Siemens partners with University of Sheffield to drive Industry 4.0 commercialisation
A new partnership between Siemens and the University of Sheffield is being launched to accelerate digitalisation, boost digital skills, and promote technology and knowledge exchange to meet the needs of increasingly-digitalised industry.
The agreement marks the first collaboration for a new UK-wide digitalisation network to link universities with the Internet of Things (IoT). It comes as the widespread adoption of digitalisation, the technology behind Industry 4.0 or the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’, such as that being tested at the University of Sheffield’s Factory 2050, is seen as crucial to UK competitiveness and productivity.
The partnership is based on the MindSphere Innovation Network (MINe) developed by Siemens to connect a university’s estate and research assets into its innovative IoT platform, MindSphere. It then makes this data available to improve teaching and research collaborations between academics and industry partners, to uncover new business models and create commercial opportunities through digitalisation.
In addition to linking its estate and research assets into MindSphere and acting as a living lab to help equip graduates with the skills they will need in an ever increasingly digitalised industry, the University of Sheffield and Siemens have also invested in a bespoke space for collaboration and learning between students, local businesses and other partners. The ‘MindSphere Lounge’ is located in The Diamond building – the University’s largest ever investment in learning and teaching. Students, academics, industry partners and Siemens experts can use the area to access MindSphere to harness the value of the data produced from the University and the various projects connected to the cloud-based platform.
Juergen Maier, CEO, Siemens UK, who has led the Government’s Industrial Digitalisation Review, said: “Using digital technologies to transform business operations is key for the UK to drive competitiveness, improve national productivity and take advantage of the commercial opportunities offered by an increasingly digitalised industry.”
The launch of the MindSphere Innovation Network, starting in Sheffield, will allow universities to translate their research into real world impact by harnessing the power of digitalisation. The aim is to help develop the skills needed for the future, build the UK’s world class capabilities in data science across universities, enable the development of new business models and create opportunities to grow new start-up businesses locally.
Teams from Siemens will be based on campus to help projects and engage communities by enabling Sheffield and other universities to become hubs for collaborating with local businesses.
“We believe this innovative network heralds a new eco-system enabled by MindSphere, which will provide a vital new model for collaboration between institutions, departments and other key stakeholders to universities,” said Juergen Maier.
Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, said: “This pioneering strategic partnership between Siemens and the University of Sheffield marks a significant milestone in our commitment to innovative technologies and progressive partnership with business. The digital revolution is transforming all parts of society, including industry, so it is vital that students and academics grasp the potential for data to fundamentally change the way we approach problems and opportunities.
“Just as business moves towards ‘Industry 4.0’, we are matching this with ‘Education 4.0’ in which students, academics and business come together in a shared digital environment to solve problems and boost productivity. So this exciting collaboration with Siemens is not only a UK-first, but a vital step in demonstrating how universities and companies connect students and business with the local and global bid to drive productivity and build the skills of the future.”
MindSphere is enabling the University to harness data from a number of projects across sectors including manufacturing, water and energy. These projects are examples of how MINe helps universities overcome the barriers associated with translating their research into real world impact. For example, MindSphere de-risks as a platform as it is scalable and secure and the partnership between Siemens and universities ensures developed products are supported over the long term, which can sometimes be a concern for a company looking to purchase a development from a university.
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