Partnerships front and center in Siemens announcements

Unveils Xcelerator, a new open digital biz platform, and a new partnership with Nvidia for immersive digital twin development.

(Source: Siemens AG)

Siemens AG is looking at the future and has realized that to make digital transformations faster and easier for everyone, partnerships are needed. “No company to do this alone,” says Peter Koerte, Siemens’ chief technology and strategy officer. With that in mind, Siemens made two major announcements today. The first is a new open digital business platform called Xcelerator, which will accelerate digital transformation and creation for Siemens’ partners and customers, no matter their size. The second is a joint partnership leveraged with Nvidia for physics-based immersive digital twin development. The companies’ shared vision: to help build the industrial metaverse.

Siemens says its Xcelerator will make it easier for companies to navigate digital transformation faster and at scale, by combining the real and digital worlds across operational and information technology. The new platform comprises three pillars: a comprehensive portfolio of IoT-enabled hardware, software, and digital services from across Siemens and certified third parties that complement one another; an ecosystem of partners, both large and small; and a growing marketplace that facilitates communication and interaction among partners, customers, and developers.

“It marks a step change in how we can use our technologies and in the way we work together,” said Roland Busch, president and CEO of Siemens.

Xcelerator will be the bright sun around which the Siemens ecosystem will evolve, and the company is looking at the platform to be its moon and stars, too. As Busch notes, Xcelerator requires a commitment to openness and simplicity. To this end, the company will now transform its entire portfolio (hardware and software) to be more modular, cloud-connected, built on standard APIs, and work with all other applications a customer is running. Offerings from both Siemens and third parties will follow stringent design principles of interoperability, flexibility, openness, as-a-service (extending to hardware as well as software), and be cyber-secure, so everything works together seamlessly.

Xcelerator marketplace is starting with 400 solutions (deliberately small, deliberately focused on a few verticals first—commercial real estate, utilities, pharma, and heath care) that will continue to grow and evolve in scope, content, and functionality. People can use the marketplace to educate themselves about Siemens and partner solutions.

“As much as this is an ambition, it’s also a reality,” says Koerte, acknowledging that Xcelerator demands a long journey, not a sprint, and transitioning its own portfolio into this platform is the first step.

Siemens also announced the first new SaaS as part of Xcelerator, Building X, a smart building suite that is modular, fully cloud-based, and open, with AI-enabled applications. In addition, Siemens revealed that it is purchasing Brightly Software, whose asset and maintenance management software will become a core element of the Siemens Xcelerator for Buildings portfolio. And the company plans to integrate its industrial IoT solutions as Industrial Operations X. In terms of the nomenclature, Koerte says that all future product names that fulfill the building design criteria of the platform will carry the “X.”

In its first major move to expand the Xcelerator partnership ecosystem, Siemens extended its relationship with Nvidia to help drive the industrial metaverse through the use of AI-driven digital twin technology. Both companies are bringing something unique to the table: Siemens with its information and operational technology, and Nvidia with its accelerated computing, AI, and real-time technology. The plan is to connect Siemens Xcelerator with Nvidia Omniverse, resulting in physics-based models from Siemens and AI-enabled, physically accurate, real-time simulation from Nvidia, all within an open ecosystem that connects hardware and software. Both firms contend this will bolster industrial automation and enable users to make decisions faster and with more confidence.

Indeed, Siemens is already known for its digital twin technology, but through this partnership, it is now far more comprehensive and photorealistic. But as Koerte stresses, Nvidia is offering far more than a pretty picture—there’s AI capabilities for verification purposes, real-time rendering, and more.

However, a “pretty” picture is important, too, says Tony Hemmelgarn, CEO of digital industries software at Siemens. The digital twin that will result from this collaboration will not only look like the real thing, but will behave like the real thing, as it represents the exact functions and behaviors from the system in the real world and allows customers to make decisions faster to bring collaborative worlds together, to design in parallel, and to accelerate the process to get work out faster to customers.

Rev Lebaredian, Nvidia VP of Omniverse, notes that there is a connotation to photorealistic rendering that it is for superficial things, like visual effects in movies and games, but in serious applications, it doesn’t really matter. “We take a different view. We see rendering as a very important type of physics simulation of how life interacts with matter, how electromagnetic waves and photons interact with matter, and the results of which are these images that can be beautiful because the real world is beautiful, and if you match the real world close enough you get that,” he says. “In this modern era of AI, one of the things that’s clear to us is that to build these new intelligences, we need to supply them with data, with information that is essentially an encoding of the experience of the world around them. AI has learned to see depth perception, how to classify people based on their experience. So, to create this experience for them, we need to create these worlds virtually—we need to create an accurate simulation of how the real world actually looks and works. So, from our perspective, the only way we are going to create truly intelligent AI is first by creating the worlds for them that match our real world accurately, and a big part of that is how that world looks.”

Both Siemens and Nvidia believe that the industrial metaverse will drive digital transformation, and believe this new relationship, forged by Xcelerator and Omniverse, will be an important aspect. Hemmelgarn sees connecting the open ecosystem of Siemens Xcelerator to Nvidia Omniverse will allow NVidia’s customers to interact with industrial information in a whole new way—resulting in a different way of working and a different way of thinking.

Benefits that the industrial metaverse can bring are apparent, Busch adds. “When we combine the real and digital worlds, the real world works much better. We can reach new levels of productivity and sustainability. And we can change the way we live,” he says.

Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang says this is just the first step in the companies’ joint effort to make this vision real for its customers and the global manufacturing industry.