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Digitally connected Industry 4.0 needs an operating system . It is thus not surprising that many companies are positioning themselves to establish their solutions for the growing IoT market. This "operating system" is called MindSphere at Siemens. This gives industrial companies a cloud-based PaaS development environment that relies on open interfaces and general M2M standards such as OPC UA , allowing user companies to add on their own custom-tailored applications and services, and machine manufacturers, for example, to establish new business models. Examples include predictive maintenance, energy data management and resource optimization.

Siemens has now concluded a cooperation agreement with Software AG: the software company will provide its digital business building blocks on MindSphere; they are expected to enable, among other things, the flexible management of networks with millions of end devices. On the one hand, the idea is to further integrate IoT functionalities along the entire value chain, while Siemens benefits from Software AG’s application connectivity technology. For example, sensor data could thus already be processed at the field level depending on demand rather than always in the (remote) cloud. On the other hand, the idea would allow comprehensive data consolidation on a unified platform that provides customers with a complete digital twin of their manufacturing processes.

The market for such IoT operating systems is still too diverse and unpredictable, which in turn makes smooth interoperability unnecessarily complicated and above all unsettles decision-makers. Strategic partnerships such as this one make it clear that even industry giants can hardly develop fast enough to secure market shares at an early stage. Alliances, cooperative projects and takeovers are likely to shape things in the near future.