Siemens Software to Create Change in A Kinder, Gentler Way


This week in Princeton, New Jersey, Siemens brought together several hundred technologists, from inside the company to partners and media, to share some expected updates about the accelerated evolution of their work in artificial intelligence (AI) and the “rise of autonomous systems.”

After nearly 200 years in existence, and several decades of developing everything from smart factory robotics (starting in their own manufacturing facilities) to intelligent machines and connected manufacturing systems, the company has most recently been reaching out to build tech ecosystems with an open embrace, while also working more intensely with universities, government agencies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs.

Siemens has long been considered one of the world’s top companies in industrial and B2B technologies and has been developing software before the world understood what software was and would mean, long before Industry 4.0 became “a thing.”

The thing is, while Siemens is one of the world’s top ten largest software companies, it is under-recognized for its work in Industrial IoT and the software, systems and networks that make manufacturing more efficient and companies more profitable. The Siemens team, including a number of incredibly bright and passionate engineering experts, recent PhDs, data scientists and industry experts, enthusiastically shared demos across digital remote services using VR glasses and computer vision software, an “Ag Pod” developed to address the global food shortage, voice control car tech, autonomous power restoration for energy grids, and 3-D printing for the “on-demand” economy.

The innovation being demonstrated will drive many forthcoming features, including one we’ll be publishing soon on the “intrepreneurship” initiative which brought together Siemens teams across different talents and skillsets; their presentation to Siemens USA’s CEO Barbara Humpton (the day before the conference) inspired the inspirer.

That brings us to the “unexpected” aspects of the day, on a day when the United States was remembering President George Herbert Bush, a public servant who called for a kinder, gentler society at his inauguration and whose son today continues the Thousand Points of Light Foundation.

The morning of the event, we learned recently elected New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy would be on stage with Humpton, and their “fireside chat” started with a heartfelt remembrance of President Bush, and moment of silence.

This set the tone for the balance of the day and a broad discussion with no debate about the “why” of business and technology. Without a doubt, the theme was “people before profits” and beyond that, “people AND profits” when new innovations are designed, engineered and matured given a thoughtful relationship between people and machines – especially in our increasingly hyper-connected world.

“It’s us not against each other,” Humpton said, “but it’s us against the problems of the world. We are stronger together when we leave no one behind, and that means education and partnership, including a focus on middle skills development, being inclusive and investing in centers of innovation, including our work in New Jersey, with Princeton and Rutgers.”

Governor Murphy was fully in alignment, and clearly enjoying the moment invoking his “State of Innovation” vision for New Jersey. Citing a long history of technology giants based in the state, including the iconic Bell Labs, AT&T, multiple pharmaceutical companies, and promoting programs addressing education, from investments in better schools, free community college, and excellence in academics, Murphy is passionate about the opportunity to bridge the “digital divide” while driving “21st Century Mojo.”

The key? Using the inevitability of more technology in our lives and in our workplaces to thoughtfully create pathways for every town and every city in the Garden State, for all their citizens, through education and opportunity.

“I am an optimist,” Murphy said, and so is Humpton. She genuinely believes the work she and the team of over 50,000 people she leads in the US, and the work Siemens does around the world, working with other companies, will be part of the solution – minding the societal gap, and bridging the digital divide while bridging the physical and digital world.

Humpton’s vision for the innovation centers Siemens is funding, with one of the largest and most aggressive R&D budgets in the world and led by Norbert Gaus, Executive Vice President for Research and Development for Digitalization and Automation at Siemens Corporate Technology (the “CT” of Siemens ConneCTs), is to find creative ways to collaborate even further with community leaders and educators bringing up the next generation of workers.

Undaunted by rumors that automation and robotics will destroy jobs, and intellectually and emotionally clear that AI will not devalue the human brain and heart, Humpton said, “We have a real chance to bring opportunities and better lives to everyone.” When asked about how “open” Siemens will be going forward, including adopting more open source technologies and working with not only adjacent customers but, in some cases, competitors, Humpton said “Those who lead are going to be just fine. When we create technologies that elevate the role of the human being as part of the equation, we find more human ways to develop our businesses and communities for the progress we need.”

This extends to a cleaner environment, more progressive cities, stronger educational systems, and above all – access.

Governor Murphy and Humpton both see access and the axis of good.

As the new Governor continues to roll out his progressive plans for New Jersey, while participating with other Governors and leveraging his global relationships (he was the Ambassador to Germany for several years and in Berlin when the Wall came down, and spoke German at the event), it is easy to see how one of the most populated and imperfect but committed states in the US will deepen its relationship with Siemens, continuing to create and more to the point collaborate in increasingly modern ways.

Stay tuned for a series of features on technologies shared and meaningful ideas surfaced this week, as we continue to follow the confluence of software, hardware, systems and “things” – and a world where the physical and digital become intuitively meshed, serving people and driving profits in increasingly enlightened ways.

You can learn more about what was shared at the event here.

Event speaker videos on demand can be found here.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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Contributing Writer

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