Once again, Microsoft was part of Hannover Messe 2016, one of the most important industrial trade shows, held last month in Hannover, Germany. It was an important milestone for our company to share with the world how digital transformation in the manufacturing, resources, and energy verticals is progressing and how Microsoft is empowering leading enterprises in building their systems of intelligence on our platform.
Dawn of an Era of Intelligence
As we take a step back, we see that in many ways, manufacturing has been on the frontlines of technology disruption, helping to fuel growth, enable agility, and redefine efficiencies. As we think about the intersection of manufacturing and technology, we aspire to help manufacturers not just to grow, but to thrive, sparking new energy into manufacturing to grow local and global economies through new systems of intelligence, and also to partner with them to re-skill the workforce that is preparing for a new level of automation and intelligence. This new era is defined by transformation and disruption. Every industry and every business will be part of this. In this era, industries will be remade and new ecosystems will be created. In this era, all enterprises will become enterprise software companies.
How the New Intelligent World is Emerging
Hannover Messe 2016 was the perfect venue to show how Microsoft is helping manufacturers to thrive in this new era. Across 40 different demonstration stations throughout our booth, our customers and partners brought their stories to life as they talked about how they are driving business value, transforming into smarter businesses, and disrupting their markets and competition using technology and their partnership with Microsoft. Our showcases included everything from jet engines, to elevator towers, to smart charging stations, to smart street lights, and electric vehicles. We had digital transformation stories around smart energy, digital manufacturing, smart refrigerators, smart supply chains, smart trucks and fleet management, connected mines, and so on. The consistent feedback from all visitors, customers, analysts, press alike was that our booth was so impactful because it was our customers and partners telling their stories—not just Microsoft—and demonstrating real results and tangible business value.
Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
As we think about the systems of intelligence that are critical to manufacturing, there are four key priorities where we are working with our customers and partners to drive digital transformation. Let me share an example from each of these areas that we highlighted at Hannover Messe:
Engage your customers: We are partnering with Liebherr to develop a new smart refrigerator that offers customers in the pharmaceutical industry new possibilities for remote monitoring and predictive maintenance. A recent study found that, in Germany alone, more than 26 million drugs are sold each year that require storage temperatures between 2-8 degrees Celsius. Many of these drugs are costly and any temperature variation can significantly deteriorate their effectiveness. It is critical to ensure consistent, continuous monitoring of drug temperatures so that patient health is not impacted. We are enabling Liebherr to create an entirely new business service to offer their customers, harnessing the power of predictive analytics to prevent an equipment breakdown that could potentially damage valuable supplies inside.
Empower your employees: We believe that Microsoft is uniquely positioned to take the Internet of Things and translate that into the Internet of People. This digital capability also enables human-generated insights to be fed back into new digital processes. At Hannover Messe, we showed how we are working with Singapore-based JTC Corporation to demonstrate how smart buildings can be customized to increase employee productivity while achieving greater energy efficiencies. JTC is redesigning buildings from the ground up using a holistic approach that takes into account how each system might impact the other in order to drive increased efficiency and reduce costs.
Optimize your operations: An interesting example of this is the work we are doing with Jabil to develop a plant floor quality assurance solution that not only analyzes real-time problems and defects, but also identifies errors or failures before they even occur. Using Machine Learning, Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, Cortana Analytics, and big data analytics, Jabil has created a digital, intelligent, and predictive factory that delivers an 80 percent prediction accuracy rate. This allows for greater yield, including a 17 percent reduction in scrap and a 10 percent savings in energy.
Transform your products, services, business: Our exciting example of this is the Rolls-Royce intelligent jet engine showcase that we demonstrated at Hannover Messe. It was one of the most talked about—and photographed—displays at the event. Rolls-Royce demonstrated how they are accelerating and maturing their digital transformation strategy from selling services to selling flight time. This is a disruptive way to lead the industry in terms of keeping passengers in the air and helping airlines run at reduced costs with longer lifespans for their aircraft. The company’s Trent XWB turbofan jet engine is now a new ‘data platform’ that uses predictive analytics and customized intelligence to help airlines proactively use their equipment more efficiently and potentially impact 70 percent of operational costs as well as support more efficient and on-time air travel. The Trent XWB is the engine for the Airbus 350 and was on public display for the first time ever at our Hannover Messe booth.
Embracing Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions
Another important dialogue at Hannover Messe centered around how the industry is extending openness and interoperability in industrial manufacturing. We demonstrated how our strong partnership with the OPC Foundation is enabling virtually any industrial IoT scenario through interoperability between the millions of applications and industrial equipment compliant with the OPC UA standard. Microsoft’s extended support for the OPC UA open source software stack spans its IoT offerings, from local connectivity with Windows devices to cloud connectivity via the Microsoft Azure platform. Integration with Azure IoT allows customers to easily send OPC UA telemetry data to the Azure cloud, as well as to command and control their OPC UA devices remotely from the Azure cloud. In addition, Windows 10 devices running the Universal Windows Platform can connect and openly communicate with other IoT devices via OPC UA. These capabilities will reduce barriers to IoT adoption and help deliver immediate value for customers by allowing them to automate business processes, reduce costs through better operational excellence, introduce digital business models for new revenue streams, and accelerate innovation.
The Intelligence Revolution Starts Today
As you can see, this next revolution in business is one that transforms our world to take advantage of the new level of intelligence. This is the era where new systems of intelligence will disrupt the world as significantly in the next 5 to 10 years as mainstream IT and the Internet did over the past few decades. We are proud to partner with our customers and partners on their digital journeys as we help build new ecosystems and systems of intelligence together. It was inspiring and a privilege to help them share their stories at Hannover Messe.