s Fall 2003 LOGI ST I CS L I GHT & DI SP L AYS USABI L I T Y Flawless Flows Illumination and Information The Science of Simplicity T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R R E S E A R C H A N D I N N O V A T I O N Pictures of the Future Scenario 2015: Goods on the Go 6 Trends:A Flawless Flow of Goods 9 Warehousing:Intelligent Stacking, Tracking, and Packing 14 Tracking:Why Transponders Are Making Waves 16 Facts and Forecasts:Boom in Worldwide Product Shipments 18 Postal Automation: The Medium Is the Message 20 Delivery Systems: Many Roads Lead to the Last Mile 22 Baggage Handling:Flying Suitcases 24 Interviews with Dr. Inga-Lena Darkow and Prof. Wilhelm Dangelmaier 26 Simulation and Optimization: Predicting with Precision 27 Innovations:Illusion on Rails, Pedestrian Airbags, Phone Flash 4 University Cooperation:Focusing on Results 30 Business Accelerators:A Partner for Ups and Downs 54 Transmission Systems:More Power to You!78 Researchers and Patents:Smart Antennas, Laser Distance Detection 80 Interview with Dr. Winfried Büttner: In Search of Golden Nuggets 81 Feedback / Preview 82 Cover top right:Light-emitting diodes (halo) are set to transform illumination, while light-emitting plastics (mini display) will blur the distinction between lighting and display applications. Below left: In tomorrow’s warehouses, autonomous robots will stack boxes on pallets — thereby vastly reducing human workloads. L O G I S T I C S PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE CONT E NT S F E A T U R E S Scenario 2020:Light Entertainment 32 Trends:The Wavelength of Change 35 Light-Emitting Diodes:A Bright Future 38 Facts and Forecasts:Small Lights, Big Impact 42 Interview with Dr. Arpad Bergh: A Bright New Paradigm 43 Organic Light-Emitting Diodes:Brilliant Plastics 45 Adaptive Lighting:A New Architecture of Light 49 3D Displays:Images in Space 51 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S Scenario 2015:Home Sweet Home 56 User Interface Design:The Science of Simplicity 59 Laboratory Testing:What Customers Want 62 Facts and Forecasts:The Value of Easy-to-Use Products 65 Interview with Prof. Michael Burmester: Adapting Products to People 66 Designafairs: Designing Easy Interfaces 68 Accessibility:An Internet for Everyone 70 Virtual Beings:Creatures in Computers 73 Interview with Martin Edmondson: Designs on Customers 76 U S A B I L I T Y T hree-quarters of Siemens sales come from products and technologies that have been on the market for less than five years. What does that say about our commitment to innovation? It says that for an innovation to be meaningful for us, it must have an application. And no potential application is going to see the light of day if it does not strengthen our customers’ busi- nesses. To accomplish that it must either improve their performance, grow their business, or lower their costs. That is the only thing our customers are willing to pay for. Sure, Siemens is a technology company. But that doesn’t mean we’re in business to develop new technologies. We are in business to solve problems effectively by putting our technological muscles to work. T ake our Postal Automated Redirection System (PARS) contract with the U.S. Postal Service (page 20). Siemens stands to book as much as $690 million by implementing a new envelope scanning technology that will save the Post Office millions of working hours and up to $420 million a year in handling costs when fully implemented. The technology is expected to cut the time it takes to deliver an incorrectly addressed envelope from days to hours. Because Siemens gets paid only according to the amount of money it saves, the Post Office has been able to give Siemens its business even though it initially had no budget. O f course, innovations come in all shapes and sizes. There are some, such as the development a few years ago of totally integrated manu- facturing, or the fully integrated digital hospital, that promise to revolutionize entire industries. And there are others that seem small – take the concept of a designer cell phone, for instance – that are nevertheless extremely signifi- cant from a business point of view. In short, it’s the application that gives the innovation meaning. O ne of the best known formulas for tapping new ideas is to work closely with external partners like the world's top universities. As our article on university cooperation demonstrates (page 30), research goals have become increasingly focused and cooperative projects are being designed to meet the specific long-term needs of our operating companies. A nother thing to keep in mind about innovations is that no matter how revolutionary a technology may be, in all likelihood it will have to compete with existing technologies for years. And those existing techno- logies are not about to lie down and die. They feed further innovations. Even as we trumpet the future advantages of a world lit by LEDs (page 38) and OLEDs (page 45), we have to admit that conventional lighting technologies keep getting better and better. Y es, as the name of this publication indicates, research should be based on a picture of the future, meaning that it must have a vision of where markets and technologies are headed. But that vision has value only if it is based on a thorough knowledge of how things work today. I am told that when Disneyworld opened a journalist remarked to one of Walt’s relatives that it would have been great if Walt could have lived to see it. And the relative answered: He did see it. That’s why it’s here today. Walt Disney knew his customers. We must know ours. Applications Are Everything Dr. Klaus Kleinfeld is a Member of the Board of Siemens AG and is President and CEO of Siemens Corporation, USA P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 32 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE E DI T OR I AL On the rails of a united Europe,varying national standards mean that locomo- tives and their engineers still have to be changed before trains can cross interna- tional boundaries. This is a major impediment to a planned European high-speed train network. With this in mind, train manufacturers have developed a prototype of a standardized engineer’s control panel for cross-border rail traffic in the con- text of the EU’s European Driver’s Desk (EUDD) project. However, because of safe- ty and cost reasons, test runs for this project cannot be performed in real loco- motives. Instead, the consortium has developed a demonstrator for trial trips. Siemens provided the control engineering and programmed two simulated- Extremely bright white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can now be used in cell- phone cameras as flashes. Thanks to a built-in reflector, the LED made by Osram subsidiary Osram Opto Semi- conductors can uniformly illuminate its surroundings within a radius of approxi- mately two meters. The LED’s shallow depth of only two millimeters allows it to be easily integrated into even the smallest cell phones, while its service life far exceeds that of most cell phones. But that is not the only benefit. Unlike normal discharge-type lamps, the diode requires no charging time, allowing it to The Perfect Illusion Takes to the Rails Sensor Protects Pedestrians How to Flash Your Phone Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 54 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE I NNOVAT I ONS A new system uses electrical voltage to cleanse industrial oils. The process, developed by Siemens subsidiary Mechanik Center Erlangen (Germany) and U.S.A.-based ISOPur Fluid Technologies, cleans oil so thoroughly that it can be reused over an extremely long period of time. Other methods are not nearly as effective. Oils used in steam turbines, hydraulic systems and diesel engines can become contaminated with bits of rubber, penetrating water, funguses or bacteria. The ISOPur process is based on electronic fluid dialysis. The oil is separated into two streams, which are routed past a positive or a negative electrode respectively. All of the foreign particles in the oil become positively or negatively charged as a result of this process. The separate streams of oil are then recombined. The particles with unlike charges are drawn to each other, form- ing clumps of larger particles. These clumps can then be easily segregated. The ISOPur technology can remove foreign bodies with sizes down to less than 0.1 micrometers — which even includes bacteria. Conventional filters clog quickly, and such particles as fungus spores are not removed.na Researchers at Restrain Systems, a Siemens VDO subsidiary, have developed a sensor that can lessen the impact on a pedestrian who is hit by the hood of a car. The protection system, which was displayed at the International Auto Show in Frankfurt, Germany, in Sep- tember 2003, has been designed to lift the hood just fractions of a second after a collision. By doing so, it can, in the ideal case, create a flexible crumple zone that prevents the pedestrian’s head from hitting the hard engine block. The sensor, which is located in the front bumper, consists of optical fibers that have been covered with a special reflective layer. The coating has been left off at various places, allowing light to escape. When the fiber is bent even slightly during an accident, the amount of escaping light changes. Within three milliseconds an ingenious electronic sys- tem calculates an assortment of data: the expected damage, speed, the point of impact, weight and even the height of the accident victim. The protective system is activated as appropriate for the accident with much the same speed as an airbag.na operate extremely quickly. Instead of the white LED, photographers can also use multi-colored LEDs that make it possible to take snapshots with a colored sunset effect. Siemens subsidiary Osram also offers two miniature pocket flashlights equipped with white LEDs. Conventional flashlight bulbs cannot compete with these new systems, which effectively combine small size with long service life and the LEDs’ extremely low power con- sumption. na Throughout Vienna,drivers can now use their cell phones to pay for parking. M-Park- ing, a system developed by Siemens and Mobilkom Austria, is easy to use and avail- able to everyone. Users provide the numbers of their cell phones and license plates to an Internet site (www.m-parking.at) and use their credit cards to buy a certain amount of parking time in advance. Drivers who want to use one of the short-term parking zones in Vienna can send a text message (SMS) con- taining the planned length of time to a spe- cial service number. Seconds later, the driver receives confirmation, also as an SMS. The service has one other practical benefit: Ten minutes before the parking time runs out, the user receives a warning. But drivers who have gotten carried away in stores don’t have Parking by Numbers Electrifying Oil Cleaning to make a mad dash back to their cars. Instead, they can leisurely extend their park- ing time while sitting in a cafe. To keep an eye on what’s going on, officials use pocket computers based on the GPRS standard. After an official punches in the license-plate number, the system quickly determines whether the parking charge has been paid. If not, the PDA spits out a parking ticket, using its built-in mini-printer.na In Vienna, drivers can pay for parking with their cell phones. The confirmation arrives as a text message (SMS). A raised hood serves as a crumple zone. A sen- sor can determine the point of impact, the accident victim’s weight and height, and distin- guish between a small child, a bicycle rider and a lamppost. Thanks to a large video screen and professional sound effects, train engineers have the perfect illusion of driving the real thing. The new LED flash unit lights up an area with a radius of about two meters. stretches. The future engineer’s cab was tested at Siemens’ virtual reality lab in Munich by almost 40 train engineers from six countries. The test cab provided a perfect simulation of a train trip. Once the signal turned green and the control lever was pushed, the locomotive began to roll through the landscape. Train sta- tions, signals, power poles, mountains and trees — everything was recreated in minute detail. Three video projectors were used to depict the images on a 180- degree screen. Even the sounds came from real locomotives. The highlight was an 80-kilometer-stretch through the Tauern region of the Austrian Alps. The train engineers could choose between a 650-ton freight train or a passenger train. The engineers were observed throughout each trip and were evaluated along with - their suggestions for improving the configuration of the display elements, levers and switches. na Revolutionary technology. Oil cleansed by the ISOPur process (right) can be used for extremely long periods. 6 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 7 Goods on the Go In 2015, a highly optimized logistics chain will incorporate a comprehensive electronic network including automated warehouses that reliably track goods from an order’s receipt to its delivery. S C E NAR I O 2015 L O G I S T I C S LOGISTICS HIGHLIGHTS Interviews with Experts IT networking and good planning will continue to be indispensable to successful logistics. Baggage Logistics Thanks to 40 kilometers of con- veyor belts, nearly 20,000 elec- tric motors, hundreds of scan- ners and a high-tech control room, Munich Airport’s Terminal 2 will be able to handle 500,000 items of luggage daily. Exact Simulation Today’s computers can not only predict sales with astonishing accuracy;they can also optimize navigation routes 1,200 times faster than previously. Postal Automation PARS (the Postal Automated Redirection System) will help the U.S. Postal Service tackle the problem of undelivered mail — a headache that costs $1.8 billion every year. Warehousing In addition to developing trans- ponder tags that track goods, Siemens is also working with partners to produce “thinking” warehouse robots. Page 26 Page 27 Page 14 Page 20 Page 24 2015 Computers use software agents to process incoming orders and forward data to suppliers and robot “workers.” Warehouse operations in 2015 are highly automated, with robots removing merchan- dise from towering storage bays, packaging orders and even taking over final assembly of some items. Transponder tags attached to goods ensure that orders can be tracked all the way to the customer. I t’s late afternoon, October 15, 2015. Su- san, managing director of a mail-order company, leaves her office and heads for the warehouse. She knows that keeping up with operations is the best way of improving oper- ational efficiency. Today she’ll be chatting with employees, taking a look at the ware- house setup and checking the quality of the company’s logistics. Fortunately, the days of back-breaking warehouse work are now a thing of the past. Only a few years ago, work- Like termites (left), companies, and in particular their warehouse and distribution centers, need tightly linked logistics chains. In a global market, companies with international operations face a real challenge in coordinating streams of materials and information. An optimally organized logistics system is increasingly becoming the key to survival. main traffic arteries. Each termite is always in the right place at the right time to pick up a delivery and transport it to its ultimate desti- nation. And all of them are highly motivated to carry out their tasks. Rolling Jigsaw Puzzles. Logistics specialists can only dream of such working conditions. They are more accustomed to facing con- gested highways and interruptions in the flow of materials caused by such factors as delays at cargo-handling facilities. Neverthe- less, in Germany alone logistics specialists have to ensure that approximately ten million tons of goods are transported on time every day — by truck, train, ship and plane (see in- sert, p. 10). In their efforts to do so, they have managed some major achievements. Today’s automotive industry is one good example. A car in the BMW 3 series can con- sist of up to 15,000 parts, making it some- thing akin to a rolling jigsaw puzzle. Every day, up to 850 vehicles, each built according to a customer’s individual order, roll off the A Flawless Flow of Goods S moothly supplying a metropolis of two million inhabitants is no easy feat. In fact, it’s something of a miracle — especially when the community lives in a structure 2,000 times the size of the residents who erected it. In this particular case, the inhabi- tants are African termites — genus Macroter- mes — and they build their seven-meter mounds in the African savanna. The secret of their success is a flawlessly organized flow of goods. Supplies run without interruption from the system’s multi-branch network to its L O G I S T I C S S C E NAR I O 2015 ers still had to stack tons of heavy boxes every day. Today, this part of the operation is fully automated. Moreover, the robots that put the boxes on the pallets can work contin- uously and achieve even greater packing densities than a human worker. The storage shelving system is fully auto- matic. At each level, robots whizz along rails from one bay to the next, placing the goods onto a conveyor belt, which then takes them either to the assembly area or straight to the packaging machine. Customers demand more customized products than ever before —and that means everything from personal- ized cell phones to tailor-made clothing. De- livery times, too, are very fast, with cus- tomers expecting orders to arrive within three days at the latest. On the logistics side, Susan’s company can now even hold its own with the automo- bile industry, once the great role model in this field. In fact, her operation achieves near-perfect delivery reliability rates. Susan studies the large, newly purchased OLED flatscreen displays, which show the entire process, from the receipt of customer orders to the delivery of goods. “That’s great. We’ve achieved 99.5 percent reliability today,” she says, praising the workforce. “But I’m sure we can do even better than that,” she adds with a smile. “Let’s choose a delivery that we can analyze in detail.” A click of a mouse is all it takes to call up an order received at 6:45 p.m. on October 12. “One toy robotic dog, one dark-blue de- signer dress and one household robot,” it says. A second later, the computer displays the availability of the goods. The dog is in stock, but the dress had to be made to order by a supplier and didn’t arrive until two days later. In 2015, customers still like to go shop- ping in fashion boutiques. What’s changed, though, is that shops now keep only one ex- ample of a particular item in each size. If a customer likes a garment, he or she is mea- sured optically and the article is made to or- der. Again, the aim is to limit delivery time to less than three days. Mail-order companies in 2015 not only maintain gigantic warehouses, but often also assemble items, such as household robots, themselves. The October 12 order specified a robot with a navigation system and vacuum- ing and window-cleaning functions. The computer automatically asked suppliers when the robot’s components would arrive and then calculated the completion time for assembly: “October 15, 10:13 a.m.” “Why did we need 20 minutes to pack- age the goods and another 20 to reach the loading bay?” Susan asks the Station 4 super- visor as she examines output figures. “Why did it take so long?” The supervisor explains that he decided to load the truck right to the roof, once the software agents had calcu- lated that it would be cheaper to deliver to a number of destinations on one run. And the route planner had worked out an optimal itinerary. “So, more pallets had to be loaded, and everything took just that much longer.” Susan nods, aware that sensors record the times that items enter and leave the ware- house. Thanks to small radio-operated transponder tags fixed to the goods, inven- tory can be checked at any time. More than 10 years ago, Susan was one of the first in the business to replace bar codes with intelligent transponder tags. Since then, the volume of missing merchan- dise at the company has dwindled to practi- cally zero. Similarly, satellite technology is used to determine a truck’s precise position and track the exact progress of the goods. Seven years ago, she changed from GPS to the GALILEO European satellite system, which had started to offer the same services at lower cost. A quick glance at Station 7 — Deliveries — tells Susan that no one was at home when the order arrived. So the mail- man left the package in the home delivery box, a large mailbox built into the wall of the house. “Good work. It took barely 66 hours from receipt of the order to delivery of the goods at the customer’s house,” says Susan, who already knew this information. That’s because in this particular case, Susan is the customer, and at 12:35 p.m. her home deliv- ery box sent a message to her cell phone confirming that three packages had arrived. Just in time, thinks Susan, who is planning on wearing the new blue dress to the theater this evening. Ulrike Zechbauer 8 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 9 L O G I S T I C S T R E NDS assembly line at the BMW factory in Regens- burg, Germany. Up to 70 percent of the parts are produced outside of Germany, creating a huge wave of materials that BMW logistics specialists have to manage each day. An al- ternative approach would be longer-term storage, but the company would have to build huge warehouses, which would require employing large numbers of people as well as generating additional costs. As a result, most parts are delivered to the assembly line shortly before they are used — a system called “just in time” or “just in sequence.” Over the decades, the auto in- dustry has developed a perfectly synchro- nized, lean and highly flexible supply struc- ture. Indeed, when it comes to logistics, the sector is considered to be a trendsetter. But today its available potential has to a large ex- tent been exhausted. Unrealized savings. Other industries have a lot of catching up to do. “That is particularly true in sectors dominated by small and mid- sized companies, where logistics was looked on as a trivial detail in the past. It was even considered a burdensome necessity,” ex- plains Jörg Scharrenbroich of Siemens’ Logis- tics Center of Excellence in Duisburg, Ger- many. Frankfurt-based PRTM, a management consulting company, reports that such sec- tors could realize a variety of potential bene- fits by improving their logistics. For example, implementation of appropriate measures could help: ➔ Reduce a company’s total inventories — its raw materials, goods in process, products stored in company warehouses and branches by 50 to 80 percent; ➔ Improve the reliability of all deliveries by 10 to 25 percent. The role model here is the automotive-industry supply sector. In this sector, more than 99.5 percent of orders are delivered on time. ➔ Reduce overdue shipments — that is, de- liveries made after the agreed-on date — by 90 percent; ➔ Cut order-processing times — from re- ceipt of the order by the company to delivery of the product to the customer — by 40 to 75 percent; ➔ Reduce production-cycle time — from the first value-creation step to the finished product — by 30 to 90 percent. To cut the time by more than 40 percent, changes in the production process (and thus the factory layout) are usually necessary; ➔ Lower total costs in such areas as admin- istration and storage by ten percent to 30 percent. Key to Survival. Many companies have be- gun to tap into this potential. “But their ef- forts don’t always achieve the desired results, particularly when they rely too heavily on software solutions,” says Wilhelm Dangel- maier, a professor of business-data process- ing at the Heinz-Nixdorf Institute of the University of Paderborn, Germany (see inter- view, p. 26). “The first priority should be to identify the company’s goals and develop corresponding organizational concepts for suitable delivery structures,” he suggests. Today, logistics is not just a pure compet- itive factor. It is increasingly becoming a key survival factor, particularly for those compa- nies that have to meet a range of different challenges. For example: ➔ Customers are increasingly demanding tailor-made, high-quality products that must be produced and delivered quickly; ➔ More and more customers are buying things on the Internet. Items ordered online, like books, are delivered to customers’ homes, raising storage and transport costs; ➔ Globalization continues to spread, and producers are buying increasing numbers of parts from foreign manufacturers. Custom-Made Products. In order to meet a customer’s individual needs, products are in- creasingly being produced only after an order has been received. In some sectors, that’s bringing an end to production stockpiles and the storage of enormous parts inventories. Challenges includeindividually manu- factured products,Internet orders and global creation of added value. Simulating automobile production at BMW. The auto industry is setting the pace in the exploitation of logistics. 10 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 11 L O G I S T I C S T R E NDS It isn’t uncommon for people to spend a couple of minutes placing an order on the Internet and then spend a couple of weeks waiting for the merchandise to arrive. The reason for such slow responses is that limited roads are deluged with traffic. Increasingly, the much-awaited- delivery truck ends up in a traffic jam, especially in metropolitan areas. What’s more, the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better. The Institute for Transport Economics at the University of Cologne, Germany, estimates that by 2015 there will be roughly a 23 percent in rease in passenger traffic and a 63 percent increase in freight traffic in Germany. Targeting Traffic with Telematics. In Germany, one out of six newly registered cars is pre-equipped with a navigation system. Of those cars, over half accomplish their dynamic route guidance using TMC (Traffic Message Channel). Congested areas are identified by the navigation system at an early stage and factored into the choice of route. In addition, Siemens has developed a concept for a comprehensive, in- tegrated system under the SITRAFFIC brand. Traffic data is recorded by induction loops in the road surface or by infrared and video detectors. Then the data is sent via mobile radio to a central office, where the flow of traffic is mapped out and automatically evaluated. Depending on the situation, traffic can then be influenced in such a way that there are as few jams as possible. Telematics systems in Germany, such as those using familiar traffic-control equipment, manage traffic on roughly 3,200 autobahn kilometers and a host of tunnel routes. This helps protect the environment, and, according to the Federal Ministry T R AC K I NG T HE GOODS WI T H T E L E MAT I C S of Transport, Building and Housing, reduces the number of serious accidents by up to 50 percent. When traffic jams are imminent, these systems issue speed limits for individ- ual lanes or specify no-passing zones and display these instructions on variable mes- sage signs — large, programmable illumi- nated panels on highways. The current flow of traffic can be recorded by measuring sta- tions, such as Siemens’ “Traffic Eye.” In this case, an infrared detector measures the traf- fic in each lane, identifying the number of vehicles, how fast they are moving and dif- ferences in speeds. Photovoltaic modules provide the required power, and data trans- mission is handled via radio. Similarly effec- tive are intelligent systems that automati- cally record and analyze the flow of urban traffic and regulate it through traffic lights. Siemens’ MOTION solution, for instance, which has been used effectively in Graz, Austria, since 2001, cuts average driving times by more than ten per- cent while trimming emissions by 15 percent. Another telematics solution is offered by so-called “floating car data” systems. Here, the vehicles themselves act as traffic sensors. The cur- rent position and speed of a vehicle is determined through its own on- board navigation system and transmitted automatically and anony- mously to a colllection point via mobile radio. To model current and future traffic flows, between one and five percent of all vehicles must participate in a system of this kind. Eyes on Fleets.Fleet management systems help fleet operators control and dispatch vehicles in the best way possible. Siemens offers a system consisting of an on-board computer, navigation system and office soft- ware that optimizes communication between fleet managers and indi- vidual drivers. New jobs or destination addresses can be transmitted di- rectly to the vehicle via text messages. With the push of a button, these jobs can be added to the vehicle’s list of destinations by its navigation system’s route planner. The system also allows drivers to confirm job completions by sending messages to the main office through their navigation terminals. Dis- patchers can continuously monitor their vehicles, and because they know the time required to reach a destination, can therefore reliably in- form customers of the arrival of a delivery. Using this system, a fleet op- erator can wrap up its consignments more cost-effectively, dispatch its fleet efficiently, and reliably deliver products to its customers. Inside the Munich-Nuremberg Autobahn Traffic Management Center. The Center is fully equipped with systems from Siemens. tion) systems aren’t affected by such a re- striction. And that’s why many people believe that RFID is headed for a promising future. Small, sturdy data storage systems, known as tags, are attached to all the parts to be scruti- nized. Using radio, it is possible to conduct high-speed read/write operations with the tags (see p. 16 and Pictures of the Future, Fall 2002, p. 19). Intelligent Labels. “Radio frequency identifi- cation systems enable companies to continu- ously locate and follow every individual part,” says Maier. “As a result, the entire materials stream from the supplier to the factory and finally to the consumer can be traced — and in real time.” The tags attached to the prod- ucts store all of the important product data, as well as information about its transport route and destination. The readers needed for data exchange with the radio labels are installed in all of the important locations in the supplier chain and on each transport system that carries them. They register the size and type of each deliv- ery item and pass this information on to the next station in the supply chain via cellular telephony or satellite. By keeping workers at cargo-handling fa- cilities informed, for example, regarding the times and amounts of the next group of de- liveries, the system gives them time to pre- pare. As a consequence, they can plan the optimal arrangement of trucks for the further transport of materials. “Radio frequency iden- tifacation technology is gaining ground,” Maier says. “Its breakthrough will come when the price of a tag for widespread use falls to one cent or less.” RFID technology enables companies to conduct continuous, real-time inventory management. At the press of a button, all stocks, both in warehouses and along the en- tire supplier chain, can be registered and checked. Companies also can react quickly to any problems, including theft. “In the future, the tags could be outfitted with sensors that could monitor the maxi- mum permitted storage temperature of food and sound an alarm when the temperature rises above that level,” Maier forecasts. “In warehouses equipped with the latest tech- nologies, the tags can help coordinate the in- terplay of conveyor belts, robots and driver- less transport systems. This accelerates processes, which is a make-or-break factor in logistical competition.” Smart Agents. But what good is the fastest supply chain if a truck is only half full and the logistics company suffers a drop in profits as a result? “In the future, small companies in particular could join forces for the last mile, and package all their goods into one com- mon delivery for the customer,” Maier says. “This could be performed very efficiently if such companies combined their intranets and integrated intelligent logistics software — in other words, agents.” Software agents could determine, for in- stance, which orders could be combined and how transport vehicles could be optimally loaded. They could also work out the short- est route for the trip while taking a range of real time factors into account (see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2001, p. 53). “In the future, there could be Internet- based logistics networks that have been pro- grammed on the basis of economic theories. Such networks would be intelligent enough to coordinate and oversee the entire flow of materials and funds largely on their own,” Maier predicts. The question is: will they ever be as efficient as the African termite? Sebastian Moser, Ulrike Zechbauer Thanks to shelving stackers produced by Siemens Dematic, this soft drink producer has rapid access to all the pallets stored in the ware- house’s high-rise racks. RFID makes it possible to followthe entire flow of goods from supplier and producer to consumer — in real time. 12 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 13 L O G I S T I C S T R E NDS “This departure from mass-produced arti- cles has also split up supplier units. They are getting smaller even as the transport volume grows,” says Dr. Carl-Udo Maier of Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich. Maier heads the Pictures of the Future project for Automation and Control. “Nonetheless, transport and storage costs have to be kept down. At Siemens we’re providing customers with comprehen- sive solutions in this area.” A glance at the va- riety of products offered by Siemens Dematic explains why. The range includes automation technology equipment for warehouses, and equipment for mail-distribution centers and airport baggage-transfer systems (see articles, p. 14, 20, 24). “Increasingly, we are presenting ourselves as much more than ‘just’ a supplier of top- notch technology,” says Dr. Alexander Ge- diehn of Siemens Dematic in Offenbach. “The customer also wants complete planning and outfitting of facilities. We’re there to of- fer everything from a single source.” End-to-End Tracking. “Looking toward fu- ture developments in logistics, Siemens is fo- cusing on three technological areas: end-to- end tracking systems, highly automated warehouses, and integrated software solu- tions,” says Maier (see articles, p. 14 and 16). A visit to an automaker’s production facilities shows just what these systems are capable of doing . Such plants resemble a giant organism. Huge volumes of material are in constant motion, and they must arrive on time at the right spot in the assembly line. “End-to-end tracking systems organize this apparent chaos by tracing the path that the parts take through the labyrinth of conveyer belts to the assembly line and coordinate the resupply stream with software,” Maier says. This is the reason why many parts are now labeled with a bar code or alphanumeric tag that can be scanned and identified by a bar code reader or an OCR (optical character recognition) instrument. In these processes, the labeling and the reading equipment must always maintain line-of-sight connection. However, RFID (radio frequency identifica- R E L AT I V E C OS T S OF L OGI S T I C S Distribution Production Procurement Development Disposal Other Automotive Consumer goods Retail trade 2005 2005 Depending on the sector, logistics is a major cost factor. In 2002, logistics services accounted for nearly 28 percent of total costs for German whole- salers and retailers (the graphic subdivides these costs in six major categories). Logistics spending totaled nearly 13 percent in the consumer-product indus- try — that is, for producers of home appliances, mobile phones, toys or writ- ing materials. The comparatively low total for the automobile industry — about eight per- cent — is the result of major investments in areas such as research and devel- opment, and of the comparatively high costs of production and materials. These expenses collectively reduce the relative cost of logistics. In additon, the auto industry has been working for years to implement more efficient logistics concepts in an effort to cut these costs. All three sectors predict that their lo- gistics expenditures will fall in the future — a clear indication that they expect to benefit from newly introduced, efficiency-boosting strategies. Source: Baumgarten, H. and Thoms, J, Trends and Strategies in Logistics, 2002 Major components of logistics costs: Logistics as a share of total production costs 26.8% 27.2% 23.4% 7.8% 2.8% 12.0% 64.1% 16.6% 6.5% 3.2% 2.0% 7.7% 53.4% 12.2% 7.6% 2005 17.7% 10.3% 0.3% 5.3% 12.9% 8.2% 12.8% 27.6% 26.7% 2002 2002 2002 Siemens Dematic and German mail order giant Klingel have created the world’s first fully automatic packaging line. The system folds cardboard boxes, attaches labels, and sorts socks, sweaters and shirts with unerring ease. For a mail-order company, highly au- tomated warehousing and vast shelving systems are only half of the story. Packaging is the other half, and here human hands are normally required. In conventional mail-order companies, the goods go to packaging tables, where employees first assemble boxes and then hand-pack socks, pants and skirts until the order is complete. It’s a process that’s sure to produce errors, and complaints are a certainty. A powerful alternative is the fully automated packing and distribution line that was re- cently completed in Pforzheim, Germany, by Siemens Dematic, Klingel and Hamburg- based Pierau Planung. The new system is full of fascinating details. Whereas in the past cardboard boxes had to be assembled by hand, a machine now does this automatically and then slides the empty boxes onto a conveyor belt. The merchandise rides along the same belt and is then packed into the boxes at “hub stations.” There are about 100 such stations positioned along the conveyor belt, like parking lots on a busy thoroughfare. First a box is maneuvered into a hub station and lowered on a small platform lift. Then the contents arrive — shirts and pants, for instance. Thanks to bar code labels, the system knows which items have to be placed in which boxes. Once the box has been filled, it is dispatched one level lower onto a second conveyor. There, a catalogue, complimentary gifts and a printed invoice are also placed in the box. Finally, the box is automatically sealed, a bar code is applied and an address label attached. Regardless of the order in which the boxes roll along the belt, the computer is able to identify them by their bar codes. As many as 30,000 packages leave the new packaging line every day — which adds up to about 100,000 individual items. “The major challenge involved in creating this new system was to link all the components with one another,” explains Wilfried Lampe, who is head of Mail Order systems and E- Commerce at Siemens Dematic in Offenbach. After all, it’s crucial that the various units — including box assembly, box identification, box sealing and invoice printer — should harmonize with one another, so that the end result is a perfectly packed and properly ad- dressed package. Some 800 to 900 “packages” of information must be exchanged be- tween individual stations in real time before a box has been fully packed. P UT T I NG PANT S I N T HE R I GHT B OX bunk beds are nowhere to be found. But with hundreds of items to remember, mere mor- tals quickly lose track. But for warehouse professionals, who have to handle thousands of articles in hun- dreds of boxes, packages and containers every day, things are obviously quite differ- ent. The pros can cope with chaos, not least because they are increasingly assisted by so- phisticated computer programs and inven- tory management systems. Elevators whizz up and down towering shelving units. Mov- ing to the choreography of computer control, they stack clothing, screws and large appli- ances such as washing machines onto pallets and into bays. The computer system records where everything is located. Different items are stored according to different criteria. For example, those in high demand are placed where they can be easily retrieved. Modern mail-order companies, such as Germany’s Otto and Klingel, have as many as five million articles in stock. Such companies can pack 5,000 parcels per hour, which are then dis- patched to 5,000 different addresses. And it’s very rare that one goes astray. Seamless Positioning and Tracking. In the final analysis, it’s the blanket use of bar codes that has made such perfect logistics a reality. Each product, each box and each pallet is given its own bar code containing product data, batch numbers and even address infor- mation. Whenever goods enter or leave a ware- house, at forks or intersections in the con- veyor system, the bar codes are automati- cally read by a laser scanner, just as they are at any supermarket checkout. In this way, sweaters or shirts on a conveyor belt can be assigned to a specific customer order, just as letters in a mail sorting center are allocated to a particular zip code. In the most modern warehouses and shipping facilities, the bar codes once affixed to products have been replaced by devices called transponders (see Pictures of the Fu- ture, Fall 2002, p. 19). In contrast to bar codes, these new labels are read by radio and therefore work without any line-of-sight con- tact. And they are much less sensitive to physical damage. Individual items even re- port to the system of their own accord, thereby ensuring that they never get lost, a function made possible with special mini- transmitters developed by Siemens. The sys- tem, which is known as Moby-R, guarantees rapid positioning. Moby R’s transponders consist of a small data chip, a tiny antenna and a battery. At regular intervals, they trans- mit an individual radio signal in the mi- crowave frequency range over a maximum distance of several hundred meters to a nearby receiving antenna. Chaotic Containers. By calculating the prop- agation time of the signal, the central com- puter can automatically determine the pre- cise location of an item, which might be, for example, inside a container in the middle of a massive shipping terminal. Every five min- utes or so, the computer updates an on- screen graphic indicating the position of each container. “This means that containers can be stored using the same chaotic principle that is employed in the high shelving units of a warehouse,” explains Heinrich Stricker, head of business development for the Moby 14 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 15 L O G I S T I C S WAR E HOUS I NG I f you’ve ever moved, you know what it’s like to pack up an entire household into countless identical boxes — and how long it takes before everything is finally in its proper place again. But beware. If the boxes haven’t been labeled properly, you can expect some major headaches! That’s when the bottle opener gets lost, and the screws for the kids’ Warehouses are a blurr of activity. Every day, they dispatch hun- dreds of packages and thousands of products. Advanced robotic and computer systems not only locate containers and stack boxes neatly on pallets;they also ensure that nothing goes astray. Intelligent Stacking, Tracking and Packing Siemens and Augsburg, Germany- based Kuka Roboter, have developed a system that uses robots to optimally stack boxes of all shapes and sizes on pallets. The technology has eliminated many back-breaking tasks. system at Siemens Automation and Drives. This is because the computer always knows where everything is. Such a system is of par- ticular interest wherever there is rapid turnover of goods and where forklifts con- stantly have to move containers to make space for new arrivals. Thanks to the transponders, time-consuming searches for lost containers are a thing of the past. More- over, the new system should also enhance protection against theft. On the downside, transponders are still comparatively expensive. That’s why bar codes are still the labels of choice for identifi- cation applications. Experts forecast that this is unlikely to change in coming years, al- though RFID technologies are making major inroads in many sectors (see article oppo- site). After all, to print and attach a bar code label, all you need is a little paper and film. Stacking Robots. Engineers at Siemens De- matic in Offenbach, Germany, are also bank- system functions more or less fully automati- cally, stacking a stable and tightly packed pal- let with boxes of many different shapes and sizes still requires the trained eye and muscle power of a human worker. “It’s a backbreak- ing job,” says Gregor Baumeister, head of Ro- botic Picking Systems at Siemens Dematic and the person responsible for development of the fully automated palleting system. “On any given day, a worker will shift several tons of goods from the conveyor to the pallet.” The new system is the product of a com- plex interplay between robots, conveyors and sophisticated control technology. The princi- ple calls for a robot to repeatedly take various boxes from the supplier’s pallet and place them on a conveyor belt. A second robot re- moves the boxes and then positions them on the customer’s pallet. No matter whether the boxes are large or small, the goods are stacked into a tightly-packed, stable pallet — just as if the work had been performed by ex- pert human hands. arrange the boxes in such a way that the pal- let space is used as efficiently as possible. New box sizes are scanned into the system upon arrival at the warehouse, ensuring that they will be recognized later by the robots. The new system is already achieving packing densities substantially over 80 per- cent of the available space. An experienced human packer will manage a maximum of 75 to 80 percent. The robot, which is about the size of a horse, first places large boxes at the pallet corners and then begins to fill the space in the middle. Finally, any remaining space is crammed with small boxes. The ro- bot can stack as many as 350 boxes an hour without errors. Enhancement of the various processes involved should increase this num- ber substantially. As Baumeister explains, future systems will be developed to suit specific jobs. “For example, we’re likely to see individual mod- ules from the pilot system go into operation at different warehouses,” he says. Thus the gripper unit might be used in one area for unloading pallets and putting boxes on the conveyor, while the palleting system could be used in another location. Robots that Navigate. Meanwhile, scientists at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) have developed a robot of a completely different kind. MobMan — or “Mobile Manipulator” — is mounted on wheels and is equipped with a gripper arm. The robot can be used in ware- houses to remove items from a bay and place them on a conveyor or hand them to a hu- man —a feature that obviously saves a lot of time and effort. A high-tech robotic systemcan place 350 boxes on palletsevery hour — and make optimal useof available space. By grasping the right tool —a process that takes just a few seconds —a robot can pick up boxes of different shapes and sizes. ing on bar codes. Together with Augsburg- based Kuka Roboter GmbH, they have devel- oped a pilot robotic system capable of neatly stacking boxes on pallets. The system is the first of its kind. At present, Siemens Dematic is trying out the principle with various cus- tomers in a range of applications. The new palleting system is designed for use in warehouses where goods have to be moved from a pallet or high shelves and stacked onto another pallet containing a vari- ety of items batched for a specific customer order. This is the case in, for example, an in- termediate storage center for supermarkets. Here, goods from a large range of manufac- turers are constantly arriving. Every day they have to be sorted into mixed pallets corre- sponding to the orders from individual super- markets. Although the warehouse stacking It sounds simple, but the process is in fact extremely complicated. First of all, a ro- bot has to be able to identify the exact posi- tion of the boxes on the supplier’s pallet so that it can then pick them off one by one. It uses a camera for this purpose. The big chal- lenge was to create software capable of con- verting a simple camera image into the posi- tion-related information required to control the robot gripper. Engineers also had to en- sure that it was possible to change the ro- bot’s grippers within a few seconds in order to quickly handle boxes of different sizes. The grippers are specially coated metal plates that use suction to attach themselves to the boxes. Each box that is picked up is automat- ically given a bar code label. The robot that stacks the customer’s pallet then follows in- telligent and flexible computing rules to 16 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 17 L O G I S T I C S WAR E HOUS I NG Automobile manufacturers and logistics companies have been us- ing transponders for quite some time . Pilot studies show that these small chip-based labels are set to make inroads into our daily lives and will soon begin to compete with bar codes. Indeed, the advantages of transponders are so great that experts agree this technology has a great future. Unlike bar codes, transponders are both readable and writable without any line-of-sight contact, and they function even when they are dirty or have suffered surface scratches. Using transponders, containers, luggage and even letters can be tagged and then registered in a fraction of a second. The technology is known as Radio Frequency Identification — RFID. The major obstacle in the path of large-scale application of RFIDs in re- tail environment is price. However, costs are falling — so much so, in fact, that one day mass applications will become a viable option. Reading Hundreds of Labels Simultaneously. Siemens Venture Capi- tal has been working with Australia’s Magellan Technology since early 2000. Magellan — one of the leading names in the field of mass transponder applications — has launched a system comprising various WHY T R ANS P ONDE R S AR E MAK I NG WAV E S read/write units plus a range of tags. The system is not only good value for money but also prevents signal overlapping. This is particu- larly important, as there are often problems in simultaneously reading a large number of transponders — for example, when they are bunched together in a pile of small components. To prevent the radio signals from overlapping and interfering with one another, Magellan uses a procedure known as frequency hopping, where the transpon- ders change frequency at regular intervals. The read/write unit also si- multaneously transmits and receives radio signals on several channels. This accelerates data transmission substantially, so that several hun- dred tags — as might be found in a box full of letters at a mail-sorting center — each located at a distance of approximately 50 centimeters, can be read simultaneously in matter of milliseconds. In fact, Japan plans to use transponders alongside stamps sometime in the foresee- able future. Transponders in Department Stores. A recently completed pilot pro- ject conducted by Siemens Business Services and German retailer Kaufhof involved the use of some 20,000 transponders to label cloth- ing. Kaufhof was interested to see if the new technology would help accelerate and simplify its transportation logistics as well as reduce the loss of goods. Siemens Automation and Drives provided the read/write units used to transmit and retrieve information to and from the transponders. The units were installed in a major warehouse to record incoming and outgoing goods and in a Kaufhof department store, where they were mounted at check counters. This meant goods could be tracked over the entire logistics chain. In the store itself, employees equipped with mobile reader units were able to check on stock levels within seconds, while reader units mounted on the shelves provided a digital overview of inventory. Intelligent Toolbox.Transponder technology is currently undergoing testing in many sectors and has many potential fields of application. For example, researchers from the Auto ID Center at the Massachu- setts Institute of Technology (MIT) are investigating which transponder applications are truly viable and can be realized at acceptable costs. To this end, various pilot projects have been launched with a number of companies. An aircraft manufacturer, for example, has helped develop an “intelligent toolbox” that facilitates jet maintenance. The toolbox notices if one of the tools, each of which has been equipped with a transponder, is missing. By sounding an alarm at the end of the shift, the toolbox eliminates the risk of the tool being left behind in a critical part of the aircraft. In a move to help accelerate the development of transponder applications, Siemens is also involved in activities at the Auto ID Center. In addition, Siemens is a member of various commit- tees at the German Association of Engineers (VDI) and the German Au- tomobile Industry Association (VDA), which plan to advance the appli- cation and standardization of RFID technology. Transponders, which use radio technology, can simplify sup- ply logistics by enabling retailers to track goods all the way from delivery to the checkout counter. Here, the radio an- tenna is clearly visible on the label. 18 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 19 L O G I S T I C S FAC T S AND F OR E C AS T S MobMan is equipped with the Siemens Navigation System for Autonomous Service Robots (SINAS), which is considered to be the world’s most advanced robotic navigation system (see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2002, p. 59). Robots equipped with this technology can find their way around even in a changing environment. MobMan’s gripper arm is fitted with laser-controlled proximity sensors that guide it unerringly toward an object. Similarly, tac- tile sensors calculate the exact pressure re- quired for the gripper to firmly hold an object without crushing it. Gisbert Lawitzky, who is in charge of the Siemens Robotics team, refuses to speculate whether warehouses will one day be popu- lated by hundreds of MobMen. “Whether it makes economic sense to use one of these sophisticated pieces of equipment is ulti- best deal on the market. Some people might still hesitate at the idea of placing so much trust in a computer. However, Berger is cer- tain that agent technology will move in this direction. “We’re currently involved in a project with a software producer that is designed to improve how individual orders are tracked,” says Berger. “Such a program will make it easy to determine quickly and precisely whether goods have been lost, stolen, or are simply late.” Goods are scanned in at the manufacturer, at the shipping company, at the warehouse and at the customer’s loca- tion. So in theory it would be possible to de- termine the precise location of an item at any given time. The problem at the moment, however, is that not everyone in the logistics chain uses the same data-processing system. The result Digital agentscould be used to negotiate conditionsand trackthousands of goods. mately a question of cost,” he admits. But where price is not the decisive factor, such as in wealthy private households, a simpler ver- sion of the robot could eventually be put to use as a kind of electronic butler. Logistics Agents. Michael Berger, project manager for Intelligent Autonomous Systems at CT in Munich, is also interested in digital assistants. Unlike MobMan, however, Berger’s inventions consist of bits and bytes rather than metal and cables. Berger special- izes in so-called digital agents — computer programs that manage limited tasks for hu- mans. The digital agent concept is already used by Internet auction houses such as eBay. The prospective buyer merely names a price, and the software then handles the ne- gotiations. In the world of warehousing, such agents could one day help to ensure smooth and prompt deliveries. For example, they might be used to negotiate conditions with shipping companies and look around for the is often a muddle of faxes, phone calls and e- mails. Thus, the primary task of a digital agent would be to communicate with these various systems and extract the relevant data. Today, it’s impossible for a shipping clerk to track thousands of orders at once, but that’s exactly what a digital agent would do. For the warehouse clerk, the resulting in- formation would make a crucial difference, allowing contingency plans to be made in case a delivery fails to arrive on time. In the future, digital agents could even take over planning for crisis measures and shipping alternatives. After all, the ultimate aim is to optimize procedures along the en- tire logistics chain. This means minimizing in- ventory, for example, to ensure that capital isn’t tied up unnecessarily, while also ensur- ing that shelves are well stocked. The future will determine whether ware- houses will one day be managed and oper- ated exclusively by an intelligent combina- tion of virtual agents and robots. Tim Schröder E ven though the world’s economy re- mains generally sluggish, logistics is still a growth market, with Asia serving as a strong driving force. At the moment, 98 per- cent of all goods transported between conti- nents are moved by ship. Furthermore, ac- cording to a 2002 transportation & logistics analysis conducted by HVB Equity Research, this logistics segment is expected to grow by 5.6 percent annually worldwide until 2010. Starting in 2005, a new generation of mega- container ships capable of carrying 12,000 TEU containers (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, about 6.1 x 2.4 x 2.6 meters) will be ready to enter service. By comparison, today’s biggest container ships can carry “only” 7,500 TEU containers. The air freight segment is expected to regis- ter a 5.9 percent annual increase worldwide through 2010, according to HVB Equity Re- search’s data. Reacting to this boom, Euro- pean aircraft manufacturer Airbus is planning to produce a freight version of the huge A380 jetliner, which will be known as the A380 Freighter. By 2008, this plane will be transporting payloads of 150 tons nonstop over distances of more than 10,000 kilome- ters — a dramatic advance over the A300F transporter in use today. This aircraft is capa- ble of hauling a maximum of 51 tons of cargo over a distance of nearly 4,800 kilo- meters, nonstop. Overland freight transport is realized with trains, barges and trucks. Annual growth ex- pectations for road transports are 3.3 percent within Europe through 2010. According to a forecast for the year 2015 made by the Ger- man Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing, the goods transported on roads will Boom in Worldwide Product Shipments DE V E L OP ME NT OF WOR L DWI DE C ONTAI NE R T R ANS P OR T EL ECT RONI C L OGI S T I CS continue to garner market share, while the share for goods transported by rail is forecast to remain just about stable. According to the study, the share of goods transported by in- land waterways is expected to decrease. In order to cut costs and accelerate processes, increasing numbers of companies are employing electronic logistics systems. These include end-to-end tracking systems, technology for highly automated ware- houses and software solutions for the logistics sector. The global market for elec- tronic logistics is forecast to triple in the medium term — from $26 billion in 2002 to $78 billion in 2012. A real boom is expected for end-to-end track- ing systems, which make it possible to follow a product’s entire path all the way from sup- plier to customer. Forecasters predict annual growth rates of 20 percent for end-to-end tracking systems, and a sixfold increase to a total of $10 billion in 2012, as compared with a global market volume of $1.6 billion in 2002. The global market for automated technolo- gies for warehouses is expected to nearly double. Software solutions for logistics ac- counted for a total market volume of $8.2 billion worldwide last year. Market re- searchers from AMR Research and Siemens expect the annual growth rate for such solutions to reach 17 percent by 2012. Accordingly, their market volume could in- crease to as much as $38 billion within the next ten years. Sebastian Moser, Ulrike Zechbauer DE V E L OP ME NT OF WOR L DWI DE AI R F R E I GHT DE V E L OP ME NT OF R OAD T R ANS P OR T VOL UME I N E UR OP E Growing globalization is reflected in the growth rate of sea freight transport. Since 1980, transport volume worldwide has increased nearly sevenfold. Sea freight will also remain a growth market in the future. Since 1980, the market for air freight has increased fivefold. Following the terror- ist attacks in the United States in 2001, the market temporarily slumped, but is expected to recover by 2004. Growth will continue, although at a slower rate than in the past (based on estimates made since 2002). Compared with sea and air freight transport, overland shipments in Europe have grown rather slowly — a trend that is expected to continue in the future. Nonetheless, by 2010, ton-kilometers of goods transported overland in Europe will have grown by about one-third compared with 2000. 0 3,000 6,000 9,000 12,000 15,000 18,000 21,000 24,000 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 Thousands of tons Worldwide Remaining areas of the world Triad (Asia, Europe, N. America) 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 Millions of TEUs (1 TEU = standard container) 0 200 400 600 800 1,000 1,200 1,400 1,600 1,800 2,000 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 Billions of ton-kilometers Total annual growth rate: 3.3% 0 2002 2012 Billions of U.S. dollars End-to-end tracking systems Highly automated warehouses Integrated logistical software 20 40 60 80 78 26 20% p.a. 6.2% p.a.17% p.a. The world market for electronic logis- tics will triple through 2012, according to forecasts. Sources: ISL, Stinnes, HVB Equity Research, 2002Sources: Merge Global, Airbus, HVB Equity Research, 2002Sources: EU Commission, HVB Equity Research, 2002 Sources: Raymond James & Associates, Inc. 2001; AIM Germany 2002; IDTechEx 2002; Siemens 2002; AMR Research 2002 Siemens’ new Postal Automated Redirection Technology is set to save the United States Postal Service hundreds of millions of dollars per year. 20 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 The Medium Is the Message S everal years ago Siemens sent a message to the United States Postal Service that basically said, “We can save you a bundle on processing undeliverable mail.” It was a con- cept the USPS could not afford to ignore. The U.S. Postal Service delivers some 200 billion letters and packages annually — more than any other postal service. But about 3 percent, or roughly 4 to 6 billion mail pieces, are not deliverable as addressed. The price tag for all that undeliverable mail, including millions of man-hours and plane-loads of mail, amounts to $1.8 billion per year. The reason that so much mail is undeli- verable as addressed is unique to the United States: Each year, around 16 percent of all American families move. In 2001, for in- stance, the USPS registered 44 million requests for changes of address. Naturally, most people who move inform everyone P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 21 L O G I S T I C S P OS TAL AUT OMAT I ON Once the PARS system is implemented, rather than being sent to L.A. and then being redirected to the correct new address as is currently the case, the envelope will take a high speed shortcut. Traveling at over three meters per second (about 11 km per hour) through a sorting machine, the envelope will be turned so that it moves through the ma- chine face up. A digital image will then be lifted of the entire face of the envelope and optical character recognition (OCR) techno- logy will read the target address. As soon as the target address has been successfully read, the information will be sent to a PARS server and checked against a list of moves. “A PARS change of address server can interrogate a USPS directory of 60 to 80 million address changes in only a few milliseconds,” says Gert Seidel, Vice President for PARS systems. “It’s a patented technology we developed at our Arlington, Texas center.” Assuming Rick filed a change of address form, the server will recognize that the envelope is undeliverable as addressed (UAA) and only about a second after entering the sorter, the envelope will slide into a special stacker for redirection processing. Split-Second Decisions. “At this point all we know is that the letter is UAA,” says Seidel. “To find out exactly what to do with it, the image of the envelope face will be transmitted to a system called a forwarding reader. This is a new technology we develo- ped in Constance, Germany that analyzes the mail class, the service endorsements, such as ‘Forwarding Service Requested’ and other information on the mail piece that affects its final disposition. If information is detected that can not be determined automatically, it is entered by specialized personnel using video encoding at a remote center.” All re- sults, explains Seidel, whether they are deter- mined automatically by the forwarding reader or by video encoding, will be transmitted to a server called a redirection image controller. “This is the heart of the PARS system,” he says. “It takes the coded information from the envelope image and analyzes it with reference to nearly 4,000 USPS rules.” The rules govern how the final disposition of a mail piece and associated services are affected by mail class, endorsements and the age of the change of address record. For instance, suppose the endorsement on the envelope says “Address Service Requested,” but the recipient’s location is confidential because of a court order. In such a case, the letter would go to the recipient, but the sender’s request for an address update would have to be ignored. Within a split second the redirection image controller makes a decision as to which rules apply to Rick’s letter. Based on this decision, it generates an electronic label that is stored for that particular letter. Assuming that everything is legible and the controller does not direct the letter to be processed manually, Rick’s letter will zip over to a combined input-output subsystem (CIOSS) which will scan the envelope for an identification tag and query the controller for information. The redirection image controller will, in turn, transmit its label information for that particular envelope to CIOSS and, as the letter whizzes through the machine, it will be automatically labeled and a barcode tag representing the controller’s decision and a new address (if applicable) will be printed on a yellow label. “The label text and barcode determine the new disposition of the mail piece,” says Seidel. “And the bar code tells other machines down the line whether and where to forward the letter, return it, or — if it is third class mail — to treat it as waste.” In all, a single “production line” of this sort could process up to 30,000 “undeliverable” mail pieces per hour. Siemens and the USPS estimate that UAA delivery times will be reduced from days to hours thanks to the new technology. All in all, Rick’s letter is automatically redirected at its point of origin — Washington — to its new final destination, Miami. Although eliminating the full $1.8 billion price tag for all undeliverable mail is probably an impossible dream, Siemens expects the USPS to save millions of working hours and up to $420 million per year once the PARS system is fully implemented. “This is an in- centive-based contract,” says Seidel. “The more the customer saves, the more we earn. So you can bet your boots we will continue improving the system as our technology evolves.” OArthur F. Pease from friends to financial institutions of their new address. They also file change-of- address forms with the USPS. But until now, no technology was available to automatically screen addresses and compare them with the huge change-of-address database. All that is about to change thanks to the impending implementation of the Postal Au- tomated Redirection System (PARS), a com- bination of software and hardware devel- oped by Siemens Dematic, that is now undergoing testing in Virginia and Florida. In the age of the Internet, many people may wonder if postal services still have a future. But the answer is a very definite “yes.” Although the number of letters has certainly declined in recent years, letters still represent about 80 percent of all mail. And total mail volume is stable or increasing. The reason is the Internet itself. “As more and more people use the Internet, they tend to make small purchases that are delivered by mail,” ex- plains Raj Kumar, an automation equipment technology acquisition manager who is the primary interface between Siemens and the Postal Service for the project’s implemen- tation. “This also leads to more advertising volume,” he adds. High Speed Shortcut. Slap a 37 cent stamp on an envelope, drop the envelope in a mailbox anywhere in the U.S., and your message is on its way. Its first stop will be a distribution center where mail is separated according to whether it’s coming in to the area or going out. Let’s say your letter origi- nates in Washington, D.C. and is addressed to your old school buddy Rick in Los Angeles. The only problem is that Rick recently retired and moved to Florida. Image only Outgoing Primary P&DC Outgoing Primary P&DC Incoming Secondary P&DC Incoming Secondary P&DC Redirection Processing PARS Redirection Processing Delivery unit Delivery unit Carrier Former Address Carrier New Address Pick-Up Today’s Mail Redirection process New address Identification as UAA mailpiece Manual & Mechanized mail redirection processing New Mail Redirection process with PARS Old Address New Address HOW PAR S S AV E S T I ME AND MONE Y PARS will provide automatic processing and labeling of “undeliverable as addressed” (UAA) letters at postal and distribution centers (P&DC). The next step will be to apply the technology to parcels and large envelopes. Source: Siemens Dematic An envelope flies through a scanner in a fraction of a second – enough time to compare its information to a database of 60 to 80 million address changes. How can delivery costs for letters and packages be lowered in the age of e-commerce? In the race to find the best solution for the “last mile,” experts are examining several competing systems. 22 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Many Roads Lead to the Last Mile W e no longer have to personally accept deliveries, but the articles are still stored safely and securely.” It’s impossible not to notice Daniel Steiner’s enthusiasm when he discusses SkyBox, a combination locker- refrigerator. Since he and his family began living as test subjects in “Futurelife,” a house outfitted with Siemens technology near Hüneburg, Switzerland, they have been or- dering everyday items from a major Swiss supermarket chain — over the Internet. Thanks to SkyBox, no one has to hang around the house waiting for an order to be delivered. The two-section container, which is the size of a washing machine, is built into the house’s facade and can be opened from the inside or outside. The delivery person just needs a smart card and a PIN — perishables can then be packed in the refrigerator, and the rest goes into the bottom compartment. Last Mile Logistics. Such service is only a dream for the average consumer. But courier and package services are working hard to make the delivery process more efficient. “The question is how the customer can get the product in the cheapest and fastest way,” says Matthias Krause of Siemens Dematic Postal Automation in Constance, Germany. “After all, the delivery process is responsible for 50 to 70 percent of transport costs for letters and packages.” The remaining costs are generated by “in-house” operations. Even today, a letter carrier working at the post office has to search through several shelves for his or her letters and parcels, and then map out a delivery route based on their addresses. “Logistics specialists have to find a solution for the problem of the last mile as quickly as possible,” says Krause P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 23 L O G I S T I C S DE L I V E R Y S YS T E MS alone, more than 1.5 billion packages were delivered in 2002. A major portion of these parcels was generated by Internet shoppers — and the trend is growing. The Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) in Dortmund, Germany, estimates that by 2006, electronic trade will generate about 600 million packages in German-speaking countries. Logistics specialists will therefore have to adjust their strategies to meet this changing mail pattern, which will produce more and smaller packages. For online busi- ness to be successful, efficient but economi- cal sales and delivery systems are indispens- able. Currently,three approaches are being tested:box systems, pick-up stations, and locker facilities. All are interesting for urban areas. “That’s because the delivery points are strategically located near the customer,” - Krause says. Box Systems.Systems like SkyBox serve homes much as mail boxes do. Condelsys, a company in Dortmund, Germany, employs such a system. When a customer places an online order, he or she simply has to add a delivery code to the address. The code will be added to the address sticker, and the delivery person will automatically have the right information at his or her fingertips. Using this combination of numbers, the delivery person can unlock the empty box and place the package inside. The recipient then uses his or her own personal identification number to open the box. The system’s drawbacks are that the customer has to buy the box, pay- ment is made through an online dealer and there are no arrangements for returns. Pack Stations. Pick-up stations require cus- tomers to retrieve their packages. Potential retieval points could include filling stations, newsstands and video stores. Currently, Ger- many has about 1,700 collection sites and the service is offered by PickPoint, among others. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, there are about 3,400 so-called Collect- points. Parcel recipients are notified of deliv- eries by text-message or e-mail. If the pack- age is not picked up within ten days, it is returned to the sender. But here too there are obstacles. Not every filling station operator or store owner offers the additional service. The customer is also tied to the opening hours of the retrieval station, and not every station will accept re- turns. Automated retrieval stations eliminate these problems. At the end of 2001, Ger- many’s national postal service began a large- scale test of such a system in several major cities. The service involves about 90 “pack stations” that are open around the clock in places like train stations,shopping centers and universities. The pack stations are used for packages that are no bigger than two cases of wine. Customers can also send pre- stamped goods and can return packages. Af- ter registering once, the customer is in- formed of the delivery via a text message or an e-mail and can then pick up the package within nine days. In the future, Deutsche Post will use the pack-stations to offer additional services. “We can imagine that rental-car drivers would want to drop off car keys, mechanics might want to pick up replacement parts, and peo- ple heading for the opera might like to get their tickets,” says Boris Mayer, who is in charge of the test, in which more than 60,000 customers have already participated. The Fraunhofer IML wants to tap into the same potential with Tower24, a 10-meter structure that can hold 200 packages. But unlike the pack station, it has two tempera- ture zones: one compartment at a normal temperature and one for fresh products that is cooled to between two and seven degrees Celsius. The cooling occurs naturally because Tower24 extends four meters below ground. An automatic conveyor system carries the products to the distribution area after a deliv- ery person has deposited them inside. Real-life Test.“Right now, all versions are in the evaluation phase. But most likely, all of them will be used in the future,” Krause pre- dicts. It is also possible that independent ser- vice companies would operate a network of package stations — similar to the coopera- tive arrangements that banks have created for their cash machines — to allow small lo- gistics providers to gain access to the facili- ties for a fee. One thing is certain, however. Because of deregulation, all participants can expect to face increased competition in the years ahead. “They can do that only by bringing their delivery costs under control and offer- ing customers new individual services,” Krause says. He adds that “the company with the biggest competitive edge is the one that will be the first to drive down the costs of the last mile. ” OEvdoxia Tsakiridou The term ‘last mile’ originated in telecom- munications and refers to the distance be- tween a telecommunications company’s local distribution box and the customer’s home. In logistics, the term applies to urban pick-up and delivery traffic. Transporting physical goods is much more complicated than trans- mitting electronic data, and the task will not become easier in the future. What’s more, demographic trends such as the rising num- ber of single households and increased mobi- lity will worsen the problem. Customers who surf the Web’s “stores” know no shopping hours, and when they have to pay for pur- chases immediately, they expect speedy de- livery and no additional charges. In Germany Pick-up station Tower24 (above and left). The facility created by the Fraunhofer In- stitute for Material Flow and Logistics even has a cooling area, which is located a few meters underground. A 40-kilometer conveyor network has been installed in the new Terminal 2 at Munich Airport. Not only does it allow bag- gage to reach its destination at high speed, it also makes the airport one of the world’s fastest for connecting flights. 24 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Flying Suitcases S ince the end of June 2003, passengers at Munich Airport have been enjoying the benefits of even smoother, more rapid bag- gage hadling processes. It now takes as little as 30 minutes for transfer passengers to catch a connecting flight, a new European record. And yet most passengers are unlikely to notice the outstanding logistical achieve- ments that make all this possible. In an area coveing some 50,000 square meters in the basement of Terminal 2, their baggage is zipped at 25 kilometers per hour from one conveyor belt to another. The system, which was built by Siemens, is based on a com- pletely new concept and can transport up to 15,000 baggage items per hour. Each bag or suitcase is loaded into a small plastic tub that can be tipped to the left or right to ensure that the luggage is expelled at the right place. “With the tub system, we can be sure P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 25 L O G I S T I C S B AGGAGE HANDL I NG that none of the suitcases get stuck. What’s more, it’s faster than conventional conveyor- belt systems,” explains project manager Peter Wachendorfer from Siemens Dematic. In the last three years, about 1,000 Siemens em- ployees have been busy developing and im- plementing the system at the Terminal 2 con- struction site and at the company’s location in Fürth. The system was developed in coop- eration with consortium partner Crisplant. Shortest Routes. The new transport system makes use of a redundant computer system, almost 200 Simatic S7 controls and over 19,000 frequency-controlled electric motors — all from Siemens. “For every single piece of luggage, the computer determines the shortest route from the point where it is tipped into the baggage-transport system to the final belt for the right departing flight,” says Wachendorfer. “Or, in the other direc- tion, to the correct conveyor for an incoming plane.” When a suitcase is tipped in, scanners register the barcodes on the baggage label and the tub, recording the suitcase and its container as one transport unit. From this point on, the only thing that’s relevant to the system is the barcode on the tub, which is at- tached on every side and is easily readable. “This is another reason that the system in Munich is faster than conventional conveyor- belt systems, where the labels attached to the baggage sometimes get twisted, making them difficult to read,” explains Wachendor- fer. About 27,500 photoelectric barriers and 400 container scanners are employed at a to- tal of 500 junctions to ensure that the bags are correctly guided through the system. “If a problem is registered in a particular part of the route,” says Wachendorfer, “the computer comes up with an alternative and redirects the baggage.” Since the beginning of the year, airport requirements have called for every individual bag or suitcase to be checked. This process is somewhat faster in Terminal 2 than in Termi- nal 1. “We’ve completely integrated the secu- rity checks into the new system,” reports Wachendorfer. “On its journey, all baggage automatically goes through the first X-ray stage. If anything unusual is spotted, it goes through stages two and three as well. Mean- while, the computers check whether each item in the hold can be assigned to a passen- ger on board the plane.” All of the logistical threads behind the high-speed conveyor sys- tem are pulled together in the baggage con- trol center, which was also installed by Siemens. Here, every step of the process is clearly displayed on two enormous wall- mounted screens, and up to six employees monitor processes around the clock. The new terminal will be used by Lufthansa, along with Star Alliance airlines and other partners. And thanks to the new terminal, Lufthansa intends to intensify its use of Munich Airport as its central hub in the future. Indeed, when the Siemens con- veyor system is further expanded, it should be able to handle up to half a million pieces of baggage on the busiest days. OUlrike Zechbauer A new terminal doubles the annual capa- city of Munich Airport to 50 million passengers. About 1,300 employees are involved in making baggage handling as smooth as possible. Up to 15,000 items of baggage can be transported with the new system every hour. The logistics behind it are moni- tored in the Siemens baggage control center (below). Siemens has developed route-planning software that is 1,200 times faster than previous technology. It has also come up with a process capable of predicting product sales figures that’s up to 85 percent accurate. stretch across many national borders. In order to optimally organize procurement, produc- tion, storage and sales with suppliers and cus- tomers, a company needs to know exactly how many cell phones, washing machines, televisions or automobiles it will sell in the coming weeks and months. In this context, cumputer-based simula- tion models could serve as an important deci- sion-making tool. Conventional processes em- ploy such mathematical methods of analysis as linear regression, progressive averages, and exponential smoothing. But a faster, better technology for simulating dynamic systems is neural networks. Neural networks have been used for a long time to produce sales, liquidity and stock forecasts. In this area, the Compe- tence Center for Neural Computation at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) is working with so-called recurrent neural networks (see box, p. 28).“Our systems can produce three- month sales forecasts that are 75 to 85 per- cent accurate,” says Dr. Ralph Neuneier, who is in charge of the “Learning Systems in Business Processes” section at CT. “Conventional time series analysis, on the other hand, is only 55 to 60 percent accurate.” Many Factors. In an effort to improve sales forecasts, additional information about the value-creation chain is integrated into neural networks. The use of this information ensures Predicting with Precision C ompany sales representatives are only too aware that fear and insecurity can have a tremendous market impact. For instance, wor- ries about the war against Iraq and SARS slowed cell phone sales, forcing companies to cut their sales forecasts for 2003. This, in turn, led to a drop in demand for flash memory chips, and many other items. So imagine how helpful it would be if up-to-date sales forecasts that instantly took account of such external factors could be created at the push of a but- ton! There isn’t a business on earth that would- n’t embrace such a technology. Indeed, com- panies are having more and more trouble stay- ing on top of supply chains that frequently 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Quarter 2000 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Quarter 2001 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Quarter 2002 Sales in millions of units 10 20 30 40 1st 2nd Quarter 2003 Precise sales forecasts, produced with the help of simulation programs, help optimize the value-creation chain for all types of products. The actual sales figures for Siemens mobile phones, including the effect of Christmas, are shown below. L O G I S T I C S SI MUL ATI ON AND OPTI MI ZATI ON Professor Wilhelm Dan- gelmaier, 53, is Professor of Business Computing at the Heinz Nixdorf Insti- tute at the University of Paderborn, Germany. He also heads the Fraun- hofer Application Center for Logistics-Oriented Business Administration in Paderborn. 26 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Technology Can’t Replace Good Planning IT Networking Is the Key Automakers are increasingly offering customers a chance to modify their new vehicles’ equipment — even shortly before the delivery date. With tens of thousands of individual parts in- volved, the logistics chain must be optimally organized. Are other industries facing the same challenge? Absolutely. And more will follow. For example, I’m sitting on an of- fice chair that’s theoretically available in millions of variations. The chair was custom-produced to my specifications and could still be delivered in just a few days. Especially industries that are switching from catalogue retailing to selling custom-configured products will have to rethink their operations and reorganize. What impact is this having on companies? Since short delivery times allow hardly any leeway, a company must operate under conditions that require working around the clock this week and taking next week off. Global competition demands flexi- ble working hours. But what’s perhaps more important is that each company must adapt its organization, strategies and processes to the new demands. That is, it must clearly define its goals, decide how extensive it wants its product range to be, and determine what delivery times it can manage with what degree of vertical integra- tion. After that, the company can choose its hardware and software from the bottom up. In practice, though, the picture is often different... Yes, unfortunately. Many companies rely on complex technology that is often incorrectly configured. Then, when things go wrong, the system is blamed, although it was management that failed to first define its goals and processes. With an integrated organizational con- cept and a uniform problem-solving approach, the latest technology isn’t always absolutely necessary to deliver the information flow needed for a good logistics chain. !Interview by Sebastian Moser Many logistics chains — such as those in the automotive indus- try — appear remarkably optimized. Can they be further im- proved? Every stage in the value-creation chain has achieved a high degree of optimization, but the interfaces are a major problem. Companies that skillfully network their systems, and manage to motivate their employees at the same time, create an enormous competitive ad- vantage for themselves because they are faster, more flexible and less expensive than their competitors. What’s your view on congested communications? Are they the bottleneck in the logistics chain? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Congested communica- tions produce backlogs, waste resources and result in higher trans- port costs — for companies and for the economy. In many logistics chains, though, there are still buffers that can compensate for the delays created by backlogs, which as a rule can be measured in hours. In chains where time is a critical factor, however, such as in the delivery of fresh food products or spare parts or in high-speed e- commerce, hours can make or break a company’s ability to com- pete. This factor — and also the debate on the introduction of a truck toll system on German highways — is why companies are be- coming increasingly sensitized to the transportation issue, even though transportation costs represent only a few percent of total costs on average. Will the logistics chain be fully automated in 50 years? No, because even 50 years from now we still will not have perfect networking of IT systems. And when different systems communi- cate, translation errors sometimes occur. In responding to these in- stances, human input simply has to play a role. Human beings will always be indispensable. !Interview by Ulrike Zechbauer L O G I S T I C S I NT E R V I E WS WI T H E XP E R T S Since 1997, Dr. Inga-Lena Darkow, 32, a business consultant and university lecturer, has been analyzing logistics at the Institute of Technology and Management at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 27 !Logistics is facing many challenges: the globally networked business world, e-commerce, and individually manu- factured products that result in steadily shrinking batch sizes. Solutions include extensive electronic networking of the value-creation chain, automated ware- houses, robotics technology, route op- timization, and “intelligent” transpon- der tags for goods. (p. 9) !Transponder tags will compete with bar codes. Not only can they ensure seamless tracking of entire streams of goods — they also make it possible to monitor warehouse inventories in real time. (pp. 13, 16) !The day is coming when warehouse robots will assemble pallets of goods for delivery according to customers’ wishes. Siemens and Kuka Roboter GmbH are currently testing a pilot operation. (p. 14) !A new automatic mail-forwarding system from Siemens will be inte- grated into mail-sorting operations and help the U.S. Postal Service save hundreds of millions of dollars annually. (p. 20) !In the age of e-commerce, small deliveries will become increasingly common. For future delivery of goods in urban areas — when no one’s at home — there will be a choice of three concepts: box sys- tems, pick-up stations, and auto- matic storage lockers like Tower24. (p. 22) !Air travel will soon become faster and easier. Innovative baggage con- veyor systems like the one at Mu- nich Airport’s Terminal 2 enable travelers to make connecting flights in as little as 30 minutes. (p. 24) !A forecasting model based on neural networks can predict prod- uct sales with 85 percent accuracy. The right reaction to sudden change is vital. That’s why tomor- row’s software will factor in the dy- namics of the entire logistics chain. Siemens’ route planner ensures that a delivery travels the shortest and fastest route to the customer, thanks to calculations that are 1,200 times faster than with con- ventional processes. (p. 27) PEOPLE Pictures of the Future for Automation and Control: Dr. Carl-Udo Maier, CT SM ICA email@example.com Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): Michael Schuldes, SBS firstname.lastname@example.org Heinrich Stricker, A&D email@example.com Warehouse facility, robots: Gregor Baumeister, SD firstname.lastname@example.org MobMan, SINAS, robots: Dr. Gisbert Lawitzky, CT IC 6 email@example.com Digital assistants: Dr. Michael Berger, CT IC 6 firstname.lastname@example.org Postal Automation: Gert Seidel, SD, USA email@example.com Last mile, automated mail delivery: Matthias Krause, SD firstname.lastname@example.org Airport baggage handling: Winfried Wittmann, SD email@example.com Learning systems, forecasts: Dr. Ralph Neuneier, CT IC 4 firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Rudolf Sollacher, CT IC 4 email@example.com Route planning: Prof. Ulrich Lauther, CT SE 6 firstname.lastname@example.org Telematics: Wieland Simon, CC P I&S email@example.com Enno Pflug, SV firstname.lastname@example.org LINKS Siemens Dematic, Material Handling Automation Europe/Americas: www.ma.siemens-dematic.com www.siemens-dematic.us/ma MOBY RF identification systems: www.ad.siemens.de/moby Automated mail delivery: www.postalautomation.de SkyBox, Futurelife house: www.futurelife.ch/en/home/interaktiv/ interaktiv_skyboxmat.htm Siemens Telematics: www.siemens.com/telematics BIBLIOGRAPHY Chopra, Sunil; Meindl, Peter, Supply Chain Management, Strategy, Planning and Operation Prentice Hall (2003) In Brief… the start (or whenever the digital map changes because of things like blocked roads or traffic jams). Afterward, though, the route calculation system works 1,200 times faster than conventional methods do. Admittedly — because the 20-minute set- up period is impractical — the software is not really equipped to deal with the requirements of vehicle navigation systems. However, the software is ideal for a sys- tem based on a central computer that can reg- ularly integrate the latest traffic reports into new calculations. A server of this sort could, for instance, be used in a logistics company or a trucking operation, or it could be used on the Internet for route planning purposes. Such cost factors as tolls or time windows for deliv- eries to customers can also be taken into con- sideration. Preferred Roads.One problem with the use of digital maps is what actually constitutes a preferred road. “These are not always express- ways or federal highways, because situations arise that lead to long detours when these par- ticular routes are used,” Lauther says. That’s why Siemens is working on soft- ware that will find the important roads for op- timal route planning independent of the infor- mation provided by map makers. If one highway regularly appears in various route cal- culations, it is particularly important and is highlighted on the digital map. It thus gains priority in the route planning that follows. As a result, the reliability of the road classification rises compared with the information provided by the map maker. A licensee is already using Siemens’ route planner to optimize the trips of a logistics company. But the route planner is not just suited for highways. It also can be used in communica- tions networks. After all, there are many routes that a message can take. A communi- cations network can therefore be considered to be a map and the various network junctions can be seen as intersections. Thus, a defective or heavily used cable can be integrated like a blocked street into route precalculations in or- der to produce the optimal cable connection. !Sylvia Trage 28 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 29 L O G I S T I C S SI MUL ATI ON AND OPTI MI ZATI ON Neural networks that are based on the structure of the human brain are ideally suited for simulations that involve non-linear, complex situations. In general, artificial neu- rons are divided into three categories: input, hidden and output neurons. External data covering such things as economic factors flow through the input neurons. The hidden neurons, which can be arranged in several layers, process this data, and the output neurons provide the conclusion — the level of future sales, for instance. Every neuron within a layer is connected to all of the neurons in the next layer by network parame- ters. Neural networks learn from the data of the past. More specifically, the input neurons constantly receive sales updates: daily reports on total sales, prices, weather factors such as rain that send customers rushing into department stores, or seasonal factors such as Christmas. The neural network stores the business information in the network parameters. In the training mode, the learning algorithm changes the parameters until the network produces forecasts that deviate as little as possible from actual sales totals, and the input of additional information leads to no further improvement. At this point, the neural network is ready to make future sales forecasts. Siemens uses “recurrent” networks in place of the widely used “feed-forward” networks to make sales forecasts. In feed-forward networks, the data flows in only one direction — from the input layer to the output. In recurrent networks, on the other hand, signals from one layer are sent back to the one behind it. This makes the models more resistant to disruptive factors, and the network can be trained using less data. B E T T E R F OR E C AS T S WI T H NE UR AL NE T WOR K S that the forecast doesn’t simply rely on such past data as previous sales totals. Instead, new information focuses on such factors as long-term supply contracts, use of production capacity, current inventory and the typical buying habits of major customers, who often place orders at the end of the quarter. The market model is also given informa- tion about special seasonal events such as Christmas or planned marketing campaigns, along with economic indicators that measure such things as the business climate for sectors and companies. Neural networks can sort through all these factors and produce more accurate forecasts than competing systems. Today, many CEOs and top managers are looking forward to switching from monthly to weekly planning cycles. “But this is still too long a period to react to sudden changes that could result in bottlenecks or delays and cause back-ups that stretch all the way to the end of the value-creation chain,” says Dr. Rudolf Sol- lacher, who is in charge of self-organizing sys- tems at Siemens CT. To eliminate this bull- whip effect, all of the partners in a process A route planwith 500,000 sections from Moscowto the Canary Islandscan be pro- duced in under a thousandth of a second. chain should be able to communicate directly and quickly with one another. In addition, as- sociated software must be able to simulate not only the dynamics of the entire supply chain but also fluctuations in production and even the utilization level of individual ma- chines. Changes should be recorded quickly and automatically. This is the only way to take still have to arrive at the right place and at the right time. In order to accomplish this, the route has to be optimally planned. The prob- lem is that today’s delivery vehicle-based navi- gation systems take the route step by step be- cause their on-board computers have limited capacity — a feature that can greatly restrict the search area depending on the dynamics of a situation. For example, such systems may first direct a driver from a downtown area to a beltway, then to a major artery, and finally to an inter- state highway. The computer only begins to refine the search once the driver approaches his or her destination. “This method rarely shows the driver the shortest or quickest route,” says Professor Ulrich Lauther, who is in charge of Efficient Algorithms in Networks at Siemens CT. With these problems in mind, Lauther’s team has developed a new process that is ca- pable of computing the optimal route from the Canary Islands to Moscow within a milli- second on a notebook — that’s all the time it takes for a new route planner to handle the 500,000 sections of the trip, including metro- politan areas, roads, bridges and ferry connec- tions (see graphic above). In the process, virtual signposts are set up at every fork in the road, pointing out the highways that will produce the shortest and fastest trip. It takes about 20 minutes to set up the signs. This process must be performed at countermeasures that can prevent disruptions from turning into major problems. Siemens has already developed simulation software that can do the job. Shorter, Faster Routes.Even when the right sales forecast has been put together, products Siemens Corporate Research works closely with top universities worldwide. The result? A focused R&D program, close cooperation with Siemens’ operating companies, concrete insights into new technologies, and top notch students who decide to stick with Siemens. 30 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Focusing on Results PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE UNI V E R S I T Y COOP E R AT I ON W ith many installations, such as military bases and subway systems, having thousands of cameras and relatively few se- curity personnel, the need for quality visual data is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s a trend that is followed closely at Siemens Corporate Research (SCR), in Princeton, New Jersey. Indeed, SCR’s Real-Time Vision and Modeling Technology Department is a world- class center of excellence in the machine vision field (see Pictures of the Future, Spring, 2003, p. 44). P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 31 CMU’s Tsin electronically pastes 44 images together. Seamless registration results in invisible stitches, resulting in an apparently continuous, wide angle view. To keep an eye on what’s happening throughout this high-stakes area, SCR main- tains close ties with top universities in the U.S. and Europe. And, like the smart vision systems the department is developing, re- search projects have become increasingly focused. “In the mid-‘90s, the research we conducted in collaboration with universities was purely academic,” explains Dr. Visvana- than Ramesh, who heads the Real-Time Vi- sion Department. “Today, the model is very different. We work closely with Siemens’ operating companies to find out what their customers would like to have. Then we target top universities and develop highly focused research projects to bolster our own work in that direction. We are definitely getting more bang for out bucks than ever before.” Face Zooming. One of the many combined SCR-university research projects that have paid valuable dividends involves video supervisor. For me, it was the right mix of basic science and practical applications.” The work focused on analyzing the stabi- lity of algorithms used in detecting people and acquiring images of their faces by means of intelligent zooming under varying lighting conditions. Greiffenhagen performed a unique, systematic design and analysis of the performance limits of the system. In addition to estimating where people are in an area at any given time, his system is also able to tell how accurate its person location function is so that a second camera can adaptively zoom in on the person’s face. “The project gave us several insights into design of practical video monitoring systems, thus influencing our commercial products in the related field of traffic monitoring,” says Ramesh. Seeing the Big Picture. Yanghai Tsin is a graduating Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) School of Robotics in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since 1999, he has worked on projects with Dr. Ramesh. But all the projects have one thing in common: they have to do with building statistical models that take into account the physics of the image formation process to build physics- based video surveillance systems. As anyone who has taken pictures of the same scene with different apertures knows, the aperture determines the level of detail. Shoot “wide open” and you’ll get washed out bright areas, but rich detail in unlit areas of the image. Shut the exposure down, and you’ll get no detail in dark areas, but plenty where the scene is bright. But if a camera could take a vast range of exposures for every picture and then seamlessly piece the best exposures together into a single image, it would be technically possible to have unlimited corner-to-corner detail. That’s the general idea behind Tsin’s concept of a “high dynamic range image.” Guided by Prof. Takeo Kanade at Carnegie Mellon and Ramesh, who is on Tsin’s Ph.D. committee, the project combines the best of academia with far- signed industrial goals. While the concept of “high dynamic range images” is not new, Tsin’s work has concentrated on developing a complete statistical model of the camera and using that model to accurately estimate the high- dynamic range image along with its uncertainty. Tsin uses this technique to monitor a parking lot and determine the differences between two pictures due to physical or illumination changes. As part of his work, Tsin also developed a system that stitches together several images taken with a pan-tilt camera to give a high-resolution overview of a large area. The work holds the potential of developing surveillance tech- nology to monitor wide open spaces that would never be blinded by reflections, and would never miss events, regardless of the level of contrast and illumination variations in a scene. “The work that is being conducted by students such as Greiffenhagen and Tsin gives us an understanding of what the state of the art is,” says Ramesh. “And because it is a joint effort, each party — the student, the university, SCR and the operating company — comes out of the process with a better handle on the problem’s potential solutions.” Ramesh points out that SCR now ear- marks approximately three to four percent of its funds for university cooperation. Projects typically involve one or two professors at a target university and one or two students per project. To date, projects have been success- fully executed at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, where a student worked on 3D image reconstruction from video; Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where two students analyzed how to quantify the performance of video analysis systems; and Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, where the emphasis was on pattern representations. Meanwhile, other projects are underway at Columbia University in Manhattan, Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, the University of Maryland, and Michigan State University. “Is our method good for Siemens?” asks Ramesh. “Absolutely, because it puts us in the mainstream for a very modest price. Is it good for the students? Absolutely, because it gives them the big picture and allows them to solve real world problems. The poof of the pudding is that several students we have funded have decided to join SCR.” OArthur F. Pease monitoring with multiple cameras to detect people, localize them and zoom in on their faces. Part of the project was conducted by Dr. Michael Greiffenhagen, a Ph.D. student from the University of Erlangen, who was with SCR for four years. “My work was a perfect model of communication,” recalls Greiffenhagen, who now works for Siemens Information and Communication Networks Group. “My professor in Germany knewwhat I was doing at SCR and felt that it was high quality work; but Dr. Ramesh was my local 32 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 33 S C E NAR I O 2020 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S Light Entertainment Tomorrow’s lighting will open entirely new worlds. In additon to today’s light sources, new technologies will be available that will blur the distinctions between lighting, entertainment, and information. Welcome to a hotel in 2020 that has specialized in the best of everything. E ven in the blazing summer sunlight we could see it. The huge sign proclaiming in a cool blue ”Honeymoon Hideaways” gave way to an image of water and palm trees and then morphed back into words. The low, circular hotel, which seemed to be surrounded by sand and sea as we drove along the island coast, looked exactly like the oasis we needed after the heat and hectic atmosphere of the wedding. “We’ve made it,” I shouted triumphantly to Laura, who looked gorgeous in her long white gown. “Oh, Ray,” LIGHT & DISPLAYS HIGHLIGHTS Brilliant Plastics Displays made of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) produce their own light, are efficient, rich in contrast, flat and ideal for video imaging. A Bright New Paradigm Leds and OLEDs could revolu- tionize lighting and display tech- nologies. The President of the Optoelectronics Industry Association comments. A New Architecture of Light By automatically adapting artifi- cial light to natural light, scien- tists expect to improve workplace productivity. Bright Future Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are finding their way into more and more applications. By 2015, they could be powerful and cheap enough to use as normal room light sources. The Wavelength of Change Tomorrow’s light sources will not only be intelligently networked — they’ll also be more efficient and environmentally friendly. Pages 45 Page 49 Page 35 Page 38 Page 43 2020 Laura and Ray have just gotten mar- ried. For their honeymoon they’ve chosen a hotel that’s the last word in high tech. Their room features lumi- nescent walls capable of displaying everything from Internet TV and video telephony to programmable ex- periences. And naturally, the lighting adapts automatically to ambient conditions. There’s even a holo- graphic bouquet of flowers. 34 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 35 A researcher examines the color rendition of a Powerball high intensity discharge lamp. Osram scientists are investigating how mercury-free versions of these highly efficient lamps could be produced. In 20 years or so, the most advanced light sources will blur the distinction between light and information. Long before that happens, existing light sources will merge into intelligent networks that automatically alter their brightness and color in harmony with each other and the environment. Figuring out and controlling the processes that produce light is the first step down a long, bright path. The Wavelength of Change S trange things are happening in the lamps that light stores and factories — things that even lighting experts are hard pressed to explain. High above racks of dark suits and production lines pumping out everything from servers to frozen soufflés, so-called high intensity discharge lamps or HIDs, produce a symphony of wavelengths approaching the spectral richness of sunlight. HIDs produce more and better light per unit of power than any other commercially available light source. Yet scientists do not yet fully understand the reactions that take place inside these workhorses of the workplace. Figuring out their underlying physics — and learning how to modulate the complex patterns of gases that make these light sources so effective — could improve the environment, the economy and the way we see and feel. Like fluorescent lamps, HIDs produce light by exciting a gas and various metal compounds (see table, p. 36). But unlike fluorescents, they produce light directly, and thus more efficiently. HIDs operate at much higher pressure than fluorescent sources and generally employ no phosphor coatings, making them much brighter than necessary for residential use, but ideal wherever a great deal of high quality light is needed. When the power is switched on in an HID lamp, an electric arc — essentially a flow of charged particles — is struck between two tungsten electrodes inside a sphere within an outer bulb. As the gas within the sphere heats up and becomes a plasma, the lamp body gradually reaches an operating tem- perature of 1,200° C, — enough to evapo- rate metal compounds. The energized metal atoms, and other substances in the gas, such as metal halides, collide with the electrons in the plasma causing them to give off photons, which we perceive as visible light. And HIDs produce plenty of white light — up to 120 lumens per watt. For the sake of comparison, conventional incandes- cent bulbs (including tungsten halogen) produce only 6 to 24 lumens per watt, while low pressure discharge lamps — such as fluorescents — produce up to 104. Thus, the energy efficiency of discharge lamps makes them more environmentally friendly than incandescent bulbs. But HIDs, like fluorescents, have a significant shortcoming: they rely on mercury, a dangerous, non- biodegradable poison. In fluorescent lamps, for instance, excited mercury vapor efficiently transforms nearly 75 percent of the electrical energy consumed by the lamp into ultraviolet radiation, which is received by the lamp’s phosphor coating and converted into visible light. In HIDs, on the other hand, mercury is essential in order to cause metal atoms to produce photons under high pres- sure and to stabilize the resulting gas. In these light sources, up to 35 percent of the electrical energy is converted into visible light. Efficient though it is in lamps, no one wants mercury in the environment. That’s why OSRAM GmbH, Siemens’ fully owned lighting subsidiary and one of the world’s leading lighting products manufacturers, is determined to find alternatives. Mercury-Free Future?“If we can develop the technology to run these lamps mercury- free without sacrificing lumens, we will be doing the environment — as well as man- ufacturers and users — a big favor because the lamps will not have to be recycled,” says Scott Butler, who manages the HID Systems Lab at OSRAM’s U.S. R&D headquarters in Beverly, Massachusetts. What’s more, since HIDs and fluorescents share much of the same technology, the road to a mercury-free future may not be that far away. Interestingly, the goal of developing mercury-free products in the lighting industry intersects with another major trend L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S S C E NAR I O 2020 she said as she got closer to me, “It looks even better than the brochure!” After the car had parked itself and a smart trolley had followed us with our suitcases to the reception area, we were escorted by a tall bellman, who introduced himself as Riccardo, to an elevator. When we reached our floor, lights em- bedded in the bluish carpeting signaled the direction to our room and soon we noticed the playful greeting “Welcome to Sweet 901” glowing on the floor ahead of us. The trolley with our suitcases had already arrived and had parked itself next to the bed. Heart- shaped lights glowed in the floor marking a path to a heart-shaped bed. Beyond the bed a picture window framed a view of the beach and sea. As we stepped into the room the lighting seemed to change so that the walls emanated a cool glow that mixed perfectly with the late afternoon sunlight. “Oh, Ray,” Laura murmured, “isn’t this just the loveliest...” “Ma’am, sir,” Riccardo interrupted. “Excuse me, but I’d like to acquaint you with some of the unique features of this suite.” “Right,” I said, already fishing for the bills in my pocket that would get Riccardo out the door. I expected the usual spiel about the mini bar being here and the TV being there. But before I could stop him, Riccardo had produced a sleek looking device and had slid the room’s lovecard into it. As he did so, the wall next to the window seemed to dis- appear. Looking forward to being alone with my new bride though I was, I remembered that in addition to the hotel’s location, the factor that had gotten me to decide on this particular place was its “Light Entertainment” advertising. As the manager of a lighting products sales team, I was naturally curious. “Ma’am, sir,” Riccardo repeated, “This room is equipped with entire walls of lumi- nescent plastic — the same material most TV screens are made of. And this here is your personalized remote control assistant. It will provide whatever entertainment, atmos- phere, or environment you desire. You have your choice of Internet TV, video phone, movies, adult fantasies, sound and light, or — our most popular new service — expe- riences. Just a word of caution, though; they’re very realistic.” “I’ll try the experiences,” Laura said giving me a wink. A menu appeared on what had been the wall. There were items such as “Beach Paradise,” “Mountain Wilderness,” “Ice Dream,” “Soaring Skies,” and “Personal Planet.” “I’ll take that Mountain Wilderness,” said Laura as she squeezed my hand. “It’s been such a hot day.” A scene of rugged mountains, forests and roaring brooks appeared. Squirrels dart- ed up trees. Deer and rabbits wandered through the scene, all accompanied by the sounds of wind and rushing water. The first menu became an icon and was replaced by a new menu showing categories such as “Sea- son,” “Time,” and “Weather.” “Once you’ve chosen your category of experience,” Riccardo continued, “you can tailor the scene…” “We’d like a cozy evening,” said Laura. Getting the message, Riccardo made a few adjustments and soon the grass had been replaced by snow, and the water and sky had an icy, late winter feel. “Looks great,” I said, getting up from the bed and handing Riccardo a hefty tip. The big bellman placed the RC device in my hand. “You can use the assistant to order all our services,” he added. “Oh, and sir, the illumination is optimized to balance the light from outside or from the display. But if you want to personalize it, just play with the assistant.” “Thanks,” I said, as he left. Suddenly a blood-curdling growling came from behind me, and Laura screamed. A mountain lion had edged into the scene and had attacked one of the deer. Horrible bellows of pain came from the attacked animal as it fell. “Turn it off!” Laura begged as the grisly images and sounds ticked by. I snapped the lovecard out of the device and the scene was instantly replaced by a gentle blue glow. The room lighting returned to normal and the window, with its view of sea and sand, brightened “Oh, Ray,” said Laura with relief. “Maybe we’d be better off creating our own expe- rience.” OArthur F. Pease L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S T R E NDS appear to be scattered; but a number of trends are bringing developments together into a sharp, new focus. Spurred by the quest for mercury-free products and the resulting research in electronic ballasts, lamps are becoming smaller, lighter, more energy- efficient, more environmentally friendly, more dimmable and more capable of producing white light over a longer lifetime. What these trends add up to is that lamps are likely to become responsive, net- worked objects. Combined with sensors that measure light on the work surface, and stan- dards such as DALI (Digitally Addressable Lighting Interface), that allow lighting products from different manufacturers to communicate with a building’s management system, a new vision of lighting is emerging. “Until now, interior lighting was not expected to look particularly natural. But thanks to the convergence of a number of technologies, this is changing and we are moving toward a new concept called adap- tive lighting,” says Dr Reinhard Weitzel, head of light sources research at OSRAM, Munich. The idea is that artificial lighting will adapt to and merge with natural light and that these combined sources will change in harmony with daily and seasonal light levels. If broadly implemented, such a technology would save energy while improving worker productivity (see p. 49). In the U.S. alone, lighting-related energy consumption amounts to some 60 GW per year, with each GW being the energy equivalent of four million tons of coal. By automatically dimming lighting in response to sunlight, a huge amount of lighting energy would be saved. Flat Light. Already, the quest for mercury- free products is paying off. PLANON, a revolutionary, flat fluorescent white light source recently introduced by OSRAM, is 100 percent mercury-free. Although not as bright as conventional fluorescent sources, the new lamp’s patented pulsed excitation technology delivers an extraordinary 100,000 hours of service. Furthermore, to enhance its bright- ness, OSRAM researchers, in conjunction with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, are studying the development of new phosphors that could produce two visible light photons in response to each ultraviolet photon they are struck by. “This has been a dream in the lighting industry for years,” says research director Weitzel. “But we are still very far away from realizing it.” Meanwhile, OSRAM researchers are mul- ling over the possibility of building LEDs into fluorescent lamps. The idea is to allow them to alter their color rendition as naturally as dimming alters their light output. “The problem is that LEDs cannot withstand the temperatures in some areas within fluorescent lamps,” explains Weitzel. Inside or out, LEDs are set to revolution- ize the lighting landscape. Already in vehicles and traffic lights around the world, they mark a fundamental transition in the evolution of lighting. “Instead of burning a tungsten filament or a gas, LEDs produce light directly from electrons,” says Dr. Makarand H. Chipalkatti, Director, Lamp Modules, North America, at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors in Danvers, Massachusetts. Chipalkatti foresees that in the next decades, in addition to traditional lighting fixtures, there will be more and more LED-based systems and that they will be integrated into walls and ceilings. “Some LEDs already have a 100,000- hour life span. And LEDs can be combined to create any imaginable color. Furthermore, they have the potential to reach 100 lumens per watt and more,” says Chipalkatti. “If we can get the price per lumen down, we’ll be able to have our cake and eat it too.” Like the computer industry of the 1970s, today’s lighting products industry is heading in the direction of smaller, more versatile, more efficient, hybrid and, ultimately, net- worked products. Eventually, OLEDs — pa- per-thin electro phosphorescent sheets sand- wiched between conductors (see p. 45) — will blur the distinction between light and information, allowing us to live in virtual worlds in which walls of light effortlessly give way to video telephony, television and much more. Understanding the arcane physics of the lights on factory and department store ceilings is simply the first step down that long, bright path. OArthur F. Pease Chips for LEDs are produced in Regensburg, Germany and assembled at an OSRAM facility in Malaysia. WORLD LIGHTING MARKET 25 0 2002 2007 Billions e Opto Semiconduc- tors (LED & OLED) Electronic Ballasts Photo/Optic Lighting Automotive Lighting 1 General Lighting 1) excluding automotive lighting assemblies 18.2 25.3 26 5 10 15 20 15% 12% 4% 9% 60% 28% 12% 4% 8% 48% +17% +8.1% +4.7% +3.7% +2.1% LEDs, OLEDs and electronic components are the largest growth areas in the world lighting market. Light Source Incandescent Halogen Fluorescent (including compact) High Intensity Discharge (HID) Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) Lighting Principle Electricity causes tungsten filament to glow Tungsten filament glows / halogen gas regenerates filament and blocks deposits on glass Electrons in low pressure tube ionize mercury vapor creating ultraviolet radiation, which is changed into visible light by phosphors Electric arc between tungsten electrodes in high pressure heats gas & metals Visible radiation produced through recombination of electrons and holes in a semiconductor Current causes plastic materials to glow Power / W 15 to 1,000 5 to 2,000 4 to 150 38 to 2,100 about 1W Condition- dependent Lumens / W 6 to 12 12 to 24 60 to104 70 to 120 20 to 30 Condition- dependent Lifespan / hrs 1,000 2,000 to 4,000 8,000 to 60,000 6,000 to 20,000 20,000 to 100,000 Condition- dependent Application General Residential / commercial Office / industrial / residential Commercial / industrial Taillights, traffic lights, signage, backlighting, signalling Small displays, cell phones, white goods 36 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 37 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S T R E NDS — namely the development of electronic sys- tems to control processes inside lamps. Ask Dr. John Gustafson, who is in charge of OSRAM’s U.S. research activities, what the most exciting development in his field is and he says, “Electronics. With a view to kicking the mercury habit, we are developing elec- tronic systems that can control the flow pat- terns of gases and change the way photon- emitting substances in the gas mix. Fine tuning the electronics is one possible way of doing without mercury and still having an efficient white light source.” To accomplish this, OSRAM researchers have replaced the magnetic ballast — basically copper wire wrapped around an iron core that limits lamp current — with an electronic equivalent weighing only one third as much. Inside is a microchip that can, says Butler, “change the temperature profile of the gas, make the temperature more uniform, and increase efficiency because the gas flow can be controlled by pulses. We believe that this research has the potential to lead to mercury-free HID lamps in the mid term that are comparable in efficiency to today’s (mercury-based) lamps, yet have the same wattage and color rendition.” But getting HID lamps to work without mercury is like trying to start a fire without oxygen. In fact, if trial and error were the only route to an answer, such lamps might still be decades away. But steadily increasing computational speed has shortened the wavelength of change. “We can now under- stand things that we were only guessing at in the past,” says David Bay, manager of the Fluorescent Systems Lab in Beverly. “Our ability to simulate the complex temperature, chemical and flow properties inside a dis- charge lamp are improving steadily. ” amount of power throughout the life of the lamp,” explains Butler. OSRAM researchers in Beverly, Berlin and Munich would like to do even more with Powerball. For instance, right now, the bur- ner is a translucent, milky white, which is ex- cellent for illumination. But if it were trans- parent, the product could also be used in the C H A R AC T E R I S T I C S A N D A P P L I C AT I ON S OF C U R R E N T WH I T E L I G H T S OU R C E S Electronic ballasts could make it possible to produce bright, mercury-free lights that are also highly efficient. Transparent Ceramics. Indeed, simulation has already paid off for the OSRAM Powerball HID metal halide lamp. The lamp’s ceramic burner — an inner sphere that contains the electric arc and gases — is the first in the industry to be round instead of cylindrical. The new shape allows much higher temperatures to be attained than with older quartz burners because ceramic materials can operate at temperatures that exceed the capabilities of quartz. Furthermore, the burner’s round shape provides a much more uniform temperature than can be obtained with a cylindrical shape. “The higher temperature means that we get better color rendering and more light for the same rapidly growing beamer and automotive headlight markets. The question is: how do you make a ceramic object transparent? Today, the burners are made of particles that are fused together. But each particle tends to scatter light. “So what we need to do,” says Gustafson, “is either make the particles so small they can’t scatter light, or make them so large they act like sapphire crystals.” In either case it will not be a question of getting more light out of an HID, but of being able to focus it exactly where it’s needed. Converging Beams. Like the light from today’s ceramic burners, research develop- ments in the lighting products market may Source:Osram Light-emitting diodes are outstanding performers. They have a long lifespan, use little energy and produce lots of light. In a few years, they might even compete with the incandescent bulb. other illustrious brands are mentioned. All of these exhibits have one thing in common: They’re illuminated by light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. We’re all quite familiar with these tiny light sources that tell us which washing machine program has been selected or whether the airbag in our car is operational, and provide safety illumination on bicycles even when the bike isn’t moving. But in the future these tiny starlets will also be used more and more in applications served by in- candescent or fluorescent bulbs today: as 38 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 A Bright Future I t’s gloomy and cool in the unlit room. Dr. Norbert Stath throws a switch and sud- denly everything appears to be bathed in the light of glittering stars. Hundreds of tiny dots of light illuminate arrangements of plastic roses. A lighting console plays a combination of colors and sounds, and a slot machine blinks on, inviting us to try our luck. Of course, more serious applications are also be- ing demonstrated in the showroom of Osram Opto Semiconductors in Regensburg,Ger- many — like a traffic light or an emergency exit sign. Stath, who’s in charge of innova- tion management, points out several unique automobile taillights. Phaeton, Maybach and P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 39 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S L I GHT - E MI T T I NG DI ODE S Some 84,000 Osram light emitting diodes have given a new look to the glass facade of Aquarius Hall at the Park Hotel Weggis, near Lake Lucerne. LEDs are also finding a wide range of applications as indicator lamps and in backlighting (bottom right) . headlights in cars, as flash units in cell phone cameras (see article, p. 4), or even to illumi- nate rooms. Market researchers predict double-digit growth rates for optical semiconductors. Osram president Dr. Wolf-Dieter Bopst pro- jects a world market of about seven billion euros by 2007. This excellent outlook was one reason why Osram opened the world’s most advanced optical chip factory near Regensburg in April 2003. The plant will enable Osram to double its capacity for opto-chips by 2005. But before LEDs can achieve the status of a universally used light source, scientists still have some work to do. While the life span of red LEDs can be as long as 100,000 hours (compared with1,000 hours for an incandes- cent bulb), their brightness is still insufficient for many applications. In particular, the highly popular white LEDs — which incorpo- rate additional fluorescent materials to create yellow wavelengths besides blue to produce white light — generate much less brightness than conventional light sources. LEDs for the Olympics.LEDs already leave other technologies in the dust when it comes to advertising billboards and sports stadiums. Their power consumption is moderate, so they produce little heat. Moreover, individual LEDs for individual image pixels can be con- trolled independently of one another. As a re- sult, the image screen can be bent in any di- rection, or even reach around a corner. The organizers of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing are planning to set up LED image screens hundreds of square meters in size on the outer walls of the stadiums, on which the ac- tion will be displayed. Among the three basic colors of red, green and blue, it’s the green LEDs that remain a source of concern due to their low efficiency. Product development engineers are pur- suing several strategies to increase the light output of LEDs. ➔ Chip materials: Optimized manufacturing processes will allow improved control of ma- terial properties and minimize material de- fects. Here, an important factor is develop- ment of precision methods of doping the semiconductors with foreign atoms. When an electron and a hole recombine in an atom, light is emitted. But if the doping is im- perfect, many electrons can’t contribute to the generation of light, because they are cap- tured by the “wrong” atoms. The quantum ef- ficiency — the yield during the conversion of electrons into photons — presently ranges from 15 to 30 percent depending on the wavelength, and scientists are striving to in- crease that to somewhere near 50 percent. A higher quantum efficiency would also reduce heat losses. Heat could cause problems in dense arrays of LEDs — for instance in auto taillights. An accumulation of heat also low- ers semiconductor efficiency, thus giving rise to a vicious circle. ➔ Chip design: To the naked eye, small LEDs look like tiny cubes a few tenths of a millimeter in size. But under the microscope they reveal themselves to be much more in- tricate structures. Scientists are working with new shapes — some of them bizarre like an inverted pyramid — to increase light output. That’s because only a small portion of the light photons find their way out of the chip, since the semiconductor material has a high refractive index, sometimes above 3.0, which results in a higher proportion of total reflec- tion at the boundary layers (see illustration, p. 41). Light that would otherwise strike the surface at a shallow angle is reflected back into the interior, where it’s absorbed — much like light from a diver’s lamp that’s directed at a small angle against the water’s surface. Two years ago Osram achieved a break- through that helped alleviate this problem. Normally the light-emitting semiconductor layers are grown on a layer of gallium ar- senide, silicon carbide or sapphire, which then serves as a substrate for the completed LED. The Osram researchers, however, re- moved the light-absorbing substrate and de- posited a metallic coating that serves both as a mirror and as a bonding material for a for- eign substrate. “This thin-film technology has suddenly enabled us to double the light yield,” says Stath. Compared to the efficiencyof LEDs, incandescent lampsare simply heating elements that also emit a little light. 40 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 41 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S L I GHT - E MI T T I NG DI ODE S ➔ Housing design: Other light losses occur at the boundary with the plastic sealing ma- terial. This material has a refractive index of 1.5 — only about half that of the semicon- ductor. But the refractive indices should be as identical as possible to minimize total reflec- tion. Even a small increase in the refractive index of the sealing material would greatly improve the proportion of emerging light. High Potential.If all goes well, it should be possible in ten years to produce white LEDs that yield 100 lumens per watt (lm/W). To- day’s best LEDs manage 25 to 30 lm/W, and Osram’s new Golden Dragon LEDs deliver 40 with a lifespan of 50,000 hours. According to Stath, models with a yield of 50 lm/W will enter the market in 2005. By comparison, a 12 lm/W incandescent bulb with an effi- ciency of only five percent is merely a heat- ing element that also emits a little light. The- oretically, the maximum yield in LEDs is as high as 200 lm/W. “The practical limit is prob- ably somewhat lower,” says Stath. Power laser diodes are an especially hot development. What distinguishes these diodes is an optical resonator that greatly amplifies the intensity of the light. Osram al- ready has laboratory models for infrared light to build 40 large power plants. “I’m con- vinced that LEDs will revolutionize lighting technology and become the dominant light source,” he asserts. LEDs for Dinner. Many industries are only now discovering the potential uses and bene- fits of light-emitting diodes. Furniture design- ers and architects are already using LEDs for accent lighting, marker beacons and special lighting effects. For example, the Park Hotel in Weggis, Switzerland, uses 84,000 red, green and blue LEDs — and changing light patterns — to create different moods in the dining room. New design choices along with durability also appeal to automakers. Siemens VDO alone installs 700 million LEDs annually to il- luminate car dashboards. Some 320 LEDs glow in every Audi A8. The trend, however, is away from fully saturated colors like Volkswa- gen-blue or BMW-orange, and toward mixed colors — or even white, as in the latest Mer- cedes E-Class, says Dr. Heinrich Noll, Depart- ment Manager Optics/Light Technology at Siemens VDO. Ophthalmologists believe that light with a broader spectrum of wavelengths, such as white, creates less eye fatigue. The next trend might be the introduction of LEDs in black-panel displays. Already popu- lar in Japan, these displays are characterized by instruments that are illuminated by partic- ularly bright LEDs. Especially bright light-emitting diodes are also used in new automotive head-up dis- plays. For instance, in the new 5-Series BMWs information is reflected from the windshield. Siemens VDO has even intro- duced cockpits in which the driver can choose a favorite color. “When the fuel level gets low, the gas gauge could change color from green to red,” says Noll. LED Headlights.The greatest challenge fac- ing automotive lighting engineers involves headlights. “We’re convinced that the futuris- tic LED headlight will hit the road before the end of the decade,” predicts Osram CEO Wolf-Dieter Bopst. That would please not only automotive designers, but also lighting engineers, who could develop headlights that would illuminate the roadway much more precisely and even change beam direc- tion in curves. Where cost isn’t the key factor, white LEDs are already used in headlights, as in the Siemens 189-model-series Europa Lo- comotive. Since the locomotive is designed for use in 14 European countries, it must be able to adapt to meet different regulations in individ- ual countries. Depending on the country and the activity (forward, reverse, switchyard op- eration, etc.) the triple headlights must oper- HOW LI GHT ESCAPES FROMA A LI GHT - EMI TTI NG DI ODE ate and flash with various patterns and col- ors. “Each of our headlights contains 248 white, 66 green and 102 red LEDs — all of them very bright,” says Christian Thoma, pro- ject manager at Siemens Transportation Sys- tems. Although all LED technical hurdles ap- pear surmountable, it will be quite a while before conventional lamps disappear from the market. “LEDs will have to work their way up the ladder,” says Norbert Stath. Wherever the advantages of LEDs make a difference — small size, color, lamp life — they will catch on. But it will be a long time before the LED replaces the incandescent lamp, 15 billion of which are sold every year. Of course, the in- candescent lamp hasn’t totally replaced its predecessor yet either. In Germany alone, 114,000 tons of candles are still sold every year. OBernd Müller Electrical contact Electrical contact Window layer Active layer Substrate Siemens has developed a special headlight for the new BR 189 Europa Locomotive. The headlight consists of over 400 LEDs that can produce a wide variety of patterns. In conventional LEDs only a few photons succeed in escaping from the surface. Many are reflected or absorbed within the substrate. But there’s a way out: A reflecting metallic film beneath the active layer doubles the light yield to 50 lm/W (right). — tiny rods measuring 1x10 millimeters — that can produce an optical output of 80 watts in continuous operation with an effi- ciency of 50 percent and must therefore be water-cooled. Continental Temic has used such pulse lasers in developing an automatic distance control system for automobiles that’s less costly than radar-based versions. “You can also employ infrared lasers to illumi- nate the roadway and use a night-vision sys- tem to turn night into day,” says Stath. But Osram researchers won’t settle for in- frared light. They intend to use the extremely high light yield of power lasers for visible wavelengths, especially for blue and green light. In pursuit of this goal, they’re experi- menting with optical crystals that produce 0.5 watts of visible light from every three watts of infrared light. This approach has al- ready been successful in the lab, Stath notes, and work is progressing on miniaturization. If successful, these lasers could find widespread application in projection technol- ogy. This might, for instance, turn laser TV — once so highly touted, only to be pro- nounced dead — into a hot item after all. Small semiconductor lasers would take the place of large, costly solid-state lasers, paving the way for large-screen projection television. Moore’s Law II? Roland Haitz, former head of research at Agilent, has noted the applica- bility of Moore’s law to microchips. He calcu- lates that the light yield of red LEDs has grown 20-fold every ten years since the late 1960s. At the same time, says Haitz, the price per lumen drops to one-tenth every decade. The trend is similar for white LEDs (see il- lustration below). Heitz predicts that by 2015 white LEDs will be available at price and power levels that make them attractive as general light sources. Considering its much longer life and lower power consumption, the “LED bulb” should be affordable by the end of the decade. A 75-watt incandescent bulb produces about 900 lumens. In white LEDs this output will be reached around 2006 — but at a power consumption of only 25 watts. By 2020, lamps with arrays of LEDs will be producing up to 100,000 lumens — enough, according to Haitz, to “attack” appli- cations such as lighting up sports stadiums. But everything is taking too long for Haitz, who is challenging the governments of the industrial nations to invest more money in LED development. His rationale: In the U.S. alone, replacing all conventional light sources with LEDs would eliminate the need T R E N D P R OJ E C T I ON S F OR R E D A N D WH I T E L I G H T - E MI T T I N G D I OD E S 0.001 Cost per lumen ($/lm) Red LEDs +20 x per decade Competing with traditional illumination White LEDs 1965 Optical Power Output and Cost 0.01 0.1 1 10 100 1,000 10,000 100,000 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 Luminous flux per lamp (lm) -10 x per decade 1 Luminous flux (lm) Trend curve for red LEDs Luminous flux in rela- tion to power (lm/W) Electric power (W) 2000 Predicted Performance of White LEDs 10 100 1,000 10,000 100,000 2005 2010 2015 2020 Light-emitting diodes aren’t limited to special applications. Both in terms of light output and of costs, light-emitting diodes are making great strides as they approach the regions (marked yellow) in which LED-equipped lamps can compete with conventional light sources. A lumen is the measure of the radiated power emitted in all directions by a light source as perceived by the human eye. Source for both graphic illustrations: Presentation by Roland Haitz before the German Physical Society, March 2003. What is your vision of lighting ten to twenty years from now? Bergh:There will be a new lighting para- digm, which will constitute solid-state tech- nology's third major transition. The first transition came about when transistors replaced electron tubes. The next was when flat panel liquid crystal displays began re- placing cathode ray tubes. The third will come when today's lighting — incandescent and fluorescent glass vacuum tubes — will be replaced by solid state LEDs and 0LEDs. When will that transition take place? Bergh: There are two main categories of lighting. The distinction is whether one looks at the light source, or at the reflected light. The first area involves signage, signaling, and large area outdoor displays where LEDs are currently making inroads. This is because LEDs are very efficient at producing certain colors, like the ones used in traffic lights. Lighting for illumination, however, requires white light. This is not yet efficient for reasons ranging from insufficient brightness to the different voltage requirements and aging characteristics of the various color LEDs. But LEDs are ideal for mobile platforms, cars, airplanes, ships, and trains, where they are also beginning to be used because of their long life, small size, rugged nature, and the readily available low voltage (3.5 volts) DC current at which they operate. But LEDs will not be used as reflected light sources for at least another ten to twenty years. When do you expect OLEDs to make their commercial debut? Bergh: OLEDs have only been around for ten years, while LEDs have been in existence for 30 years. As a result, OLEDs have not yet reached the point where practical applica- tions can be demonstrated. To make a light source you need efficient light, long life, and color control. All of these have been demonstrated in OLEDs, but not in the same structure. OLEDs have another problem in that the material used in them is sensitive to oxygen and water vapor, so they must be sealed. If the seal breaks, they immediately degrade. Nonetheless, OLEDs are ready to enter the market in small displays, such as cell phones, where little light is needed. Do OLEDs have any advantages over LEDs? Bergh: Their primary advantage is low cost. Organic materials — plastics — are inexpensive, and they can be produced in large formats. You can cover walls or ceilings with OLEDs. Unlike LEDs that are made of expensive materials and provide concentrated light, OLEDs are not very bright, but they generate light over very large areas. Furthermore, they have great potential as a display medium since they are fast, capable of displaying video and, unlike today's liquid crystal displays, have a wide viewing angle. What forms might solid-state lighting eventually take? Bergh: Most people imagine the new light sources as one-to-one replacements of the old ones, but that is incorrect. Sixty years ago the radio was a large box full of electron tubes. Today you can have one in your wristwatch, and it is no longer expensive. Just as transistor radios did not replace the old boxes, but rather the function, the same type of major paradigm shift is coming in lighting. We will not be replacing light bulbs, we will be replacing lighting. Today's light bulbs require volume. There are fixtures for bulbs in ceilings, and major sec- tions of car bodies are cut out for lamps. Solid-state light sources will be much smal- ler. We will move from 3-D to 2-D, and the new lights will be virtually everywhere. They will be intrinsic parts of structures, and in- trinsic parts of anything inside the structures. They will be built into furniture, into walls and ceilings, and they will be permanent parts of these structures because their lifetimes will be extremely long. What is required before LEDs can be used for general illumination? Bergh: Efficiency is a major issue. At 20 to 30 lumens per watt LED efficiency already exceeds that of incandescent lamps, which is around 16 lumens per watt. But before LEDs can become useful for general illumi- nation they have to beat fluorescent lamps, which offer some 85 to 100 lumens per watt. To become really attractive, LEDs will have to reach something on the order of 200 lumens per watt. The fundamental problem with LEDs is not generating light, but getting the light out of them. Light is generated inside a semiconductor material, which has a very high index of refraction. What's important is how many photons are derived from every electron sent into that structure. That's called the internal quantum efficiency Dr. Arpad Bergh is President of the Opto- electronics Industry Development Associa- tion (OIDA), Washington, D.C., which repre- sents the North American optoelectronics industry. A physical chemist, Bergh spent many years at Bell Laboratories and Bellcore working on lasers, LEDs, and other photonic devices. While at Bell Labs he co-authored a book entitled Light Emitting Diodes. Pub- lished in 1976, this pioneering work is still used as a university text. A Bright New Paradigm Signals etc. 2% Illumination 5% Other 12% Automotive 18% Information displays 23% Mobile appliances 40% U ntil recently, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were best known as the ubiquitous on/off indicator lights on computer monitors, printers and remote controls. But recent ad- vances in materials and production processes (see p. 38) are now paving the way for new LED applications that will transform a wide range of activities. Thanks to their small dimensions, high efficiency and long lifetime, LEDs will make significant inroads into lighting applications that have traditionally been dominated by other light sources. While LEDs cost more per lumen (the unit of luminous flux) than incan- descent or fluorescent lighting, they are ideal for applications like traffic lights, railroad sig- nals and airfield lighting — places where a burned-out bulb can pose a serious safety concern and where replacement is expen- sive. Cell Phones and Automotive Applications. Light-emitting diodes are increasingly being used in the automotive sector for instrument panel lighting, taillights and, in the future, for headlights. They serve as backlighting for the LCDs (liquid crystal displays) in mobile phones, PDAs, digital cameras and cam- corders. Indeed, high-brightness LEDs have been a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy market for semiconductors and optical com- ponents of all types, notes Robert Steele, Di- rector of Optoelectronics at Strategies Unlim- ited, a U.S.-based market research and consulting company. While the markets for most electronic and optical components have been going downhill since the boom year 2000, Steele’s researchers have revealed that the market for high-brightness LEDs reached an impressive 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2002. “This spectacu- lar growth was led by a dramatic ramp–up in the use of high-brightness LEDs in backlight- ing for LCDs, for example in cell phones,” Steele observes. Based on continuing “posi- Small Lights, Big Impact 42 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S FAC T S AND F OR E C AS T S tive trends in this dynamic industry,” Steele forecasts the market for high-brightness LEDs will grow by almost 20 percent a year to reach in excess of 4 billion U.S. dollars by 2007. According to Osram, the market for LEDs and LED modules amounted to some 2.7 bil- lion euros in 2002 and is forecast to reach around 7 billion euros by 2007. But the total market volume of LEDs is still a modest 15 percent of the world market for conventional lamps and lighting fixtures — with growth expected to reach 28 percent by 2007. Over the same period, the global market for lighting will increase from today’s 18.2 billion euros to 25.3 billion euros (see il- lustration on p. 37). Future Markets for LEDs.Residential and in- dustrial lighting are the largest potential mar- kets for LEDs, but first the industry has to sig- nificantly raise lumen output per watt and cut costs (see p. 40) , notes Robert Moran, an industry analyst at Business Communications Company, Inc., a U.S.-based industry re- search firm. “In ten to 20 years LEDs will lead the pack,” he predicts. In the near term, Moran believes that “further dramatic improvements in light out- put slated for the next year” could spur LED use in a wide variety of novel applications ranging from dentistry and diagnostics to in- terior design. Global technology consultant Frost & Sul- livan also believes that improvements in LEDs will offer customers real competitive advan- tages within the next decade. It further be- lieves that the potential benefit to the envi- ronment offered by LEDs’ high efficiency, long service life and low power consumption will be a major factor driving the widespread adoption of white LEDs. No wonder Roland Haitz, an indepen- dent consultant and former head of R&D at Agilent Technologies, calls light emitting diodes “the third major revolution in electric- ity-based lighting” after the incandescent bulb and the fluorescent tube. In the United.States, the Next Generation Lighting Initiative, which includes the world’s largest LED manufacturers, intends to pro- mote the increased use of LEDs. The U.S. government is also convinced that LEDs are headed for a bright future. It is considering legislation to provide 500 million dollars in funding for the study and improvement of white LEDs over the next ten years. OPeggy Salz Change AAGR* 2001 2002 2001–2002 2007 2002–2007 LEDs 1,266.1 1,454.1 14.8 % 3,398.8 18.5 % Substrate materials 265.9 305.3 14.8 % 741.3 19.4 % Total 1,532.0 1,759.4 14.8 % 4,141.1 18.7 % WORLDWIDE HIGH-BRIGHTNESS LED MARKET, 2007 FORECAST ($ MILLIONS) Source: Business Communications Company Inc. (2002) *Average annual growth rate The application spectrum of high-brightness LEDs is al- ready extensive (left) — and still growing, as is the mar- ket for these components (below). The world market for LEDs and LED modules amounted to around 2.7 bil- lion euros in 2002. Leading the way were Nichia and Osram with market shares of 19% and 11% respectively. P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 43 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S I NT E R V I E W Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) could revolutionize the market for displays. OLEDs are self-luminous, rich in contrast, extremely flat, and video-capable. Numerous manufacturers have now introduced their own brands for OLED products, including Osram Opto Semiconductors. Brilliant Plastics T his is the future of displays,” says Dr. Bernhard Stapp as he places a miniature TV on the table of his office in Regensburg, Germany. The housing fits on the surface of a credit card. It is only a few centimeters high, and attached to it is a mount with a thin display that shows a film with impres- sions of Paris. “I don’t mean that future dis- plays will be this small, but they will be this Mini-TV in sight. Bernhard Stapp, head of Research and Development at Osram Opto Semiconductors, pre- sents a vivid OLED display capable of showing videos. In the Malaysian city of Penang, 30,000 square me- ters of glass can now be converted into OLEDs every year. thin and this vivid,” says Stapp, head of Re- search and Development at Osram Opto Semiconductors, the opto-electronics unit of Osram, a Siemens company. As the film is playing, Stapp rotates the housing. Unlike liq- uid crystal displays (LCDs), which provide a good picture only when viewed from the front, the display seems razor-sharp and full of contrast from any angle. In addition, it L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S I NT E R V I E W which for some LEDs can be close to 100 percent. The problem comes with getting the photons out of the structure. High index refraction materials have very narrow escape cones, or angles. If a light beam hits the surface outside that escape cone, it is reflected internally. Typically, only about 20 percent of the light escapes from an LED. Structures allowing 50 percent of the light to emerge have been demonstrated, but they are elaborate and expensive. What makes LEDs efficient for signals? Bergh: Color. Consider a red stoplight that uses a red filter in front of an incandescent lamp that generates 16 lumens per watt. The red part of that light is only about ten percent of the total, so you end up with 1.6 lumens per watt output. With a red LED only red light is generated, making LEDs much more efficient than filtered white light. How will LEDs change our lives? Bergh: The lighting industry has been left out of the information age. When it does catch up, lighting will be used intermittently for illumination and information displays, and it will be intelligent. Built-in light dis- plays will flash information virtually every- where. And because LEDs can be easily mounted on integrated circuits, they will become smart lights that will turn on when and where they are needed, and they will give the type of lighting required. They will be able to adjust their color, brightness, and directionality. What additonal benefits do you foresee? Bergh: A major benefit will be energy sav- ings, which means environmental improve- ment. Also, with the new lighting para- digm, the type of light needed will be gene- rated where it is needed, when it is needed. And the small size of LEDs will give design- ers the freedom to provide light in places we don't think of today, such as at keyholes. How big could energy savings be? Bergh: It has been estimated that total U.S. lighting-related energy consumption amounts to eight quads, in other words eight quadrillion British thermal units (that’s equivalent to 288 million tons of coal or about eight percent of total U.S. energy use). If solid state lights could squeeze 150- 200 lumens out of each watt, the maximum potential savings would amount to four quads, or half the current lighting-related energy consumption of the U.S. The Depart- ment of Energy's most optimistic replace- ment scenario estimates a potential cumula- tive saving of 16.6 Quads between 2000 and 2020 with a cumulative saving of $112.8 billion to the consumer. Do you envision virtual environments? Bergh: They are not going to be virtual; they are going to be ideal environments. During the day the color of light outdoors changes. It is reddish in the morning and at night, and bluish during the daytime. Experiments have shown that people respond well to these changes. Solid-state lighting provides oppor- tunities to create indoor environments that imitate the natural outdoor environment. That's going to have positive psychological effects on people, and improve productivity. What does the future hold for the ”old” lighting technologies? Bergh: They will fight back, which they are already doing very successfully. Compact fluorescent lamps that reach up to 60-80 lumens per watt have been developed to replace incandescent bulbs. Because of this and existing installations, I think the old technologies will be around for a long, long time. LEDs will first be used to perform func- tions the old technologies cannot, and they will replace the old technologies on mobile platforms within 10 to 15 years. Those applications will have to generate large volume usage so that the price comes down, before they totally replace current lighting sources. LEDs will have to reach a price of under $3 per thousand lumens before they can successfully compete with conventional light sources for general illumination. On stationary platforms that will happen gra- dually, first for special applications, and in mass when today's buildings are replaced by new ones. The primary point is, don't have a replacement mentality because you will mis- judge what is to come. Think of a new para- digm. OInterview by Victor Chase Potential savings could amount to half the current lighting-related energy consumption of the United States. LED ceilings. Insbruck’s Bartenbach lab installed the world’s first fully LED-lit room in 2000. The room uses 14,000 white and color LEDs from Osram Opto Semiconductors. 44 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 45 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S ORGANI C LI GHT - EMI TTI NG DI ODES OLED products. Displays made by Pioneer for car stereos and cell phones have been on the market for some time already. Philips now has a shaver with an OLED display in its prod- uct line and Kodak has a digital camera. With its Pictiva brand, Osram OS is targeting the display market for flip phones, car stereos, household appliances — and all areas in which self-luminous and extremely flat dis- plays are needed. “The range of uses is extra- ordinarily broad,” says Stapp. “There are ap- plications that no one has even seriously considered yet, like displays that have to work at low temperatures, or divers’ watches. There could even be costume jewelry with OLED displays.” 15,000 Hours. Siemens’ Osram subsidiary has built a mass-production facility for small polymer OLED displays in Penang, Malaysia. “We can convert 30,000 square meters of glass into displays per year,” says Production Director David Lacey. The small, yellowish- green displays don’t seem all that impressive compared with the full-color models of the competition — but appearances can be de- ceptive. “We produce robust displays of con- sistently high quality; their service life is 15,000 hours,” says Lacey proudly. “You can’t even place an order yet for the large displays shown at the trade shows.” A chemist him- self, Lacey knows what he is talking about. He has been working in the field for almost ten years. “It was fascinating to experience the developments in OLEDs from the very start, from the time when they stayed lighted only a few hours to the point where they were ready for the market,” he adds. OLEDs consist of several thin layers, each of which has a unique structure. During pro- duction, a substrate glass that has already been coated with a transparent anode of in- dium tin oxide (ITO) is covered with a metallic structure that makes electrical contacts possi- ble. The displays are then created by means of photolithography, initially appearing as patterns of tiny conductor paths on the glass surface. Then two layers of polymer are ap- plied one after the other. A drop at a time, the synthetic material — which is either dis- persed in water or dissolved in an organic solvent — falls onto the very rapidly rotating pane and spreads itself uniformly across the entire surface. After this “spin coating,” a laser removes the polymer from the spots that will serve as contacts and are necessary for sealing. The conductor paths for the cath- ode consist of a mixture of barium and alu- minum; in a final step, the glass is encapsu- lated. An individual square pixel has a side length of about 0.3 millimeters. “We’ve auto- mated the production process to a great ex- tent,” says Lacey. “A lot of know-how went into our process, since there are a lot of fac- tors that have a really critical impact on re- producibility and service life.” Ink Jet OLEDs. “The next step is to produce full-color displays,” says Lacey. The first or- ange and green OLEDs are scheduled to go into production in Penang in early 2004. Meanwhile, Osram Opto’s research lab in San Jose, California, has already succeeded in manufacturing full-color, video-capable dis- plays. There, scientists are using a process that is similar to the way an ink-jet printer op- erates. The pixel pattern is created by 128 nozzles that spray tiny amounts of polymer into recesses. In this process, the three pri- mary colors of a pixel are applied one after the other in their own sections. But the technology is not yet ready for large scale production. For instance, a tech- nique is yet to be found to deposit the poly- mer with the uniform thickness required. Currently, globular drops tend to form. But the researchers are confident that they will be able to develop a reproducible technique over the next few years. OLEDs have a very complex structure. Cleanliness standards for their produc- tion approach those for semiconductors. An OLED display covered with glass. The displays are manufac- tured in Malaysia in a largely auto- mated process. Layers of polymers and metals are applied during several stages. As early as 2004, Osram intends to offer displays in orange and green. 46 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 47 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S ORGANI C LI GHT - EMI TTI NG DI ODES shines without delay all by itself. LCD dis- plays, on the other hand, must be illumi- nated from behind, which accounts for about 90 percent of their total energy consumption — more than half is absorbed by polarization filters alone. The new display is made of plas- tic, metal and glass; its luminescent layer has a thickness of less than half a thousandth of a millimeter. Such displays use OLEDs (or- ganic light-emitting diodes), which are now hiting the market and are likely to compete with LCDs in a number of fields. When researchers at Kodak created the first small-molecule OLED in the mid-’80s, a torrent of development ensued. Shortly thereafter, Cambridge Display Technology made OLEDs from polymers, or long-chain plastics. Today, researchers know of a large number of organic materials that emit light when a voltage is applied to them. The light- might be yellow, green, red or blue — all are possible. But the road from successful labora- tory tests to large-scale industrial production may be rocky. OLED diodes are extremely sensitive to moisture and oxygen and must therefore be encapsulated behind glass. Standards of cleanliness during manufactur- ing are as stringent as those in the semicon- ductor industry. And scientists are still at- tempting to identify the optimal materials. Not all colors are emitted with the same effi- ciency, which drives up power consumption, shortens life-span and thereby hinders wide- spread use of large, full-color displays for the time being. Market Potential. Twenty years after their in- vention, OLEDs are now on the verge of a commercial breakthrough. According to a study conducted by the U.S. market research firm iSuppli, sales of OLED displays will in- crease in volume from $500 million in 2004 to almost $2.5 billion in 2009. At the SID trade show in Baltimore this year, the Asian company International Display Technology and its partner IBM introduced a prototype color display with a 50-centimeter diagonal. And Sony presented a display measuring 60 centimeters, but composed of four adjacent pieces. In 2003, DuPont, Philips, Kodak and Osram introduced their own brands for their A SPECTRUM OF COMPETI NG TECHNOL OGI ES OLEDs are divided in two worlds. Two types of organic chemicals emit light when a voltage is applied to them: long-chain polymers and small molecules. Furthermore, two underlying phenomena are involved: fluorescence and phosphorescence. And in the field of display technology, there are two contrasting architectures: active-matrix and passive-matrix. Osram Opto Semiconductors is currently producing only passive- matrix displays made of polymers. Here, the anode and cathode consist of narrow con- ductor paths that cross at 90 degrees and enclose the polymer layer (see graphic). The points at which these electrodes intersect form pixels. Light is radiated outward through a transparent electrode made of indium tin oxide. Passive-matrix displays are relatively easy to manufacture, but because of losses in their electrical conductors, they are limited in size to screen diagonals of about five centimeters. This limitation is ab- sent in active-matrix displays, which are more complex. Here, each pixel is individually activated, which requires an integrated circuit at the display level. The ideal solution would be thin-film transistors made of polycrystalline silicon, but they are not yet widely available. If integrated circuits use competing amorphous silicon technology, however, power consumption is too high. In a passive-ma- trix display the cathode and an- ode form a square grid. Pixels made of OLED material are excited by an electrical current, causing them to emit light. Glass cover Light Light emitting plastic Conductive plastic Glass Cathode Transparent anode Current flow Full-color displays are manufactured almost exclusively with OLEDs made of small molecules that offer the needed color spectrum. The molecules are applied in the form of a powder, often a material known as Alq3 (tris(8-hydroxy-quinoline)aluminum). For blue light, the “spiro compounds,” which consist of cross-linked biphenyls or oligo- phenyls, can be used. These OLEDs are created by vacuum-depositing the layers through a mask, but this technique could entail problems for mass production or for larger displays. However, polyphenylene vinylene (PPV) or polyethylenedioxythiophene (PEDT:PSS), which are used by Osram, can be applied to large surfaces using “spin coat- ing” technology. Currently, laboratories are finding that the most efficient approach is to use small mol- ecules, which are sometimes capable of both opto-electric excitation states: fluores- cence and phosphorescence. In the past, polymer OLEDs have used only what scien- tists call the “singlet state.” This state arises when the voltage pumps energy into the polymer’s electrons, which then release this energy as visible radiation when they re- turn to the ground state — the phenomenon of fluorescence. At the same time, elec- trons are excited to the “triplet state,” which occurs three times as often but has less energy. When these electrons fall back to the ground state, they also give off radiation, but it is usually invisible; this is phosphorescence. Techniques like the use of certain doping agents can be used to activate the triplet state and incorporate it into the emis- sion, which could increase the efficiency of polymer OLEDs by a factor of up to four. Smart cards, intelligent labels Audio Games White goods Medicine, consumer products Camcorders, cameras TV Lighting Automobiles High Information density and display size Reliability (failure rate and service life) Low Low High Cell phones / wireless phones PC/Notebooks Requires higher service life Requires active-m atrix technology Requires large-scale production PDAs The right lighting can improve health and productivity. Intelligent light management technology and new light sources ensure an optimal mix of daylight and artificial light. A New Architecture of Light P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 49 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S ADAP T I V E L I GHT I NG T he quality of a light source is convention- ally measured in terms of its luminous ef- ficiency and service life. Today, however, there’s an increasing focus on the connection between light and health,” says Reinhard Weitzel, head of light source research at Os- ram. As he explains, good lighting and the right color of light are both important for well-being. For example, a worker on a night shift needs a different quality of light than someone at home reading a book. Studies conducted by Austrian lighting expert Prof. Christian Bartenbach show that a badly lit workplace causes stress and harms produc- tivity. “We tested around 1,600 people over the course of five years. Bad lighting reduces productivity by 30 percent,” he reports. Today, artificial light makes up between 60 and 80 percent of the lighting in office buildings. But according to Bartenbach, chan- neling daylight indoors could cut the need for artificial light to 20 percent. Depending on the weather, artificial light would be used to supplement lighting and replicate natural light conditions during the course of the day. Experts agree that daylight is the best light for people. We are used to about 100,000 lux in summer sunlight and 20,000 lux on cloudy days (one lux equals one lumen per square meter; see p. 40). Indoors, however, things don’t have to be quite so bright. In Germany, the law stipulates a minimum of 500 lux for office work and 300 lux for rough machine work. “But that’s not really enough,” says Weitzel, who bases his conclusion on current studies by ergonomists. Smart Networking.Today, many light sources are in use — mainly filament, fluo- rescent and high intensity discharge lamps. “All types of light have their virtues. What’s A model of the Putrajaya Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is tested for uses of daylight illumination at Christian Bartenbach’s lab . can be used to connect the ballasts required to operate discharge lamps, for example. Bal- lasts play a vital role in light management, guaranteeing high switching stability with variable lamp operation. When fluorescent lamps are combined with motion detectors, it is crucial that they continue to be reliable even when switched on and off at frequent intervals. A ballast can be compared to a diesel engine’s glow plug: It ensures the nec- essary warm start. A lighting system equipped with DALI can switch on, switch off and dim individual light components or groups of components, and it can communicate with a high-level building management system. This not only means that switching can be centralized and status queries about failed lamps can be processed; it also makes possible the creation of an adaptive lighting system. If the natural light outdoors is very bright, the artificial light component can be automatically re- been lacking, however, is the realization that they need to be combined and controlled in order to create optimal lighting. What we need is a new architecture of light,” explains Weitzel. In the future, lighting systems should be able to adapt to people’s individual requirements. Intelligent management of light can be used to meet such needs. But this requires adjustable lamps and intelligent, electronic operating units — including all the compo- nents to control and regulate lighting — plus light and motion sensors. And of course all these elements must be networked. With this in mind, the European lighting industry has come up with DALI, meaning Digital Address- able Lighting Interface. The DALI standard 48 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S ORGANI C LI GHT - EMI TTI NG DI ODES world of liquid-crystal displays, in which col- ors are produced in a similar fashion. “One disadvantage, of course, is lower efficiency,” Rogler admits. The problem is that every filter absorbs light, which ultimately means higher power consumption or a shorter service life. One so- lution could be polymers with a higher light yield, and Siemens CT is conducting research on those as well. As its long-term goal, the company is aiming for organic light-emitting diodes that have a luminosity akin to their in- organic cousins and which could even serve as light sources in the future. That would re- quire raising the current efficiency rating of three to six lumens per watt to a competitive level. “But right now we’re concentrating on extending service life,” says Joe Carr, head of the OLED unit of Osram Opto Semiconduc- tors in San Jose, California. It might be possi- ble to achieve this through improved encap- sulation, in addition to optimized materials. Here too, the OLED researchers have a vision: flexible displays that could one day depict an electronic newspaper or, as curved screens, represent the automobile cockpit of tomor- row. Handcrafted demonstration models al- ready exist, but they quickly become perme- able and therefore work for only a few hours. Carr thinks it will be about ten years before a breakthrough is made in flexible encapsula- tions. Adds research director Stapp, “That’s still far away. But we know how to get there.” O Norbert Aschenbrenner Filtered Colors. Dr. Wolfgang Rogler of Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Erlan- gen is also working on full-color displays. To- gether with Osram and materials manufac- turer Covion, he is researching OLEDs that emit white light. The work is being con- ducted in the framework of a project spon- sored by the German Federal Ministry of Re- search and Education. The project’s partners intend to create colors with optical filters. The advantages of this approach are simpler design, since only one sort of OLED material is required, and fil- ter technology that can be adopted from the The flexible OLED display is a realistic vision. It is a long way off, but the way there is already known. EVOL UTI ON OF OL ED APPL I C ATI ONS OLED applications will depend on improved reliability, and the technologies that will make higher information density and larger display sizes possible. For television, delicately structured active-matrix displays will be needed. OLEDs in smart cards will require development of new mass-production processes, and lighting applications will demand stability and long life. Although it’s completely natural for humans to see in three dimensions, most displays can still show only two-dimensional images. Nevertheless, some 3D displays have been developed, and their potential applications range from chemistry labs to Internet shopping and 3D television. Images in Space I n a familiar scene from Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is busy repairing the robot R2- D2, when suddenly a 3D image of Princess Leia appears before him. As it happens, she has actually mistaken Luke for someone else: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope!” she pleads. In the realm of science fic- tion, 3D multimedia communications are rather old hat. So old, in fact, that such tech- nology could soon be a part of our everyday lives. Indeed, some TV viewers are already fa- miliar with 3D broadcasts, although these re- quire the use of special glasses, and as a rule the results are less than impressive. But in the future, it should be easier to generate 3D images of a much higher quality. In fact, it’s pretty simple to fool the hu- man brain into thinking that it’s receiving a 3D image. Our eyes give a sense of depth to everything we see. This is because one eye focuses on the object in question at a slightly different angle than the other. The brain then combines the two images and calculates the distance to the object observed. Might not this principle be used for 3D displays? Screens that alternate at a frequency of 120 hertz between one image for the right eye and one for the left are relatively common to- day. Special shutter glasses prevent one eye from seeing the image destined for the other, so that each eye in fact sees only 60 images per second. The brain is unable to resolve this rapid alternation and therefore con- structs an image in three dimensions. But how many of us want to wear an unwieldy pair of glasses to watch TV? 3D for Your Eyes Only.Considerably more comfortable are the auto-stereoscopic 3D LCD displays sold by major manufacturers such as Philips, Sanyo and Samsung and smaller firms like Germany’s Dresden-based SeeReal Technologies and 4D-Vision in Jena. Research institutes such as the Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) in Berlin are currently working to enhance this technology. The principle is simple. A grid of rod-shaped cylinder lenses or prisms is mounted in front of an LCD dis- play. The grid directs the light from one row of pixels to one eye and the light from the neighboring row to the other eye. The viewer’s brain then combines the two images in such a way that a 3D effect is produced. If the viewer moves forward or back- ward, however, or only a few centimeters to the right or left, the impression of depth de- teriorates substantially. And it can even be re- versed so that the horizon of the picture sud- denly appears closer than the tree in the foreground. To correct this, special follow-up systems have been developed to move the grid of lenses to one side whenever the viewer moves his or her head. “But viewers instinctively keep still as soon as they notice that any movement diminishes the quality of the 3D effect. After an hour, they’re guaran- teed to have a stiff neck,” explains Thomas Riegel, a researcher in multimedia communi- cations at Siemens who closely follows the latest developments in the world of 3D dis- plays. Another drawback of the movable lens grid is that it can only be used to compensate What looks like a scene straight out of Star Trekor Star Warsis in fact part of a medical technology exhibition at the SiemensForum in Munich. L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S 3 D DI S P L AYS 50 Pi c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S ADAP T I V E L I GHT I NG duced. But when it is cloudy, or evening or winter, the level of artificial light is increased. Moreover, preprogrammed lighting moods for meetings or presentations can also be recreated at the push of a button. Yet intelli- gent light management is only half of the story. “In the future, lamps will need to be highly efficient and have a long service life, excellent color reproduction and flexible color temperature,” forecasts Germany’s Fed- eral Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in a report on the “Optical Technolo- gies of the 21st Century.” While some light sources boast several of these qualities, none can as yet combine all of them. The ideal sit- uation, though, would be to have one lamp capable of meeting every single need. Built-in LEDs. And such a lamp is exactly what the experts at Osram are planning to create — a hybrid light source. “Fluorescent lamps are very efficient, but it’s difficult to al- ter their color temperature. Our intention is to combine them with LEDs to add an extra blue or red component to the white light,” explains Weitzel. One compact hybrid lamp could then continually alter the color of the light and thereby create a lighting mood cor- responding to the natural changes in daylight during the course of a day. But the high-performance LEDs required for such a product (see p. 38) are not only ex- pensive; they are also less efficient and have a shorter service life when operated at tem- peratures over 65 degrees Celsius. The latter is a problem, since the LEDs would be used inside fluorescent lamps, where tempera- tures can reach 100 degrees Celsius near the electrodes. Nevertheless, Osram researchers are sure such difficulties can be solved with suitable heat discharge measures and intelli- gent component positioning. Furthermore, they are developing technologies to make fluorescent lamps more efficient and less de- pendent on mercury. Indeed, the BMBF has given its approval to a research program de- signed to investigate exactly these goals. The project is to run for three years. By then the researchers hope they will be able to present the first lamp that can light up even the dreaiest of days.OEvdoxia Tsakiridou Prof. Christian Bartenbach has been studying the psychology of light for over 40 years. In 1976, he estab- lished a ground-breaking lighting business near Innsbruck, Austria de- signed to take the psychological as- pects of illumnation into account. Designing Light for Healthy Living How does light affect the psyche? Bartenbach:Humans are “visual ani- mals.” Ninety percent of our percep- tion is visual, and many autonomic processes are also controlled by light. Reflected light is especially important. When I work at my PC, I see not only the screen but also the desk, the walls of my office, the windows and the world outside. I need to take into ac- count their brightness as well. What kind of impact can bad light- ing have? Bartenbach:I’ll give you a simple ex- ample: If you work at a PC near a win- dow, the light is blinding. The difficulty in adjusting leads to a given level of mental strain. As a result, you’ll notice certain stress symptoms like sweating and tension. You make mistakes, work slower and become tired more quickly. That’s something we’ve noticed in all of our studies. For optimal comfort, the illuminated area must have the right dimensions, and you also need good shielding against the sun and glare. And other elements in the set- ting have to be right as well. The desk, for example, should be medium gray or wood-tone, and the ceiling, walls and floor mustn’t be too light, in order to prevent any reflections from shiny surfaces. What kinds of lighting are best at different times of the day? Bartenbach:The light in the morning has the highest color temperature — it’s slightly bluish. In the evenings, there’s more red. The spectrum used in artificial lighting should take this into account. In the morning, it should pep you up — the best color for desk work is a bluish white. For the evening, on the other hand, I recommend a warm, low-intensity reddish light. What kind of lighting technologies will we see in the next two decades? Bartenbach:We’ll see increased use of systems to channel sunlight under- ground — into subways, for example, or into courtyards, narrow streets and voluminous spaces in larger buildings. Similarly, the LED will play an increas- ingly important role in artificial light- ing. It has a long service life, is very economical and can be used to regu- late the brightness and even the spec- tral composition of lighting. This will make it possible to create new interior lighting moods as well as open up new areas of application. New light sources and innovative lighting systems are go- ing to play a significant role in fulfilling society’s growing demand for healthy living. OInterview: Evdoxia Tsakiridou P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 51 OImportant trends in lighting research include making light sources smaller, longer-lived, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. Future divi- dends could include the elimination of mercury from high intensity gas dis- charge lamps thanks to a better under- standing of the physical-chemical processes in their interior and new electronic ballasts. (p. 35) ODifferent light sources can be inte- grated into intelligent networks and combined with natural light in the “adaptive lighting” concept, which offers both energy savings and in- creased comfort. The sensors and communications standards needed for this are already available. Osram is also developing a discharge lamp in which LEDs are used to provide vari- able color rendition. (p. 37, 49) OLEDs can achieve lifespans of up to 100,000 hours, and are being intro- duced into a growing number of applications, such as display panels, automobile headlights and flash units for cell-phone cameras. White LEDs could reach conversion efficiencies of 100 lumens per watt within ten to 15 years, opening the door to their use in general lighting applications. (p. 38) OAnnual growth rates of 17 percent and more could lead to LEDs having a market volume of around seven billion euros in 2007 — which would corre- spond to 28 percent of the world light- ing market. Opened in Regensburg by Osram in April 2003, the world’s most modern optical chip plant will enable the company to double its production capacity of optical semiconductors by 2005. (p. 42) OProspects for organic LEDs (OLEDs) are also bright. These self-luminous, high-contrast, extremely flat and video-capable plastics could revolu- tionize the market for displays. Osram recently established a mass produc- tion facility for OLEDs in Penang, Malaysia. (p. 45) OA wide range of applications awaits displays capable of representing im- ages in three dimensions. Examples in- clude chemistry, factory design, and In- ternet shopping. Concepts are currently being developed. (p. 51) CONTACTS: OSRAM R&D in USA: John Gustafson, OSRAM Sylvania email@example.com Osram Ligh Source Research: Dr. Reinhard Weitzel, Osram firstname.lastname@example.org High-Intensity Discharge Lamps: Scott Butler, Osram Sylvania email@example.com Alfred Wacker, Osram firstname.lastname@example.org Fluorescent Systems Lab, USA: David L. Bay, OSRAM Sylvania David.email@example.com Osram Opto Semiconductors, R&D: Dr. Bernhard Stapp, Osram OS firstname.lastname@example.org Osram Innovation Management: Dr. Norbert Stath, OSRAM OS email@example.com OLED R&D at Corporate Technology: Dr. Wolfgang Rogler, CT MM 1 firstname.lastname@example.org OLED Operations, San José, USA: Joseph Carr, Osram OS email@example.com OLED Production, Malaysia: David Lacey, firstname.lastname@example.org 3D-Displays: Thomas Riegel, CT IC 2 email@example.com Prof. Christian Bartenbach: firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Arpad Bergh: email@example.com LINKS: OSRAM: www.osram.com Osram Opto Semiconductors: www.osram-os.com Encyclopedia of Light: www.osram.com/lightatwork Osram OLED:www.pictiva.com Optoelectronics Industry Development Association: www.oida.org Electric Power Research Institute: www.epri.com Energy User News: www.energyusernews.com 3D-Displays:www.felix3d.com LITERATURE: Schubert, Fred E., Light-Emitting Diodes, Cambridge University Press (2003) Zukauskas, Artauras, Introduction to Solid State Lighting, John Wiley & Sons Inc. (2002) In Brief… are moved quickly enough, it is possible to il- luminate each point of the volume covered by the rotating helix, thereby generating a 3D image. Such a 3D display, which seem- ingly floats in the air, would be useful for monitoring air space, since air traffic con- trollers could then see both the course and the altitude of an aircraft simultaneously. This principle was first exploited in the mid- 1980s and has since been developed by a number of companies. Eyeing Projections.A new technique pre- sented by the Heinrich Hertz Institute at CeBIT 2003 dispenses with the use of a screen-type device completely. Here, two small projectors are used to project a left- hand and a right-hand image directly into each of the viewer’s eyes. The viewer then sees a 3D object floating directly before his or her eyes. With the aid of a computer-con- trolled mechanical glove-like device, the user can even handle the image, move it around and feel its texture and consistency. This pro- cedure is ideal for testing how people will re- act to a planned product. In other words, it is no longer absolutely necessary to build a model — all that’s needed is to convert de- sign data into a 3D image. Similarly, the tech- nology would also bring benefits for Internet users. In the virtual 3D shop of the future, for instance, customers will not only be able to inspect a comfortable new bed from every angle, but will also be able to feel its softness and quality. “One particularly interesting as- pect of this technology is that the image is completely private,” explains Dr. Siegmund Pastoor from HHI. “Anyone standing outside the projection beam can’t see why the user is groping around in mid-air.” And when will we be able to emulate R2- D2 and summon an image of Princess Leia to appear? “Sure, that would be possible,” says Siemens researcher Thomas Riegel. “It’s like creating a mirage. All you need to do is cre- ate a suitable boundary layer in the air — say, through a pressure or temperature gradient — upon which you can then scatter light.” Unfortunately, no one knows just how to manage that; but maybe George Lucas can suggest a solution.OBernhard Gerl 52 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 53 L I G H T & D I S P L A Y S 3 D DI S P L AYS for the movement of one person. On the other hand, fixed lens grids can be designed and mounted in such a way that a group of viewers — between five and nine, at present, depending on the manufacturer — can use such a screen as long as they don’t move. 3D TV. A number of companies are therefore looking at alternative 3D technologies, not least because there are certainly enough po- tential applications. At a meeting of the MPEG4 standardization group, held in the Japanese city of Awaji at the end of 2002, there were predictions that the next ten years could well see 3D technology usher in the next big revolution in the TV industry. Meanwhile in Europe, the ATTEST consor- tium (Advanced Three-dimensional Televi- sion System Technologies), a project involv- ing European companies and institutes, is currently setting the stage. Any future 3D TV system has to be compatible with current 2D reproduction, and its implementation must be affordable. There is also big potential for 3D applications in the field of medicine. “We’ve been supplying surgical microscopes since the 1990s that enable physicians wear- ing shutter glasses to view the images on a 3D monitor,” says Peter Andrews, Sales Man- ager at German optics specialist Zeiss. “Auto- stereoscopic displays may well bring the de- finitive breakthrough here.” Because they show the physician the precise location of the surgical instruments, detailed 3D images would also be highly useful for minimally in- vasive operations. Virtual Factories. In plant engineering, 3D imaging results in both cost and time bene- fits. Siemens, for example, uses large 180-de- gree stereo projection surfaces to generate virtual 3D representations of power plants, new factories and other large installations. “In the past, customers needed three to four weeks to check the plans for a new power plant — with virtual reality it now only takes three to four days,” says Dr. Detlev Teich- mann, Project Manager for Production Processes at Corporate Technology. What’s more, this method is less costly. Several years ago it cost five million euros to produce a model of a new ICE high-speed train. A vir- tual projection would have cost only a frac- tion of that sum. Chemists, too, could make good use of 3D images — to view biomole- cules, for example. And, last but not least, the Internet is bursting with potential appli- cations. After all, people buying online like to take a good look at a product before purchas- ing — for instance in a virtual 3D shop. Fi- nally, software producers such as Adobe, Macromedia and others see big market po- tential for 3D chat rooms, where participants can select their own representative (avatar) and then move this figure at will with a com- puter mouse. In today’s chat rooms, a 3D ef- fect is merely simulated through the mobility of the figures. Laser Holography. Could holography be the key to 3D? This involves illuminating an ob- ject with a laser and then photographically recording the pattern that is produced as the reflected light interferes with a reference beam. Illuminating this interference pattern with a laser beam produces a 3D image of the object floating in space. Unfortunately, this process is really only suitable for small, stationary objects. In the 1990s, a technique known as electro-holography was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. The technique can even produce holographic videos, because acoustical-opti- cal elements exert so much influence on the laser beams in real time that the overlapping waves generate a 3D image for the viewer. Thus it is also possible to produce 3D images of models stored in computers. However, there is still no satisfactory way to supply the computing power needed to process the massive data volumes involved. An alternative solution was proposed back in the 1970s by Rüdiger Hartwig from the University of Heidelberg. This involves us- ing colored lasers to illuminate a transparent helix of Plexiglas rotating at 1,200 revolu- tions per minute. At such speeds, the helix it- self is invisible, so that only the points hit by the laser beams can be seen. If the beams German high-school students re- cently used a laser to “draw” the pixels of a 3D object on a rotating projection field. Internet shopping is one of many potential applications for 3D displays. Siemens Technology Accelerator GmbH helps Corporate Technology employees to establish their own companies. Such a partner is crucial to a company’s survival in the start-up phase. EnOcean is STA’s most successful project to date (see Pictures of the Future,Spring 2002, p. 70). The company’s basic idea is to intelli- gently convert energy already present in na- ture and to use it to transmit radio signals. To demonstrate this concept, Schneider at- taches a light switch to a tree and pushes the button; a far-off garden lamp comes on. “The switch doesn’t have any batteries,” he says. “The transmission module only needs the energy that is released when you flip the switch.” Here, EnOcean uses piezo technology; for its sensor applications, it employs small solar cells. Its most recent development is a radio sensor that monitors the tire pressure and temperature in a car. The sensor’s power comes from the vibration of those very same tires. “In this area, EnOcean has even progressed further than its business plan,“ says Lackner. “Its entry into the auto supply business was actually scheduled for a later time.” The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.But the road that led to this success was filled with obstacles and potholes. First, the Groups had to be convinced that the move to the market was a good idea. Finally, STA won over the Automation and Drives Group as a strong backer. Joyous times followed as the com- pany gradually took shape. But then the primary customer suddenly backed out, despite a previous commitment from top management. “Nobody saw it coming,” Lackner says. “Everyone’s belief in the marketability of the entire technology was shaken.” But STA stood by this fledgling company in its time of trou- ble. “We called a crisis meeting and decided to go to ELTEC, a leading trade fair for building technology, switching devices and industrial control systems that is held in Nuremberg,” recalls Lackner. The presentation was a re- sounding success. More than 30 new cus- tomers expressed interest in the technology, and EnOcean was officially named the com- pany with the most innovative product at the fair. “It was STA that stood by us in our time of need and pointed the way to the future,” says Schneider. The Right Customer.The newest company STA has taken under its wing is Panoratio GmbH. “The original idea was for the devel- opment team to transfer to a Group,” ex- plains Chief Scientific Officer Michael Haft. “But that fell apart.” Disappointed, Haft and his colleagues called on Lackner’s team. A short time later, STA won over German re- tailer Karstadt/Quelle as a pilot customer. It was just what Haft needed. “The people at STA were open to our ideas,” he recalls. “That’s important, because when you take over a technology at such an early stage, risk is always involved.” Nonetheless, Panoratio’s 54 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 A Partner for Ups and Downs PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE B US I NE S S AC C E L E R AT OR S D evelopment times and business plan- ning cycles don’t always mesh,” says Dr. Thomas Lackner, Managing Director of Sie- mens Technology Accelerators (STA). “That’s why researchers at Corporate Technology have sometimes completed a development project with excellent results, only to find out that the Group originally interested in the idea has shifted its investment priorities.“ However, if Siemens doesn’t pick up on a technology, but sees a promising opportunity in the ex- ternal market, start-up companies founded by former Siemens employees can take over P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 55 The databases of large retail chains, insurance companies and manufacturers contain mountains of information on millions of customers — data that can amount to several terabytes (1,000 gigabytes). But before these data can be effectively used in a market- ing campaign, for example, dozens of parameters have to be identified as relevant and linked to each other. Such statistical evaluations are usually carried out by experts in a computer center. But many sales and management employees need up-to-date infor- mation right at their fingertips. To make such a service possible, a group of specialists led by Dirk Owerfeldt, CEO of Panoratio GmbH, has developed a type of MP3 for databases. The MP3 process elimi- nates the signals from music data that are irrelevant to the listener. Panoratio uses an analogous procedure that makes a copy of the database containing only the informa- tion that is needed for analytical purposes. This applies, for example, to interrelation- ships, while the names of people or streets — information that takes up a lot of space in a database — are not needed. The remaining information is compressed in a new, patented process that allows a lightning-fast analysis to be performed with unprece- dented depth on a standard PC. The original terabytes of information are thus shrunk by a factor of millions to between 800 kilobytes and 20 megabytes in the copy. “We are now in the area of in-RAM solutions,” Owerfeldt says. “These are programs that run en- tirely in RAM during application. Our complete data model is in RAM.” This process and the ability to answer questions in real time are two distinguishing fea- tures for Panoratio. But the company has markets in mind with even higher demands. Conventional analyses have 15 to 20 parameters. But that’s not the case at Panoratio; here, the numbers are much higher.A development agreement with Siemens Power Generation (PG), for instance, calls for more than 1,000 parameters to be considered. “To allow plant operations to be optimized, PG evaluates huge amounts of sensor-gener- ated data,” Owerfeldt reports. “Our customers want to know the optimal operating state under certain conditions — and they want this information at the press of a button on a laptop right next to the turbine.” In other words,anybody should be able to conduct the query. To prove his point, a smiling Owerfeldt pushes his notebook over the table and asks the interviewer: “What is the optimal operating state when the CO 2 sensor regis- ters low levels of the gas, the combustion chamber temperature is high and the vibra- tion transducer is reporting no turbine hum?” PANOR AT I O — MP3 F OR DATAB AS E S OV E R V I E W OF E NOC E AN ’ S DE V E L OP ME NT F R OM C ONC E P T T O P R ODUC T solution turned out to be just what the customer was looking for. “Since then, we haven’t suffered any setbacks,” Haft says. Projects with Siemens Power Generation and Siemens Health Services are already in the bag, and STA is negotiating with a number of venture-capital providers. “It’s going to be a challenge to get capital at reasonable conditions,” says Haft. But Panoratio has full confidence in its business partner. “STA brought enormous stability in the early phase,” says Dirk Owerfeldt, Panoratio’s CEO. “After all, these are professional managers who really know the ropes.” Guido Weber the further development of the concept. “The Groups gladly hand over the technology to another company if they don’t want to invest in it for the reasons mentioned and if a busi- ness relationship with the start-up company would be of mutual interest,“ says Lackner. Big Guide.EnOcean and Panoratio are two of the five start-ups established by STA since 2001. The researchers behind their innova- tions have two things going for them: They have developed something remarkable, and they have that characteristic known as “technopreneurship” — the drive to bring their creation to market. STA sees itself as a guide. “Of course, we make financing avail- able,” Lackner says. “But much more impor- tant is the additional help we provide.” Adds Andreas Schneider, Vice President Sales at EnOcean, “When you create a com- pany and have to look for customers, finan- cial backers and cooperation partners, you always suffer setbacks. Today, we’re strong enough to roll with the punches without any problems. But it was a completely different story at the start.” Success Failure January 01 July 01 July 02January 02 January 03 Proposal at STA Most innovative product at the ELTEC Fair Bavarian Innovation Award 2002 First prototypes and customer contracts First deliveries Veto by Group Main customer backs out Agreement with Groups Deal restructuring Main customer cancels memorandum of understanding Fund raising The ups and downs experienced by start-ups such as EnOcean GmbH can be more easily dealt with when an experienced partner like Siemens Technology Accelerator (STA) is there to help. En-Ocean’s self- powered light switch can even be attached to a tree. Source:EnOcean USABI L I T Y HIGHLIGHTS Universal Design Older people and the handi- capped present special challen- ges, but an easy-to-operate product benefits everyone. Easy Interfaces Product development at Siemens brings technicians, designers, psychologists and anthropologists together. Creatures in Computers Virtual characters are helping to make our lives easier — particu- larly when it comes to cell phones and the Internet. Focusing on the User “Technolo gy has to be adapted to humans, not the other way around,” says Prof. Michael Burmester. Page 66 Everyday Use Usability tests are helping design experts gain insights into what customers want. Page 70 Page 73 Learning from the Game Makers “An emotional appeal to the user is not always effective,” says top computer game designer Martin Edmondson. Page 76 Page 62 Page 68 2015 Growing old at home in 2015. The big screen is a television, a computer monitor and an information display board, all in one unit. Informa- tion and home technology are combined in a multimedia system that can be operated by remote control or voice command. Avatars have become easy-to- operate interfaces that mediate between users and technology. To ensure their safety, seniors can transmit their health data to a medical service center. 56 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 57 S C E NAR I O 2015 U S A B I L I T Y Home, Sweet Home May 2015. A universal remote control device and an avatar help 78-year-old Olivia Berger manage her life. T he video call arrives just after break- fast. Olivia Berger pushes the receiver button on her remote control and sees the worried face of her son Bernd. “Hi, Mom,” he says. “How are you doing?” “Fine,” Olivia says, without pressing the control that transmits her own picture. After all, she has just emerged from the shower and is sitting with a mass of tan- gled gray hair in front of the big screen in her living room. “I went to the theater last night and saw a ballet of Goethe’s Faust,” Olivia says. “What’s up?“ “I’m giving you a call because I just had a bad feeling yes- terday,” Bernd answers evasively. “That’s 58 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 59 At Siemens’ Usability Lab in Munich, experts watch through a one-way window and on monitors as test subjects put a washing machine through its paces. The goal is to determine how well the subjects can operate the machine. Product design should focus on meeting user needs. In the future, devices will be operated by voice commands and user enjoyment will become increasingly important. The Science of Simplicity W hether it’s a cell phone or a home cin- ema, a production site or a power-plant control room, the things that play a role in our everyday lives do have their annoying side. Devices are dotted with buttons, menus are perplexing and websites are intricate. To- day’s users, however, expect products to work reliably, have an appealing design at a good price and be easy to use. User-friendli- ness, also known as “usability” in professional circles, is becoming a powerful sales tool. Software makers, in particular, have seen the signs of the times and have poured money into usability research. They are reacting to alarming statements like one is- sued by the Nielsen Norman Group, a Califor- nia-based consulting firm, that reported that e-commerce companies are losing half of their potential sales because website visitors are having a hard time finding their way around. At such U.S. companies as Oracle, Mi- crosoft and usability consultant Human Fac- tors International, hundreds of psychologists, designers and engineers are busy working on user-friendliness, as well as methods of pre- senting software. Despite the economic po- tential of this area (see p. 65), only a few ma- jor companies, along with the online sector, have actually paid serious attention to the question of user-friendliness. “It has only been in the past three years that large num- bers of companies have recognized what this is all about,” says Kerstin Röse, Assistant Pro- fessor for user-focused product development at the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. “And we are still a long way from the optimal implementation of usability.” Putting the User in the Product.“Technol- ogy should be designed with the needs and wishes of the users in mind,” says Prof. Michael Burmester, a usability expert at the Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart, Ger- many (see interview on p. 66). Stefan Schoen, head of the User Interface Design (UID) Center at Siemens Corporate Technol- ogy, agrees. His experience has produced a creed. “The technology can be tremendously impressive. But if it is not easy to operate, it means nothing to the user,” he says. Siemens experts have been working on the ergonomy of devices and workstations for more than 30 years. In the 1980s they also turned their focus to user interface design. Schoen and his team, deeply im- mersed in development processes, serve as advisers to the Siemens Groups. They analyze customers’ needs by watching them in their daily lives and asking them questions. After- wards, they put together user interfaces — the parts of machines that users interact with — from concept to prototype and finally to implementation, regardless of whether the product is a cell phone, a computer tomo- graph or automation software. The UID Cen- U S A B I L I T Y S C E NAR I O 2015 nice of you,” she replies, “but everything was OK. I just had to lie down for a while.” “Good,” says Bernd, “then I don’t have anything to worry about. You really sound fine. Say, do you have any plans for Saturday?” “No,” Olivia says, her heart skipping a beat. “Do you want me to take care of the kids?” “That’d be great,” Bernd says, his image flashing a big smile. “Then we could go to a garden party.” “No problem,” she assures, “just call before you bring the kids over.” “OK, Mom, will do,” Bernd closes. “Thanks a lot.” Olivia shoos her cat Pebbles away from a chest of drawers, and her eye is drawn to her electronic portrait. Yes, in- deed,yesterday’s “ball” was actually smaller and paler than the others. It’s no wonder that Bernd called. The balls rep- resent her daily activities. At first, she was very mistrustful of this technology. But she has learned that it works well. The goal of the system is to allow older people to continue to live in their own homes. Sensors record Olivia’s mo- vements, including her use of the home network and household appliances. Based on this data, the Home Care Sys- tem formulates an activity pattern, ren- ders it in the form of a colored ball and transmits an encoded version of it to her three sons, who have the same por- traits. If she was a little less active yester- day, the ball would appear faded. Her sons notice the change and then check to see how their mother is doing. Once a day, Olivia uses a small diagnostic device that measures her pulse, blood pressure and several blood values before trans- mitting the findings to a central medical office. If any abnormalities are reported, a doctor calls. Yesterday, the sensors detected that Olivia hadn’t moved around for several hours and was out in the evening. She had forgotten to tell the system that she planned to be out. “Frankie!” she calls to the screen, and the comic figure of her avatar appears. “Something up, Olivia?“ asks Frankie, who is named after an actor from Olivia’s youth. “Frankie, the next time I lie down or go out for the evening, be sure to turn off the Home Care Sys- tem’s data transmission for me. I always seem to forget to do it. And send e-mails to my sons Dominic and Thomas to let them know I’m fine.” She has to use the name of her media system’s avatar to begin each command so that he knows she is speaking to him. “Understood,” Frankie says. “Please confirm with the re- mote control.“ The remote control is a small pocket computer with a display that Olivia uses to control practically everything in her home: alarm system, blinds, lights, heating, Arnie, the domes- tic robot and, of course, the media sys- tem that combines music, video, televi- sion, telephone and the Internet. In the past, each of these activities required its own remote control unit. Today, Olivia can even use the device to make phone calls with its language option and can attach it to her cane. She looks quizzically at Pebbles and shakes her head, laughing:“You must be the first cat in the world who purrs around a robot, asking to be stroked.” “Olivia,” Frankie says, interrupting her musings. “You wanted me to track down the Columbo episode from 1968 about a psychiatrist. It’s on Channel 461 today.” “Frankie, please record it for me,” Olivia says. “OK,” Frankie replies. “Please con- firm.” Olivia confirms her request and then studies her food order. A large pur- chase of groceries, including frozen food, has already been delivered to her SkyBox, which can be filled from out- side. Olivia can get bread and milk her- self, but she wants to have candy and ice cream ready for her grandchildren. She dials into the system and orders choco- late and a liter of vanilla ice cream. Olivia is already looking forward to seeing the two children romp through her apart- ment and turn the folding ramp on the stairs into a slide again. “That will leave a huge color ball on the Home Care Sys- tem,” she says to herself —and smiles. Norbert Aschenbrenner U S A B I L I T Y US E R - I NT E R FAC E DE S I GN three directions. “The design is self-explana- tory to doctors,” Platz says. The work that went into conceiving syngo yielded huge amounts of knowledge, which will be benefi- cial for future projects, regardless of which Siemens Group is involved. Automation ex- perts have already started working with Platz on innovative user-interface concepts. “As I see it, we aren’t building. We’re making things disappear,”says Platz. “If we do our work well, it’s nearly invisible.” His state- ments clearly show that good user-interface design is dependent on soft factors, a fact equipped to recognize everyday speech. In the context of a German research project known as “Embassi,” which was completed in June, participants developed a living room of the future in which the video recorder, television, fan, light and blinds obeyed spo- ken commands. Users can supplement their verbal commands by pointing to or using a remote control to do things like turn on lights. These combinable input options can be supported by avatars, which serve as inter- faces to the Internet (see p. 73). A role is also being played by the integration of “fun of use” makes a crucial contribution to a product’s attractiveness. “It’s still unclear how you can produce things that are fun to work with,” says Michael Burmester. In the quest to find out, usability tests are gaining more and more sig- nificance. In so-called “Wizard of Oz” tests, a user is made to believe that the system is outfitted with complete voice control. This is a way of testing the everyday usability of to- morrow’s technology. An interesting finding: Many users are simply not ready to have a di- alogue with a computer. Instead of using syngo, a comprehensive platform for imaging processes developed at Siemens Medical Solutions, can be operated intuitively (left). For example, designer Axel Platz selected a radically new spatial repre- sentation (right) to superimpose computer images. In the past, doctors had to use complicated control levers and push buttons to perfom the same functions (above). that requires a sixth sense. As a result, a par- ticularly striking look can actually have a bad effect because users might not take the prod- uct seriously. “The connection between function and design has to be evident,” ex- plains Platz. “But we also have to create something that doesn’t look as if it is just be- ing driven by operational requirements.” The shackles are loosening, though. Technology is advancing and giving usability experts more leeway — but it is also creating new challenges. The easiest way to operate devices or computers would be with spoken commands. Today, voice-operated cell phones and automotive navigation systems are already available. But experts predict that it will be several years before systems will be communication devices. In a few years, users will be able to download music from the In- ternet to their cell phones, PDAs, notebooks, personal computers, car computers and even televisions. Personalized Products. One trend that is be- ing taken seriously by experts at Siemens’ UID Center and by many others is product personalization. Today, individual ring tones for cell phones are a big hit. In the future, products will have even more design possibilities. Such devices are attractive and fun to use, whether it is the unique way that a cell phone rings or computers that recog- nize a user’s voices and then load the appro- priate programs. Researchers have found that normal sentences — which many systems can process today — they used clipped one- word commands. But that’s not the only sur- prise. In the area of usability, a lot of psychol- ogy is at work. Humans often act differently from the way they say they will. And the work of designers is sometimes in vain. From a usability point of view, it would be desir- able to create a cell phone with a simple de- sign. That would help many users (see p. 70). But when standing in a store, forced to choose between a phone with 50 functions and one with 100, a customer is likely to buy the more complex phone, even if it is more difficult to use. Unless that changes, complex interfaces may be with us for a long time. Norbert Aschenbrenner ter has locations in Munich, Princeton, New Jersey and Beijing and has about 40 employ- ees. “It does very little good when a techni- cian drops by to see us with some nearly fin- ished software in his hand and then asks us to do something to improve its usability,” says Nuray Aykin, head of the UID Center in Princeton. “Usability only works when it is in- tegrated into all phases of development.” That’s when it pays off, Aykin says. The prod- uct can be brought to market faster because solid research has identified early in the process how the user interface has to be de- signed. Last-minute changes that can drasti- cally slow the product’s introduction can of- ten be avoided. “The quality of the product is also better when the user’s needs are taken into consideration from the start,” adds Schoen (see p. 62). Exacting Demands.In June, more than 100 experts from nearly all Siemens Groups gath- ered in New York to discuss their efforts to design user interfaces with the consumer in mind. Everything from cell phones and med- ical equipment to operator menus for build- ing management systems was on the agenda. “As a technology leader, Siemens has to meet exacting design demands,” says Ruth Soenius, whose focal point is the presenta- nance tomography, has the same operating interface. In more than 45 medical-technol- ogy systems, syngo helps users to become oriented and learn the equipment’s opera- tion more quickly. Doctors can manage their patients’ radiological data and evaluate - images in order to gain additional informa- tion regarding conditions such as tumors. Soarian is based on the principles of the syngo design. This comprehensive software for hos- pitals focuses on work flow and synchronizes all stages of treatment in a way that makes medical and economic sense. Added to these criteria are the requirements of developers, who want to pack in as many functions as possible, and the expectations of users, who want to have an easy-to-use product. People like Platz have to take this jumble of contradictory demands and trans- form it into a link between technology and human beings that is also appealing to the eye. As far as syngo is concerned, it proved possible to meet all these demands. As an ex- ample, Platz shows an input mask with which doctors can superimpose two computer im- U S A B I L I T Y US E R - I NT E R FAC E DE S I GN 60 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 61 User enjoyment is a decisive factor in making a product attractive. Axel Platz of Siemens Corporate Technol- ogy conceived syngo with the help of med- ical technology experts. “Design is all about dancing with shackles on,” he says. Platz uses this quotation from Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius to describe his work. That is because superior usability is governed by stringent cri- teria. ISO norms even require that, among other things, systems must be self-descrip- tive and controllable. That means that a computer program should tell the user what sort of input it expects at certain junctures. ages (see illustrations, above right). The user must be able to turn and move the image in all three directions. The original design con- sisted of six control levers with a vague de- scription and countless buttons. “Of course, we could have made the headings more readable, the buttons bigger and the colors different,” Platz says. But this approach would have restricted the optimal operation of the system. To make meaningful improvements, totally new ways of thinking are necessary. Now, a stylized patient has been added to the button display. With the help of advanced graphics, the patient appears to be floating in a ball. Located on the ball are three con- trollers that can rotate the image, while the three controllers used to shift it point in the tion of the Siemens brand. Soenius wants all Siemens products to have a distinct design. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case to- day at Siemens. But the advantages of such a commitment can be decisive. Microsoft, for instance, has created a valuable identity for its brand , Soenius points out. This concept has been applied to syngo and Soarian, software platforms from Siemens Medical Solutions. Each imaging process, whether designed for computer to- mography, angiography, or magnetic reso- The magic formula for satisfied, enthusiastic customers is called “user-focused design.” Siemens experts integrate users in the development process, determining the requirements a product must fulfill and how it should look. 62 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 What Customers Want P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 63 I n the movie What Women Want, the pro- tagonist suddenly discovers what women really prefer and desire, thus conquering their hearts. The character, played by Mel Gibson, is able to pull off this trick after re- ceiving an electric shock, which gives him the power to read the mind of any female in his vicinity. Developers and product man- agers are in a similar, but far more difficult situation. They need to know what customers want — but they can’t read any- one’s mind. But they don’t have to work com- pletely in the dark. One proven way of testing a product on potential buyers before its mar- ket introduction is the usability test. “Oh, no,” says Olga Tsotsokou. “This U S A B I L I T Y L AB OR AT OR Y T E S T I NG makes you feel like you’re three years old.” Tsotsokou is one of 15 people who are test- ing a new text and graphics input device for use with cell phones. The tests are being con- ducted at Siemens Information and Com- munication Mobile (ICM) Usability Laboratory at Munich. “This thing obviously hasn’t reached maturity yet. Will the knob stay up on top?” she asks. The test supervisor, Volker Bogacki, offers her an explanation: “No, this is only a prototype. When the stylus hits the market,it will be much more elegant — and much thinner.” “This one is really bulky,” Tsot- sokou replies before selecting the design that she finds most appealing from among the five available versions. “We prefer to hear candid answers from our test participants rather than polite replies,” says Lutz Groh, who heads the Mu- nich Usability Lab. Within the laboratory’s walls, people of all ages test cell phones, ac- cessories and cordless phones in all stages of product development. “We’re integrated in the entire process,” Groh explains. “Nothing is kept secret. Even poor test results help de- velopers improve their products.” Through a one-way window, Groh observes a woman in the next room who is inputting a sentence with the stylus. The device is an innovation of the User Interface Competence Center at the ICM, to which the usability laboratory also belongs. Magic Stylus.Customers can use the stylus to write on any surface — even on their own pants, just as if they were using a ball-point passing it on. The user can input words by typing them letter by letter on a keyboard that appears on the display. Handwritten symbols, like a mark on a map to identify a meeting location, can be transmitted as well. The stylus, which uses Bluetooth to transmit its data to the cell phone, is currently being developed to the point where it is suitable for market launch. “Hey, this is getting to be fun,” Tsotsokou says. After just a few minutes, she has gotten used to the stylus and begins to type the sen- tence again —but much faster this time around. And test supervisor Bogacki can also objectively measure this progress. Unseen by Tsotsokou, he records the time required for every activity. “You know, I would buy some- thing like this,” Tsotsokou says at last. “It’s perfect for a Palm personal organizer.” Now, it’s time for the new M55 cell phone to be put through its paces. The know what she thinks. “Tell us everything that comes to mind,” he says encouragingly. “That feature isn’t bad,” she says. “It’s particu- larly handy for the deaf because they can see when it rings.” “Of course, the product manager is the person who makes the final call about a new cell phone’s appearance and functions,” says usability expert Groh. “But based on our find- ings, we have a pretty good idea about what people will like and won’t like.” Take the M55, for instance. Experiments with a plastic model determined that the test persons had problems with the planned de- sign of the keys. “As a result, the keys were slightly rearranged and the keystroke lengthened,” Groh says (see photographs, p. 64). Customers in the Lab. A usability test begins long before the first test participant takes a seat in the laboratory — and it ends long af- ter the last one has left. “We keep an eye on consumers to see how and where they use the the product in order to create typical user sce- narios and demands,” says Stefan Schoen, head of the User Interface Design Center at Siemens Corporate Technology. Experts also interview users. “What we’re after is to know who does what, in which way, and with what goal in mind,” says Schoen in summarizing the catalogue of queries. The Soarian hospital information system shows just how indispensable contact with users is. To upgrade the system, medical doc- tors from Siemens visit hospitals, where they meet with physicians and other personnel and discuss their needs. And this pays off. As of September, 2003, over 50 hospitals had ordered the software platform. With Soarian, doctors can immediately sees what they need to do with each patient. The most ur- gent medical information is at the top of the list. Physicians also have instant access to We prefercandid answers rather than polite replies. Honest answers help developers improve their products. pen. But the words that are written don’t ap- pear on that surface. Instead, they turn up on a cell-phone display. During the test, a com- puter monitor is used because the software has not yet been integrated into the cell phone. The stylus uses a sensor that is con- nected to a complex electronic system, and the system registers every movement before New cell phones, including proto- types, and accessories like input sty- luses are tested (large photo) at Siemens’ Usability Laboratory. Test supervisors use video cameras to see how a test participant manages with the equipment (far right). model comes equipped with a function called Dynamic Lights, which announces the arrival of calls or text messages with a rhyth- mically flashing red light signal that appears both on the side and on the front of the phone. “Interesting,” Tsotsokou announces dryly. Bogacki tells her to try all of the various blinking patterns and then let the researchers I t’s hard to measure the market potential of user-friendliness. Experts agree, however, that poor usability can hurt sales and that in many cases a lack of user-friendliness in con- sumer articles has a direct impact on ven- dors’ balance sheets. Hard-to-use items can lead to unmanageable demand for customer support and overburdened hotlines, which drive costs up and can cause sales to stag- nate . “Companies that invest in user-friendli- ness tap into considerable potential for in- creased sales and cost savings,” says Frank Heidmann of the Fraunhofer Institute for Work Sciences and Technology Management (IAO) in Stuttgart. In 1999, for example, computer manu- facturer IBM succeeded in increasing its on- line sales by 400 percent after implementing a uniform design for 200,000 of its corporate webpages. PC producer Dell increased its av- erage daily sales from $1 million to $34 mil- lion by relaunching its website in 1999. Returns on usability are considerable in the online sector. U.S. market research firm Nielsen Norman Group, which specializes in usability issues, estimates that companies can make a product twice as user-friendly by spending ten percent of the project budget on improved usability. Furthermore, every dollar that a company invests in the usability of its websites produces a ten- to hundred- fold return, according to IBM. For non-online sectors, however, experts are still struggling to measure the current and future impact of high degrees of user- friendliness on sales and profits. According to a study conducted by market research firm Frost & Sullivan, for example, suppliers of in- telligent house-automation equipment and software are likely to earn $399 million in Eu- rope in 2009, a good 130 percent more than in 2002. How much of that is the result of a commitment to usability remains unclear, however. The Value of Easy-to-Use Products U S A B I L I T Y FAC T S AND F OR E C AS T S Usability has also been an important con- cern for years when it comes to developing telecommunications products, automation systems and medical devices. The focus is normally on ease-of-use, clear user interfaces and a high level of “learnability,” which to- gether allow efficient and effective deploy- ment of the technology. In 2004, for exam- ple, Siemens Hearing Solutions will launch Connexx 5.0, an improved software applica- tion for adjusting hearing aids. The company hopes the software will reach new target groups. Part of the motivation behind this de- velopment is the fact that, in many countries, hearing aids are adjusted by dealers and not by trained acousticians. “With the new software, Siemens now hopes to make the tuning of the devices eas- ier for non-specialized hearing aid vendors,” experience, many companies budget insuffi- cient resources for this area, or none at all,” says usability expert Kerstin Röse, who is an assistant professor for user-centered product development at the University of Kaiser- slautern and president of the German chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association (www.gc-upa.de). “In contrast to the PC and online sector, many manufacturers of indus- trial goods still view investments in improved ease-of-use as a nice addition, but not really necessary. And that’s a serious mistake,” says Röse. The software industry, on the other hand, has known since the late 1990s that poor us- ability costs the U.S. economy around $30 bil- lion per year in productivity losses, according to the Nielsen Norman Group. Manufacturers hurt themselves not only by neglecting us- P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 65 Initial concepts Implementation Application Cost of changes Number of possible designs says Stefan Schoen, head of the Siemens User Interface Design Center. “We expect that the new software will help us to increase our sales and profits,” says Eduard Kaiser, product manager at Siemens Hearing Solutions. “But,” he adds with a note of caution. “It will be very difficult to quantify the effect precisely, since other factors also play a role.” Measuring Usability. Usually, however, com- panies lack usability-related sales and cost data. “But without figures drawn from past ability entirely but also by attending to it too late in the design process. “The later user- friendliness changes are taken into account during product development, the more ex- pensive they are for a company,” says Fraun- hofer expert Heidmann. Conversely, compa- nies reap extra gains from considering usability early. Indeed, as far back as the mid 1990s, renowned American usability consul- tant Deborah Mayhew discovered that user- friendliness testing helped reduce develop- ment times at one U.S. company by up to 40 percent. Anette Freise Requirements analysis Conceptual design Mock-ups and prototypes Implementa- tion Market launch After product launch Usability engineering is possible with user participation in all phases 1e 10e 100e 1,000e 10,000e Time The further along a project is, the greater is the investment required for improved user-friendliness. On the other hand, getting usability experts involved early leads more quickly to objective assertions about which product customers would accept. (Euro figures on right are relative values.) Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Work Sciences and Technology Management each patient’s diagnoses. If the doctor deter- mines that other examinations are needed, the systemdraws up a list of the most med- ically beneficial and economic approaches. And, in a single step, the physician can make notations in the patient’s electronic file and prescribe medications. In all other software products now on the market, the doctor can do this only by jumping between two user in- terfaces. Siemens’ usability experts also take a crit- ical look at products. In Connexx software, for instance, which is used to fit hearing aids, Schoen’s team recognized something at once. Hearing-aid acousticians had to use ex- ternal equipment in order to obtain examples of sounds. In the new version, which will hit the market in 2004, sound data for various listening situations is built into the software. The software also helps retailers select and order the right hearing aids, and customers can view pictures of the hearing aid as it would look on them if they were wearing it. Selecting Test Candidates. The actual usabi- lity test is conducted following a preliminary examination. All previous results are used in drawing up its concept, including the selec- tion of test candidates, their backgrounds, was too complex for use by dealers who did- n’t have any specilized training. But trained hearing-aid acousticians wanted to be able to perform sophisticated fine tuning of the aids. Today, both possibilities exist. One step al- lows the hearing aid to be tuned auto- matically to a great extent, with the dealer having to enter fewer than ten parameters. An additional step allows expert users to work with the full spectrum of more than 50 parameters. Good Grades. At the ICM usability lab, test participant Tsotsokou has reached the end of her interviews. She was the last of the 15 people tested. Now, Groh and his team will get down to the job of evaluating the find- ings. For the stylus, the usability tests prove to be helpful. For one thing, the test group gave high grades to the stylus on ease of use, a finding that supports the decision to offer it as an accessory. “People would like to use something like this,” Groh says. “Data entry even gives them a certain amount of plea- sure.” All of the test persons tended to like one particular design. Tsotsokou had a lot of fun taking the test. “At the start, it seemed a bit weird to me, like a real test,” she says. But Groh pointed her in the right direction: “Just tell yourself we aren’t testing you. You are conducting tests for us.” Norbert Aschenbrenner U S A B I L I T Y L AB OR AT OR Y T E S T I NG 64 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 The Soarian hospital information system is designed to handle the demands of a clinic. Doctors and other medical staff know at once what has to be performed and in which sequence. education and possible experience with pre- vious versions of the product that will be tested. “We invite about five people from each target group to participate,” says Schoen. The usability team uses the testers’ observations and answers to create suggestions for im- provements.How urgent are the changes and what sort of costs will they generate? Tests on Connexx software showed that it Several models of the M55 cell phone were developed in an effort to make the lay- out and keystroke length as ergonomic as possible. 66 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 For years, usability experts have been preaching how products can be designed to be more user-friendly. Yet many prod- ucts are just as tough to use as ever. Isn’t anyone listening? Burmester:Product developers design de- vices and their user interfaces. They make decisions about functions. That is the tradi- tional view, which still enjoys widespread ac- ceptance. Usability engineering, on the other hand, is all about the interests of the user. But because of immense cost pres- sures, usability is frequently not even planned into the budget. In view of this, I would place the blame for poor user-friendli- ness on management. O.K. Cost pressures and managers who give too little importance to usability are the problem. But what’s the solution? Burmester:People have to start coming to the realization that technology has to be de- signed with the needs and wishes of users in mind, and not the other way around. The leading American usability researcher, Don- ald Norman, really got the attention of a group of engineers when he told them dur- ing an address that in the future they won’t be the ones who define technology — that it P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 67 U S A B I L I T Y I NT E R V I E WS WI T H E XP E R T S Xelibri cell phones have been given an unusually sensual design. Some observers even claim they will compete with jewelry. will more likely be defined by social - scientists. That’s the right direction. After all, today’s primary concern is not to sort out what is technically feasible. Instead, the fo- cus is on figuring out what technology users need and how they can best handle it. It’s wrong to develop something and then start asking what you can do with it. When prod- uct managers shape their products the way they think users would like them to be, bias creeps in. If the image of the user is off- base, the newly created products won’t suit the needs of the target group. The products have to be adapted to humans, and not the other way around. You sound pretty negative. Hasn’t user- friendliness improved at all over the last few years? Burmester:As an information designer, I’ve seen considerable improvements in soft- ware. A huge stride was taken about 20 years ago with the transition from alphanu- meric representations to graphic surfaces, and this improvement could be measured objectively. Users made fewer mistakes and could work more efficiently. Is the need for user friendliness growing? Burmester:One of today’s biggest trends is the transfer of computer intelligence into more and more products. Computers are now everywhere, networking is increasing — in cars, at home, at work and in leisure activ- ities.And the need for usability is growing along with the complexity of technologies. Usability researchers are wondering whether technology could offer something more, like enjoyment or fun. Wasn’t that always a goal? Burmester:Not necessarily. Ten years ago, the dominant issue was the user’s ability to get a good handle on the equipment and do things like operate a video recorder better. As far as research goes, we have this issue behind us. But that is not the case for practi- cal applications. Today, usability researchers are asking themselves how the joy of use can be systematically enhanced and lead to products that will excite and captivate cus- tomers — products that they like to work with. The emotional aspect is playing a big- ger and bigger role. Is that a controversial issue among usability experts? Burmester:Yes. The opponents of this way of thinking are calling for rational thinking and no emotions — at least when it comes to software. I can understand such thinking when you’re talking about running a power plant or flying an airplane. But this rejection is being applied to all products, and I don’t think that’s right. Still, isn’t there a risk of alienating users if designers carry emotion too far? Pop up figures, for instance, can be distracting. Burmester:On this issue, I’m really cautious. During our joy-of-use research, we learned that it’s possible to do the absolutely wrong thing. Comic figures that pop up on the screen are considered to be totally out of place when serious work is being done. They make users feel that their work is being trivi- alized. Then how do you design products that are fun to use? Burmester:That’s something we still don’t know today. All over the world, there are re- searchers devoted to creating fun. They are hunting for systematic approaches that could be applied to products. For example? Burmester:There’s a birdhouse that uses the learning principles drawn from behavior research to teach birds how to sing the bird- house owner’s favorite song. Such a product doesn’t really have any purpose. It’s just a lot of fun because it allows the user to have an effect on his or her surroundings. Another example is a study conducted by the Philips company in cooperation with the Technical University of Delft.It developed a pager with the special feature of “sensuality” for young women. Siemens’ Xelibri designer cell phones are also heading in that direction. When it comes to the interaction be- tween humans and technology, many people are focusing on avatars that simu- late a human contact person. Burmester:You really have to think hard to determine which fields of application are ap- propriate for something like this. One thing is certain. The trend is moving in the direc- tion of making communications between humans and machines more natural — through language, through gestures and through the computer’s ability to recognize facial expressions in order to properly under- stand things like ironic comments. What are some other applications? Burmester:Devices or software could be de- signed in such a way that they would build on everything that humans can already do — things like interactive knowledge that the user has already gained with other devices. There are also metaphors that structure information. Take a book, for instance. It’s made up of a table of contents and chapters. If I want to convey information by using the metaphor of a book,I can draw on a lot of knowledge that the user already has. When it comes to global marketing, what kinds of usability problems are develop- ers facing? Burmester:When I design with the user in mind and pay attention to the user context, then the user’s culture naturally flows into the process. A cell phone for Germany should ring softly because people don’t want to at- tract attention. In China, on the other hand, it can ring loudly because people want oth- ers to know they own a cell phone. Product developers should know target markets and respond creatively to cultural differences. For example, they could make products with interchangeable modules that would alter their characteristics depending on the mar- kets in which they were used. What about the usability of products for certain target groups, such as the elderly? Burmester:The EU’s recently released Se- nior Watch study determined that informa- tion technology products don’t address the needs of older people. Did that surprise you? Burmester:No, it didn’t. The requirements of this target group in terms of information, functions and operation are disregarded when many devices and applications are de- signed. In the area of operation, designers need to address people’s changing cognitive abilities. We know, for instance, that as peo- ple age they tend to become more careful and methodical. What does that mean for usability? Burmester:Older people have to be given a feeling of security when they operate a de- vice. Some interactions simply work better when they guide the user step by step. That, by the way, is often also a very good strat- egy for younger target groups. The result of such an approach is that designers who keep the needs of older people in mind are creat- ing products that are suited to all age groups. The major flops are the products that were specially made for seniors. After all, who thinks of himself or herself as being old? So-called “design for all” grows out of this experience. Unfortunately, we have not Prof. Michael Burmester, 42, has been exploring the interactions between humans and machines since he completed his degree in psychology. After working at Siemens, he joined consulting firm User Interface Design GmbH (UID), where he is Manager for Research and Innovation. In addition, he teaches ergonomy and usability in an information design course at the College of Media in Stuttgart. Adapting Products to People arrived there in practice, even though we know how to improve the situation. Wouldn’t you be making yourself obso- lete if all of your demands were actually put into practice? Burmester:We’ve also asked ourselves this question. The answer is a definite “no.” Tech- nology is undergoing constant change. In addition, usability is increasing. More and more, the design of interactions between humans and technology is being driven by individual human characteristics, wishes and behavior patterns. User-interface researcher Ben Shneiderman of the University of Mary- land got it right when he said, “The old com- puting was about what computers could do; the new computing is about what users can do.” If we keep that in mind, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Interview by Rolf Sterbak. 68 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Designing Easy Interfaces A group of experts is huddled around a PC, discussing the control panel of a wash- ing machine. “If we replace the control dial with buttons, the options menu will have to change,” says psychologist Julia Körner, pointing to a flow chart on the computer screen. “What about using two dials instead, one for the temperature and one for setting the wash cycles?” asks anthropologist Gitta Rüscher. “That would significantly alter the look of the control panel,” states designer Claude Toussaint, who heads the Interface Design Working Group at designafairs in Munich. designafairs was created from Siemens’ Design Department back in 1997. It is in- volved in the design of many products, in- cluding most of Siemens’ cell phones and planned UMTS devices. Other customers in- P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 69 into different cultural approaches.” When sug- gestions have been made, Toussaint discusses them with his team and can then see at an early stage whether they are technically fea- sible. Together with other interface designers, he is ultimately responsible for the overall design of the control panels. Product Development Limits. But not every- thing that makes ergonomic sense or is techni- smart machines that can “talk” to smart clothing. A transponder sewn into a silk shirt, for example (see p. 16), could commu- nicate the message that it should not be spun. Alternatively, the machine could tell the user: “I can wash your clothes quickly. But if you’re not in a hurry, I can choose a program that takes longer but uses less wa- ter and electricity.” Michael Lang U S A B I L I T Y DE S I GNAFAI R S Top:Julia Körner, Claude Toussaint and Gitta Rüscher discuss washing machine control panel designs. Below: Whether you have simple dials or more complex switches, the most important thing is ease of operation. Blue LEDs or electrolu- minescent film signal recommended or previously set functions. clude automakers and manufacturers of lamps and office furniture. At the moment, Toussaint’s team is working on a uniform control-panel concept for a range of washing machines. “Our job is to suggest possible variations. The customer will then decide which is best,” explains Toussaint. His team relies on collab- oration between many disciplines. The result is that instead of being completed sequen- tially, the steps in the product development process are subject to continuous feedback. Designers contribute their expertise as early as the analysis phase, for example, while spe- cialists in ergonomics are involved through- out an entire project. Profiling Consumer Behavior. Still on the subject of the control panel for the washing machines, Rüscher explains that different habits are prevalent in different countries. “In Scandinavia, a high-speed spin setting is very important, because otherwise it would take too long to dry clothes made of thick materials in the cool climate. People in southern Europe, on the other hand, put more emphasis on low-temperature programs,” she says. Based on existing norms, Rüscher is re- searching how the options menu should be structured, and how various dials should be designed and where they should be placed in order to make operation as effective as possi- ble. Meanwhile, Körner is responsible for en- suring that the options menus for new input devices are structured in a logical way. “We’ve shown the manufacturer how the hardware correlates with the software,” she says. If a dial is replaced by buttons, for example, the layout of the menu changes too. Körner’s specialty is to find out how peo- ple process information and solve different tasks —but she sometimes has a hard time convincing the engineers that they should en- trust the design of an operation menu to a psychologist. “At times, it’s like a collision of two worlds,” says Rüscher. “The engineers like to think they can do everything themselves.” But their approach to problem-solving can lead to machines that seem to have been built only for engineers. Körner offers another explanation as to why many devices are not ergonomically de- signed. In development laboratories, hardware and software specialists often work separately, without taking into account the fact that both areas influence each other. “We don’t presume to claim that we know how everyone thinks,” says Rüscher. “But through our training, we’ve gained an insight cally feasible makes it to the product develop- ment stage. For instance, the client may im- pose certain restrictions. Indeed, customer habits and preferences naturally play an im- portant role in product development. Today’s problem of sorting the laundry to take into account dozens of temperature, washing and special settings, however, could easily be simplified. “For instance,” says Körner, “A door-mounted scanner would make it extremely simple to sort clothing. The scan- ner would simply read the symbols sewn in- side each item. That would ensure excellent results. But there are two problems with this approach. First, many consumers are unlikely to trust this kind of technology, at least at the start. And second, a machine with just one button would probably appeal to only a rela- tively small, technophile target group — say single men, for instance. Consumers are also extremely interested comes obvious just how complex they are. “We need larger displays in order to commu- nicate important information clearly,” says Rüscher. Toussaint suggests using organic LEDs, as this information could be presented in color, making it as vivid as on a computer screen (see p. 45). However, it will be years before this technology becomes available at a reasonable cost. In the mean time, elec- tronic ink would be a viable alternative, “be- cause it should be ready for large scale pro- duction in 2004,” says Toussaint. Electronic ink enables displays to be large and relatively inexpensive. Furthermore, consumers will be amazed when “writing suddenly appears on an apparently normal product surface where there are usually buttons. And this writing will still be legible after the power is switched off,” says Toussaint, who calls this the “magic effect.” in washing machines that offer environmental information, such as how much water and power they use. But Toussaint notes that “Un- fortunately, too little information on the con- sumption patterns of various programs is of- fered. Our task here is to create greater transparency.” Once Körner has come up with several variations on the options menu theme, it be- Smart Washing Machines. Toussaint’s aim is for people and machines to communicate with one another. “It’s already technically possible to be notified via text messaging when your washing machine has reached the end of its cycle,” he says. “What I’d like to see now is a washing machine that automat- ically recognizes clothing and chooses the correct program for it.” Toussaint envisions Psychologists, anthropologists, designers and engineers are working together at designafairs to develop operating concepts that could make all the difference for product sales. 70 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 An Internet for Everyone K laus-Peter Wegge strokes the keypad of my cell phone. “The nubble on the ‘5’ is in the right place — that must be one of the newer models,” he says; and he’s right. My Siemens S55 is in fact only a few weeks old. You can also hear the acknowledgment tone as soon as the phone is switched on, Wegge observes. “With the first software release, blind users didn’t know if the phone was on or off, or when they should enter a PIN.” P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 71 U S A B I L I T Y AC C E S S I B I L I T Y Klaus-Peter Wegge heads the Accessibility team at C-LAB in Paderborn, Germany. In 1994 he developed a pio- neering Internet browser for the blind. Wegge knows what he’s talking about. Not only is he an IT specialist, he’s blind. Wegge heads a small team at C-LAB, a joint research and development laboratory run by Siemens and the University of Paderborn in Germany. Wegge’s team concentrates on ac- cessibility, the quality that makes technology easy to use for older and physically chal- lenged users. It’s often the small things that cause problems for the disabled when they want to make a call or use a washing ma- chine. A classic example was the lack of an acknowledgment tone in the first S55 cell phones. That’s something that just slipped past the developers, Wegge surmises. To pre- vent a repeat performance, Wegge, 43, has built up a network with other disabled peo- ple who report back to the Siemens Accessi- bility Competence Center whenever they dis- cover a hidden weakness in a product. For instance, an acquaintance drew his attention to the fact that in areas close to the German border, there’s no way of knowing if a cell phone has logged into a domestic network or a more expensive one in the neighboring country. “We’re working on a solution for our next generation models,” says Wegge, leav- ing open whether the answer is different ac- knowledgment tones or simply blocking for- eign networks. “We advise developers, but we don’t tell them what to do,” he adds. Be- sides, Wegge often comes up with solutions as soon as he becomes aware that a problem exists. Speaking of Text Messages. The specialists from C-LAB are particularly proud of the in- terface used in Siemens cell phones. It meets all the standards and has also been incorpo- rated, in a trimmed-down version, in the new Siemens cordless Gigaset 5000 Micro. To demonstrate, Wegge plugs a keypad the size of a pair of glasses into my S55 and pushes a few buttons. A female voice begins to read out my saved text messages. “I hope you don’t have anything obscene on this,” he says with a grin. It was Wegge who caused a sen- sation at the 1994 CeBIT computer trade fair with an Internet browser that could convert websites into simple text files, thereby mak- ing them accessible to the blind via a Braille display. When Siemens Corporate Technology first set up the Access Initiative back in 1998, Wegge was immediately asked to come on board. Since then, he has been the com- pany’s expert for technology oriented to the needs of the disabled. And it’s an effort that pays off. Wegge estimates that at least 65 percent of all blind cell phone owners use Siemens phones. And that figure could in- crease. The new SX1 can be equipped with software from Switzerland’s Svox that reads out menu items and text messages. At almost all Siemens Groups there is now a contact person responsible for accessi- bility issues. However, convincing them is not always easy, says Wegge. Apparently, it’s much easier to get an engineer interested in a problem — and sometimes even carried away — than a product manager who is of- The needs of elderly and disabled people are playing an increas- ingly important role in the development of cell phones, washing machines and websites. But ease of operation benefits all users. ten skeptical about features that don’t seem to be commercially viable. Here Wegge has a persuasive response. “In Germany alone, ten percent of the population is disabled in some way or other. That’s eight million people. Can you really afford to neglect them?” he says. And as far as mass-produced goods are con- cerned, Wegge also emphasizes the benefits for the non-disabled. “Design for all” is his motto. That such an approach bears fruit is evi- denced by the new cordless Gigaset E150 phone from Siemens which was launched in October, 2003. It was a project in which Wegge’s team played a major role. The phone features large keys, a louder handset and ringing tone, an emergency call button, and large print for the display. Says Wegge, “It wasn’t always certain that the unit would make it to the market.” But he is convinced that the phone should not be marketed with a “suitable for senior citizens or the disabled” also want to have the latest technology. A number of BSH household appliances have already won the Breaking Barriers Award, in- cluding the EK 79054 glass-ceramic range top. The burners are positioned so that pans don’t have to be lifted over one another when being removed from the range. Ac- cording to Stolz, the non-disabled also appre- ciate pyrolytic ovens that clean themselves and burners that automatically switch off as soon as a pan is removed. BSH also has a model kitchen at an exhibition staged by the German Society for Gerontotechnology (GGT) in Iserlohn. Throughout Germany, the GGT currently has some 650 senior citizens who test products for user-friendliness on be- half of manufacturers. The tests are carried out both at the exhibition, where they are monitored by GGT engineers, and under everyday conditions at home. Afterwards, participants are asked to complete question- naires about the products. Testers usually tag, because that stigmatizes people and is bad for sales. “Universal design is there to serve every- one, including the non-disabled,” says Profes- sor Christian Bühler from the Research Insti- tute for Technology to Help the Disabled in Volmarstein, Germany. “After all, as far as hu- mans are concerned, diversity is the norm.” That’s why design that ensures easy opera- tion is highly attractive to both young and old, disabled and non-disabled. In fact, achieving such designs is a process that Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH (BSH), which sells white goods, has refined into a fine art. Right from the development stage, checklists help ensure that products meet the needs of the disabled. “But total accessibility must not be allowed to affect functionality,” warns Susanne Stolz, who develops stove ap- plications at BSH. After all, disabled people find fault with minor details, which are then remedied in the development process. Some- times, though, more substantial changes are necessary. For example, while the large keys on a phone won praise, the cable was con- sidered bothersome. The manufacturer re- sponded to the criticism by offering a cord- less version. Strict Regulations. Accessibility has become a hot issue since legislation in the U.S. intro- duced strict penalties for companies failing to ensure that their products meet the needs of the disabled, while also meeting the latest technological standards. For example, if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were to determine that a Siemens cell phone was incompatible with hearing aids, the company would be automatically excluded from bidding for public contracts in the tur- Universal designserves everyone. The “suitable for senior citizens” label stigmatizes the aged and is bad for sales. Supported by virtual characters, sophisticated devices will do our bidding and adapt to our personal needs. These computer- generated creatures will not only provide data and carry out assignments;they will also live their own lives. Creatures in Computers T heir names are Cora, Liam, Cyberella and Womble. They are small, globular and green. They advise customers at banks and call centers, guide visitors through ministries and research institutes, and teach at schools and universities. They can also read cell- phone SMS messages out loud, as in the lat- est development from Siemens Information and Communication Mobile (ICM) in Munich. But in spite of their many capabilities, their speech comprehension is still limited and only truly effective in narrowly defined con- versational situations. Welcome to the world of avatars, creatures that exist only in com- puters. They are as varied as the tasks they perform. But they have one thing in common: They are all supposed to facilitate access to systems and information. Originally, these creatures made of pixels and polygons were in- tended to act as the Internet chat butterflies or just blow bubbles. Further- more, in the not-too-distant future, Womble will not only get mail but read it out loud — with matching gestures and facial expres- sions. Moreover, he is expected to play a ma- jor role in a fun multimedia cell phone for young people to be launched in the spring of 2004. Womble is made possible by a 3-D en- gine that portrays a three-dimensional model in real time and uses light and shadow to bring it to life. Such engines are already built into some cell phone games and could be used to create avatars regardless of which cell phone model is involved. E-Mail Avatars. Womble already works in demonstrations. He acts as an interface to identities of their flesh-and-blood counter- parts. But today they prefer to romp around in computer games and educational soft- ware. The emotional, personal way in which they address users, their independent lives and, last but not least, the fun factor that goes along with them, add zest to even the driest topics. But what’s really impor- tant is that virtual as- sistants can make it signifi- cantly easier to operate a great variety of devices and systems. Whereas avatars are the “face” pre- sented to the customer, the actual work is performed by software agents (see Pictures of the Future, Developer Bernd Holz auf der Heide displays an avatar on a demonstration model of the new SX1 cell phone. 72 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 USABILITY AC C E S S I B I L I T Y Older people place special demands on their surroundings. In Germany’s Sentha project, which was devoted to household technology for senior citizens, a team of workplace re- searchers, social scientists, designers and engineers worked together with senior citizens to devise technologies that help seniors live more safely, comfortably and independently (www.sentha.tu-berlin.de). The project, which ended in August 2003, was organized by Berlin Technical University. Senior citizens, including retired Siemens employees, were asked to test products with respect to user-friendliness and safety. One finding from the “smart home” subproject, in which researchers from the University of Cottbus developed a home communications network, was that well-designed touchscreens are better than voice-activated control systems. Elderly test persons preferred menus with small symbols — e.g., a light bulb to control the lighting — rather than text. Siemens Automation and Drives contributed the installation technology for the smart home project, including an EIB instabus control system. Older people give safety high priority, which means more than just protection against break-ins. Detectors to report water damage, overheating or smoke are also in demand. Also useful is a panic button that switches lights on through- out a house, raises blinds and dials an emergency telephone number. Networked house- hold appliances also offer enhanced comfort: “Are the potatoes still cooking? Did I switch the coffee machine off?” Such questions can be easily answered by a quick glance at a central display showing the status of appliances throughout the house. WHY S E NI OR S VAL UE S AF E T Y bine or medical technology sectors. “That’s like making the whole family liable for some- thing committed by one member,” says Wegge. Not that Siemens has ever found it- self in such a situation. But even well-inten- tioned measures can miss the mark. While drinking coffee in a fast-food restaurant at a Chicago airport, he discovered something written in Braille on the cup. But the cup was so hot that he had burned his fingers before he could read it. Later, when the cup was empty, he was able to make out the warning: “Careful, hot!” A nice thought, says Wegge. Sanctions are less drastic in Germany, where the Equal Opportunities for the Dis- abled Act has been in force since May 2002. The law stipulates that the disabled must not be excluded from using the Internet and other technologies. “All federal agencies must make their websites suitable for use by the disabled by 2005 at the latest,” explains Stefan Berninger from the “Web for All” asso- ciation in Heidelberg. The organization ad- vises companies and public authorities on how to design their websites. For Berninger, a wheelchair user, hindrances in the Web are just like a high curb on the sidewalk: “It’s not me who’s disabled; it’s what’s disabling me that counts,” he says. Even seemingly minor hindrances can become insurmountable ob- stacles. For example, the instruction “Click the red button” is of no use to someone who’s color-blind — yet as many as eight percent of all men have this disability. A survey by the German Ministry of Eco- nomics found that 43 percent of disabled persons have legibility and navigation prob- lems on the Internet. That’s regrettable given that the Internet is an ideal means of contact for many disabled and elderly people. In- deed, around 80 percent of disabled people use the Web. By contrast, for the population as a whole, the proportion is only 50 percent. Moreover, a truly accessible website needn’t require more work to create, provided that this is taken into account from the very be- ginning. The people from “Web for All” rec- ommend the use of style sheets that allow design to be separated from content, which can be listened to with voice software or read via a Braille display. It’s also important that pictures, logos and buttons should also be equipped with text that appears when clicked. Exemplary Search Engine.Anna Courtpoza- nis, who tests Internet sites at “Web for All,” had to grin at the well-intentioned advice she found on the website of a municipal utility: “If you can’t see the text, please click here.” However, Courtpozanis couldn’t see the text or click the button because she’s blind. Less than ten percent of all websites are gen- uinely accessible to the blind, although 80 percent of them can be used with a little pa- tience and experience. The Google search engine is an exemplary site in this regard. On the other hand, those sites where new win- dows continually open of their own accord are annoying. As Courtpozanis says, these can be links to sex sites or simply advertising that pops up. Back at C-LAB, Klaus-Peter Wegge recently discovered a highly disabled- friendly site for a chain of adult stores. He grins: “Even so, it’s sites like these that really make you regret being blind!” Bernd Müller U S A B I L I T Y V I R T UAL B E I NGS Fall 2001, p. 50). The latter race through the Internet like bloodhounds and search for in- formation in databases, flight schedules, or instruction manuals. They give their spoils to avatars, who then present them to users. “‘Living Characters’ is our expression for assistants and avatars in the virtual world,” says Bernd Holz auf der Heide, manager of the Living Characters project and an expert in user interface innovations at Siemens Infor- mation Communications Mobile (ICM). Holz Auf der Heide and his team were the first to develop avatars that live in cell phones. No later than next year, a cute, big-footed crea- ture named Womble will hop, splash, pout and make merry on the display of the Siemens SX1 cell phone. Womble will make using a cell phone more fun. For instance, when the battery is recharging, Womble’s body will display a rainbow of stripes. When not in use, Womble will juggle balls, watch P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 73 and unneeded query structures are therefore omitted. A user who knows the system and specifies the necessary information in one sentence gets the answer he or she needs very quickly. In the case of ambiguous input, as is of- ten provided by inexperienced users, the dia- log engine simply requests more informa- tion. A dialog interpreter also recognizes when it can no longer provide help, and in that case routes the caller to a human agent. Heide, who is a trained psychologist. Sight, hearing, feeling — all of these human facul- ties are addressed by virtual characters in or- der to make it easier to operate equipment. But to ensure virtual helpers don’t arouse our displeasure, people have to be able to rely on avatars and speak with them. Their actions must be comprehensible, says Holz auf der Heide. And yet, it is precisely their self-willed personalities and their unpredictability that exert a certain fascination, as is the case with Because of the increasing complexity of many systems, demand for user-friendly as- sistance systems will continue to grow. Com- puters in cars, stereos and video systems (see box on p. 74) are only the beginning. Avatars will one day recognize emotions, too, and re- member the likes and dislikes of their users. If a user is afraid of flying, for instance, a train will be chosen when possible. And when a restaurant is selected, the user’s pref- erences will be weighed into the decision, along with location and availability informa- tion. Ideally, avatars will change their behav- ior on the basis of experience. Avatars will also serve as an aid to inter- personal communication. They could appear on the cell phone display of the person you are calling as a three-dimensional likeness of yourself or some imaginary character and smilingly accept an invitation to a concert, for example. Technically, it is already possible for someone to send their photo as an image file to a software service on the Internet and have the image transformed into an ani- mated model. At that point the user will have created a virtual twin of himself or herself (see Pictures of the Future Spring 2003, p. 30). Avatars can also acquire knowledge of the real world via cell phone-mounted cam- eras, microphones and sensors. Genuine in- teraction is thus possible between humans and virtual entities. “The Womble of tomor- row will put on sunglasses, lick an ice-cream cone and ask me whether I want one too. And then he will show me the way to the nearest ice-cream parlor,” says Holz auf der Heide. “But the actual intelligence that makes these actions possible in the first place comes from the mobile network infrastruc- ture. Today’s cell phones lack the computing power to run the software.” And intelli- gence is important because these virtual characters have many applications. All in all, avatars will be able to relieve us of so many routine virtual world tasks that we will probably have more time to enjoy the attractions of the real world. Birgitt Salamon Sensors put an avatar in touch with the real world and allow genuine interaction with humans. When it comes to appliances such as washing machines, ranges and refrigerators, however, things are different. Since these systems do not have a PC interface, it is diffi- cult to integrate natural-language-based op- erating instructions into their other controls. “For the time being, the best solution for such appliances is for the manufacturer to of- fer a natural-language help desk of the sort we’ve developed as a customer service,” says Block. How Much Personality?“Virtual assistants always walk along a razor’s edge between ac- ceptance and rejection,” says Holz auf der human beings. They shouldn’t act on their own authority too much, however, and non- sensical questioning can be an annoyance, according to the unanimous view of experts and users. Since virtual assistants act on behalf of their masters, security is a top priority — particularly when it comes to legally binding transactions. “But a digi- tal signature ensures the authen- ticity and integrity of the agent, and the assistant can be uniquely as- signed to its user,” ex- plains Kai Fischer, a secu- rity expert at CT in Munich. Womble, the green pear-shaped character, not only reads out e-mail and helps users, but also plays around on the display when nothing is happening. An- other avatar in the form of a young man helps users get to know the cell- phone’s features. software agents; he reads messages from the Internet and takes part in auctions on eBay. By the same token, stars, news anchors and stock market gurus could one day read out their “breaking news” on cell phones, or Michael Jordan could send a “personal” good- bye to his fans. “It’s technically feasible , but third-party service providers still don’t have this technology,” laments Holz auf der Heide. When this hurdle is overcome and the speci- fications for avatars are standardized, it will be possible to send them from a server to many network users or from partner to part- ner — the prerequisite for spreading them further. Currently, a consortium led by Siemens and Nokia is developing a standard that will define all the current requirements connected with the use of 3-D animations. The preconditions for a world of avatars are therefore taking shape. Smart Manuals.Wouldn’t it be nice, when some device or appliance isn’t working, to be able simply to call up a personal assistant who would tell you what to do? Well, so- called “natural-language dialogue systems” are in fact already available. “We have a voice-based user manual for the Hicom tele- phone optiset,” says Dr. Hans-Ulrich Block, a linguist from the Interaction Technologies de- partment at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Munich. “The manual can be called up for almost 200 pieces of support informa- tion,” The system’s Virtual Call Center Agent (ViCA) voice dialogue system, which he helped develop, is designed to allow cus- tomers or co-workers to access complex sup- port services. All the caller has to do is to ask questions in natural language. The system asks follow- up questions in order to fill in any missing pa- rameters. The caller is spared time-consum- ing enumerations of options, such as, “For yes, press one; for no, press two...” If the question is, “How can I turn off the calling signal?” the dialogue partner reacts with the information unit “Calling Signal.” A reply might be: “To turn off the calling signal for your telephone, pick up the receiver and press star 97.” At each stage of the dialogue, the menu tree is dynamically recalculated, U S A B I L I T Y V I R T UAL B E I NGS 74 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 75 “Hi, Embassi,could you please put on ‘Out of Africa’?” A personal avatar appears on the screen. “Of course,” it replies, and the digital video recorder starts to hum. A pie-in-the- sky vision? “No,” says Thomas Heider, a computer scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics in Rostock, Germany. “In the Embassi project’s model living room, it already works.” Embassi — a German acronym that stands for “multimodal assistance for infotainment and service infrastructures” — is a pilot project of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Heider worked for four years with other specialists on new user-control systems for home electronics devices that can be operated by means of gestures, facial expressions, text input or voice commands. The Embassi planning assis- tant even develops strategies for multiple devices. It can, for example, adjust the room lighting and TV screen brightness, and when a video title is called out, the system locates the right media resource, adjusts the brightness and plays the film. But hurdles still exist. If the word “dark” is spoken in conversation, for example, the lights shouldn’t go out. Hence, users try to address the system with “Embassi, please...” (software components can be downloaded at www.embassi.de/ open_ embassi/). At Siemens Corporate Technol- ogy (CT) in Munich, Hans Röttger is designing a multimodal commu- nications booth for SmartKom-Pub- lic, part of the SmartKom (www. smartkom.org) project. Here, the good old telephone booth will be upgraded with a videophone, doc- ument camera and Internet access. Natural language, graphic-user in- terfaces and gesture recognition will make it easier to do things like reserve movie tickets. In a natural- language dialogue with an avatar, users will be able to inquire about films, ask for directions, or reserve tickets. SmartKom will use SIVIT gesture-recognition technology (Siemens Virtual Touchscreen) to replace the mouse at some public information points. In 2002, an interactive shopping window (pic- ture above) was tested in Düsseldorf. The technology allows customers to point to articles in a display window to obtain information without having to go inside. The computer rec- ognizes gestures via video camera and translates them into mouse clicks. Similarly, cars may eventually have computers that can be personalized, “but it will probably be ten years before that happens,” predicts Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Rühl, who is responsible for automotive voice module integration at Siemens VDO. A navigation sys- tem designed by Rühl recognizes 2,000 words. In three years, it will probably be able to recognized over 8,000. “In five years, drivers may be able to say: ‘destination Hamburg, radio station FFN,’ without having to press a button or remember any special com- mands,” says Rühl. But in a loud automotive environment, the system has to be far more robust than systems built for home use. Voice recognition systems must listen to the driver and not the children in the back seat. But Rühl is convinced that “in a few years it will be possible to operate any infotainment, navigation or e-mail system in a vehicle cockpit by voice.” S HAP I NG T HE E NV I R ONME NT WI T H WOR DS AND GE S T UR E S 76 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Designs on Customers P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 77 U S A B I L I T Y I NT E R V I E W What have been the most important ad- vances in computer games since you broke into the field in the 1980s? Edmondson: The way we communicate with computers is more or less the same now as it was back then. Most players today are still using a joystick or a mouse. But what appears on the monitor is radically different than in the ‘80s. Today it’s 3D imagery seen from the perspective of the individual player. That means that we now interact with a game as if we were really an integral part of it, rather than just observing a representa- tion. What makes a computer game intuitive — that is, easy to use? Edmondson: Realism. The more realistic a game is, the easier it is for players to antici- pate the effects of their responses. In turn, it Screen shots from Martin Edmondson’s hit computer game “Driver.” Players have to steer their vehicles in virtual scenarios — through narrow streets, on country roads and as stunt drivers in a sports stadium. Martin Edmondson, 35, founder of Reflec- tions Interactive, released his first computer game in 1984 — when he was still in grade school. By the time his “Driver” game hit the market in 1999, he was already considered to be one of the world’s experts in his field. Behind the huge success of his games — 8 million of which have been sold — is a com- mitment to simplicity that many industrial designers would be well advised to emulate. Edmondson lives in Newcastle, England. becomes possible to learn to play faster and with more skill. That way people can sub- merge themselves in the virtual world and lose themselves in the game. Take auto rac- ing games, for example. Today, when you crash into a virtual lamppost, the structural damage is very realistically depicted. Does this account for the addictive effect of games? Edmondson: A player’s becoming “hooked” has a lot to do with challenge and gratifica- tion, but the usability, the sheer ease of play- ing a game, also plays a big role. In the case of auto racing, that’s obvious. If the car’s steering doesn’t function perfectly and the vehicle reacts a little unpredictably, players will quickly be turned off. In my experience, the way a game handles is usually even more important than brilliant graphics. How do you determine if a game is enjoy- able to use? Edmondson: To be quite honest, it’s almost like black magic. Unfortunately, target-group tests aren’t very reliable. There’s always one test participant who likes the game while someone else thinks it’s horrible. In other words, we trust our instincts when testing games. What about everyday technologies? Are there products that you would make more user-friendly? Edmondson: Cell phones. And especially when I want to use the phone in a hurry and need information fast. I find the user menus of many cell phones complicated, and the eye isn’t immediately drawn to the most im- portant functions. It’s really a bunch of small annoyances that I, as a game designer, would never allow. My customers don’t want to be aggravated; they want to have fun. Or take, for example, video and DVD recorders. They have so many small buttons and ob- scure functions. I’d prefer to speak to the device, to tell it: “Record this program at 12 o’clock.” I’m sure that’s how we’re going to be using electronic devices maybe even in just a few years. There are already computer games that can be voice-controlled. So industrial designers can learn from the designers of computer games? Edmondson: Yes, I’m sure they can, espe- cially when it comes to device usability. Industrial designers would do well to thor- oughly analyze every game known for its user-friendliness. They should try to figure out which game features or functions could be applied in practical devices for everyday use. I say that as a software designer, as someone who knows how easily these things can work. Let’s consider navigation systems, for instance. Voice-recognition controls would be ideal. If these systems had touch screens or could be controlled with gestures, they could be used intu- itively. It would be possible to just point to a region, or a city or street, and continuously zoom in. But unfortunately industrial de- signers are often technicians, and they think along the lines of their training — instead of thinking about the human beings who are supposed to eventually use a device. Good design adheres to a philosophy that treats the customer as the central factor. I think it’s best when my customers can start up a game without having to read the instructions. Are there any examples of industrial de- signers learning from game designers? Edmondson: A few telephone companies have contracts with the game industry. But it’s unfortunate that the companies are only loading little games into their cell phones — instead of studying the games to learn how cell phone use could be made more attrac- tive for customers. How important are feelings in usability? Edmondson: For games they’re essential. But they can also have a detrimental effect with everyday devices. There were a few no- table technical hybrids that were conceived with the idea of using the emotional factor to make boring objects exciting. For instance, we had the refrigerator with an integrated television. Only no one could fig- ure out what it was good for. You can’t load your customers up with things that they just don’t want. When I open my refrigerator, it should be keeping my food cold. And my washing machine should ensure that I’ve got a supply of clean clothes. I don’t need these appliances to address my feelings. Or would you like your washing machine to make jokes about your dirty underwear? Interview by Andreas Kleinschmidt Technologies should be designed to meet user needs. The decisive factor in usability is user interface (UI) design. A good user interface often determines whether a product becomes a success or a failure. User interface experts must be integrated into the development process from the start. They can inter- view and observe users,analyze pro- ducts and conduct usability tests, gain- ing insights into the way they should design a user interface. Another impor- tant factor is the interactive work con- ducted by various disciplines, from psy- chologists to designers and from anthropologists to engineers. (pp. 59, 62, 68) At Siemens Corporate Technology, about 40 employees in Munich, Prince- ton and Beijing are focusing on usabil- ity. They are working on all phases of user interfaces — from concepts to prototypes to final implementation. They are conducting their efforts in close cooperation with usability ex- perts from other units, like Medical Solutions and Automation & Drives. (p. 62) The future will create new chal- lenges for usability. The operation of devices will become multimodal, meaning they can be controlled through voice, gestures, keyboards or remote controls. This will require development of new operating interfaces. (p. 59, 62, 68) The fun factor is playing a growing role in product acceptance and eye ap- peal. Personalized features are also be- coming a major trend. Users can shape their interfaces to a limited extent to suit their individual tastes. (p. 59, 73) In the future, virtual characters will be able to perform routine tasks and intuitively direct the user. Starting in 2004, avatars will be included in new Siemens cell phones.(p. 73) Handicapped and older people have special needs that developers will in- creasingly have to take into considera- tion when they design products. Help- ful devices that are easy to operate enable aging people to remain in their own homes. (p. 70) PEOPLE CT User Interface Design Center: Stefan Schoen, CT IC 7, firstname.lastname@example.org syngoand Soarian Software: Claus Knapheide, SMED, Malvern, PA email@example.com ICM User Interface Design Center: Lutz Groh, ICM Lutz.firstname.lastname@example.org Living Characters: Bernd Holz auf der Heide, ICM Bernd.email@example.com Language Dialogue Systems: Dr. Hans-Ulrich Block, CT IC 5 firstname.lastname@example.org Gesture Recognition: Hans Röttger, CT IC 5 email@example.com Biometrics: Dr. Bernhard Kämmerer, CT IC 5 firstname.lastname@example.org Interface Design: Axel Platz, CT IC 7 email@example.com Claude Toussaint, designafairs firstname.lastname@example.org Accessibility: Klaus-Peter Wegge, C-LAB email@example.com Prof. Michael Burmester, Hochschule der Medien, Stuttgart firstname.lastname@example.org The Embassi Project: The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics (IGD), Rostock, Thomas Heider email@example.com LINKS Society for Technical Communication: www.stcsig.org/usability U.S. Government usability website: www.usability.gov Usability Professionals Association: www.upassoc.org Accessibility at C-LAB: www.c-lab.de/home/de/offers/services/ AccessibilityCompetenceCenter.html The WebforALL association: www.webforall.info BIBLIOGRAPHY Lidwell, Will, et al, Universal Principles of Design, 1000 Ways to Influence Usability Rockport Publishers, (2003) Jakob Nielsen,Usability Engineering, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers (1994) In Brief… Siemens is using cutting-edge semiconductor technology to bring new life to high voltage direct current transmission technology — and to efficiently transmit renewable energy over greater distances. test facility was destroyed during the war, and Soviet forces dismantled sections of the other link for use in a test facility outside Moscow. In Germany, researchers didn’t resume work on HVDCT until 1963, when they began experimenting with new silicon-based con- verter valves. The first big contract came in 1969 when Portuguese engineers began considering how to transmit electricity pro- duced at the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric plant in Mozambique to Johannesburg, South Africa, 1,420 kilometers away. That was quite a feat. Even now, few transmission routes stretch that far. Deciding on Thyristors. Siemens, which, among others, contributed to the project, suggested a risky approach. Its engineers wanted to use a recently developed semicon- ductor element, the thyristor, in place of mer- cury-arc valves. There were two basic reasons for the suggestion. Arc valves were expensive to produce and were not always trouble-free in operation. When control problems oc- curred, they could even destroy transformers and cable as a result of the huge amounts of energy involved. In fact, that was one reason for the power utility’s doubts about high volt- age direct current transmission. International experts rejected the plan at first. “They didn’t even want to discuss the idea of thyristor valves,” says Arnold Hofmann, then general representative for Siemens-Schuckertwerke, in his report. Only after Sweden’s ASEA with- drew from the project were Siemens techni- cians allowed to introduce “their” semicon- ductor valves. A total of 48 double valves rose into the sky, outfitted with 48,384 thyristors. Such a large number was necessary because of the relatively low load capacity of thyristors at the time. However, the engineers' boldness paid off. The system worked exceptionally well. Once Cahora Bassa entered service, people no longer wanted mercury-arc based valves for their HVDCT systems. And as the capacity of semiconductors rose, engineers were able to cut the number of thyristors needed. This, in turn, resulted in more HVDCT orders. Thus, in 1984 Siemens re- ceived an order from Canada and another in 1987 from the U.S. Today, the company is working on the 3,000-megawatt Gui-Guang project in China. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2005 and will require only 3,744 thyristors. Back in the 1980s, HVDCT was an exotic creature for the energy utilities, which were accustomed to using alternating current. But rising energy prices and growing environ- mental awareness increased pressure to use all types of energy resources, especially hy- dro power. Since the late ‘90s, HVDCT has been experiencing a boom. Between 1993 and 2002, Siemens completed seven major projects in Europe, Asia and the U.S., includ- ing the 1,800-MW Tianshengqiao to Guangzhou link in China and the East-South Interconnector II in India, which transmits 2,000 MW over a 1,400-kilometer network. In 2001, Northern Ireland was hooked up to Scotland via a 64-kilometer submarine cable, and an HVDCT submarine cable is now being 78 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 More Power to You! PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE P OWE R T R ANS MI S S I ON Y ou can’t just pull a kilowatt off the shelf. Once produced, electrical energy has to be used. Short-term storage is expensive, while long-distance transmission requires in- telligent solutions, otherwise insufficient amounts of usable energy come trickling out at the end of the line. The high-voltage alternating-power transmission systems whose towers dot land- scapes do the job of connecting regional net- works. The voltage alternates its polarity 50 to 60 times per second, just like power from a wall socket, but it is much higher because the losses produced by heating of the con- ductor climb as increasing amounts of cur- rent flow. Because the consumer is only in- terested in power — the product of voltage and current — these losses can be drastically reduced if the voltage is transformed to a much higher value. The current then sinks accordingly. There is just one problem: Over P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 79 HVDCT is much more complex than normal alternating-current high-voltage transmission. On the other hand, it has some major benefits. Here’s why: ➔ It is the only way to transmit electricity economically over great distances. For over- head lines, HVDCT is worthwhile at distances circa 600 km. For submarine cables, it is competitive from around 50–60 km and the only solution for long distances; ➔ HVDCT line costs are lower than for conventional overland electricity lines because only two conductors have to be used instead of three (for three-phase current). The towers can also be more slender; ➔ All alternating current losses, both inductive and capacitive, are eliminated; ➔ There is no phase shift between current and voltage. With alternating current, this flaw has to be eliminated using controlling elements in an energy-intensive process. ➔ In direct current, electrons use the entire cross-sectional conductor area; in alternat- ing current, they flow only in a thin layer on the conductor’s surface; ➔ HVDCT is the only way to connect technically incompatible electricity networks with different control procedures and network frequencies — an important factor in places like India, which has four incompatible regional networks; ➔ With its ability to quickly regulate power, HVDCT helps stabilize the existing three- phase current networks that it connects. THE ADVANTAGES OF HIGH - VOLTAGE DIRECT - CURRENT TRANSMISSION laid between Australia and Tasmania. “HVDCT took more than half a century to evolve from an exotic idea into a reliable product,” says Mukherjee. For projects in the 100-million- to 300-million-euro range, HVDCT is now a profitable business, in which Siemens has captured about 40 percent of the market. Since 1995, Siemens has been backing another innovative technology: light-con- trolled semiconductors. “Our new thyristors are no longer operated using a current pulse,” says Hans-Peter Lips, technical direc- tor at PTD. “We now use a 10-milliwatt laser flash.” Costly electromagnetic screening and control elements are no longer needed. The controller is located well away from the high- voltage section, to which it is connected by a fiber optic cable. “This has allowed us to cut the number of electronic parts in the valve by 80 percent,” says Lips. The valves are easy to maintain and have an expected life span of more than 30 years, which is why they are used in all of Siemens’ new HVDCT facilities. And there’s more good news. Transmittable power is expected to rise from today’s maxi- mum of 2,000 to 3,000 megawatts to as much as , 5,000 MW in the near future — if that is what the market requires. Bernd Schöne ated using alternating current, are subject to substantial losses when they reach a length of 60 kilometers,” explains Asok Mukherjee from Siemens Power Transmission and Distri- bution (PTD) in Erlangen. As a result, many countries are turning to a modern version of a technology that has been around for a long time: high-voltage di- rect-current transmission, or HVDCT. With HVDCT, direct current flows through a cable (without alternating) just as in a battery. The first electricity transmission in 1882 em- ployed direct current. Back then power was transmitted from the town of Miesbach, Ger- many to an electricity exhibition in Munich. Sixteen years earlier, Werner von Siemens had built the first dynamo, which marked the birth of power-current technology. But HVDCT has its price. It doesn’t just need two transformers, as alternating cur- rent does. Instead, the current has to be recti- fied at one end of the connection and con- verted back into alternating current at the other. This is performed by converter valves, which switch through segments of the same polarity in rhythm with the three-phase cur- rent, thus converting alternating current into direct current. At the other end, they “chop up” the direct current in synch with the net- work frequency. In 1933, Siemens’ dynamo plant sup- plied the first commercially usable mercury- arc rectifier. A four-megawatt test facility was subsequently opened in Berlin, and a com- mercial 60-MW link was built between Vockerode on the Elbe River and Berlin. The long stretches, the electrical oscillation phases of current and voltage begin to drift apart, which causes losses in the amount of useable electricity. Such transmission losses restrict the kinds of energy sources that can be used. In Asia, for instance, major industrial areas are situated far from hydroelectric power reser- voirs. And in Europe many people would like to use the solar radiation of the Sahara to produce electricity. But “alternating current networks that stretch over more than 1,000 kilometers are not economical,” notes Michail von Dolivo-Dobrowolsky, one of the pioneers of electrical engineering. Furthermore, this problem is even more acute for submarine cables, such as those that connect islands with the mainland. “Such cables, when oper- Earthquake-resistant thyristor valve towers used in HVDC transmission lines in China (below) and an 1882 di- rect-current transmission line (right). Once a year, Siemens honors outstanding employees for their patent registrations with the “Inventors of the Year” award. The prize win- ners (usually 12 in number) are chosen from thousands of researchers and develop- ers throughout Siemens. About 600 inventions are credited to last year’s 12 winners alone. Representa- tive of this impressive achievement are two inven- tors responsible for impor- tant advances in the fields of multimedia mobile commu- nication systems and sensor technology. Antennas that Combine Their Signals 80 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE R E S E AR C HE R S AND PAT E NT S PATENTS W ith more than 230 million cell phone customers, China is the world’s biggest mobile communications market. Considering this, Siemens has not only chosen Shanghai as its second worldwide production location for UMTS technology, it is also jointly develop- ing the TD-SCDMA 3G standard with Chinese partners. This mobile communications stan- dard makes it possible to use one common network to provide data services that are just as economical as audio and video services. TD-SCDMA increases system capacity (fewer base stations for the same number of users) and makes fewer demands on cell-phone signal A rtificial “eyes” with the capacity for de- tailed spatial vision could some day help to prevent traffic accidents or make alarm de- vices more reliable. Thanks to an innovative measurement principle developed by Dr. Pe- ter Mengel and his team in cooperation with Stefan Bahrenburg is developing the building blocks of multimedia mobile communications at Siemens in Shanghai. A sensor from Dr. Peter Mengel and his team can detect object locations with an accuracy of one centimeter. processing. Dr. Stefan Bahrenburg played a vital role in the design of this standard and is a driving force behind its continued development. One of his latest projects is the adaptation of smart antenna technology to TD- SCDMA requirements. Smart antennas consist of a number of antennas that automatically combine their signals into an optimal transmission/reception beam and are focused, so to speak, on the receiver. The advantage is a greater range for base stations and improved reception quality, even in high-speed vehicles. Laser Flash Detects Distance are currently testing possible applications for the 3D sensor. One of the first systems suit- able for large scale production could be an intelligent airbag that triggers and orients it- self according to the sitting positions of dri- ver or passenger. the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits (IMS) in Duisburg, Germany, cost-ef- fective mass production of such sensors is nearly within reach. In daylight or the dark of night, and at distances up to 30 meters, the new 3D sensor requires only a few thou- sandths of a second to accurately detect the location of objects to within one centimeter — even if they are moving rapidly. This per- formance is made possible by light-sensitive semiconductor components (CMOS image converters). The sensors have extremely short exposure times (a few millionths of a second), which are exactly synchronized with a controlled laser-flash illumination. The sen- sor simultaneously measures the laser-flash light reflected from the detected object for some 1,000 pixels. Using the times it takes the reflected light to arrive, the chip calcu- lates a spatial image. Mengel and his team T H E VA L U E OF P AT E N T S In 1995, Siemens launched a patent initiative aimed at increasing the number of inventions an- nounced by the company. By establishing the “In- ventor of the Year” award (see related stories on this page), the company succeeded in significantly improving the image of innovation within Siemens. The number of patent registrations each year has actually doubled since then. Meanwhile, the focus has shifted slightly. Today, efforts are di- rected at further improving the quality and the value of patents. One method of measuring progress here is provided by the value of license exchange contracts with other companies. License agreements prevent other companies from launching patent attacks. If this form of protection did not exist, a certain percentage of sales would have to be set aside to cover license costs. Seen in this way, Siemens’ intellectual property has pro- duced a significant yield, whose value has also nearly doubled in recent years. With over 40,000 patents worldwide, Siemens has a strong competitive posi- tion. But is the number of patents the de- cisive factor? Büttner:Such a large portfolio of patents does represent a form of protection against competitors and serves as a valuable form of currency for things like license exchange contracts, company takeovers and sell-offs. In order to raise the quality of our patents, improve their usage and optimize the regis- tration process, we have joined forces with the Siemens Groups to launch IP + projects. Given the fact that we reformulate our entire portfolio of patents roughly every five to six years, we are talking about some 7,000 in- ventions that have to be registered every year. The key patents in this process are what we call golden nuggets. What do you consider to be a key patent? Büttner: These are patents that guarantee us the long-term opportunity to apply key technologies without interference. They also prevent competitors from entering a certain business sector without paying a license fee. They are basically patents that the competi- tion can not circumvent. One special aspect of these patents is that they’ve been includ- ed in an international standard or have set a defacto standard. In the area of mobile com- munications, for instance, our “GSM/GPRS portfolio”’ has a series of such key patents. But I would say this group of patents also includes ideas that can be used far beyond Siemens’ current requirements. For example? Büttner: I’m thinking of things like long-dis- tance maintenance and remote service. These patents describe, for instance, how a software product can be updated over a long-distance line or how fault diagnosis can be conducted without sending techni- cians to the local site. Such technologies can be used for power plants, industrial facilities, hospitals and communications facilities. They combine cost savings with major benefits for the customer, creating competitive advantages as a result. Other examples are patents for control engineer- ing, network management and operator interfaces. Can you plan the development of key patents? Büttner: Yes. That is also part of our IP + ini- tiative with the Groups. During an “Inven- tion-on-Demand’’ workshop, the Power Gen- eration Group determined the areas where additional lines of defense against important competitors need to be added. This work- shop alone produced 200 invention an- nouncements. By the way, that’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds: It’s frequently a question of intelligently combining known technologies into new functions that no one has thought of before. Things like micropay- In Search of Golden Nuggets Dr. Winfried Büttner is head of Corporate Intellectual Property and Functions. P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 81 PICTURES OF THE FUTURE I NT E R V I E W ment with remote service or the utilization of certain elements from the world of speech communication in the Internet. We have a high level of innovative potential — in other words, we want to pan golden nuggets from the minds of our employees. Our job is to challenge these creative minds and point them in the right direction. What about the fact that the value of patents can change as the technological landscape evolves? Büttner: That’s why we reassess our patents once a year to determine how they measure up in comparison with the competition, in- ternational standardization processes and synergy potential. That’s in addition to evaluating them in terms of “Pictures of the Future” predictions. Here, the focus is on those technologies that will have a signifi- cant impact on our future business. And every business sector develops its own patent strategy? Büttner: That’s necessary — naturally within a corporate IP strategy that establishes basic rules. Such a strategy must also expand Siemens’ patent position — particularly with regard to trend-setting technologies and Siemens-wide cross-sectoral technologies. It’s a fact of life that the patent strategy for the automotive sector has to be different from the strategy for the medical technology sector. In the medical area, we primarily em- ploy our very strong IP position to stay ahead of the competition. In the automotive sector, on the other hand, our customers — the au- tomakers — want to buy this competitive protection with the product itself. In other words, it has to be patented. Then there are areas with major service activity where patents for the design of a process or the organization of a business model are impor- tant. Particularly in the United States, patents play a major role with regard to soft- ware, processes and, increasingly, business models. With the establishment of a task force for first registrations in these areas, we are giving new protective cover to our innov- ative ideas in the U.S. market. Interview by Ulrich Eberl IP stands for intellectual property R E C Y C L E D W O R L D Tomorrow’s key technologies are automatic information processing and knowledge gen- eration. But what can processes like data mining, search engines and smart filters really do? Will computers actually draw conclusions? What are the implications of an Internet that becomes mankind’s primary knowledge pool? How will we meet these challenges — by becoming life-long learn- ers, forming worldwide communities online and redefining the work-life balance? The world is finite — in terms of raw materi- als, usable energy and what the environ- ment can bare. The question is: can increas- ing levels of efficiency keep extending the limits of growth? What technologies will al- low us to exploit previously unreachable en- ergy resources? How can raw materials and energy sources be used in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly way? How can the emission of pollutants be reduced or even eliminated? And what innovations can open the way to reducing overall consump- tion of energy and raw materials? Around the world, people continue to pour into cities. But what will the megacities of the future have to do in order to provide their resi- dents with a high quality of life? What solu- tions to traffic problems will be available — from driverless trains to traffic management and intelligent mobility services? Can new technologies ensure the supply of raw materi- als and the environmentally friendly disposal of its wastes? In short, how will people live in the tomorrow’s cities? 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Title, First Name, Last Name Company Department Street, Number ZIP, City State / Postal Code / Country Telephone Number / Fax or e-Mail Siemens Annual Report Corporate Responsibility Report Pictures of the Future, Fall 2001 (English, German) Pictures of the Future, Spring 2002 (no longer available) Pictures of the Future, Fall 2002 (English, German) Pictures of the Future, Spring 2003 (English, German) Further information on Siemens innovations can be found on the Internet at: www.siemens.com/newsdesk (weekly media service on innovations) www.siemens.com/innovationnews (international R&D) www.siemens.com/pof (Pictures of the Future on the Internet) www.research-innovation.com (R&D articles from Siemens) www.ct.siemens.com (Corporate Technology at Siemens) We would be happy to send you further information. Please check the box alongside the publication and the language edition you would like to receive and fax it to +49 (0)9131 7 25022, or mail it to:Siemens AG, CS C INFO, Elke Engelhardt, Postfach 3240, 91050 Erlangen, Germany, or e-mail it to: elke.engelhardt @siemens.com. Please mark messages as: “Pictures of the Future, Fall, 2003.” Would you like to know more about Siemens and our latest developments? PICTURES OF THE FUTURE F E E DB AC K AND S E R V I C E Published issues of Pictures of the Future: P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 8382 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2003 Publisher: Siemens AG Corporate Communications (CC) and Corporate Technology (CT) Wittelsbacherplatz 2, 80333 Munich For the publisher: Dr. Ulrich Eberl (CC), Dr. Dietmar Theis (CT) firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Editorial Office: Arthur F. Pease (afp) Editor-in-Chief Dr. Ulrich Eberl (ue) Editor-in-Chief German Edition Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner (na) Ulrike Zechbauer (uz) Additional Authors in this issue: Victor Chase, Anette Freise, Bernhard Gerl, Andreas Kleinschmidt, Dr. Michael Lang, Sebastian Moser, Bernd Müller, Dr. Birgitt Salamon, Peggy Salz, Bernd Schöne, Tim Schröder, Rolf Sterbak, Dr. Sylvia Trage, Dr. Evdoxia Tsakiridou, Guido Weber Picture Editing: Judith Egelhof, Julia Berg Photography:Kurt Bauer, Bernd Müller, Volker Steger Layout / Lithography: Rigobert Ratschke, Büro Seufferle, Stuttgart Illustrations:Natascha Römer, Stuttgart Graphics:Jochen Haller, Büro Seufferle Translations: TransForm GmbH, Cologne Printing: BechtleDruckZentrum, Esslingen Printed in Germany. Reproduction of articles in whole or in part requires the permission of the editorial office. This also applies to storage in electronic databases, on the Internet and reproduction on CD-ROM. For further information: www.siemens.com/pof Picture Credits: Frans Lanting / mindenpictures (8, 9 l.), Bernd Müller / Ver- lagsgruppe Weltbild (9), BMW press picture (11), Garry Weber press picture / Siemens AG (16), SSi Schäfer Noell (22-23), Airport Munich GmbH / Werner Hennies (24), Yanghai Tsin / Carnegie Mellon University (30-31), Park Hotel Weggis (38), Bartenbach Lichtlabor / Peter Bartenbach (44, 49, 50), Knut Lang- hans / felix3d (52), EnOcean GmbH (54), designafairs (68 b., 69), Reflections interactive (76 b.), private (26, 43, 76), The German Museum, Munich (79). Copyright of all other images is held by Siemens AG. © 2003 by Siemens AG. All rights reserved. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Order number:A19100-F-P94-X-7600 ISSN 1618-5498 The content of the reports in this publication does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. This magazine contains forward-looking state- ments, the accuracy of which Siemens is not able to guarantee in any way.