Inside the Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services platform partnership

A look at the alliance between Siemens and Orange Business Services regarding Industrial IoT platform Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services’ IoT platform Datavenue.

At Hannover Messe 2018 digital twins seemed to steal the show from a technological evolution (and of course ‘selling’) perspective. Cobots seem so 2016, don’t they?

The partnership between Siemens and Orange Business Services, among others, aims to bridge the gap between industrial operations and IT with IoT and analytics thanks to joint solutions with Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services’ Datavenue

On the level of companies, it was hard to ignore several ones. While the buzz dimension at the tradeshow was already high in this age of Industry 4.0 hype as it is at most similar events, this year the social media buzz took the capital of Lower Saxony by storm.

The presence of some companies was, let’s say, quite noisy on social channels where  companies such as Siemens and its ‘Digital Enterprise – Implement Now’ and others spared no efforts. We’re not here to judge marketing in industrial markets. Times change, even if in some areas for the worse and in markets such as the manufacturing industry where buyers don’t always strike us as being open for too much hype, let alone for using Twitter.

However, we’re pretty sure that the ‘social influencer’ efforts of some companies at Hannover Messe were not targeted at the European and certainly local German audience (that still represents the majority of professional visitors) but rather showed the ambitions of a few players towards countries where the automated decision-making and profiling, which attributing scores based upon social media usage is, has become big business. Yet, time for IoT and cloud platforms at Hannover Messe 2018 and that Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services deal.

Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services Datavenue Industrial IoT platform partnership

Industrial cloud platforms and IIoT platforms – what happened at Hannover

Aside from digital twin technology, cobots (yes, they were there of course), artificial intelligence and machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, interesting additive manufacturing innovations and many other, equally interesting, trends and inventions (also in logistics) there were quite some industry evolutions to follow, indeed also on the level of industrial cloud platforms and the pure industrial IoT platforms.

The impact of the industrial software powerhouse created by the merger of AVEVA and Schneider Electric‘s industrial software business was one (AVEVA also announced a partnership with Libelium regarding Libelium’s Meshlium gateway and AVEVA’s Insight cloud, powered by Wonderware) recent fact that certainly was interesting to watch from the impact and roadmap perspective (that’s for another post though).

According to IDC 51% of German companies plan to roll out IoT platforms in 2018

The changing market of IoT platforms was also visible in many ways with obviously a prominent role for Industrial IoT platforms and edge platforms as fog computing and edge computing become ever more important. At CEBIT 2018 the IoT platform market is represented even more than at the edition 2018 of the annual Industry 4.0 gathering in Germany of course, given the different scope of both events.

With IoT platform adoption poised to grow well in 2018 in Germany (51 percent of companies planning to role IoT platforms out according to IDC Germany that also found an increasing interest for data analysis at the edge and a new momentum for the IoT connectivity market with LPWAN) and with IoT platform adoption growing on a worldwide level (89 percent growth in revenues according to the MachNation AEP ScoreCard 2018), quite some German players in both the overall IoT platform market and Industrial IoT platform market are doing extremely well on global levels too.

Of course, there is the Siemens MindSphere AEP (Application Enablement Platform) that was called a leader in the Industrial IoT platform market from the AEP perspective by ABI Research in its 2018 Smart Manufacturing Platform Assessment report and ranks high among edge platform leaders, IIoT platform leaders; pretty much everywhere. Yet, also other German IoT platforms were present at the event and are doing well in many areas: Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT, SAP, Bosch, relayr, all ranking well in one or the other ScoreCard (e.g. the edge platform ScoreCard).

Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services – the platform deal

Siemens MindSphere was in the news because of Siemens’ partnership with Orange Business Services, one of the bigger names in IDC’s IoT platform Device and Network Connectivity Providers Vendor Assessment.

At Hannover Messe the partnership between Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services wasn’t just announced but also on display. Officially the alliance between the Siemens MindSphere platform and Orange’s IoT and data analytics platform Datavenue that, on top of the obvious strengths in cellular connectivity, also comes with the other key features of an IoT platform, including on the level of IoT device management and even application enablement, is about combining strengths.

Initially the purpose of the alliance between Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services is to start with adding the connectivity components from Orange Business Services’ Datavenue (cellular and LPWAN; LPWAN being cellular and non-cellular here with LTE-M, NB-IoT and LoRa, whereby Orange dubs LoRa and LTE-M a winning combination) via MindSphere. Other components are said to follow. In the beginning there is also a limited geographical focus in the Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services alliance: Europe first and particularly part of the DACH region (Germany and Austria, no Switzerland).

By combining our strengths we are providing industrial enterprises with new opportunities to exploit their data and unleash the power of IoT to drive significant competitive advantage says Olivier Ondet, Senior Vice President, IoT and Analytics, Orange Business Services
“By combining our strengths we are providing industrial enterprises with new opportunities to exploit their data and unleash the power of IoT to drive significant competitive advantage” says Olivier Ondet, Senior Vice President, IoT and Analytics, Orange Business Services

Under the partnership customers also should be able to select specific pre-packaged offerings in areas such as asset tracking, ideal for a cellular connectivity player who already does that with success since a long time. Yet, also customized solutions and applications are announced.

This most probably has to do with the first components, the additional components coming but in the first place with the fact that Orange Business Services doesn’t just bring its global cellular connectivity (skills) to the partnership. As the official announcement of the Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services deal “to deliver IoT solutions for industrial performance” put it, “Orange Business Services brings its global cellular connectivity, consulting, system integration and application development skills to the partnership” (there are roundabout 700 IoT and data analytics experts at Orange Business Services).

Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services – the comments

An interesting read about the partnership between Orange Business Services and Siemens comes from MachNation CEO Steve Hilton.

Steve Hilton in a post on what Orange Business Services’ partnership with Siemens means for the AEP market: “The agreement to partner with Siemens for an AEP likely indicates that Orange Business Services, which has a strong showing in many parts of the IoT value chain, was struggling when it came to application enablement. The stars of the Orange Business Services IoT portfolio are a device catalog, a network solution and a cloud-based connectivity management platform.”

The deal strengthens Siemens’ position in the AEP space writes MachNation CEO Steve Hilton
“The deal strengthens Siemens’ position in the AEP space” writes MachNation CEO Steve Hilton

Details about that IoT device catalog Hilton mentions (devices, gateways, modems, modules and starter kits for applications such as asset tracking, smart operations and smart buildings) can be downloaded here.

Kai Brasche, VP EMEA Siemens MindSphere Partner Management, mainly pointed at the benefits for MindSphere customers to benefit from the global IoT connectivity coverage of Orange as enabled by the injection of the Orange Business Services Datavenue capabilities, which of course can’t be overlooked.

Olivier Ondet, SVP, IoT and Analytics at Orange Business Services commented: “We are delighted to partner with Siemens in the MindSphere Ecosystem in the industrial sector. By combining our strengths, we are providing industrial enterprises with new opportunities to exploit their data and unleash the power of IoT to drive significant competitive advantage”.

What the future of the Siemens MindSphere and Orange Business Services partnership will bring is to be seen in the future, yet it’s clear that both platforms are leading players (Orange was already recognized by Gartner in the Leaders Quadrant for Managed M2M Services Worldwide in 2016, the same year it took Datavenue global and Siemens MindSphere’s position among the top players is clear too) within their respective areas of expertise.

Referring to all that buzz at Hannover Messe 2018 which for the average European/German was quite deafening indeed (we’re sure our US friends are more used to it), it’s clear that Siemens has major plans on an overall industrial level and leverages what it can to have it known. Orange Business Services fits perfectly in the picture of a stronger future partnership for several reasons on top of the mentioned ones.

The fact that Orange Business Services is quite present in the manufacturing industry, has the expertise and skills in house, says it connects more than 360 multinational companies in North America to worldwide markets and serves 220 countries and territories with over 500 roaming agreements which is one key ‘feature’ of its IoT Managed Global Connectivity portfolio won’t hurt in that sense. So: expect more, as per usual.

Hannover Messe 2018 was also the occasion for Siemens to showcase the MindSphere World community which it launched in January 2018 for its open IoT MindSphere platform.

Finally: Orange Business Services operates the “Siemens Digitalization Network”, which is built upon SD-WAN infrastructure, connecting roundabout 1.5K locations across 94 countries. The contract has been renewed for six years in March 2018 and includes a migration of Siemens’ global infrastructure to a dynamic and flexible SD-WAN network, connecting cloud applications and IoT devices.

 

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