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Industrie 4.0 needs an operating system. HANNOVER MESSE 2018 is an important place in the global search for it: Major international IT players, leading mechanical engineers, and new cross-sector alliances are canvasing for customers for their IoT platforms at the world’s leading trade show for industrial technology where new operating systems will be created.

In Hall 7, IT heavyweights Microsoft Azure, SAP, and IBM are showcasing their platform services. Amazon Web Services, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco and EdgeX Foundry are presenting in Hall 6. In Hall 8, Trumpf-subsidiary AXOOM is showcasing its company.

Diverse IAMD exhibitors are also presenting their own platforms: In Hall 9, B&R with Orange Box, and Siemens with its cloud-based open IoT operating system MindSphere are advertising for users.

"IT and industry have been moving closer together from different directions," says Arno Reich, Global Director IAMD and Digital Factory with HANNOVER MESSE. "In this period of digital transformation, they are now pulling together and can no longer be seen separately." Automation specialists, who according to Reich now have excellent software skills, are upgrading their products and services with digital technology. "At the same time, IT and internet corporations are addressing the industrial sector and are discovering highly attractive areas of application for their previous products – such as the platform economy," says Reich.

TRUMPF-subsidiary AXOOM (Hall 8, Stand F12) has made a cloud-based platform available to machine manufacturers and production companies since 2015 in order to enable new business models and "customize mass production". In Hall 8 at HANNOVER MESSE AXOOM is presenting itself as an "open, digital business platform that designs the future of manufacturing along the value chain within the framework of Industrie 4.0." The focus is on "the comprehensive integration of machines, software, and processes with humans as the crucial factor." In Hannover, the provider is presenting its solution AXOOM Smart Enterprise for manufacturing companies and AXOOM IoT for manufacturers of machines, components, and sensors.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is well-positioned in the growing platform market. In Hall 6 (Stand D46), the company is showcasing its comprehensive range of over 100 products for cloud services and software. "Our trade show presence is strongly oriented on concrete industrial applications and application examples," explains Jan Metzner, Solutions Architect for IoT with AWS in EMEA. At the main entrance to the stand, visitors are guided through the AWS Industrial Software Experience. "Here, we show a continuous industrial software toolkit for product design, manufacturing design, and production," says Metzner. In a technology demonstration using an industrial process in the automotive glass industry, robots are guided by AWS Edge technology.

Along with AWS in Hannover, other big names in software are present such as Siemens, Autodesk, Dassault Solid Works, OSIsoft, Splunk, and Beckhoff. In addition, startups such as Tulip and Actyx are presenting innovative applications in the production environment. The program for the AWS stage includes presentations on Industrial Software Startups in Germany, studies conducted by BCG and Roland Berger, an AWS product presentation for the IoT environment, and many customer presentations by companies such as Mann + Hummel, Kuka, Kärcher, Vorwerk, Wago, Diehl, and the Roth Group. Top managers from Kuka and Siemens MindSphere are also participating in panel discussions at the AWS stand.

"Our vision goes far beyond supplying cloud services," says Jan Metzner explaining the large number of AWS partners and users at the stand. "We don’t see ourselves in competition with other cloud providers. Bosch IoT Suite and Siemens MindSphere for example run on AWS. Two-thirds of DAX-30 companies use our solutions." Metzner continues, "The market for cloud services is so large that all providers have room to develop. Users are just now starting to realize the huge number of opportunities that are available through the IoT."

Siemens is using predictive maintenance, energy data management, and resource optimization in Hall 9 (Stand D35) to demonstrate what its cloud-based, open IoT operating system MindSphere can do. The PaaS development environment uses open interfaces and comprehensive M2M standards such as OPC UA so that corporate users can erect their own custom-fit applications and services and mechanical engineers can establish new business models.

The fact that Siemens is using AWS and has recently arranged a strategic partnership with the software company, which in turn has a share in Adamos, demonstrates current developments: In order to meet the need for a clearly arranged market for IoT operating systems and seamless interoperability, strong alliances are being formed. Prof. Dr. Thomas Bauernhansl for Fraunhofer IPA (Hall 17, Stand C24) in Stuttgart calls this approach "Platform as Operating System". He anticipates that various platforms in the next few years will develop and sell software interfaces together.

The consultancy Accenture has determined an urgent need for action on the road to Industrie 4.0. "The German industrial sector is going digital – but it hasn’t yet seen many advantages," is the essence of its most recent Top500 study. According to this, SMEs haven’t made any money through digitalization – a disadvantage when it comes to competing with large Internet corporations. "Smart factories are good, but they’re not good enough," explains Accenture Germany’s Managing Director Frank Riemensperger. In Hannover (Hall 6, H46) the consultancy therefore plans to demonstrate how the entry into the digitalization business can be successful. The focus is on IoT platforms with best-practice examples and solutions for smart products and smart services, as well as artificial intelligence and digital twins.

Furthermore, Accenture is presenting another study at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 commissioned by Deutsche Messe. The topic? Platform economy.