According to findings by industry associations such as Bitkom and VDMA, SMEs are gradually ridding themselves of their reluctance to embrace digitalization. One clear sign is that almost three fourths of German companies are already in the cloud. "The discussion regarding the cloud has matured," state market researchers from IDC in an e-book titled The Cloud Boom in Germany commissioned by Microsoft. Accordingly, already 72.7 percent of companies in Germany use cloud services or are in the process of launching them. "The initial (…) skepticism regarding cloud services is increasingly being overcome," writes IDC and calls for building trust among customers "through authoritative case studies, transparent accounts of security measures, and by providing evidence of appropriate certificates."
And that is exactly what Microsoft is planning to do during Digital Factory . In Hall 7 (Stand C40) the corporation is showcasing, among other things, its cloud services. In September 2016 it began operating two giant data processing centers in Frankfurt and Magdeburg. "With Microsoft Cloud Deutschland, customer information is only saved in Germany," assures the US corporation. Control and decision-making power related to the data rests entirely with the customer. A German data trustee has been set up to ensure additional confidence. "The Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Systems – the data trustee – operates under German law and monitors access to customer data," explains Microsoft. Passing data on to third parties will only occur "if required by the customer or German law." Microsoft itself has no "access to data in the Microsoft Cloud Deutschland."
IBM (Hall 7, Stand C18) is also concentrating it IoT focus on Germany. "Germany is at the center of Industrie 4.0 initiatives," said IBM Manager Harriet Green at the opening of the new Watson Center in Munich. The US corporation is in the process of transforming itself from a computer manufacturer to a cloud platform and "cognitive solutions company". IBM's digital twin strategy, which includes the IoT in manufacturing, predictive maintenance, security, and other key capabilities, connects engineering to operations to obtain a holistic, customized overview of the entire product lifecycle. IBM Watson IoT's cognitive abilities generate insights that minimize costs, reduce time-to-market, and create new sales opportunities.
Through interactive showcases visitors can experience first-hand how the physical and virtual words are merging at a previously unheard of rate. Discover IBM Watson IoT technologies in a way that live up to your needs through tours customized by Watson for you, or at your own pace with experts at your side who will accompany on your path to becoming a cognitive company.
Robert Bosch GmbH has the advantage of location when advertising for the new cloud-based services it is showcasing at Digital Factory (Hall 7, Stand C26). "The Bosch IoT Cloud is an important milestone for us," explains Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner. It consists of technical infrastructure and platform and software products. To date, the platform was only used for internal Bosch solutions. In 2017 it will be opened to other companies. The Bosch IoT Cloud will initially be hosted at a data center near Stuttgart. Additional cloud locations are planned for the USA and Singapore.
"To quickly increase the volume of sensors, software, and services on the IoT, there has to be a platform that brings all these aspects together. At Bosch, this key piece of the jigsaw puzzle takes the form of the company's own IoT cloud," says the firm. The Bosch IoT Cloud is "designed in such a way that it can speed up IoT projects, reduce time to market for IoT solutions, increase security, and reduce project costs. All while respecting strict data privacy regulations." Like its competitor Microsoft, the Bosch Group has strict rules for dealing with data in the cloud. "Our customers have the right to know what happens to their personal information. Ultimately, our customers themselves can choose when to provide their personal data and when they want to have it deleted," states the company.
In addition, BOSCH is also showcasing its APAS I4.0 production line. The flexible I 4.0 assembly line demonstrates what small series production batches and customized user solutions will look like in the future. Innovative operative and interaction designs enable optimal communication between humans and machines – without the need for extensive expert knowledge. The system employs APAS production assistants: the APAS workstation, an intelligent work space that adjusts to the needs of each worker, shows how work stations in Industrie 4.0 will adjust perfectly to each employee in the future. This clearly centers on humans – and not robots.
A further component of the flexibleI4.0 production line is the mobile APAS assistant. As a mobile system, it can be used anywhere in production and can be integrated into existing production lines. The APAS inspector, a flexible, modular assistance system, it carries out quality control in the production line. Thanks to variable testing modules, APAS inspector can be used e.g. to test matt or glossy surfaces, or to check for completeness, micro-fractures, or dimensions.