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The Return of Hannover Messe


Hannover Messe opened its doors on May 30 after a 3-year hiatus. Closed restaurants, live streams, and people wearing masks were signs that everything was not entirely as it was in 2019, nevertheless it was an important opportunity to reconnect with contacts and make new ones.

The show had its share of exhibitors with new castings and fasteners, Internet of Things (IoT) gateways and wireless routers, as well as demonstrations of Three-Dimensional (3D) printing and robotics. However, the giant stands constructed by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft, and companies likes Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, SAP, and Siemens were not to be missed.

Industrial Ecosystems on Show


Hyperscalers were very prominent in the exhibition halls with AWS showcasing its own solutions, as well as 20 partners present at the booth, including GE Digital, Hitachi, Infor, Machine Metrics, Matterport, SKF, Seeq, and Siemens; emphasizing the range of Industry 4.0 capabilities the firms can support together, such as supporting engineering design, making production line equipment “smart” and optimizing the entire line. Away from AWS, suppliers like ABB, Ansys, AVEVA, and Cognite outlined how they work alongside Microsoft, and likewise, Splunk, Intel, and Accenture with Google to enhance manufacturers’ productivity.

There was more of an industrial feel to the Cisco stand with representatives from Augmentir, Honeywell, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, and Stanley Black & Decker discussing how their expertise can enhance asset visibility, equipment monitoring, and securely transporting data from the edge to the cloud.

Another angle to the digital thread was evident on the SAP stand with FORCAM, Syntax Systems, and TeamViewer illustrating how data collected by their solutions can provide manufacturers with new insights and critically integrate the data with customers’ SAP systems.

Ericsson outlined its role in helping equipment Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) control assets and equipment performance data, while Nokia mocked up a production line whereby manufacturers can improve their productivity by working in conjunction with Nokia, along with Atos and PTC’s Kepware and ThingWorx solutions.

Finally, the theme at the Siemens stand was aligning sustainability with profitability. The company showcased its Estainium Network with Siemens and 14 partners (including Merck and NTT Data) aiming to reduce items’ Product Carbon Footprint (PCF). The company explained that, currently, a manufacturer will only be able to mine 10% to 20% of all the data related to the final product. By standardizing and analyzing data related to all the raw materials and the final product across the entire value chain (suppliers, manufacturers, partners, and the final customer), manufacturers can work toward minimizing a product’s ecological footprint across the value chain.

Alignments Will Be of Little Value if There Is Disharmony on the Customer Side


A key takeaway from the show is how major companies with unique capabilities are partnering with one another (Rockwell Automation with Cisco, Nokia with PTC, or SAP and TeamViewer) to support manufacturers’ efforts to establish a digital thread of their operations. Having a supplier ecosystem housed on the same booth sends out a strong message to buyers that there are readymade capabilities to support their objectives and that customers can be working sooner on a project’s findings, rather than spending time and resources stuck in the middle resolving vendor disagreements. Vendors not part of these ecosystems risk being left on the sidelines and being considered only as point solutions, rather than part of a holistic value chain.

But given the nature of the different ecosystems highlighted above, customers will still need to agree on their objectives internally before shopping around for solutions. It remains the case that Operational Technology (OT) teams cannot go it alone, as they will need the expertise of Information Technology (IT) colleagues to ensure the facilities have sufficient network bandwidth and security. Conversations at the booths suggest that the threat landscape is evolving inside the facilities in terms of the need to monitor personnel and devices capturing images and data from the factory floor. More than ever, the OT and IT organizations need to be unified so that manufacturers can work alongside partners to optimize their operations having End-to-End visibility via a digital thread.