“Many customers appreciate it very much,” Siemens Chief Technology Officer Roland Busch told reporters and analysts at a company presentation in Munich on Friday. “You have to really scale up in order to justify your money.”
So far, MindSphere has run on the SAP cloud, and from April it will also run on Microsoft’s Azure.
MindSphere gathers data from devices, analyses the information and uses it to help customers optimise processes. Attracting a critical mass of developers to work on the platform is crucial to improving the quality of software applications.
MindSphere is one of a number of so-called Internet-of-Things platforms being developed by industrial companies racing to help their manufacturing customers improve productivity, where growth has been slowing in developed countries.
The technology was thrown into sharp focus in August by Emerson Electric’s failed $29 billion bid to buy Rockwell Automation.
The area is still in its infancy, with companies pursuing different strategies, although Siemens is generally considered to be leading the pack, helped by more than $5 billion of acquisitions in the past two years and by arch-rival General Electric’s partial retreat as it narrows focus.
Siemens said it was targeting 1.25 million connected devices and systems by the end of its fiscal year in September, up from 1 million currently, as it expands its offering – previously focused on autos and aerospace – to cover all sectors.
It is increasing research and development spending to over 5.6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) this fiscal year from 5.2 billion last year, the lion’s share of which will go to its Digital Factory division.