Siemens Partners With Amazon as It Ramps Up Industrial Software Platform

Siemens Partners With Amazon as It Ramps Up Industrial Software Platform

Siemens is partnering with Amazon as it accelerates the rollout of its MindSphere industrial software platform, the core of its bid to dominate the market in digital factory automation.

The German group’s next version of MindSphere, to be launched in January, will run on Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the most popular cloud system with industrial software developers.

“Many customers appreciate it very much,” Siemens Chief Technology Officer Roland Busch told reporters and analysts at a company presentation in Munich on Friday. “You have to really scale up in order to justify your money.”

So far, MindSphere has run on the SAP cloud, and from April it will also run on Microsoft’s Azure.

MindSphere gathers data from devices, analyses the information and uses it to help customers optimise processes. Attracting a critical mass of developers to work on the platform is crucial to improving the quality of software applications.

MindSphere is one of a number of so-called Internet-of-Things platforms being developed by industrial companies racing to help their manufacturing customers improve productivity, where growth has been slowing in developed countries.

The technology was thrown into sharp focus in August by Emerson Electric’s failed $29 billion (roughly Rs. 1,85,767 crores) bid to buy Rockwell Automation.

The area is still in its infancy, with companies pursuing different strategies, although Siemens is generally considered to be leading the pack, helped by more than $5 billion (roughly Rs. 32,030 crores) of acquisitions in the past two years and by arch-rival General Electric’s partial retreat as it narrows focus.

Siemens said it was targeting 1.25 million connected devices and systems by the end of its fiscal year in September, up from 1 million currently, as it expands its offering – previously focused on autos and aerospace – to cover all sectors.

It is increasing research and development spending to over EUR 5.6 billion ($6.6 billion) this fiscal year from 5.2 billion last year, the lion’s share of which will go to its Digital Factory division.

Siemens says it made EUR 5.2 billion in digital revenues in the year to September. It has 23,000 in-house software developers, rivalling some of the world’s biggest pure-play software companies.

General Electric is reducing investment in its Predix industrial software platform by about $400 million (roughly Rs. 2,562 crores) this coming year to $1.2 billion (roughly Rs. 7,687 crores), and focusing solely on its own installed base of customers for the rollout.

Under new Chief Executive John Flannery, GE as a whole is narrowing its focus and shedding businesses with around $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,28,121 crores) in revenue.

GE aims to double Predix revenues to $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,406 crores) in 2018.


Education official says industrial action harms education

Gavin Boyd

Northern Ireland’s top education official has accused teachers of harming children’s education by taking industrial action.

In a strongly worded letter to all teachers, Gavin Boyd also said they got better pay than their counterparts in England and Wales.

Teaching unions are refusing to co-operate with school inspections in a dispute over pay and workload.

Some are also taking occasional strike action.

The National Association of Schoolmasters and Women Teachers (NASUWT) has reacted angrily to Mr Boyd’s letter, accusing him of “fake news”.

Mr Boyd is chief executive of the Education Authority and represents the teaching employers in negotiations over the current pay dispute.

He wrote that the industrial action was “seriously affecting the education of children and young people” and “the effective operation of schools”.

‘Compares favourably’

School childrenImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionHe said teachers had been “confused by misinformation” on a number of issues

He also said teachers had been “confused by misinformation” on a number of issues.

“The average teacher’s pay in Northern Ireland is just over £40,000 per annum,” he added.

“This compares very favourably with other graduate professions locally and is actually higher than the average teacher’s pay in England and Wales.”

He said that teaching unions had rejected an overall offer of 2.5% on pay in 2015/16.

“There have been no reductions in teacher’s pay,” he said.

Mr Boyd conceded that national insurance and pension contributions had risen, but said these were “part of a wider government strategy to ensure public sector pensions remain affordable and sustainable”.

“Public sector pensions remain attractive and in general offer much better terms than those available in the private sector.”


However, the NASUWT’s general secretary Chris Keates said his letter would infuriate teachers.

“Teachers will not be persuaded or intimidated by the fake news presented in the letter,” she said.

“The value of teachers’ pay has fallen by around 20% since 2010.

chris keates
Image captionThe NASUWT’s general secretary, Chris Keates, said his letter would infuriate teachers

“The employers should start to devote more of their time to addressing the genuine concerns of teachers rather than peddling misinformation.”

In a related development, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has accused the Department of Education of “attempts at bullying” by writing to a Catholic archbishop about the ongoing industrial action.

‘Utter nonsense’

In a letter to members, INTO said that the Department of Education’s permanent secretary Derek Baker had written to Archbishop Eamon Martin.

They said Mr Baker had requested that Archbishop Martin ensure that school governors co-operate with school inspections.

“Attempts at bullying, such as this, should be rejected as an unsubtle attempt to bring the action to an end,” they wrote.

However, in a statement to the BBC, the Department of Education responded by describing the claim as “utter nonsense”.

“The letter focuses exclusively on the statutory duty placed on governors in respect of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of pupils and seeks their cooperation with the ETI specifically in respect of child protection and safeguarding,” they said.

“The suggestion that the department’s letter amounts to bullying is utter nonsense”.


Ratan Tata invests in B2B industrial goods start-up Moglix

A file photo of Ratan Tata. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/MintA file photo of Ratan Tata. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: Moglilabs Pvt. Ltd which runs business-to-business (B2B) industrial products marketplace Moglix on Monday said it has raised an undisclosed amount from Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ltd.

The company in October raised a pre-series A round of $1.5 million from venture capital firms Accel Partners and Jungle Ventures. The funds will be used to enhance the technology platform, expand supplier base and increase marketing spends across Asia.

The funding was first reported by The Economic Times on Monday.

The company currently specializes in B2B procurement of industrial products such as fasteners and industrial electricals and is partnering with manufacturers and distributors across these categories in India, China and other Asian countries.

“While globally, top manufacturers have evolved towards adoption of technology for procurement and sales, Indian manufacturers have been slow to adopt technology, leading to process inefficiencies and limited marketing exposure. Moglix strongly believes that the unorganized supply chain in India can only be solved with a technology first mindset,” said chief executive officer Rahul Garg, a former Google employee who started Moglix in August 2015.

The company says its focus is to bring technology and manufacturing together to drive transparency, efficiency and scale for manufacturing companies within India, making them globally competitive and enabling the use of technology for procurement, sales and marketing, and supply network optimization in both domestic and global markets.

This marks Tata’s entry as an investor in a manufacturing tech start-up, adding to his portfolio of e-commerce and other technology-enabled companies.

Tata has invested in over 20 home-grown start-ups, including data analytics start-up Infinite Analytics Inc., online marketplace Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd), digital wallet provider Paytm (One97 Communications Ltd), cab hailing service Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd), data analytics company Tracxn Technologies Pvt. Ltd, online pet supplies store (PetsGlam Services Pvt. Ltd) and online lingerie store Zivame (Actoserba Active Wholesale Pvt. Ltd) in the past 18 months.