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Digitalization is bringing about an accelerating rate of change in industry and infrastructure, said Siemens executives at a special event, “Driving innovation for the U.S. and the world.”
The convergence of hardware, software, and analytics is providing more value to customers, Dave Hopping, president of Siemens Building Technologies, said. He spoke about four use cases:
- Reducing total installed cost
- improving operating and maintenance expenses
- improving energy efficiency and sustainability
- reducing the number of full time equivalent employees needed to operate buildings.
The key is to connect buildings and analyze data. To do that, Siemens has developed Integrated Infrastructure Solutions, which consist of an integrated building management system, which creates a integrated Building Internet of Things; Navigator, an analytics platform that sits on top of the BMS and provides fault detection and diagnostics and predictive services; and a digital services center, staffed by experts in areas like building engineering and data science, to maximize the value of data generated by buildings.
Ultimately, digitalization could lead to autonomous buildings, which operate without needing people to run them. The building itself would detect problems and generate work orders, or in the event of an imminent shut down of a critical system switch to a backup automatically, Hopping said.
Advances in areas outside the commercial and institutional facilities arena — such as industrial automation — are expected to have an impact on buildings.
For example, Siemens has developed a platform called Mindsphere, a cloud-based, open IoT operating system. While it is currently focused on manufacturing applications, it could be applied to facilities as well.
Advances in artificial intelligence, now being applied to gas turbines, could also make the leap to commercial and institutional facilities.
Another way that Siemens is accelerating the development of digitalization is with an initiative called next47.The focus is on investment in start ups — the external innovation infrastructure, as Lak Ananth, managing partner of next47, called it. Next47 can curate innovations to find the best of the best that can solve problems. It aims to bridge the worlds of technology innovation and customer needs.
For example, microgrids are increasing for a variety of reasons, including growing interest in solar power and other sources of renewable energy, backup power, and combined heat and power systems. Siemens is collaborating with start-up LO3 Energy to create microgrids that make possible local energy trading with blockchain technology. Siemens is providing its Digital Grid microgrid platform and support from next47, while LO3 Energy is providing its peer-to- peer trading platform.
For more about Siemens, visit www.siemens.com.