In the industrial space, more products and services are being offered and delivered digitally, as evidenced by strong growth in digital businesses. Business platforms create an instant connection between vendor and buyer, cutting marketing and transaction costs while providing fast delivery. Technical platforms provide the computing environment for edge devices and apps while linking the domains of OT and IT, or they can be global and accessible to many users. This consolidation of software and transactions around a central place can be lucrative for the platform provider, and this is the reason many platforms have emerged in recent years.
In 2022, Siemens introduced an open digital business platform called Siemens Xcelerator. Seven months after the launch, the company updated ARC analysts on its progress and shared a taste of what is to come. Siemens already offers platforms at other levels, so what is behind this new business platform?
Siemens Xcelerator: A Digital Business Platform for Industry
Siemens Xcelerator is an open, digital business platform that brings together customers, solutions, partners and developers in a curated environment to let them discover, exchange, inform, engage and co-create industry solutions. As curator, Siemens manages the platform to ensure a level of quality and appropriateness of the solutions offered.
The platform itself includes a curated portfolio, partner ecosystem, and a marketplace to speed up value creation through digitalization in manufacturing, buildings, grids, and mobility. While this report focuses on the industry aspect, Siemens Xcelerator also cover infrastructure, buildings, and mobility.
The portfolio offers IoT-enabled hardware, software and digital services following key design principles of interoperability, flexibility, openness, and “as-a-service.” Partner solutions are subject to commercial and technical governances -- conditions that are currently being defined and released, with the goal of creating a “trusted solution” so that, for example, end users, EPCs and machine builders in manufacturing can rely on product features, standards and performance. Since its launch, Siemens Xcelerator has added more than 70 new portfolio elements, totaling more than 400 offerings from Siemens and certified partners as of March 2023.
Obviously, a sizeable part of the portfolio consists of Siemens products. The company expects the platform to have a long-lasting impact on product development as it transforms its entire portfolio of IoT-enabled hardware and software to become modular, cloud-connected, and built on standard application programming interfaces. According to Siemens, high standards and value for all parties will be ensured by strong technical and commercial governance principles.
A key part of Siemens Xcelerator is a strong partner ecosystem. Siemens is well known for its existing partner programs, and the company plans to extend the Xcelerator partnership ecosystem to include small and medium-size companies, divided into the categories of Build & Sell, Consult & Service, and Enable & Run. For a company with a broad solution portfolio offering complete solutions, this move toward an open ecosystem is a big step.
In the update, Siemens defined the commercial terms that will govern partnerships, and announced 16 new partner offerings, bringing the current total to 88, while 20 more companies are currently in the onboarding process. This number will grow as the company reports over 230 new requests from potential partners.
The Siemens Xcelerator marketplace is where ecosystem partners can present and, in the future, sell their products and solutions. Since its initial launch in mid-2022, Siemens claims that traffic has increased fourfold. The marketplace is initially focusing on the food & beverage, healthcare, and commercial building industries. Pharmaceuticals, data centers, power utilities, higher education, and water & wastewater will be added later this year. These will be complemented by a cross-industry focus on sustainability, cybersecurity, and efficiency.
Partnership with NVIDIA
The first major partnership announced for Siemens Xcelerator was with NVIDIA, a market leader for graphics processing units and software as well as AI. The two companies intend to work together to develop the industrial metaverse -- a physics-based, immersive digital twin for manufacturers. According to the companies, the industrial metaverse will transform manufacturing with immersive experiences across the lifecycle, from design through operations. This will be achieved by connecting the NVIDIA Omniverse and digital twins from the Siemens Xcelerator platform to enable full-fidelity digital twins and connect software-defined AI systems, from edge to cloud.
The industrial world is typically slow to adopt new concepts. In the case of the NVIDIA partnership, however, industry may lead the world in its acceptance of the industrial metaverse due to the high potential value and tangible benefits of this technology in “old world” applications.
The Road(map) Ahead
Last year’s launch of Siemens Xcelerator was just the beginning of a long journey. Later this year, the company is expected to announce Industrial Operations X, a suite of open-platform applications for manufacturers. This offering will be similar to Building X, a modular, cloud-based open software suite for smart buildings, that already meets the Siemens Xcelerator design criteria (open, interoperable, flexible, as-a-service, cybersecure).
Regarding the marketplace, Siemens plans to further expand the offering to include more vertical solutions for automotive, batteries, oil & gas, chemicals, electronics & semiconductor, airports, ports, intralogistics, paper & metals, glass & solar, tires, and aerospace, all in 2024.
Industry alliances and partnerships often have a spotty track record of delivering value to end users. This is changing as these relationships benefit from evolving technology and generational change.
The introduction of Siemens Xcelerator is an important step in the growing array of platforms available to industry users. Siemens Xcelerator intends to make it easier, faster and more scalable for partners to buy and sell products and solutions as part of a curated offering, and where users can tap into a vast ecosystem of reliable partners to find solutions, co-create, and interact.
The platform is off to a good start with an initial offering of products, services, and partners. Expect Xcelerator to evolve over time as more partners recognize the value of participating in open platforms governed by clear sets of rules that level the playing field.
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Keywords: Siemens Xcelerator, NVIDIA, Business Platform, IoT, Industrial Operations X, Building X, ARC Advisory Group.