MindSphere World Italy saw the lights come on this autumn as an open source eco-system, based on cloud technology aiming at developing IoT standards. This will lead to the best possible inter-operativity across functions meaning companies can fully exploit the potential of digitalization. At the BI-MU, rubbing shoulders with Siemens Italy, many partner companies were able to share their experiences.
by Silvia Crespi
Right there next to Siemens Italy at the recent BI-MU exhibition was MindSphere World Italy, the association promoting development in IoT standards for industry and infrastructure: an open source operative system, based on Siemens IoT cloud technology. The association had been officially introduced at a press conference on 25th September in Milan at Palazzo Parigi, while its founding goes back to July, following a journey undertaken by Siemens together with 17 partners. Fields of expertise include machine tools, IT specialists, system integrators and universities. The clear goal is to become a system of reference for the manufacturing world.
Italy, coming after Germany, is only the second country in Europe where this group will be operating. There are currently 18 partners, but growth is expected but in the domestic market as well as abroad.
Transforming data into knowledge
Which data is key? How often does it need to be collected? What methodology is required for analysis? What about security and sharing, or indeed intellectual property? These are some of the challenges facing MindSphere World with the intention of solving these more than relevant questions and, at the same time, support companies in their journey toward digitalization.
MindSphere World is an eco-system that collects, analyses and transforms data and product from a plant, infrastructure, machine or production line into knowledge, usable, valuable information.
Association partners can use the API (Application Programming Interface) through the Siemens operative system to get support during updates and improvements of applications used. Through such an approach, it becomes possible to define wide ranging standards that allow for maximum inter-operability across the many functions within the MindSphere platform, whether this be in industry or infrastructure.
The association intends to nurture the ecosystem’s reach, providing partners with the correct level of development and best possible IoT solutions. At the same time, the MindSphere platform’s industrial performance requirements will be defined together with the creation of uniform regulations for data usage.
A further role will be that of promoting research and development together with training. “Today, the association is taking its first steps here in Italy – said Giuliano Busetto, MindSphere World Italy president… This represents not only a major breakthrough in the eco-system image, a system which envelops the open source IoT platform, but also further proof of the strategic importance of the Italian market for Siemens in the industrial sector, from manufacturing to continuous process, not forgetting the role of Siemens and its industrial divisions managed to global standards right here in Italy. The presence, among the founding partners, of machine constructors, focused on competitive edge and technological innovation in their markets, as well as universities, industrial partners and innovative start-ups, is evidence of great value. MindSphere aims to be the IoT standard for cloud applications not only in industry but also in infrastructure”. Andrea Gozzi, MindSphere World Italy secretary general said: “The experience that partner companies can offer users in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, countries which will be co-ordinated from the Italian hub, is one of completely new digital expertise”. The international make up of the association was highlighted by the Vice President, Roberto Crotti. The organization is split into working groups, each of which acts in total autonomy with centralized co-ordination.
Partner experience told first hand at the exhibition
BI-MU was present at the fair with the goal of creating a network of “knowledge”. Four of the founding partners of MindSphere World Italy were there to showcase the differing roles within the ecosystem and to focalize on the advantages that have been enjoyed. Crippa, the manufacturer of tube bending and endforming machines, with its cloud based solution for machine condition monitoring. Engineering, in the outsourcing and cloud computing sectors with DiVE Factory Trend monitoring. Business Segment Machine Tool Systems by Siemens Italy with specific applications for NC machinery through Manage MyMachines. Finally, Rittal, supplier of solutions and components for infrastructure, with a strong set up that highlights the way in which the introduction of Blue e+ conditioners in the IoT platform has made it possible to monitor maintenance information and visualize device condition status through the MindSphere app.
The Festo case study: shared goals
Festo is one of the MindSphere World founders in Germany. So, getting on board with Mindsphere Italy was a more than logical choice for Festo here in Italy itself: on one hand, a natural progression from the initial pathway taken by the HQ, on the other, a great opportunity to get together with partners and develop the kick off and growth of the platform in Italy. The decision was grounded in Festo’s belief in the data and technology sharing that form the basis of the MindSphere world, a technological approach that allows data to be separated into different channels and levels, with the knowledge that data as a single element, has little added value, but certainly does when it is analyzed, interpreted and set within the parameters of the service being offered. This is exactly where Festo sees great potential for new business in the context of complete service packages. This may not require substitution, but, under a more realistic mind-set, parallel integration with consolidated and solid business models based on physical asset exchange. The combination of the two (physical and service assets), with the increased performance levels we now see, means productivity across the whole manufacturing chain can be boosted. This evidently has positive consequences for all entrepreneurs looking to maximize return on investment.
A concrete example of how Mindsphere is being used by Festo, is given in the exhibition planned by the two German multi-nationals during the recent trade fair, specifically, the link between E2M, the Festo integrated intelligence energy efficiency plan and Mindsphere. Data produced by E2M is transferred onto Mindsphere and is immediately visible on the cloud thanks to the dashboard which reads and interprets it. Speed of data transmission, ability to process information, usability and modifiability in device functioning are just some of the benefits brought up during the demonstration.