Will Siemens MindSphere become a new cloud-based platform to redevelop PLM?

Will Siemens MindSphere become a new cloud-based platform to redevelop PLM?

Siemens PLM made some waves in PLM and IoT world last week by announcing availability of Siemens MindSphere platform for Amazon Web Services. Navigate you browser to the following link – Siemens’ MindSphere with industry-driven solutions now on Amazon Web Services (AWS) | Siemens USA Newsroom. The following passage by Steve Bashada, Siemens PLM and UGS veteran can give you an idea what Siemens PLM does:

“We’ve listened to our customer’s demand for high availability and global scale, and are embracing a new AWS first approach to MindSphere,” said Steve Bashada, executive vice president of Siemens Cloud Application Services. “Thanks to our collaboration with AWS, Siemens customers and partners will have access to one of the best Industrial IoT Application Programming Interfaces from Siemens, coupled with direct access to AWS services for faster application development.”

MindSphere provides an opportunity to participate in the digital transformation of companies regardless of industry or size. With Siemens’ global base of millions of installed devices, Siemens and its’ partners can develop valuable MindSphere applications through rich application programming interfaces (APIs) and deliver digital services in collaboration with AWS. These collaborations enable MindSphere to provide a holistic set of IoT solutions and services, matching the requirements of our customers, providing numerous opportunities to build and operate digital offerings around MindSphere on AWS.

You can get more information about MindSphere here. If you never heard about Siemens MindSphere, here is what it does:

MindSphere is the open, cloud-based IoT operating system from Siemens that lets you connect your machines and physical infrastructure to the digital world. It lets you harness big data from billions of intelligent devices, enabling you to uncover transformational insights across your entire business.

In a nutshell, MindSphere is capturing time and event data produced by sensors in various machines (starting from cars and turbines to variety of equipment you can only think about) and connecting it into a meaningful pieces of information.

Well.. this is where I believe is a big trick. You can capture lot of information easy and store it relatively cheap. But to translate data in meaningful set of information can be not trivial tasks. AI and machine learning is coming to mind immediately, but even there the story is not simple as soon as you move from typical machine learning cases to recognize voice and images.

Siemens PLM big goal is digitalization and digital twin. MindSphere is going to play an important role of capturing information of physical world and connecting it to digital assets. Speaking about these assets, MindSphere will have to be connected to digital representation of systems able to create digital models – starting from 3D models, process models and other digital information about products.

A combination of MindSphere and AWS can create an interesting opportunity to turn MindSphere  into digital information infrastructure for product lifecycle. Think about future PLM platform. Last year, I shared my thoughts about what can become future architecture for product innovation platform here. The options I mentioned  – IT infrastructure, PaaS and IaaS cloud platform and services. With the development of IoT platforms, I should add it to the list of options.

So, what should happen next? My hunch, PLM infrastructure should come to IoT and be vertically integrated to provide a context for IoT information. IoT will demand re-architecture of PLM backbones:

Collecting information is simple. Sensors and storage will do a job, but what will come next? Manufacturing companies will be looking for a context that can be used to connect IoT data and to transform it into actionable information. All those part numbers, design changes, ECOs, bill of materials, maintenance plans… The information stored today in product development usually in multiple systems will be used as a context to aggregate IoT data.

Unfortunately, existing PLM systems are very much siloed and constrained. Also, lot of them are just focusing on PDM functions and document lifecycle. Many systems are operating in the context of specific company and not capable to absorb multi-disciplinary and cross company data.

Teamcenter is available on the cloud as well. Will Siemens PLM introduce a bundle of both systems together? I didn’t find any information about it. Will they fit together? I guess both systems have different architecture and were development in different time. It will be interesting to see an evolution of both systems under a single umbrella of Siemens PLM.

What is my conclusion? Digital transformation is going to bring new systems and change architecture of existing information infrastructure. MindSphere is an interesting example of information stack. Combining it with AWS can turn it into global infrastructure. Product information such as design, product structure, bill of materials are intertwined with information captured by MindSphere. By adding cloud services capable to manage product information online, MindSphere or similar IoT platforms can become a future PLM platforms.  Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.



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