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Spring 2004
Intelligent Infrastructures
Energy Futures
Treasures in Mind
Pictures of the Future
Scenario 2025: Welcome to MetroCon 8
Shanghai: City of Superlatives 11
New York: 24/7 City 16
Athens: Jump-Starting an Ancient Metropolis 19
Facts and Forecasts: The Value of E-Government 22
Creating a New City District 23
Traffic and Transport Solutions: Getting Out of a Jam 24
Digital Cities: Pilot in Your Pocket 28
Intelligent Buildings: Phones that Open Doors 31
Interview with Prof. William J. Mitchell: Why Buck Rogers Will Be Invisible 34
Full-Body Scanning: Medical Milestone 4
Research Partnerships: Switching in a Flash 6
Particle Therapy: Tumors under Fire 36
Start-ups: Searching the Cell Phone Web 60
History: 125 Years of Electric Trains 86
Patents and Innovations 88
A Book Discussion:Management in 20XX 89
Feedback / Preview 90
pring 2004.A new innovation offensive is in full swing in Germany. It
can be attributed to the rediscovery of a connection that holds true all
over the world — that a prosperous future is possible only on the basis of
economic growth, and that innovations are vital to growth. But how can we
generate more innovations? Most of those involved in this process empha-
size the significance of the political, legal and financial context of innovation,
the necessity of a climate that promotes and rewards innovation, and the
need to develop a culture of innovation throughout society as a whole.
hat contribution can science make to the process? An evaluation of
the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers by some 250
leading international experts has revealed that a large number of its working
groups are among the absolute international elite when it comes to scientific
quality and originality. There is no doubt that working groups of this caliber
also exist in universities and other research institutions. The challenge now is
to incorporate them more effectively into the complex process of innovation.
In my opinion, two points must be kept in mind here.
oint 1:All research activities should be more strongly oriented toward
innovation, in line with a statement by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who
said, “As soon as I learn something new, I immediately consider whether
something can be mined from it that would benefit our lives.” In the realm of
science, innovation must not be regarded as a mere byproduct or spin-off of
scientific knowledge. The preliminary results of basic and long-term research
must be systematically examined for their innovation potential and exploited
for innovative applications. In this issue of Pictures of the Future, we present
a cooperative project involving a Helmholtz Center, the Society for Heavy Ion
Research in Darmstadt, and Siemens Medical Solutions (see article, page 36)
aimed at introducing an innovative radiation treatment for cancer patients
into hospital practice. That’s an exemplary use of knowledge gained from
basic research to produce a marketable innovation.
oint 2:The interface between science and business must be optimized.
On the basis of future scenarios, such as those presented by Siemens in
Pictures of the Future, both sides should engage in strategic dialogue to
develop guiding concepts and pursue them in their respective areas of
responsibility. To this end, we need new innovation partnerships between
scientific institutes and commercial enterprises — partnerships that go be-
yond the traditional forms of licence agreements, commissioned research
and cooperative projects. These partnerships will be joint ventures for inno-
vation, in which the partners invest without giving up their own identity,
share the risks, and partake of the profits. There’s no lack of starting points.
You’ll find many of them just by browsing through the pages of this maga-
zine. Solutions for people living in megacities, the sustainable use of raw
materials and energy sources, and the trend toward the knowledge society
— these are also some of the themes being addressed by the Helmholtz
Association in its role as a key innovation partner for the business sector.
Optimizing the
Interface between Science
and Business Prof. Dr. Walter Kröll is the
President of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers and a member of the Supervisory
Board of Siemens AG P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Cover, top right:A 600 square meter model
of Shanghai — quintessential megacity of
the 21st century. Bottom left: The promise of clean coal.
New power plant concepts could eliminate
Scenario 2010: Unlimited Power 38
Trends: Energy for Tomorrow’s World 41
Coal: Clean Future 44
Emission Certificates: Trading with Greenhouse Gases 47
Sequestration: Deep-Sixing Carbon Dioxide 49
Reserves: Going for the Gas 51
Interview with Willy Gehrer: Energy from the Earth 53
Network Stability: Preventing Blackouts 54
Saving Energy: Hidden Treasures 57
Scenario 2015: Desktop Detective 62
Trends: Putting the Bits Together 65
KM: Knowledge-Guided Networks 68
Data Mining: Electronic Treasure Hunting 71
Communities: Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts 75
Interview with Craig Silverstein, CTO Google: Searching for Perfection 78
Facts and Forecasts: Knowledge Management in Flux 80
Interview with Prof. Thomas Christaller: Machines with Human Intelligence? 81
E-Learning: The Classroom Comes Homes 82
Interview with Prof. Eckhard Freise: Knowledge and Uncertainty 84
High-tech imaging methods such as magnetic
resonance tomography can now deliver razor-sharp images of the whole body in one go.
. 4
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Medical Milestone
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Basketball player Narcisse Ewodo (left and center) was also curious to see what “Tim” would reveal about his body. In the scanning
processes, 76 individual coil elements
can be freely combined with 32 receiving channels. The resulting resolution is four times higher than
with previous systems.
“It was really relaxing,”
says Hannah Stock-
bauer after coming out
of an MR tomograph.
Her body was scanned
as though it were made
of glass (right). The
computer colored her
heart and arteries red,
and her kidneys a yel-
low-green. Her liver and
spleen are shown in
dark green.
wimming champion Hannah Stock-
bauer is used to coming in first. She
was therefore the ideal person to try out
Siemens’ Avanto magnetic resonance
(MR) tomograph. The device, which re-
cently celebrated its market launch, uses
revolutionary Total Imaging Matrix tech-
nology, or Tim for short. Tim delivers im-
ages with a resolution that’s four times
higher than conventional systems. What’s
more, its scanning area is 205 centime-
ters long — a new milestone in medical
technology. As a result, the entire body
can now be scanned at one time, without
It takes just 12 minutesto perform a full-body scan—only half the time
needed by previously used machines.
having to move the patient or change the
coils. It takes just 12 minutes for the
Avanto tomograph to take a full-body
scan — half as long as the fastest ma-
chines available previously. Stockbauer, who studies Geography
in Erlangen, Germany and is currently on
placement at Siemens Real Estate, is im-
pressed with the result of her scan. And
lying inside the tomograph was much
more pleasant than she expected. “It was
my first ever scan, so I had an oppressive
feeling at the start,” she says. “But I got
used to it quickly. In fact, I was even able
to relax after a while,” she said. Following
her triumph at the 2003 World Champi-
onships in Barcelona, Spain, Stockbauer,
who became the Sportswoman of the
Year, is now aiming for gold at the 2004
Olympic Games in Athens. With the Avanto tomograph, full-body
scans could soon become routine as a
means of detecting diseases such as can-
cer and arterial sclerosis early on. Patients
and doctors will also benefit from the
new scanner’s razor-sharp images of or-
gans and blood vessels. Ulrike Zechbauer
Transmission via fiber optics is the only way to handle the rapidly growing
amount of data traffic. Researchers from Siemens and the Technical Univer-
sity of Eindhoven have developed a process that dramatically increases the
capacity of fiber optics — thanks to an extremely fast light-controlled switch.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Switching in a Flash
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
de Waardt who was involved in the project
from the start. “So although the basic physics
behind the development of the switch was
developed at MIT in Boston and at the Hein-
rich Hertz Institute in Berlin, we were the
ones who came up with the idea of using it
as an add/drop multiplexer.”
The FASHION project got under way in
2001. In the laboratory, the technology soon
worked flawlessly. “But real life is a different
matter,” Lehmann says. “For instance, fiber
lines expand when the outside temperature
rises, which results in slower rates of data
transmission.” To study the technology under
field conditions, British Telecom made avail-
able a 70-kilometer, eight-strand fiber link
between Newmarket and Ipswich, England in
the fall of 2003. FASHION engineers sent
signals back and forth on four connected
fibers. “The add/drop multiplexer worked flaw-
lessly over 280 kilometers. But over longer
stretches, the intensity became too weak for
this component. Nevertheless, we could still
receive the signal up to 550 kilometers
away,” Lehmann says. For Edmund Sikora of
British Telecom, the results were also posi-
tive.“Although we had to make manual adjust-
ments in order to react to changes in the
fibers, the bottom line is that the technology
The nodes, those points where data
come together and are separated, are partic-
ularly critical . They must be designed to han-
dle the maximum transmission rate. Other-
wise, data traffic breaks down. If
video-on-demand — the downloading of
entire movies — catches on, the amount of
transmitted data will climb even faster. Meet-
ing this increase can be accomplished only
with faster connections to the end user. “In
the U.K., fiber to the home will happen in the
next five to ten years,” Sikora says. “Until
then, we need a cost-effective technology for
the current fiber network. The FASHION pro-
ject indicates that we’re getting there.”
But that goal has not yet been reached.
“We still have to learn how to stabilize signals
before they reach the add/drop multiplexer,
and automatically adjust the channels,” says
Lehmann. Bernhard Gerl
he amount of data speeding through our
communication networks doubles every
six to 12 months. Today, about two gigabits
per second (Gbit/s) are transmitted between
any two typical large cities. But in five or six
years, it could be more than 1,000 Gbit/s —
far too much for conventional copper-wiring
technology. But even if fiber optics were
used, it would still be necessary to transmit
100 different light wavelengths — at least
given today’s rate of 10 Gbit/s per wave-
length — an expensive proposition by any
stretch of the imagination.
In other words, it’s high time to develop a
different, less costly technology. Researchers
working in a EU-sponsored partnership be-
tween Siemens, the COBRA Institute of the
Technical University of Eindhoven (the
Netherlands), and BTexact Technologies —
the research branch of British Telecom
(United Kingdom) — have developed a fiber-
optic system that can transmit 160 Gbit/s per
light wavelength.The scientists working on
the project have christened it FASHION
(UltraFast Switching in High-Speed OTDM
Networks). As a result of their efforts, only
seven wavelengths instead of 100 would be
needed to transmit the 1,000 Gbit/s men-
tioned above. Such a development would re-
duce costs because fewer components
would be needed.
In a process called Optical Time Division
Multiplexing (OTDM), one laser sends several
data streams via 16 different channels at
staggered intervals, reaching a total of 160
Gbit/s. The key to achieving this is turbo-
charged switching technology. “When a dif-
ferent channel comes through the distribu-
one that could filter out a data set and re-
place it with another set (add/drop multi-
plexer). In both components, a precisely
timed laser pulse changes the light signals in
such a way that they can be separated and
read by electronic components (see box). “Four years ago, a colleague from
Siemens Netherlands realized that we were
working on something at the COBRA Institute
in Eindhoven that could be used as an
add/drop multiplexer,” recalls Professor Huug
tion node every 6.25 picoseconds, you have
to switch very fast in order to read a certain
data set and replace it with a new one,” says
project leader Dr. Gottfried Lehmann of
Siemens Corporate Technology, who coordi-
nates the FASHION project. “But electronic
components simply aren’t fast enough to
accomplish that,” says Lehmann. “So we
switched to light.” The researchers needed two compo-
nents: one that could read data and another
In Optical Time Division Multiplexing (OTDM),several data channels are transmitted
on the same wavelength using only one laser. This works because the light pulses that
carry the data bits are extremely short (2 ps = 2 trillionths of a second) in comparison
with the 100 picoseconds separating two successive pulses in a signal transmitted at
the conventional rate of 10 gigabits per second (Gbit/s). As a result, it is possible to in-
sert pulses from other channels into the gaps between the signals. Using this method
in the context of the FASHION project (see main article), scientists transmitted 16
channels in pulses staggered at intervals over a fiber optic line, resulting in a total data
rate of 16 x 10 Gbit/s = 160 Gbit/s per light wavelength. In order to feed the data, the 2-ps laser pulses are distributed over 16 fiber of different
lengths. On each path, electro-optical modulators add binary information by either let-
ting the light pulse through (“1”) or not (“0”). The pulses belonging to the 16 channels
are staggered due to the varying path lengths and are ultimately reunited on a single
fiber and sent to the recipient. In the FASHION project, the delay of the individual
pulses amounts to 6.25 ps. Data bits belonging to one channel continue to be trans-
mitted at intervals of 100 ps (6.25 ps x 16 channels). In order to read them, individual
pluses have to be detected every 100 picoseconds. The recipient can read the data set intended for him by using the so-called non-linear
four-wave mix process. In this process, a control laser sends a short pulse at a slightly
lower light wavelength to the receiver component in synch with the desired data sig-
nal. The superimposition of the two pulses creates a further signal whose wavelength
is just under that of the control laser. This new light wavelength is isolated by an optical filter that allows only its wavelength
to pass. In this technology, only the light pulses that belong to the desired channel
land on a photodiode behind the filter. The photodiode converts the light signals into
electrical ones, enabling them to be processed by conventional electronic components.
The information contained in the other channels is lost in the process.
This cannot be allowed to happen when an individual signal channel is not entirely
read on the network nodes and is instead directed to a branch line. Add/drop multiplex-
ers are used to perform this job (the graphic shows four channels). They leave the
other channels unchanged and feed in another channel on the site of the decoupled
channel when necessary. This ensures that the fiber’s data-transmission capacity is al-
ways optimally used. This is accomplished by a component in which bi-refringent fiber,
control lasers and optical amplifiers work together to polarize the pulses that are to be
decoupled with respect to each other. Using polarization filters, the channels can then
be easily separated from one another.
Siemens researcher
Gottfried Lehmann
tests a new data-
transfer process that
uses fiber optics.
2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3
Basic concept of an add/drop multiplexer
Phones that Open Doors
Tomorrow’s networked home
will talk to you whether you’re
there or on the road. All you’ll
need is a cell phone or a Web
Pilot in Your Pocket
ocket information systems will
make cities more transparent.
They will guide us to restau-
rants, help rescue teams coordi-
nate operations, and put e-gov-
ernment services at everyone’s
fingertips. Back to the Future
William J. Mitchell, head of
Media Arts and Sciences at
MIT, presents a paradoxical
view of the future.
Tomorrow’s Traffic Management Sensors
will improve traffic
flows, subways will be spaced
at 90 second intervals, and elec-
tronic tickets will simplify access
to buses and trains.
A Tale of Three Cities
Siemens is modernizing urban
infrastructures worldwide. Pictures of the Futuretakes an
indepth look at what the com-
pany is doing in Shanghai,
New York and Athens.
Page 31
Page 34
Page 11
Page 24
Page 28
One of the world’s biggest cities is
about to be automated. MetroCon, the
citiy’s new control center, will inter-
connect major automated services,
such as public transit and traffic lights,
and coordinate them with data from
millions of micro sensors to optimize
processes and produce coordinated
responses to unforeseen events. A
press conference to introduce the cen-
ter -— complete with downloadable
disaster simultations -— is under way...
Welcome to MetroCon
Driverless trains and automated transportation
networks are already popping up in some cities. At current rates of development, twenty years from
now, entire metro areas may be running on auto-
matic. Here’s what one reporter might describe.
une 5, 2025: Urban history was written
today with the official opening of the
Metro Area Consolidated Control Center
(MetroCon). The new facility, which was
introduced to a small group of reporters who
had received special security clearances, is
the first anywhere to link a city’s previously
automated services and networked sensor
systems, thereby setting the stage, officials
said, for significant savings and major
improvements in operational efficiency,
safety and security. On hand for the dedication of the Center
were Mayor Tanya Trin and MetroCon Gene-
ral Manager Dr. Park Ho. “We are entering a
new era of flexibility in which city services
Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
“The most exciting city on the planet” and “The world’s most promising place for companies.” That’s how head-
lines in The Washington Post and Forbes have described Shanghai. Indeed, no other place on earth is pushing forward as quickly and forcefully. And in the midst of it all, Siemens is providing solutions for everything from
transportation system and power plants to hospitals and waste-water treatment facilities.
City of Superlatives
he model is one of the world’s biggest,
like so much in this city of superlatives.
Thousands of high-rise buildings built to a
scale of 1:500 spread over more than 600
square meters in Shanghai’s exhibition and
planning center. The buildings that have al-
ready been built are rendered in detail, while
those still being planned are only plain white
blocks. Strings of lights representing streets
snake through a forest of towers on the
drawing board. There is activity almost every-
where. Dilapidated buildings are making way
for spacious parks, while entire city districts
are beginning to take shape. Qiu Xing Ao,
director of the exhibition center, says officials
recently added an area on the banks of the
Huangpu River to the model. The site will ac-
commodate Expo 2010, which Shanghai’s
city leaders expect to attract 70 million visi-
tors. And Qiu’s staff will soon have to make
further alterations, because the National Peo-
ple’s Congress discussed city development
plans in January.
By 2020, Shanghai plans to have about
16 subway lines that will include 540 kilo-
meters of tracks. They will help to handle the
city’s rapidly growing transportation needs.
Today, by contrast, Shanghai has only one
light rail and two subway lines — hardly suf-
ficient for a city with a population that’s ex-
pected to reach 20 million by the end of the
next decade. That’s about five to six million
more than today. The numbers create a predicament for
officials. Although the city wants to attract
talented young people and foreign compa-
nies, there are concerns about a potential
collapse caused by excessive immigration. By
2020, traffic planners expect the number of
vehicles in Shanghai to at least double to
about 2.5 million. In the face of such growth,
the city’s planned rail transit network will be
expected to handle nearly one-fourth of pub-
lic transportation. The alternative would be
virtually endless traffic jams. Even today, the
average speed of vehicles is only 12 kilome-
ters per hour — in spite of multilevel free-
ways and a 40 percent expansion of the
street network since the 1990s.
World’s Tallest Hotel. “Anybody who saw
Shanghai 20 years ago wouldn’t recognize it
today,” says Qiu Xing Ao. Back then, hardly
any of the city’s buildings were taller than 18
stories. Today there are 5,000 such buildings.
Many are located in the section of the city
called Pudong, a site that was covered by
swampy fields and farmhouses before being
declared an economic-development area in
1990. Today, the area’s skyline is dominated
by sites such as the Jin Mao Building, which
has the world’s tallest hotel — the Grand
Hyatt, with its front desk on the 54th floor
and a bar on the 87th. Right next door, work
is nearing completion on the 500-meter-high
Mori Tower, the World Financial Center.
Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
respond to changing demands on a nearly
instantaneous level,” said Trin. She pointed
out that the city’s automated subway system
– a model for MetroCon – achieved high
levels of flexibility years ago by variably
spacing trains according to the numbers of
passengers counted on platforms by smart
cams and the numbers of riders counted on
trains by radio interrogation of electronic
tickets. “We have now taken that flexibility a
giant step further,” explained Ho. "For instan-
ce,” he said, as a simulated event appeared
on reporter’s PDAs, “if a fire or major accident
were to occur near a subway stop, local
microcams with embedded intelligence
would access weather data from the
navigation systems of nearby vehicles, then
notify the Transit Authority and, depending
on flame analysis, imaging information,
temperature, and flame spread speed,Transit
System computers and MetroCon personnel
would reroute trains accordingly and seal
subway accesss points that could be at risk.”
Statistics based on MetroCon simulations
indicate that a significant number of injuries
could be avoided by implementing the
system’s instantaneous response scenarios
during emergencies. “And that’s just the beginning,” said Ho.
“Depending on the significance of the event,
a range of additional automated responses
might be initiated.” He explained that Metro-
Con’s new Automatic Traffic Priority
Messaging (ATPM) software will broadcast
messages to vehicle navigation systems
whenever significant security-related events
occur. Using embedded intelligence, vehicles
potentially affected by the information will
plot a slightly different course, thus ensuring
that they avoid areas in which emergency
vehicles are in operation.
“Our simulations have shown that this
combination of priority broadcast and
vehicle-based response can clear an
emergency site and its access routes of traffic
within minutes without tying up police
resources, and without causing major
delays,” said Ho, who pointed out that re-
routing would be facilitated by automatically
altering traffic light timing to create unob-
structed paths for vehicles traveling around
an event’s perimeter. “All in all, these steps
will allow emergency personnel to reach the
scene of an accident or crime as quickly as
possible, and will have the added benefit of
sealing off escape routes in case criminal
activity is involved,” Ho said. Ho also said that wireless local stereo
microcams — now numbering in the tens of
millions in the Metro area — would auto-
matically form a network around any signifi-
cant event, directing street lighting to be
adaptively and locally activated to ensure
ideal visibility for themselves and emergency
personnel. Furthermore, 3D microcam ima-
ges will also be accessible on the wrist-
mounted, biometrically activated PDAs used
by officers at an emergency scene — as well
as at MetroCon itself.
Mayor Trin said that area hospitals, with
their disease identification EarlyAlert Net-
work, as well as power plants, police, fire,
communications, water, sewage, gas, electric
and sanitation services, will also be part of
the big picture at MetroCon. “We will know
and see — in real time — the location and
speed of every police vehicle, every ambu-
lance, and every automated garbage reco-
very and recycling unit,” she said. “The sys-
tem will even seal the windows, lock the
doors and switch off the ignitions of vehicles
under certain circumstances.”
Dr. Ho added that he expects “significant
savings” once MetroCon computers begin
monitoring the status of vehicles and net-
works. “Our systems will automatically ge-
nerate and archive logs as to where, when,
and under what circumstance vehicles, sys-
tems and personnel are deployed. They will
monitor on-time availability, generate repair
histories, and order spares and repairs auto-
matically. They will support the city’s logistics
— as well as the logistics of private busi-
nesses — by allowing these to be coordina-
ted on an optimized basis with traffic and
transit system schedules in real time on
Yornet. And further down the line,” he said,
“MetroCon will identify trends, learn from
events, and accelerate decision-making pro-
cesses for the government and private sector
throughout the city.” Arthur F. Pease
Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
A model of a megacity that’s
changing so rapidly that urban
planners can scarcely keep up
with the pace. Since 1990, thou-
sands of high-rise buildings have
been built in Shanghai — many of them on sites that were only recently swampy fields.
What’s your vision of Shanghai in the year
2020? Where do you see the city’s biggest
developmental challenges?
Zhang Ao:Our biggest challenge is definite-
ly a growth rate that won’t let you catch your
breath. But the goals set by the city Govern-
ment are clear. We want to use advanced
technologies to achieve harmonious and
sustainable development. We want to create
a city where people like to live and work. It’s
just as our slogan for Expo 2010 says: "Better
city, better life.’”
How do you put together your studies of
the future?
Zhang Ao:The process is much like the one
used at Siemens for Pictures of the Future,
which we got to know during a visit to Munich. Many specialists from government
agencies, universities, research institutes
and industrial companies are working on our
Picture of the Future for Shanghai. We have
formed several working groups that focus on
such areas as information and communica-
tions, new materials, medical technology
and health care, and smart transportation
systems. We also have a team that is com-
paring technological developments with social needs.
Which questions interest you the most in
this work?
Zhang Ao:One of the key questions is: How
can technical advances improve the quality
of life in Shanghai? In the area of energy, we
want to determine how we can supply
Shanghai with power in a way that is reliable
and will conserve resources 20 years from
now. In the area of environmental protec-
tion, the focus is on the city’s green areas,
waste-water treatment and waste process-
ing. In the area of transportation, we are trying to maintain mobility even as the num-
bers of people and vehicles rise. Overall, we
want to create a comprehensive form of city
management by employing the concept of
the digital city.
What, in your opinion, does ”digital city”
Zhang Ao:It involves information and com-
munications technologies that will make liv-
ing and working in the city as pleasant as
possible — from e-government to smart
transportation systems and medical care at
home. The last point is particularly impor-
tant because the number of people older
than 60 is rising rapidly in Shanghai. Today,
they already account for ten percent of the
population, and this number is set to double
in about fifteen years. Considering this, a
particularly important question is how to use
new technologies to improve care for the el-
derly. This includes medical treatment as
well as things like automated household ap-
pliances that are easy to operate for seniors.
We are also thinking about young people.
We want to ensure that they not only get a
good education and pass their tests, but also
tap their innovative potential in a better way,
develop new ideas and further their practical
How can companies like Siemens help
Shanghai in all of these areas?
Zhang Ao:We are particularly interested in
learning from Siemens’ broad and global experience. That includes discussions with
experts and a possible partnership on the
creation of a Picture of the Future for Shanghai. With just a few special exceptions,
Siemens offers such a variety of services that we can cover all of the important areas
for Shanghai in a collaborative arrangement. I’m convinced that both Siemens and Shanghai will profit tremendously from a
long-term and fruitful partnership.
Interview conducted by Ulrich Eberl
Developing Shanghai’s Picture of the Future
Prof. Zhang Ao, 60, is Vice Chairman of Shanghai’s Science & Technol-
ogy Commission and is responsible for drawing up extensive studies of
the city’s future development
. the future, makes them the most efficient
plants of their kind,” he says. Given the enor-
mous demand for electricity in Shanghai, a
new plant was desperately needed — during
the hot summer months, companies have
faced electricity rationing. After much discus-
sion, Shanghai decided to build a plant that
uses Chinese coal. At the same time, it made a
commitment to technology that would limit
emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur diox-
ide. ”You won’t see any particulate clouds bil-
lowing from our smoke-stacks,” Feng says.
Right next to the power plant, one of
China’s biggest waste-water treatment facili-
ties is being built with control technology
from Siemens. ”It will be able to treat 1.7 mil-
lion tons of waste water daily,” says Dr. Zhi-
gang Jin, head of the operating company.
Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
But there is something that is even more
impressive than the construction sites that
dot the city’s model. On the outskirts, but still
within the city’s 6,340-square-kilometer
metropolitan area, officials are planning to
build not only the world’s biggest deep-sea
container harbor and a 31-kilometer bridge
that will connect it to the mainland, but also
a series of 11 satellite cities. The most architecturally interesting one,
Luchao Harbor City, was designed by von
Gerkan, Marg & Partners of Hamburg. It is lo-
cated in the Nanhui District across from the
deep-sea harbor. The flowery Chinese de-
scription says it is designed ”like a drop that
falls into the water and spreads out in con-
centric circles.” An artificial round lake with a
The largest satellite cities, the biggest container harbor, the largest airporthub,
the biggest coal-fired power plant...
diameter of 2.5 kilometers has already been
built in the middle of what will be Luchao
Harbor city. The lake will serve as the focal
point for an assortment of residential and busi-
ness areas for about 500,000 people as well as
leisure-time centers, museums and parks.
On the other side of Shanghai, a similar-
sized urban center that will be known as the
”Automobile City” is being built around VW’s
Anting plant. The city was planned by Albert
Speer & Partners, an architectural firm based
other. At Pudong Airport, for example, with
building-automation and alarm equipment,
information systems, control systems for
baggage transfer and energy-supply facilities.
In skyscrapers like the Jin Mao Building,
where Siemens installed state-of-the-art se-
curity systems. And in medical facilities like
Huadong Hospital, one of the leading clinics
in Shanghai with 800 beds and many VIP pa-
tients. Its director, Prof. Wang Chuan-Fu, says
the hospital has had excellent relations with
An innovative Harbor City (left and center) will be home to several hundred thousand inhabitants. Nearby, the world’s
largest deep-sea container harbor (right) will be connected to the mainland by a 31-kilometer bridge.
in Frankfurt. In a record time of only 18
months a number of facilities were built, in-
cluding a Formula 1 race track where Michael
Schumacher and others will compete for
world championship points in September
2004. Given the qualities of such satellite
communities, Shanghai’s city planners bring
up other superlatives almost in passing. The
Pudong Airport, for instance, is to become
the biggest hub for passengers and freight in
China by 2010. Officials are also planning a
huge ”Medical Zone,” where the best hospi-
tals, as well as research and production facili-
ties, will be located.
Siemens Inside.Siemens is involved in
nearly all of these projects in one way or an-
Siemens since 1972. ”Nearly all of the high-
tech equipment, including the computer and
magnetic-resonance tomographs and the ac-
celerators for nuclear medicine, came from
Siemens,” he said.
Similar praise is expressed by Feng
Weizhong, the head of technology at the
new coal-fired power plant in Waigaoqiao.
”We were looking for the world’s best tur-
bines and generators, and selected Siemens,”
he explained. Two 900-megawatt units will
go online this year at the plant, which is lo-
cated on the Yangtse River. An additional
900-megawatt unit will follow in three to
four years. ”These will be China’s biggest
coal-fired plants, and their efficiency level of
42 percent, and perhaps even 45 percent in
The new facility will be about 40 times more
effective than any of the 30 waste-water
treatment facilities currently scattered
around the city. ”Shanghai produces 5.8 mil-
lion tons of waste water every day,” says Jin.
”That’s more than the current plants can han-
dle.” But that isn’t even the main problem.
”Many of our pipes are old and leak, which
meant until quite recently that huge
amounts of untreated waste flowed into the
city’s canals.” But now, thanks to the con-
struction of several sewage treatment plants
on the Yangtse, Suzhou Creek, one of the
most famous Huangpu branches, no longer
sends foul-smelling sewage rushing into the
Huangpu. ”Our biggest challenge at the mo-
ment is to direct as much of the city’s waste
water as possible to the new treatment
plants,” says Jin. The government expects
that by 2005, about 90 percent of sewage
will be treated.
High-Speed Shanghai. Siemens is also play-
ing an important role in Shanghai’s trans-
portation picture. The company is supplying
28 subway trains for the newest metro line
and is a consortium partner for the Trans-
rapid, the magnetic levitation train that can
travel up to 430 kilometers per hour and
cover the 33-kilometer stretch from Pudong
Airport to Longyang Station in less than eight
minutes (see Pictures of the Future, Spring
2003, p. 56). Although full commercial oper-
ations are only just about to begin, almost
four-hundred thousand passengers have al-
ready enjoyed the sensation of ”flying at zero
altitude” on the train. ”I’m certain that in the
course of the next few months a decision will
be made to extend Transrapid service to the
Expo site and possibly to other large neigh-
boring cities like Hangzhou,” says Gerhard
Wahl, who oversees all Transrapid projects as
the representative of Group Executive Man-
agement at Siemens Transportation Systems.
“These long stretches would bring out the
Transrapid’s real usefulness — and show how
competitive its costs can be.”
Besides the Transrapid, Siemens is also at
the forefront of many other projects, includ-
ing the TD-SCDMA cell-phone standard. This
standard, worked out in cooperation with the
China Academy of Telecommunications Tech-
nology, enables the frequency spectrum to
be used in a particularly efficient way. One of
China’s cell-phone operators will most likely
use the standard in future multimedia cell
phones as well as the W-CDMA standard (or
UMTS), for which Siemens is conducting test
operations in Shanghai at the moment. Pioneering work in this city is nothing
new for Siemens. Back in 1879, the company
provided the Shanghai harbor with its first
electric lighting, which, in fact, involved the
installation of the first electrical generator in
the country. In 1904, Siemens opened its
first office in Shanghai. Today, the company
has 12,000 employees in the ”city above the
sea” — the literal translation of “Shanghai.”
”These are 100 years that prove both our
commitment to this fascinating city and our
readiness for a long, productive partnership,”
says Peter Borger, head of Siemens in Shang-
hai, looking back over Siemens’ relationship
with China.Ulrich Eberl
State of the art in Shanghai. Cell-phone production at SSMC (left)
and the Waigaoqiao
coal-fired power plant (right) — China’s most efficient, thanks to Siemens
plants. Our president and CEO, Dr. v. Pierer,
is a member of the advisory council for the
mayor of Shanghai. In short, Shanghai is — besides Beijing — one of the centers of our activities in China.
Siemens is taking similar approaches in
China and the U.S., where “One Siemens”
packages the Groups’ offerings into com-
prehensive solutions. Which areas do you
see as markets?
Borger:We’ve identified six clusters: harbors,
airports, medical centers, high-rise buildings,
petrochemical and automobile industry infra-
structure. You can find just about all of them
in Shanghai, where we’ve demonstrated in
pilot projects just how well Siemens can per-
form. For example, 22 new hospitals will be
built in China this year, four of them in Shang-
hai. Siemens offers strategic partnerships in
every one of these areas.
How does a customer benefit when the
buyer-supplier relationship is transformed
into a strategic partnership?
Borger:We understand customers’ business
processes — like how a hospital or airport is
operated — so we can offer comprehensive
solutions. Normal suppliers can offer only
products that are already available. But if
Siemens is your partner, you can take advan-
tage of technologies that are being tried out
in pilot projects. So something that has to
run for 20 or 30 years is not out of date from
the start, but outfitted with the very latest
technologies.Of course, this requires mutual
trust. Thanks to our years of commitment to Shanghai, we’ve won this trust. That’s a
major competitive advantage for us. Interview conducted by Ulrich Eberl
Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Will the 21st century become the oft-predicted ”Chinese century”?
Borger:It already is, at least in terms of
growth. During my career, I have worked in
11 countries on four continents, and I’m
convinced that China’s development will
leave its mark on this century. The megacity
of the 21st century will be Shanghai, just as
New York was the city of the 20th century.
I’m saying that not just because I’ve lived and
worked here for the past six years. I see it
happening every day. China has mobilized
all of its resources in its drive forward, and
Shanghai is China’s most ambitious city.
How does this make itself felt?
Borger:What other place is creating several
satellite cities within a metropolitan area out
of thin air — with hundreds of thousands of
residents? Or has planted 20 million trees
within three years and built thousands of
high-rises in only a few years? Even if this
drive to be the tallest, biggest and best may
not always make sense, the progress made is
breathtaking. Decision-making processes are
short, and the salaries are the highest in
China, which attracts lots of young talent.
Which is surely one reason for Shanghai’s
excitement about the future?
Borger:Exactly. Here’s just one example.
The average age of the 3,000 employees at
SSMC is 28, and 70 percent of them have
Building a 21st Century City
Peter Borger
, 62, is Executive Vice President of Siemens Ltd. China, and is responsible for eastern China and the establishment of the “One Siemens” program throughout the country. In addition to having
worked on the installation of communication networks in a number of
countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Greece, Nigeria and Indonesia, he has also held executive positions at Siemens companies in the Philip-
pines and India. From 1998 to 2003, he headed Siemens Shanghai Mobile Communications Ltd. (SSMC). In recognition of his contributions
to Shanghai’s economic development, Borger has received the city’s prestigious Magnolia Prize and was named an Honorable Citizen in 2002 — one of the highest honors the city bestows.
been to universities. Their commitment to
learning and improving themselves is un-
believable: Almost everybody is trying to
earn an MBA as a second degree in weekend
and evening courses. For the first time, the
Chinese have the opportunity to become en-
trepreneurs in their own country. And a lot
of them want to use this opportunity. Earn-
ing and spending money has become a very
high priority. And because life has gotten no-
ticeably better for most people, they want to
remain on this path — particularly because
children who grow up to be well-paid adults
are the best social support for their parents.
Does anything stand in the way of attaining these goals?
Borger:In Shanghai, the biggest problem is
public transportation, which hasn’t kept up
with the city’s growth. At least 150,000 new
vehicles are added to the city’s streets each
year. Two metro lines are not enough to pro-
vide relief. And buses and taxis jam up the
streets even more. To help ease the situation,
11 new metro lines with 430 kilometers of
track will be built over the next five years.
Another key goal is to relieve the pressure
downtown. The satellite cities where people
can both work and live are the right approach.
Shanghai is also doing a lot to help the envi-
ronment and provide a reliable power supply.
And the telecommunications infrastructure
is one of the most modern in the world. Ten
million people in Shanghai already have cell
Could the Shanghai hype burst the way
that the Internet bubble did?
Borger:The city’s planning is well-conceived,
and city officials generally implement the
things they plan. One threat to China as a
whole is the problematic state of the finan-
cial sector. It’s burdened by bad loans — to
state-owned enterprises, for instance.But of-
ficials are well aware of these problems.They
are frequently discussed, and solutions are
worked out — like safety-net organizations
and the sale of shares to private investors. China
is still attracting 70 to 80 percent of all foreign
investment in Asia. Last year, this amounted
to more than $53 billion. So I’m very optimistic
about the future. Incidentally, we also offer
financing packages through Siemens Finan-
cial Services for our projects.
How important is Shanghai for Siemens?
Borger:Our market share is higher here
than in any other city in China. We have 16
joint ventures in and around Shanghai, and
a total of 12,000 employees — more than
half of our entire workforce in China. Our
biggest and most modern cell-phone factory
outside of Germany is SSMC in Shanghai.
We’re involved in city projects, from the subways to the hospitals, from waste-water
treatment plants to skyscrapers and power
It’s true. New York never
sleeps. From its 24/7 subway
system to its world-class finan-
cial and health institutions,
downtime is simply not part of the program. Siemens is
helping it stay that way.
ome cities, principally those in Europe,
grow at a graceful pace, their skylines
barely acknowledging the passing of cen-
turies. Others, such as those of the Far East,
shoot upwards and outwards at a breath-
taking pace. New York City is somewhere in
between. With its five boroughs and regional
population of 16.6 million people, America’s
biggest city represents as much as a tenth of
the entire U.S. economy. But even though
the city looks and feels like urban culture on
steroids, its population has not increased in
50 years. Determined to reverse that trend,
while helping the city to run smarter and
provide more quality of life, Deputy Mayor
for Economic Development and Rebuilding
Daniel L. Doctoroff and the Bloomberg Ad-
ministration have linked with the business
community to develop a vision — partly
based on the will to win the city’s bid for the
2012 Olympic Games, partly far-sighted
economics — of a city invigorated by 21st
Century infrastructures. Among the companies that are helping
the city of New York fulfill that vision, few are
contributing more than Siemens. Siemens
serves all of the top ten New York area
hospitals, provides infrastructures for such
landmarks as the New York and American
Stock Exchanges, and the New York Board of
Trade, provides key technologies for the city’s
top media, retail, construction, utility, bank-
ing, insurance, investment, and communi-
cations companies, and is working closely
with city and regional authorities on a spec-
trum of projects ranging from futuristic
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
billing to delivery of clinical and dietary
services. And the company’s strength in IT is
proving invaluable for its health care
customers as medical and information tech-
nologies gradually morph into hybrid know-
ledge-based systems that glean information
from millions of digital exams. Future on Track.They say that no one can
see the future. But if you could look through
the block-long windowless brick walls of the
new Rail Control Center (RCC) in midtown
Manhattan, you would catch a glimpse of
tomorrow. Deep inside a space cavernous
enough to accommodate two full-length 600
foot subway trains, Siemens engineers are
installing rail control and management sys-
tems that will soon catapult New York City’s
one-hundred-year-old subway infrastructure
into the forefront of transportation technol-
ogy. Scheduled to enter service in early 2005,
the Center — along with a range of infra-
structural improvements now being coordi-
nated by Siemens for New York City Transit
(NYCT) on many of the city’s subway lines —
will significantly improve system reliability
while helping to cut costs and eliminate the
possibility of human error. High above the RCC’s control desks, where
dispatchers will monitor the movements of
the 540 trains that provide over 7,500 sched-
uled runs each day, huge computer panels up
to eight feet in height and 150 feet in length
will display the location and speed of every
train in real time. “When the RCC is up and
running,” says Richard Class, Siemens Trans-
portation Systems’ Director of Marketing and
Business Development, “it will be the most
advanced system of its kind in the U.S.” Plans
call for all ten of New York City’s numbered
lines to be “online” by early 2005, with the
16 lettered lines to be added by 2008. The RCC will provide a quantum leap in
terms of system transparency compared with
the current NYCT Control Center. “Dispatchers
will have displays similar to those used by air
traffic controllers. Each train in the dispatcher’s
area of operations will constantly identify
itself on screen, show which track it is on,
and display its status with regard to its sched-
ule,” says Control Center General Superinten-
dent Joseph Wukovits. The result, he adds,will
be an unprecedented overview and level of
operational control, leading to improved se-
curity and efficiency — as well as the ability to
schedule more trains and thus improve service
for the system’s 5.7 million daily passengers.
Behind these capabilities are three state-
of-the-art technologies: Communication-
Based Train Control (CBTC), a radio-based,
dynamic signaling system based on the real-
time location of trains; Automatic Train
Supervision (ATS), a sensor and software-
based technology that allows train location
and speed to be tracked in real time and
constantly compared with each train’s
schedule; and a fiber optic communications
network that will allow CBTC to interact with
ATS, while at the same time providing an
advanced Public Address Customer Infor-
mation System (PACIS) that will automatically
generate announcements and displays
tailored to each individual station. These services will run on two identical
computer systems now being installed by
Siemens, one of which will be on continuous
“hot standby” to support the first system in
case of failure. Says Joerg Nuttelmann,
Siemens Transportation Systems’ ATS project
manager, “The computers will control the
signaling system, timetable, reporting, and
archiving functions, all of which will run in
real time. And ATS’ software platform will
even provide an automatic service that can
Metropolitan Transit Authority (customer information
system, communications
infrastructure, fiber optic
networks, train control and
supervision, automation)
MetLife-Building (building automation,
telecom equipment, IT
outsourcing services)
New York Stock Exchange
(building automation)
New York University
Medical Center (medical and IT equipment,
building automation,
enterprise networks)
Empire State Building
Ground Zero sculpture “The Sphere“ — now in Battery Park (lighting)
JFK, LaGuardia, Newark
Airports (building auto-
mation, baggage handling,
maintenance of explosive
detection system)
Madison Square Garden
(building automation)
security options such as smart cameras for
bridges, tunnels, trains and airports, to a
highly automated public address and
customer information system for the entire
New York City subway system.
Taking the City’s Pulse.Siemens has made a
particularly strong contribution to the city’s
health sector. According to Patrick White,
Zone Vice President for the Northeast for
Siemens Medical Solutions, fully 85 percent
of patient revenues in the entire metropo-
litan area — one of the largest single medical
markets in the world — are processed by
Siemens systems. Siemens data manage-
ment systems in some of the city’s
emergency rooms provide early warning
information against outbreaks of disease and
potential bio attacks by monitoring and
comparing information on a daily basis. “The
system is intelligent and is being coordinated
with the New York City Department of Health
in response to the terrorist attacks of 2001,”
says White. NYC Transit’s new control center today (left) and tomorrow (artist’s conception)
In New York, Siemens technology is every-
where — from touchdown at the airport
to subways, hotels, hospitals, and more.
Siemens technologies such as its popular
syngo diagnostic imaging platform and
Soarian workflow automation tool are signifi-
cantly helping to improve operational efficien-
cies in healthcare institutions like New York
University Medical Center and Memorial Sloan
Kettering Cancer Center and will further
streamline their care delivery processes by
automatically coordinating everything from
This summer, the Olympic Games will come home to their birthplace — Athens — a perfect reason to funda-
mentally update the Greek capital’s infrastructures. Jump-Starting an Ancient
Fresh faces for ancient monuments.
By the time the Olympics open in
Athens, important parts of the city’s
ancient Acropolis, such as the
Parthenon, will have been restored.
thens is changing,” says Dr. Michael
Christoforakos, who heads up Siemens’
operations in Greece. “Not just because it is
growing rapidly, but also as a result of globa-
lization and its increasing level of integration
with worldwide data and communication
networks.” Indeed, Athens has experienced
dramatic population growth throughout its
recent history, transforming itself from hardly
more than a village in the nineteenth century
to a major city with over 5 million people in
the 20th. Now, it faces the challenge of be-
coming a 21st century metropolis; in other
words, improving its infrastructure and quali-
ty of life while creating a more business-
friendly environment. Like most big cities, Athens has a fair
share of problems, many of which are traffic-
related. Roads need to be improved and
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
environmental protection needs to be taken
more seriously. Specifically, the city needs
sophisticated infrastructures such as intelli-
gent traffic management systems, state-of-
the-art mobile communication networks,
urban rail systems, environmentally friendly
power generation, and building automation
systems. The Olympic Games are helping to
provide an answer in some of these areas.
For example with regard to security it is
estimated that more than 50,000 security
and public safety personnel will be needed to
provide venue security and emergency serv-
ices, athlete and dignitary security, traffic
management, crowd control, aviation security,
and prohibit criminal and terrorist incidents.
Effectively coordinating and managing such
a large security force will be a major under-
taking, involving challenges such as the coor-
dination of security efforts over a hundred
Olympic venues and key sites and the
handling of crisis situations by security com-
manders while conducting routine operations.
Olympics as a Catalyst.Christoforakos states
that “the Olympic Games impose extreme
pressure and demands on city infrastructures.
Therefore, the technologies required must be
innovative and very reliable. That’s why
Siemens is involved in so many of our state-
of-the-art projects.” Siemens is the major
contractor in a consortium with U.S.-based
SAIC, IBM, Motorola and other local partners.
The consortium is working with the Athens
Olympics Organising Committee to ensure
that the 2004 Olympic Games are supported
by a sophisticated C4I (Command-Control-
Communication-Computers & Intelligence)
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
What are the biggest challenges New
York City has faced since the Bloomberg
Administration took office?
Doctoroff:The single biggest challenge has
been the development of a vision for Ground
Zero. In addition, we have had to overcome
massive budget deficits. We had to do that in
a way that would allow us to continue to in-
vest in the future without allowing the quality
of life to suffer. We managed to overcome
the deficits by running the government more
efficiently and making it smarter.
How did you do that?
Doctoroff:Let me give you an example. Ear-
ly in 2003 we implemented a revolutionary
call center technology for all New York City
government offices. Today, the only number
New Yorkers have to remember is 311. We
have aggregated all of our help desks and
response numbers so that calls are answered
almost immediately and referred to the right
person. And we have an award-winning Web
site. Citizens can do everything from down-
loading a birth certificate application form to
enrolling in an immunization program. There
are literally thousands of examples of how
basic technologies are improving services
while saving time and money.
Speaking of basic services, what is the
city doing to improve public transit?
Doctoroff:Our subways and buses transport
over seven million people per business day,
including three million who commute to and
from Manhattan. Moving those people quick-
What advantages does New York derive
from working with Siemens?
Doctoroff:Companies like Siemens help us
to understand how we can do things more
efficiently. We have maintained an ongoing
dialogue with Siemens regarding best practi-
ces. And I can say from experience that
Siemens is uniquely positioned to see what
those practices are. That’s very valuable for us.
One of the reasons Mayor Bloomberg
asked you to join his team was that you
were the founder of New York’s effort to
become the site of the 2012 Olympics.
Why does the city need the Olympics?
Doctoroff:The ideals behind the Olympics
are the same ideals that drive this city —
bringing people together in a spirit of compe-
tition that’s powered by dreams. The Olympics
provides New York with a vision of the future.
But it’s a vision with a deadline. It would accel-
erate a process of transformation that’s already
taking shape — projects like the number 7
subway line extension, the renewal of the
West Side between 28th and 43rd streets,the
development of miles of riverfront property. What kind of city will New York be in 20
Doctoroff:I hope it will mean the same
things that it means today and that it meant
almost 400 years ago. New York represents
a simple promise, and that is that no matter
who you are or where you come from, if you
are willing to work hard, you can rise to the
top. Our job in government is to ensure that
the city provides an environment in which
that promise can be fulfilled.
Interview conducted by Arthur F. Pease
Investing in Infrastructures
Daniel L. Doctoroff (45), New
York City’s Deputy Mayor for
Economic Development and
Rebuilding, is in charge of
implementing policies that
affect the economic prosperity
of the city. His responsibilities
include leading the effort to
rebuild lower Manhattan, and
spearheading the city’s bid for
the 2012 Olympic Games. instantly redirect trains if system problems
occur.” Adds Class, “Worldwide, the RCC will
be among the top two or three facilities of its
kind in terms of the size of the system it
manages, functionality and integration.”
Taken together, the networks of systems
Siemens is installing in the city’s subways,
hospitals and elsewhere will add up to much
more than “just” better, more efficient servi-
ces for millions of people. They are setting
the stage for a different kind of city — one
that’s aware, upgradeable, transparent, safer,
cheaper, more responsive, smarter, and ulti-
mately ready for whatever tomorrow will
bring — 24/7. Arthur F. Pease
ly and efficiently is fundamental to the city’s
economic health. But the number of people
who work in New York City has not increased
in fifty years. I believe that one reason behind
that lack of growth is that the number of track
miles has actually declined during that period.
The Bloomberg Administration believes that
one way to break out of this capacity con-
straint is to improve and expand our subway
lines. Signaling and other communication
and security improvements are expected to
increase capacity by 15 percent. As it prepares for the 2004 Olympics,
Athens seems to have turned into one
of the world’s biggest construction sites.
What’s behind this?
Bakoyanni:Athens did not have an ade-
quate infrastructure to host the Olympics. In
many cases it was not just a question of up-
grading or extending existing facilities, but
of creating new ones. For example, we had
to build a new airport and a new metro
network as well as beltways and cross-city
highways. Developing such facilities within a city that is already densely built up,
naturally causes a lot of disruption. But more
than 90 percent of the sports, infrastructure
and related projects are on track for sched-
uled completion, or are actually ahead of
schedule. On the other hand, about five
percent of our projects are causing concern.
These include our electric streetcar and bus
network, suburban railway connections to
the airport, the stadium where the football
finals will be held, some of the sports and
related facilities, and the steel-and-glass
dome over the main Olympic stadium.
What have some of your most note-
worthy successes been during your first
year in office?
Bakoyanni:We have been improving roads
in central Athens. We have expanded park
land, set up a program to finance the resto-
ration of architecturally significant buildings,
provided better lighting for the most promi-
nent monuments, established a major clean-
liness and garbage collection drive, expand-
ed the municipal police force, created new
schools, improved sports facilities, esta-
blished a ‘Help at Home’ phone assistance
program for the elderly, and much more.
Cities around the world are going digital.
How far along is Athens in this regard?
Bakoyanni:We are behind many major
European cities in the area of digital admi-
nistration and services. And a few of our
government offices aren’t even computer-
ized. But there has been revolutionary
progress over the past two years with the
establishment of so-called Citizens Services
Centres, the number of which is expanding
rapidly and which will soon be available in
every neighbourhood. They are staffed by
civil servants and fully equipped, including
telephone and Internet connections with all
major public services. These offices enable
more than half the bureaucratic needs of
citizens to be dealt with locally, at walking
distance from their homes.
What can companies like Siemens offer
the city?
Bakoyanni:Siemens has already made a
considerable contribution to the city. It is not
a sponsor of the Olympics as such, or of the
City of Athens, but it is our country’s number
one foreign supplier when it comes to elec-
tronic equipment, technology and know-
how. Athens has made tremendous im-
provements in telecommunications over the
past 10-15 years, and Siemens has largely
been responsible for this. As a result, Athens
now offers telecommunications comparable
to those of other major European cities. This
is of great value for the tourism industry, for
local and foreign business, and for the public
in general. I don’t think the Olympics could
have been well-organized without excellent
What do you foresee for Athens’ future?
Bakoyanni:We have two main goals. We
want the city to become an attractive, year-
round holiday destination, much in the way
that London, Paris and Rome are. Second,
we want to make the city attractive to busi-
ness people so that it offers them all the
amenities and technological support needed.
Athens’ rapid development for the Olympics
coincides with the eastward expansion of
the European Union from 15 to 25 members.
Our city is located at the world’s most im-
portant crossroads, and this location has
become even more important due to this
expansion. We have excellent weather, an
outstanding natural environment featuring
long coastlines, islands, mountains, arche-
ological sites, holiday resorts, and exciting
cultural and entertainment activities. When
you put it all together, I just don’t see any
other European city that can beat us.
Interview by Evdoxia Tsakiridou
Recreating Athens for the 2004 Olympics
The Olympic Games are coming back to the country that gave
birth to them. With August 2004 just around the corner, Athens’
Mayor Dora Bakoyanni (49) explains that the city will use the
event to recreate itself as one of Europe’s most attractive and
technologically sophisticated capitals
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Due to its location, Athens is the key to the development, modernization, and
stabilityof the whole Balkan region.
infrastructure. The C4I will be installed in all
venues to cover all Olympic events.
Siemens is responsible for the supply,
installation and commissioning of various C4I
sub-systems, including five main and 29
regional command centers, the Athens Roads
CCTV Traffic Management and Surveillance
Network, the CCTV network for all Olympic
venues,the perimeter security and access
control system for the nine Olympic ports; the
C4I system WANs and LANs; the Olympic
Security Digital Trunked Radio Network,
which will support 22,000 subscribers, and
finally the Automatic Vehicle Location system
covering a fleet of 4,000 vehicles. Siemens is
also involved in: ➔ building four gas-insulated switchgear
substations to improve the city’s power distri-
bution capacity;
responding to calls from all over the world;
➔ commissioning an optical fiber network
for cable TV in the Olympic village and the
International Broadcast Center;
➔ supporting the expansion of GSM infra-
structure. Local Olympic sponsor CosmOTE
has expanded to reach four times its original
capacity, while all three national GSM net-
works are already piloting UMTS technology.
Best Practices. Siemens has been an active
partner to Greece’s public sector for over 100
years. It has participated in establishing the
infrastructure of modern Greece, from the
foundation and modernization of
telecommunication networks, to the
modernization of the railway network. From
the Athens Metro to power plants and the
largest and most modern hospitals in the
times the volume of data per second that is
currently possible. Users will be able to gain
unlimited and unimpaired Internet access,
browse libraries, download city maps and all
types of forms, hold video conferences on
the move, and call up any kind of information
they need.Mobile devices will also provide
access to a digital city hall, including online
employment services, and an electronic
marketplace. Even more services will be available at
info-kiosks installed in public areas.Tele-learn-
ing and tele-medicine as well as discussion
forums on regional issues or public opinion
polls will all be expanded and available to
more and more users in the near future.
Finally, people with special needs will be able
to access a full range of services and will be
integrated as much as possible into the city’s
everyday activities.
Greece, and Athens in particular, is in a
unique geo-political position. It is a fully de-
veloped member of the European Community,
with a modern economy and political system.
Its location in the Balkans and close to the
Middle East, and its traditional ties and
contacts with these areas, can allow it to play
a significant role in the development, modern-
ization and political stability of the region.
Says Christoforakos: “With all these infra-
structures in place to ensure the quality of
life of its citizens, Athens can aim for a bright
future as a metropolis, which, having the
appropriate legal and financial infrastructures,
will enhance its role as a hub for South-
Eastern Europe. Siemens wants to assist the
city of Athens to become a truly modernized
European city.” Evdoxia Tsakiridou
country. Says Christoforakos, “Siemens is in an
excellent position to propose high tech
solutions for Athens. Based on its global
experience, it can participate in the problem-
solving process by providing best practices
from other urban centers that have faced
similar challenges.”
Christoforakos expects that by 2020
Athenians will use mobile communication
devices to transmit and receive up to 200
➔expanding the city’s Metro Lines, providing
trains, electrification and signaling;
➔a novel telematics project for the bus fleet;
➔ providing a new generation of locomo-
tives for connecting the airport and the sub-
urban network to Piraeus and Corinth;
➔implementing the Olympic Ticket Call Cen-
ter in record time – a technologically state-of-
the-art information and communications pro-
ject and a 24/7 service center capable of
Works in progress. From left: a
suspension bridge to the Peloponnesian
peninsula, a stadium for beach volleyball
and the Olympic Committee building.
Tokyo 26.4 Mumbai (Bombay) 26.1
Lagos 23.2
Dhaka 21.1
São Paulo 20.4
Karachi 19.2
Mexico City 19.2
New York 17.4
Jakarta 17.3
Calcutta 17.3
Delhi 16.8
Metro Manila 14.8
says Jan Duffy, group vice president of solu-
tions research at International Data Corp (IDC). Although saving transaction costs by in-
troducing Internet-based applications is often
perceived as a key reason for e-government,
few governments rank saving money as their
top priority. A 2003 survey of 22 countries
conducted by management consultancy Ac-
centure concluded that only 51% of govern-
ments considered "pressure to reduce costs” as
an important reason for developing online
services. That compares to 93% who listed im-
proving customer satisfaction and 83% who
cited customer demands for new and better
services. Few are in the position to quantify
how much they save via e-government. "There
is no standard framework for e-government
measurement,” says Duffy. Therefore, IDC
and the OECD are conducting quantitative
studies on the potential cost savings and the
social contribution of e-government. So which countries are the most "e-gov-
ernment ready”? One of the most compre-
hensive rankings is that of the UN, which as-
Creating a New City District The Value of E-Government
E-government is on the agenda of nearly
every public sector agency around the globe.
But while governments recognize its po-
tential advantages, quantifying its economic
and social value is just getting started.
All but the poorest of countries have rec-
ognized the importance of e-government —
using information and communications tech-
nology to transact government business on-
line. The OECD has identified a range of rea-
sons why local and national governments
need to take e-government seriously. In its
2003 policy brief "The e-Government Imper-
ative,” the OECD cites improving operational
efficiency,improved customer focus, increas-
ing openness and trust in government, and
helping advance government reform pro-
grams. "Cities will need to deliver more serv-
ices in a better, more cost-effective manner,”
One of the most extensive urban construction projects in Europe — the expan-
sion of Siemens’ largest location worldwide —is under way in Munich. The project,
which is set for completion in 2016, calls for the site to be expanded to cover an area
as large as a hundred soccer fields. Up to now this historic location, which has been
home to Siemens since 1927, has not been accessible to the public. But this is set to
change, as planners have called for the site to be integrated into the urban environ-
ment. The goal is to create a new city district called Isar South that not only provides
space in which to work but also to live and relax. The next few years will see the ap-
pearance of new office buildings occupying 440,000 square meters on the Siemens
site, some 1,500 apartments, plus kindergartens, playgrounds, restaurants and ho-
tels. In addition to small parks and recreational facilities, a large five-hectare park
where people can go for picnics and enjoy sports activities will also be available.
Since smaller high-tech companies and start-up firms are also being attracted to the
location, the number of workers employed at the site is expected to more than dou-
ble to around 25,000. The city is also backing the project —which isn’t too surpris-
ing, given that the south of Munich stands to benefit enormously from the opening
of the site, the urgently need-
ed residential area, and the
creation of new jobs.
In spite of its size, the
redevelopment project is
just one step along the road
toward achieving a more
ambitious goal. A wholly
owned subsidiary of Sie-
mens Real Estate GmbH,
Isar South is being planned
as a completely new work-
ing environment. The cur-
rent trend in this area is for
employees involved in projects of limited duration to keep forming new teams. Flexi-
bility and mobility are the basic prerequisites here. However, traditional office design
with single or double rooms is not particularly suitable for this work style That will
change with Siemens’ new “Future Office” concept. Here, employees have access to a
wide variety of zones: rooms for holding discussions or meetings with guests, indi-
vidual offices for work that requires concentration, and leisure zones for relaxing and
chatting. “What’s more, wireless LAN network technology and ergonomic office fur-
niture made from environmentally friendly materials will improve comfort,” says Uwe
Nienstedt, head of the Isar South project. “Our strategy takes into account how we
will work in 25 years. If we want to remain competitive with regard to our work
processes, then these state-of-the-art office structures will have to be integrated into
the early planning of every new office building.” On the one hand, this would mean a paradigm shift toward work that is inde-
pendent of location and time, on the other, desk-sharing models would increase area
efficiency and lower operating costs. After all, it has been proven that dividing space
according to requirements improves communication and promotes more flexible
working times and structures. “Last but not least, such an approach greatly increases
freedom and variety at the workplace,” says Nienstedt. Tobias Hahn
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1.United States 0.927
2.Sweden 0.840
3.Australia 0.831
4.Denmark 0.820
5.United Kingdom 0.814
6.Canada 0.806
7.Norway 0.778
8.Switzerland 0.764
9.Germany 0.762
10.Finland 0.761
11.Netherlands 0.746
12.Singapore 0.746
13.Republic of Korea 0.737
14.New Zealand 0.718
15.Iceland 0.702
16.Estonia 0.697
17.Ireland 0.697
18.Japan 0.693
19.France 0.690
20.Italy 0.685
According to the UN,most population growth
over the next 30 years will take place in urban re-
gions. Indeed, every day, cities will acquire
180,000 residents through either birth or immigra-
tion. By 2007, for example, the number of people
living in urban and rural regions will be the same for
the first time. This trend is particularly evident in
China. Between 1950 and 1980, the rural popula-
tion rose from 0.5 to 0.8 billion. Having reached
its highest level — 0.86 billion —in 1995, it has
since fallen back to the 1980 level. Population
growth in China’s cities, however, has continued
unabated. It increased from around 80 million in
1950 to 200 million in 1980, and currently stands
at some 0.5 billion. According to studies conducted
by Tsinghua University in Beijing, every second per-
son in China will live in a city by 2030. This degree
of urbanization, however, is still significantly below
that of the U.S. and Japan (77 and 79% respec-
tively in 2000) as well as Germany (87.5%). Here
are some additional facts about urban develop-
ment (source:
➔ Only 2% of people lived in cities in 1800.
➔ This rose to 30% in 1950 and 47% in 2000
➔ and is set to reach 60% by 2030.
➔ There will be a further two billion city-dwellers
by 2030. In less-developed countries, the urban
population will rise from 1.9 billion (the level
reached in 2000) to 3.9 billion, whereas the
increase in developed countries will be mini-
mal — from 900 million in 2000 to around
one billion in 2030.
In 1950, there was only one megacity in the
world:New York City (12.3 million inhabitants).
By 2015 there will be 23. Source: UN-Habitat,
sessed 191 countries to derive a "global e-
government readiness ranking” (see chart).
The results point to a significant digital di-
vide: the top 25 countries have rankings that
range 60 to 200 percent higher than those of
the remaining countries. The ranking is derived
by assessing the aptitude of each govern-
ment to use e-government as a tool, its tele-
com infrastructure and level of public educa-
tion, as well as the degree to which it opens
itself to interaction with its citizens. Another point the experts agree on is that
implementing e-government involves differ-
ent levels, from basic online services to ad-
vanced interaction with users. "Administra-
tions are increasingly applying the principles
of customer relationship management as a
way to reorganize online service delivery,”
notes Accenture. Canada is one country that
has grasped this. Ranked number one by Ac-
centure for e-government maturity and sixth
in the UN ranking, the Canadian government
defines its own effort, Government Online,
as seeking to "become the government most
connected to its citizens.” The country is in-
vesting some CAND$880 million to put most
of its government services online by 2005.
On the Canada website (,
users can conduct a wide variety of transac-
tions: filling out an application for unemploy-
ment benefits, lodging a complaint with the
Canadian Transportation Agency, or even tra-
cing an ancestor via the National Archives.
They can also access complete online directo-
ries of most government employees. Online usage rates continue to be a chal-
lenge, however. A Finnish public sector por-
tal ( launched in April 2002
has proved somewhat disappointing in its us-
age, according to Ministry of Finance CIO
Olavi Köngäs. New services are still being
launched to make the site more attractive,
such as a "share your views” discussion fo-
rum. The portal also has built-in capabilities
for authentication and digital signature.
Köngäs says that government agencies must
become more proficient at selling users on the
idea of online transactions. "We are not yet
used to marketing to our customers,” he says. Mary Lisbeth D’Amico
Whereas the E-Government Readiness Index measures online generic availability of infor-
mation and services in quantitative terms, the E-Participation Index assesses how relevant
and useful these features are with respect to people’s ability to engage in dialogue with
their government and to participate in the political process as citizens.
Source: United Nations. World Public Sector Report 2003 – E-Government at the Crossroads
1.United Kingdom 1.000
2.United States 0.966
3.Canada 0.828
3.Chile 0.828
4.Estonia 0.759
5.New Zealand 0.690
6.Philippines 0.672
7.France 0.638
7.Netherlands 0.638
8.Australia 0.621
9.Mexico 0.603
10.Argentina 0.586
10.Ireland 0.586
10.Sweden 0.586
11.Germany 0.534
12.Republic of Korea 0.483
13.Italy 0.466
13.Singapore 0.466
14.Switzerland 0.466
15.Denmark 0.448
Shanghai 14.6
Los Angeles 14.1
Buenos Aires 14.1
Cairo 13.8
Istanbul 12.5
Beijing 12.3
Rio de Janeiro 11.9
Osaka 11.0
Tianjin 10.7
Hyderabad 10.5
Bangkok 10.1
Population in millions
Urban travel is changing. In the future, sensors will monitor traffic flows, while traffic light control systems will adjust signals according to real time data. Automated driverless subway trains will run at short intervals and electronic tickets will be issued via mobile radio.
management is a must. “A major event like
the World Cup can help telematics systems
achieve a big breakthrough,” says Schade,
who points out that the word “telematics”
combines the concepts of telecommunica-
tions and computerized information systems.
Telematic systems utilize location positioning
and identification technology in conjunction
with mobile radio and geographical informa-
tion systems to help prevent major traffic
jams. Speaking at the first German Telemat-
ics Forum in Berlin, Prof. Dr. Edward Krubasik,
Vice President of the German Electrical and
Electronic Manufacturers’ Association and a
member of the Siemens Managing Board,
pointed out that several obstacles — mostly
of a political nature — still have to be over-
come before a comprehensive telematic solu-
tion can be implemented. One important
task in this regard, says Krubasik, is to align
Getting Out of a Jam
an soccer help reduce traffic chaos?
“Yes,” says Hans-Joachim Schade, who is
responsible for Telematics Business Develop-
ment at Siemens Industrial Solutions and Ser-
vices in Munich. Take the 2006 World Cup,
for example. During the soccer champion-
ships, which will take place in Germany, hun-
dreds of thousands of fans will be trying to
reach the various stadiums in time for the
kick-off. In such a situation, intelligent traffic
The control center for the fully auto-
mated number 14 subway line in
Paris — courtesy of Siemens technol-
ogy. Trains can run at 85-second in-
tervals and are much faster than
conventional subway trains. M E G A C I T I E S
Sensors like Traffic Eye (left) measure traffic flows. Processed data (for example, on traffic jams or arrival times for buses and trains) is then displayed on electronic billboards. Information from so-called floating cars can
be used to draw conclusionsabout weather
conditions and the likelihood of traffic jams.
the technology and content employed in vari-
ous systems used by public authorities and
the private sector — in other words, every-
one from automakers to telecommunication
companies. Different transmission systems
and terminals will also have to be made com-
patible with one another. Ultimately, traffic
and transport experts agree on one point:
Major metropolitan areas will urgently need
telematics systems in the future. According to a UN forecast, more people
will live in cities than in rural areas by 2007
(see p. 22). As a result of this, a number of
problems can be expected, says Hartmut
Scherer-Winner, a traffic technology consul-
tant at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT).
“Whereas some developing countries still
need to build up basic infrastructure, such as
roads and traffic light systems, cities in
Europe, Japan and the U.S. will need to em-
ploy telematics solutions in order to use exist-
ing infrastructure and transport systems more
efficiently,” he says. The first steps in this
direction have already been taken.
Linking traffic information.In a joint ven-
ture with DaimlerChrysler Services,Siemens
launched the Traffic Management Center
(VMZ) in Berlin in the summer of 2003. The
VMZ is viewed as a model for tomorrow’s intel-
ligent traffic and transport system. In addi-
tion, negotiations are now under way regard-
ing two similar projects in Germany’s Ruhr
District and in Bavaria. At the heart of the
VMZ is the SITRAFFIC CONCERT traffic man-
agement system from Siemens Industrial So-
lutions and Services. This sophisticated data-
linkage network combines information on
urban traffic, parking conditions, construc-
tion sites and special events that can affect
traffic. The system uses such data to offer
constantly updated recommendations via the
Internet, cell phone, radio (RDS/TMC) and
roadside electronic information billboards. At the moment, however, traffic planners of-
ten don’t have enough information on what’s
actually happening on roads. Scherer-Winner
therefore emphasizes that more reliable sen-
sor technology holds the key to optimizing
traffic analyses. Although Siemens has exten-
sive experience in this area — for example, it
has installed coils beneath road pavements
— the technology involved has its limits. “For
one thing, laying coils is very expensive,” says
Scherer-Winner. “They also wear out, which
means many detector units have to be repair-
ed, and that costs even more money. That’s
why I think the trend is moving toward above-
ground traffic monitoring using so-called smart
sensors. Although these still don’t work as
precisely as coils, they’re getting better.” One example of an above-ground traffic
sensor is the “Traffic Eye Universal” measur-
ing station for urban applications. Here, an
infrared detector registers the number of ve-
hicles in each lane, as well as their length
and speed. Such data is used, for example, to
calculate the differences in speed between
vehicles traveling on a particular street or
road. The greater such differences, the
greater the probability that a traffic jam will
form. Siemens researchers are also working
on new monitoring systems — such as those
employing videosensors — that not only
show actual traffic situations onscreen at a
control station, but also use intelligent image
processing systems to recognize critical situa-
tions such as congestions or accidents, and
then automatically issue warnings (see Pic-
tures of the Future, Spring 2003, p. 44). Optimizing Traffic Flows. Nevertheless,
even intelligent detectors are merely pieces
in a puzzle that has to be put together before
a city’s traffic and transport network can be
depicted and analyzed. To optimize traffic
from such individual data, Siemens develop-
ers embedded a system known as MOTION in
their SITRAFFIC concept. MOTION automati-
cally ensures the highest possible series of
green lights on a given stretch of road. The system operates in four stages: First
it collects data from various measuring
stations, which is then used to analyze the
traffic situation and create corresponding
models. Then it applies these models to gen-
erate signal commands for the traffic lights in
question. This includes, for example, deter-
mining how long red and green phases
should last if traffic is to move as smoothly as
possible. Finally, the system checks this sig-
naling program against the current traffic
situation every five to 15 minutes to deter-
mine whether the sequence needs to be up-
dated. If necessary, new control commands
are sent online to the traffic light switching
systems. MOTION can also be programmed to
give priority to streetcars or buses. This is no
easy task, as the system must continue to
keep tabs on the overall traffic situation
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while intervening at individual locations.Fail-
ure to do so could lead to disturbances in
heavily congested areas, and some areas
might even be brought to a standstill. The
problem here is that more and more vehicles
are now equipped with navigation systems
that receive and process information from pri-
vate service companies. Due to a lack of coordi-
nation with public control centers drivers of
How congested is the city of Magdeburg, Germany? An answer to this question is provided by Siemens’ NEURO-MONET program. The system, which uses neural net-
works to process traffic-sensor data, can also predict conditions over a 30-minute period. Images show the city as seen by an installation that will enter service this sum-
mer (street heights represent traffic flow levels;red indicates danger of a traffic jam).
such vehicles could be directed toward quiet
side streets whose traffic lights have been set
for long red phases by public systems. This
leads to unnecessarily longer driving times.
Siemens researchers intend to remedy
this situation, which is why they are partici-
pating in the INVENT (Intelligent Traffic and
User-Friendly Technology) research initiative
of the German Ministry of Education and Re-
search (BMBF). Specifically, they are con-
tributing a project known as Balanced Net-
work for Personal Transportation, which will
run until 2005. The program’s goal is to de-
velop an optimized route planner. Such a sys-
tem would not only choose the fastest route;
it would also incorporate, for example,
higher priority “green-light” public control
centers into the route plan. To accomplish
this, navigation centers will require more in-
formation on current traffic and street condi-
tions. The researchers therefore want to sup-
plement stationary monitoring units with
so-called “floating cars” that serve as mobile
data collectors. Many late model cars already
suit this purpose. Equipped with numerous
sensors, such cars not only use GPS to deter-
mine vehicle location, they can also provide
data on speed, windshield wiper activity, ve-
hicle lights, and braking. Such information
can be used to draw conclusions regarding
weather conditions and the likelihood of traf-
fic jams. If this data were transmitted anony-
mously via mobile radio to a traffic manage-
ment center, it could be processed into
individual route recommendations.
Trains every 90 seconds.In addition to the
numerous things that can be done to im-
prove personal transportation, Scherer-Win-
ner believes that optimized public transporta-
tion systems can provide urban areas with an
instrument for combating traffic jams and
noise and air pollution. “If local public trans-
port systems are not improved, cities will find
it increasingly difficult to cope with traffic
congestion,” he says. However, to make pub-
lic transportation more attractive, it will have
to become more comfortable and more con-
venient. In terms of rail transport, this means
more frequent service — around the clock if
possible. This, of course, would require more per-
sonnel, a factor that worries transport opera-
tors, given the generally high wage levels in
many European countries. The solution could
be automated public transport systems. In-
stead of service intervals of a minimum of
four to five minutes, as required with human
drivers, automated trains can safely run at 90
second intervals. Automatic systems can also
A pilot project from Siemens enables
passengers in public transport net-
works to order and pay for bus and
train tickets via cell phone. Automated trains can run safely at 90-second intervals,enabling more frequent service around the clock.
get trains out of stations more quickly than
human drivers can. A fully automated train
can also reduce the time needed for starting
and braking. On the other hand, such systems
require a greater outlay for track safety and
control technology.
Back in 1983, Siemens inaugurated the
world’s first fully automated train system in
Lille, France. Since then, many other auto-
mated subway systems have entered service,
for example, in Canada, Japan, Great Britain
and China. Germany has hesitated in intro-
ducing such a system, although automated
subway trains were tested in Berlin in the
1980s and ’90s. Now, however, the first fully
automated subway line in Germany is set to
become operational in Nuremberg in 2006
— and it will do so in a manner that will
mark a world-first. According to project direc-
tor Helmut Beismann from Siemens Trans-
portation Systems in Nuremberg/Erlangen,
both automated and conventionally driven
trains will be operated simultaneously on
one line for about two years. Then, in 2007,
work will begin on fully automating the
entire subway system. That’s easier said than done, given the
fact that two different train and signal con-
trol systems operating on the same tracks are
involved. Nevertheless, the idea is that the
trains, whether automated or not, should run
at extremely short intervals.Driverless trains
will enter stations one or two minutes after
conventional trains, and manually operated
trains will run about three or four minutes
behind the automated ones.
“The technological achievement here is
that two signalling programs have been
aligned,” Beismann explains. “Nuremberg
could therefore become a model for other
cities that wish to integrate driverless trains
into their subway systems.” Those who get tired of typing can call a
special number and place their orders with a
speech-based interactive computer system.
During the test phase (February to April,
2004) the ticket price was deducted from the
user’s bank account. Later, it will be possible
to bill tickets via a user’s phone bill or deduct
the costs from a credit or prepaid card. Checking Ticket Validity Via Mobile Radio.
Another project, which is known as “intermo-
bilPASS,” takes things a step further. Here,
passengers don’t even have to purchase a
ticket, says project director Patrick Almy of
Siemens Transit Telematic Systems, Switzer-
land. As part of a BMBF program, a new ver-
sion of a previously tested chip card will un-
dergo a trial run in Dresden, Germany in early
2005. The card was originally evaluated three
years ago as part of the “EasyRide” project in
Basel and Geneva, Switzerland. In this system,
passengers simply carry the card in a pocket
and ride buses or streetcars — without worry-
ing about tickets. A chip on the three-milli-
meter-thick card, which is soon to be reduced
to the thickness of a credit card, is activated by
a pulse transmitted from the vehicle’s door
when the passenger enters. This switches on
the card’s standby mode. As soon as the vehi-
cle leaves the station — the motion is regis-
tered via GPS — a “virtual conductor” in the
vehicle uses a special antenna to transmit an
868 MHz signal through the interior of the
vehicle, reading off the authorization to
travel from each chip card. The system also registers passengers
who exit the vehicle. In this case it transmits
the associated data via mobile radio to a cen-
tral control station, where the distance tra-
veled by that particular passenger is calcu-
lated. The passenger then receives a bill or
the control center deducts the price from a
prepaid account. As an alternative to the chip
card, Siemens researchers are installing loca-
tion registration technology in cell phones,
thus eliminating the need for the chip cards
altogether. It is still unclear when exactly the
“intermobilPASS” will be introduced. “We’re
looking at ways to finance further develop-
ment of the technology,” says Almy. “Our ulti-
mate goal is to optimize the technology so
that passengers will be able to travel through-
out Germany with the chip card or a cell
phone — and maybe even all over Europe in
ten years.” Rolf Sterbak
Tickets from Your Phone. An “Electronic
Ticketing” pilot project from Siemens Busi-
ness Services promises greater convenience
for public transport passengers. The project is
undergoing test operations in and around
Plauen, a city near the German, Czech Repub-
lic border. Passengers in this area no longer
need to purchase bus or train tickets from
machines. Instead, they can “book” a ticket
via cell phone. The system works like this: riders simply
conduct a one-time registration procedure
with a service center, from which they down-
load a small booking program to any Java-
capable cell phone. Users then navigate the
corresponding menu to order a virtual ticket,
which is stored on a server that only a train
or bus conductor can access. 28
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Pilot in Your
Cell phones that show the user’s location and send out calls to friends — the smart city of the future will feature a
host of information and communication technologies, including pocket computers for police and emergency personnel, and e-government applications for everyone.
hich movie should they go and see
tonight? Kai mails two video trailers to
his friends’ cell phones and waits for his Per-
sonal Digital Assistant (PDA) to field the re-
sults of the poll. In the meantime, he studies
a digital map of the city to see where he
might meet up with his wife. She’s out shop-
ping right now and has set her mobile phone
so that her husband and close friends can
see where she is. On his way to the mall, Kai
wants to cash in a voucher for a free espresso
that will no longer be valid tomorrow. His
PDA informs him that a participating coffee
shop outlet is just around the corner.
This scenario is anything but a fantasy.
Indeed, the development of such mobile
data services is already in full swing. Take
City on Air, for example, a package of services
from Siemens Information and Communica-
tion Mobile (ICM), which was developed at
Siemens laboratories in partnership with con-
tent providers and mobile network operators. “City on Air sure beats having to struggle
with a city map,” says Dr. Thomas Wiemers,
who is responsible for launching the new ser-
vice package. Today, people in large German
cities already have access to the first of a
range of data services ICM will be providing,
together with network operators, on the
basis of a unified system platform for all
types of terminals, including mobile phones,
smart phones and personal organizers. In
coming years, similar services will gradually
become widespread throughout Europe.
Local services are already available to
help motorists find parking or the cheapest
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
“Where can I find a DVD player and
where’s the nearest bank?” SIMON
— a mobile mall assistant, knows
the answers and provides directions.
Market researcher IDC pre-
dicts that e-government ex-
penditures in Europe will triple
between 2001 to 2006. In-
creased use of IT systems will
make public authorities more
flexible and efficient (see p. 22).
At the same time, the use of IT
systems for election purposes
is especially critical, with an
urgent need for data confiden-
tiality, bona fide communica-
tions, and high system avail-
ability. Successful tests conducted during European Parliament elections in Italy have
shown that the use of smartcards and biometric data can fulfill strict security require-
ments. As such, digital polls are now very much a realistic scenario. Meanwhile, parts of Eastern Europe are leading the way in paperless administration. Estonia, for example, launched a process of administrative reform following indepen-
dence in 1992, and has been implementing paperless government since 2000. Latvia
has installed IT systems from Siemens Business Services (SBS) in order to improve bor-
der controls in preparation for EU entry. The new measures include various methods to
identify persons and vehicles, such as mobile passport controls via PDA. In Italy, the po-
lice have plans to install mini-cameras on police cars to enable them to automatically
check the license plates of suspicious vehicles. The recorded data would then be trans-
mitted via mobile radio for comparison with the central vehicle licensing database. If a
vehicle has been reported missing, the system automatically notifies the patrolling offi-
cers and their headquarters. The Turkish traffic police are now using GPS and mobile
handheld PCs from SBS in order to check driver’s licenses, register accidents, and secure
stolen vehicles. In Barcelona and Madrid, mobile rescue services are benefiting substan-
tially from the use of emergency call management systems. Now that ambulances have
been equipped with PCs and a mobile radio link to hospitals, the mortality rate of emer-
gency victims has fallen by more than half. ON PATROL WI TH A PDA
use of intelligent filters and a limit on
searches to the immediate geographical area
has made many useful applications possible. A variety of procedures can be employed
to determine the position of the user’s mo-
bile terminal. In addition to A-GPS (Assisted
Global Positioning System), which utilizes
satellite-based technology to pinpoint a user,
service providers also use the standard GSM
network or the access points of a wireless
LAN (W-LAN) to provide customers with di-
rections. “The choice of system depends on
whether the directions are for indoors or out-
side, and how precise they have to be,”
explains Fritjof Kaiser, project manager at
Siemens Corporate Technology (CT). At some
point in the future, the services will automat-
ically hook up to the best network for the job
at hand, and users will notice less and less
when a switch is made between different
One-on-One with Your Personal Organizer.
Today’s innovative services can be used in a
variety of ways. Depending on what’s most
practical for a given situation, and what best
meets their personal preferences, users may
choose between voice-commands, keypad or
touchscreen to operate their mobile termi-
nals. “Field trials with SIMON (Siemens Mo-
bile Guide with Natural Interaction), a multi-
modal shopping mall assistant, have de-
monstrated that this technology can be used
to help people locate a specific store or prod-
uct inside an unfamiliar building,” says Kaiser. Instead of having to ask a passerby for di-
rections, the user communicates directly
with SIMON via an integrated microphone.
The mobile mall assistant can rapidly and re-
liably comprehend questions formulated in
natural language — e.g. “Where can I find a
DVD player for under 150 euros?” or “I need a
drugstore!” — even with background noise.
SIMON then repeats, either in text or voice
form, what it has understood and, in case of
doubt, automatically requests more informa-
tion. The technology that enables such free
voice dialog, which is known as “Diane,” was
also developed at Siemens along with the
user interface and the requisite voice recog-
nition and output functions. “The SIMON
project marks the first time we’ve been able
to achieve free voice dialog on such a small
terminal,” explains Matthias Schuster, the
project’s general manager.
“Even inexperienced users manage fine
with voice commands,” says Kaiser in refer-
ence to field trials. However, there are also
occasions when the discretion offered by a
keypad or writepad is of great benefit — such
as when conducting bank transactions, for
example. SIMON also demonstrates that it is
possible to combine a pilot service with com-
mercial promotions in a user-friendly way.
When users are sent vouchers that they can
store up and cash in via a mobile handset,
they come to regard this as a genuine service
rather than merely unsolicited advertising.
Successful tests with the SIMON prototype
have encouraged developers to push ahead
with integration of voice and data technol-
ogy featuring seamless switching between
various input and output modes. “For private users, it’s very important for
the terminals to have attractive features and
for services to have emotional content,” says
Wiemers. For example, tomorrow’s urban
trendsetters will want to inform friends about
the latest news and arrangements, or even
gas station in the neighborhood. For people
visiting a new city, another service will, for
example display a list of all the Italian or
Chinese restaurants within a one kilometer
radius Similarly, City on Air provides a quick
and convenient way of locating the nearest
ATM or late-night drugstore. Directions are
shown either as text or — with the latest
smart phones and organizers — displayed
directly on a section of a city map. All mobile
services from City on Air are highly localized
and provide a pilot function similar to those
shown on vehicle navigation systems. The
230V Power Outlet
Internet Gateway
Webpad/Tablet PC with Browser
Today, users can already operate kitchen appliances via their cell
phones or even automate their household systems. But the home
of the future will have even more to offer: network technology,
comfort, entertainment and security. Adequate transmission ca-
pacity, however, is still a problem.
om Peters is planning to spend a relaxing
evening at home. He’s gone online and
downloaded a romantic comedy he wants to
watch with his girlfriend Anna, but he’s still
waiting in suspense for a video mail with the
results of a tomography examination that he
underwent in the morning because of his un-
explained headaches. Then, suddenly, Anna’s
image appears on a section of the wall moni-
tor. The security system has recognized her
even before she had a chance to ring the
bell. Tom opens the door by pushing a but-
ton on his phone…
This isn’t a vision of the distant future —
all of these technologies can be used today,
even though they are still expensive. Accord-
ing to forecasts, the market for home au-
tomation will register double-digit growth
rates in the coming years (see p. 32). “An im-
portant target group is the ‘early adopters’ —
the people who are very open to accepting
new technologies,” says Roland Hagenbucher,
Managing Director of Siemens-Electrogeräte
GmbH. And the Steiner family surely belongs
to the early adopters: Since November 2000,
they’ve been testing the Futurelife Internet
Phones that Open Doors P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Entertainment systems and computers aren’t the only things
that are networked in an intelligent
house. Household appliances and
equipment of all kinds can also be
linked. With serve@Home from
Siemens, for example, refrigerators,
stoves and washing machines can
already communicate with one another via the electricity network.
Appliances can even be remotely-
controlled via a cell phone. hold an impromptu mobile vote to decide on
the evening’s plans. Siemens’ ICM Group is
looking to develop the market for PoC (Push
to Talk over Cellular), which features walkie-
talkie functions via mobile phone. ICM,
which will begin marketing PoC handsets and
services this year, is the first provider world-
wide to offer a full PoC range based on a
cross-manufacturer, open specification. Ex-
tensive testing is already under way in the
U.S., Europe and Asia. Conference Calls on Your Mobile. A num-
ber of providers are planning the commercial
launch of Push to Talk services from the mid-
dle of next year onward. Such services will
enable users to communicate, at the touch of
a button, with either one person or whole
groups of people specified in a personalized
contact list. The “always on” function of GPRS
and the handset’s hands-free facility ensure
that the recipient automatically receives the
incoming voice communication. The technol-
ogy also offers an ideal platform for multi-
player games. Similarly, mobile voting is use-
ful not only for coordinating arrangements
among friends, but also for making decisions
in a professional setting.
Dr. Jörg Müller, who is responsible for
agent-based and peer-to-peer technologies
at Siemens Corporate Technology, expects
these applications to become available in the
near future. The EU’s LEAP (Lightweight Ex-
tensible Agent Platform) project, which con-
cluded in 2002 and involved Siemens, not
only enhanced communications between
company headquarters and employees in the
field (e.g. for the German automobile club
ADAC and companies such as British Tele-
com), but also enabled users to coordinate
and exchange job assignments in a virtual
marketplace. Berlin-based startup Space2Go offers a
mobile organizer application based on a “vir-
tual hard drive” in the Internet. To date,
2.4 million subscribers have registered with
the company for a service that features the
mobile administration of appointments and
contacts, a reminder service, and online ac-
cess to personal files and e-mails. The corre-
sponding data are stored in the Internet and
can be called up on the fly. Synchronization
routines ensure that the information remains
up to date on the server and the mobile
devices, and that data remains protected
should the user’s handset be lost or stolen.
Christian Huthmacher is one of the founders
of Space2go, which includes Siemens among
its backers. He sees potential for useful appli-
cations in healthcare, including a service to
remind outpatients to take their medication,
and perhaps even the provision of access to
patient files stored and administered online. Everything on One Card. In the field of e-
government (see inserts p. 29 and p. 22), in-
formation and communication technologies
are now helping to break down the barriers
between states and citizens. In Italy, for ex-
ample, the government expects that more
than 40 million people will use smartcards
from Siemens over the next five years. The
cards, which fulfill the highest security stan-
dards, can be used as identification cards or
to file digital tax returns from home. It is also
possible that the cards will be used as insur-
ance IDs and even for voting.
In a move to accelerate reaction times
and enhance the coordination of operations,
the Spanish emergency services, the Turkish
traffic police and the Italian police force have
invested in mobile emergency call systems
from Siemens. In Italy, for example, police of-
ficers from over 100 regional squads are now
benefiting from the use of mobile communi-
cations technology and ultramodern call cen-
ters. Whenever command headquarters
receives an emergency call, the computer
system identifies the caller’s address on the
basis of the telephone identifier and provides
an onscreen display of a map showing the lo-
cation. In addition, more than 8,000 vehicles
of the Italian police force have been fitted
with GPS equipment. It is therefore possible
to display their position and movement on a
map or an aerial image, as well as to show
the current location of police officers pa-
trolling on foot. Headquarters can therefore
monitor any given situation at a glance. Simple SMS (short messaging service)
texts are all it takes to transmit location spe-
cific data between operational forces and
command headquarters. Headquarters, in
turn, can convey instructions and informa-
tion to ground forces. In an emergency, the
desk officer can even switch off the engine
of a police vehicle and lock its doors via re-
mote control. As Augusto Coriglioni, project
manager at Siemens Business Services in
Rome, explains, the new data communica-
tions system has also enhanced coordination
between a variety of authorities. Similarly,
substantially quicker reaction times on the
part of the police tangibly improve security
for the country’s citizens. Anja Stemmer
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
A touch of a button will enable mobile
phone users to make group callsand hold
a mobile voteamong their friends.
Tomorrow’s mobile devices will not
only show the user’s location, but
also provide information on, for ex-
ample, the stores in a shopping mall.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
worked household appliances as part of its
serve@Home system. Requiring no additional
cables, they are connected to a control center
via the power socket and allow remote
queries and operation. For example, owners
can use their mobile phones while on the
road to check whether the stove was acci-
dentally left on and even to turn it off if nec-
essary. In an apartment house, a cell phone
can notify a user on the top floor that the
washing machine in the basement has just
finished its cycle. And a shopper at the super-
market can call home and set the tempera-
ture of the freezer. Within the house, nearly
all functions of the on-line appliances can be
operated with a tablet PC. The technology is
based on Powerline, and the data transmis-
sion is done through the electrical network. At first, this new feature will be available
in top-line stoves, refrigerator-freezer combi-
nations, dish washers, washing machines,
dryers and air conditioners. The appliances
have a small plug-in slot into which a box is
fitted. This box contains a type of modem
that modulates the data onto the electricity
network via the power socket. A residential gateway about the size of a
cigar box filters the data from the power net-
work and takes over the communication with
a tablet PC, laptop or cell phone via a W-LAN
or other radio link. The users can access all of
the on-line appliances through a Windows
interface. Because serve@Home is based on
an open standard, other components such as
air-conditioning systems or automatic blinds
can also be linked up with the system in the
Remote Reading.Radio transmission tech-
nology is playing an increasingly important
role in building automation, such as lighting,
heating or alarm systems. It is simple to in-
stall and easy to upgrade. “By the year 2010,
radio technology will dominate building
automation,” says Helmut Macht, Chief Tech-
nology Officer at Siemens Building Technolo-
gies. Radio communication is already being
used in heating-cost distributers and water
and heat meters that can be read remotely. Siemens is currently negotiating with
meter manufacturers and meter-reading
companies about the introduction of the OP-
CAP-DECT module, which is intended for use
with cordless phones in the future. The com-
fortable operation of lighting and air-condi-
tioning systems can be easily ensured via
uniform radio communication between the
lighting, heating, ventilation and blind-regu-
lation systems in the home. In the future,
users will no longer have to flip a light
switch; instead, they’ll be able to simply order
“soft lighting” or “reading light” via remote
The Data Highway into your Home.All of
these options will significantly increase data
traffic. In particular, the entertainment of the
future, such as 3-D films that can be down-
loaded from the Internet or realistic interac-
tive games played with mobile units, require
bandwidths of up to 20 megabits per second
(Mbit/s). That’s simply beyond the reach of
traditional copper cables and present-day
access technologies such as ISDN, with 64
kilobits per second, or DSL, with a few Mbit/s.
Glass-fiber (fiber-to-the-home) technology,
with 25 Mbit/s, performs significantly better. Of course, running different services in
parallel means that available bandwidths can
be exploited with increasing efficiency, while
compression processes are becoming more
and more intelligent. However, experts expect
that within five years, bandwidths of 20 Mbit/s
will actually be used. Today, private customer
demand is still well below this level. That’s
why the glass-fiber line generally leads to an
Optical Network Unit, to which several users
are connected by means of copper cables. But
the market is growing fast: According to one
study, at the end of 2003 around 315,000 U.S.
households had glass-fiber connections, and
experts estimate that by 2006 the figure will
increase to 2.65 million.
Tom already has glass-fiber technology.
Just as the film is about to start, a video-mail
arrives from his doctor. “You’re fit as a fiddle,”
is the reassuring message. The examination
revealed nothing to worry about. A pleasant
evening is about to begin. Sylvia Trage
Networked home appliances.All
functions can be operated by
means of a tablet PC (left). Users can regulate the freezer
temperature at home by sending
a message via cell phone from
any location (right).
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
house in Hünenberg, Switzerland (see And in Germany as well,
a fully networked house went into operation
in April 2001 — the Innovation Center Intelli-
gent House in Duisburg (www.inhaus-duis- At the Duisburg house, scientists
are observing the test residents and gaining
insights into the user acceptance, usability
and functionality of the intelligent living solu-
tions. Their work is necessary because stud-
ies show that the acceptance and actual use-
fulness of these technologies in the future
will depend on how well the systems work in
harmony and how easy they are to use. Clusters for Infotainment and Control. To-
day, a home generally has four separate net-
works, which cover information and commu-
nication, entertainment, automation and
control, and security. According to a study
jointly conducted by Corporate Technology
(CT) and the Siemens Groups, in the future
there will be only two clusters — one for in-
fotainment and one, the control cluster, for
automation, control and security equipment.
Both are based on the Internet protocol, and
in the future they should be able to commu-
nicate with one another with ease, thanks to
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). So-called residential gateways will man-
age the interfaces between internal and ex-
ternal networks. “Put in very simple terms,
three things are needed for a successful im-
plementation: standardized platforms for ap-
plications, a flexible residential gateway and
simple usability due to optimized human/ma-
chine interfaces and UPnP,” says Dr. Willfried
Wienholt, head of the strategy area Informa-
tion & Communications & Automation.
The infotainment cluster is a fusion of to-
day’s world of the PC and the Internet, the
mobile world of notebooks, cell phones and
handhelds, and the multimedia world of tele-
visions, games consoles, video recorders and
hi-fi equipment. To give just one example, it’s already pos-
sible today to receive digital, interactive TV
broadcasts with MHP (Multimedia Home Plat-
form) receivers. While watching a travel pro-
gram, for instance, the viewer can download
additional information, mark it for later use
and load it on his or her PDA to create a per-
sonal travel guide. In the near future, we’ll be seeing not
only home cinema with wall-sized flat
screens, but also cordless phones that serve
as control and entertainment centers. The
phones will function as both input and out-
put devices. Text information such as mes-
sages, menus and reports on household sys-
tems will be shown on extremely large
displays. “In the future, each of our Gigaset
phones will be capable of communication
with visitors at the front door,” says Dr. Kurt
Aretz of the Cordless Phones division at
Siemens Information and Communication
Mobile. As soon as a visitor presses the door-
bell, all of the cordless phones will ring and
the message “Front door” will appear on the
display. The phones will be used to talk to the
visitor, and a press of a button on the phone
will open the front door. In the works is an
OPCAP-DECT (Open Platform for Cordless Ap-
According to a study by the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, the market
for intelligent home automation is beginning to develop — from $172
million in 2002 to an expected $400 million in 2009.
The success of the intelligent house depends on how well the technologiesare
integrated and how easy they are to use.
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Sales in millions of US dollars
Source: Frost & Sullivan Report B106 (03/03)
Sales growth rate
plications) module that will even be able to
display a picture of the visitor.
The control cluster encompasses the net-
works for the heating, ventilation and light-
ing systems as well as the solar-energy col-
lectors, windows, doors and blinds. Security
systems such as surveillance cameras, smoke
detectors, intrusion alarms and window con-
tacts, or biometric access control systems will
also “communicate” through the control
cluster. This comprehensive networking is al-
ready possible today, thanks to the instabus
EIB (European Installation Bus) system from
Siemens. Customers can use it to network
various household appliances and sensors,
such as intrusion alarms, smoke detectors or
devices to monitor water penetration.
Communication through the socket. In De-
cember 2003, Siemens introduced net-
How is electronic technology causing
cities to change?
Mitchell:Cities and buildings are acquiring
electronic nervous systems. Pre-industrial
buildings were basically shelter — skeleton
and skin. During the industrial revolution,
sophisticated mechanical physiologies were
built into them, water and electrical systems,
sewage systems, air-conditioning and trans-
portation. In the post World War II years the
third phase, the computer revolution, began.
Now intelligence is embedded everywhere,
and buildings and cities are becoming
organisms that are aware of what’s going on
within them and respond intelligently.
How are these nervous systems being
Mitchell:In the classroom, for example, my
students use wireless laptops to send notes
to each other. Whenever I mention a new
subject somebody “googles” and pulls-down
information that is relevant to the discus-
sion. Hence, the classroom functions diffe-
rently because of electronic connections. In
offices, demand for formalized workspace —
a cubicle with a desktop computer and
telephone — is diminishing while demand
for flexible, semi-public spaces where one
can hang out with a laptop, is increasing.
Will the power of the Internet also lead to
virtual city governments?
Mitchell:There are enormous economic
benefits to be gained by the digital delivery
of government services, and unquestionably
we are going down that path. Some con-
crete measures are already emerging, such
Why Buck Rogers Will Be Invisible William J. Mitchell is professor of Architecture and Media Arts and
Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Formerly
the Dean of MIT’s School of Architecture & Planning, he is also the
author of numerous books, including, Me++: The Cyborg Self and
the Networked City and City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn.
as the ability to renew drivers’ licenses on-
line, and even vote on-line, though, I have to
admit, this remains highly controversial. Will e-commerce have an impact on traffic?
Mitchell:There will not be a miraculous
reduction of traffic, though traffic patterns
are changing. Purchasing a book at a book-
store means a trip to the store. If you buy a
book online, it also generates a trip, but by a
courier service to your front door. How will location-based services change
our lives?
Mitchell:Consider something as simple as a
stop sign, which is now part of the fixed
infrastructure. If automobiles are locationally
aware, the sign can be moved to the dash-
board via a heads-up display. You approach
an intersection and a stop sign pops up. Even-
tually, the system will be able to detect if a
car is coming the other way. If not, the stop
sign won’t show up. Some of my students
used GPS even to develop a pothole location
system. They installed an accelerometer in a
car that can tell whenever it hits a pothole. A GPS grabs the location and notifies the pothole database of the city.
Could these technologies impact privacy?
Mitchell:Sometimes we want to be private;
sometimes we want to put ourselves on
display. If you sit in a bar all dressed up, you
are there to be seen. If you are in danger,
you want your location to be known. What’s
really required are sophisticated systems that
are able to control the level of public visibility
you have at any given moment. Do you expect online habits to affect
urban population growth?
Mitchell:Cities will remain magnets for
people not only because economic, social,
and cultural opportunities are greater, but
because people like to interact with each
other. But there will be changes in the places
where that happens. For example, many two
career families now go grocery shopping on-
line, so the supermarket becomes less of an
attraction. However, high end wine and cheese
stores and fancy coffee places that offer some-
thing unique are thriving. People use their
scarce leisure time to go to those places.
In what ways might technology change
social interactions in cities?
Mitchell:Face-to-face communication is
scarce and expensive, so we save it for things
that are most important to us, whereas e-
mail is inexpensive and convenient, so it's
good for other kinds of things. When people
are asked about their most common use of
e-mail, it is to arrange face-to-face meetings.
Consider Italian piazzas. Traditionally, in the
early evening people would stroll the piazza
and bump into each other. Now in Italy
everybody has a cell phone. If you want to
get together with somebody you call them
and arrange to meet at the piazza. So new
technological capabilities have changed how
and when people arrange to spend time, but
people don’t change a whole lot. Being able
to sit in a cafe is a basic human pleasure;
such things will remain pretty constant.
How will the ability to access entertain-
ment electronically affect cities?
Mitchell:If you think of the music industry,
what’s happened is not a replacement of live
performances by recordings, but precisely
the opposite. Recordings generate demand
for live performance, and live performance
generates demand for recordings. I also don’t
see Broadway going away. People are still
going to spend their precious face-to-face
time going to theaters and concert halls.
It seems as though technology will not
change cities as much as it will alter the
way people interact with them.
Mitchell:That’s right. There will be subtle
changes in cities, but we’re seeing radical
changes in the way people take advantage
of what cities have to offer. That goes along
with the fact that cities and buildings have a
tremendous amount of inertia. European
cities have been around for thousands of
years and change very slowly in their overall
physical character. Patterns of use, on the
other hand, can change rapidly.
What is your vision of the digitized city 50 years from now?
Mitchell:In a paradox, the city of the 21st
century is not going to look as high-tech as
the city of the 20th century. That goes
against the preconceptions that people
have, that cities are going to be dominated
by technology and look like something out
of Buck Rogers. It’s going to be exactly the
opposite. Now that technology is getting
smaller and more robust, it is disappearing
into your pocket, and into the woodwork,
enabling the use of space to become more
flexible. A telephone used to be part of the
architecture, attached to the wall. Now that
the phone is in your pocket, you know who
will answer, but you don't know where they
are. Computers used to be big ugly things
that occupied a lot of space in a fixed loca-
tion; now they are portable. This means that
spaces no longer have to be built around the
requirements of technology. That frees up
architects to go back to designing spaces
around very fundamental human require-
ments — sociability, light, air, view — the
basic needs and pleasures of life.
Interview conducted by Victor Chase
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
According to the UN, nearly all
global population growth over the next
30 years will be concentrated in urban
regions. By 2030 there will be two bil-
lion more people living in the world’s
cities than there are today, putting a
huge strain on urban infrastructures.
Siemens is helping to improve the
quality of urban life around the world,
as witnessed by its activities in various
megacities. (pp. 11–23)
In Shanghai, Siemens is helping
build the most efficient coal-fired
power plant in China, as well as state-
of-the-art water-purification facilities,
hospitals, skyscrapers, an airport, and
transportation systems. In New York,
Siemens is installing a control system
for the entire subway system, and in
Athens it is helping build much of the
infrastructure for the 2004 Olympics. (pp. 11–21)
In Munich, Siemens is creating a new
open urban district, including office
buildings, 1,500 apartments, kinder-
gartens, restaurants and hotels. (p. 23)
Municipalities are setting up e-gov-
ernment systems to help improve their
relations with citizens. Smartcards with
biometric data are being used as per-
sonal IDs, thereby enhancing security,
while online dealings with public au-
thorities are cutting costs. (p. 22, 29)
Telematics systems will help reduce
traffic jams in metropolitan areas.
Siemens is setting up traffic-manage-
ment centers and creating systems
that use sensors and intelligent soft-
ware to automatically adjust traffic lights
in line with traffic flow. Electronic tickets
are making public transport more conve-
nient, as are automated subway trains
that run at 90-second intervals. (p. 24)
In the future, mobile terminals could
serve as guides in cities. Siemens al-
ready offers a range of location-based
services, e.g. cell phones that function
like walkie-talkies, thus facilitating com-
munication between friends. (p. 28)
Networked communication technol-
ogies in the home will open up new
dimensions of comfort, entertainment
and security.Cell phones will open
doors, control kitchen appliances and
alarms, and TVs will download movies
from the Internet. (p. 31)
Executive Vice President Siemens Ltd. China: Peter A. Borger,
Business Development Siemens
Transport Systems, USA: Richard
CEO, Siemens Greece:
Dr. Michael Christoforakos,
Telematics:Hans-Joachim Schade, I&S
Driverless subway in Nuremberg:
Helmut Beismann, TS
Future transport technology:
Hartmut Scherer-Winner, CT SM STP
Electronic tickets:
Patrick Almy, Siemens Switzerland
Mobile services, City on Air, SIMON:
Dr. Thomas Wiemers, ICM
Fritjof Kaiser, CT IC 7
Matthias Schuster, CT IC 5
Intelligent buildings, Chief Technology Officer SBT: Helmut
Managing Director, Siemens-Electrogeräte GmbH:
Roland Hagenbucher,
Cordless telephones as a control and
entertainment centers: Dr. Kurt
Aretz, ICM,
The Smart Home of the future: Dr. Willfried Wienholt, CT SMICA
Prof. Zhang Ao:
Daniel L. Doctoroff:
Prof. William J. Mitchell:
UN population studies:
Traffic management at Siemens:
Futurelife house:
eEurope 2005 Action Plan: http://
Mitchell, William J.,
City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn. MIT Press (1996)
In Brief
There’s new hope for patients with inoperable tumors. A new treatment developed by Siemens in conjunction with the GSI Society for Heavy Ion Re-
search shows promise. Based on irradiation with fast particles, the therapy
destroys tumors permanently with minimum trauma.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Tumors under Fire
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
this sort of radiation to treat other tumors
and to help far more patients.”
Particle therapy takes less time than con-
ventional radiation therapies. Twenty min-
utes of preparation and five to ten minutes
of irradiation for an average of 20 days are
enough to achieve marked remission of
tumors and prevent the growth of new
tumorous tissue. In addition, the treatment
puts patients under a minimum amount of
strain. Those who held jobs were able to
continue working during therapy. Apart
from minor swelling of mucous membranes
and reddening of the skin, there were hardly
any side-effects. These benefits are a result
of the special biological effectiveness of ion
beams (see box).
Pilot System. Using the insights acquired at
the radiation treatment station in Darm-
stadt, GSI experts are designing a pilot sys-
tem for the university clinic in Heidelberg.
But unlike the GSI system, the new accelera-
tor will be operated by a specially trained
team of clinicians rather than by scientists.
By 2006, the Heidelberg center is expected
to have three radiation treatment stations
accommodating roughly 1,000 patients per
year. Two of the treatment stations will be
similar to the radiation treatment station at
GSI, and the third will be equipped with a
rotatable beam-transport system. “This will
allow ion beams to be focused on diseased
tissue from any direction —a feature that
makes it relatively easy to circumvent neigh-
boring critical organs,” explains Haberer. All of the system’s components have
already been individually tested in experi-
ments at GSI. But the system’s structural
limitations and economic requirements re-
present a new challenge. An area measuring
60 by 70 meters will have to accommodate
two ion sources, a linear accelerator only
five meters in length, a synchrotron with six
t really doesn’t seem like a treatment at all
— I get up and drive home as if nothing
has happened. The only thing that reminds
me of the reason for my daily visits to the
research center is the mask that holds my
head precisely in place for the ten-minute
treatment.” That’s how one patient describes
his treatment at the Gesellschaft für Schwer-
ionenforschung (Society for Heavy Ion Re-
search, GSI) accelerator in Darmstadt, Ger-
many. Suffering from a brain tumor that is
too close to his optical nerves and brain
stem for doctors to even contemplate surgi-
cal intervention, this patient, and thousands
with similarly inoperable conditions, would
normally be consigned to a bleak future. But at GSI there’s a new, exceptionally
precise treatment method that may offer an
answer. “Particle therapy,” which uses the
properties of fast proton and ion beams, has
already achieved initial clinical successes.
Furthermore, a partnership between GSI and
Siemens Medical Solutions is expected to set
the stage for specialized clinical centers that
guarantee patients a level of care that corre-
sponds to their requirements. “The height-
ened release of energy by ions at the end of
their trajectory through body tissue in con-
junction with their high biological effective-
ness makes them an outstanding tool for ir-
radiating deep tumors,” explains Dr. Thomas
Haberer, technical project manager for ther-
apy at GSI.
Accepted Therapy.GSI’s story began with
basic research. But by 1997 its grid scanning
process (box) was ready for testing. The fol-
lowing year, a long-term clinical study began
A 60 by 70 meter areaaccommodates two
ion sources, a linear accelerator, a synchrotronand three treatment rooms.
Positively charged ions — like protons or carbon ions — are ideal for irradiating cer-
tain tumors. That’s because they can be brought to high speeds with an accelerator,
and they release their energy in body tissues with great precision. As they are slowed
down by tissues, these ions initially destroy the genetic material in a few cells (the cells
can repair the material in a matter of hours). At a certain depth of penetration, how-
ever, their destructive power is many times greater, and beyond that it quickly dimin-
ishes. This means that it’s possible to precisely define where the particles kill cells, in
all three spatial directions. Penetration depth (z axis) is a function of the ions’ energy,
whereas the lateral deflection of the beam along the x and y axes — the grid scan — is
adjusted using magnetic fields. Ion beams can thus be guided just as precisely as a sur-
geon’s scalpel, but their radiation is less harmful for patient and is also less painful be-
cause surrounding tissues recover quickly. GSI’s accelerator system (see illustration) and the planned system in Heidelberg are
designed to make the most of the grid scanning process. Ions are created in a gas dis-
charge and injected into a system consisting of a linear accelerator and a synchrotron
ring. In the synchrotron, the particles move in a circular path at up to 50 percent of the
speed of light. The synchrotron provides therapy stations with a pulsed particle beam
of a precisely defined energy, focus and intensity, delivering portions that are metered-
out, so to speak. The energy level determines penetration depth; the intensity deter-
mines the irradiance; and the focus determines the decrease in dosage in the sur-
rounding healthy tissue. These parameters can be changed in an instant. Before treatment, a computer tomogram measures the tumor to an accuracy of about
one millimeter. Treatment planners then divide up the tumor volume perpendicular to
the beam axis, defining virtual sections two to three millimeters in thickness, which are
then successively scanned with the ion beam. In the case of typical volumes of 0.5
liters, the radiation parameters must be calculated for approximately 20,000 points.
During treatment planning, a team of specialists selects the optimal settings from a
pre-established library of focal characteristics and intensity levels, allowing precision
treatment of even the most difficult tumors, such as those that have wrapped them-
selves around a healthy organ. (The illustration at top left uses plexiglass disks to show
how a torus is irradiated without affecting the center.)
Ion source
Linear accelerator (to 20% of the speed of light)
Synchrotron ring (par-
ticles moving at 50%
of the speed of light)
Treatment room
A patient’s tumor, divided into 40 to 80
penetration depths (only
three shown here)
Magnets for beam deflection
magnets and a diameter of 20 meters, and
three treatment rooms.
In order to make this new tumor irradia-
tion method accessible to a greater number
of patients, Siemens Medical Solutions and
GSI signed a partnership agreement in Octo-
ber 2003. Using GSI’s patent data, Siemens
is developing a standardized and certified
particle-therapy system for routine clinical
use. In addition, Siemens will also be respon-
sible for production and marketing. The
company foresees that standardized compo-
nents and modular-design systems will
greatly simplify and accelerate the planning,
startup and licensing of future radiation
treatment facilities. “With this commitment to particle
therapy, we’re emphasizing our clear-cut
intention to use innovative solutions to build
on Siemens Medical Solutions’ leading mar-
ket position in oncology,” says Dr. Walter
Folberth, project manager for particle ther-
apy at Siemens. “Our customers are also
increasingly demanding a provider of com-
prehensive solutions with medical expertise
in oncology, diagnostic imaging and infor-
mation technology integration for all work
processes,” he says.
Anja Stemmer
with more than 250 patients at the National
Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Ger-
many. “Today,” says Prof. Walter Henning,
scientific director of GSI, “our therapy is ac-
cepted for some conditions, such as skull
base tumors. But to fully develop the poten-
tial of this innovative technology, it would
be advisable to conduct clinical tests on
other tumorous areas as well.” With some tumors, conventional treat-
ment methods — from surgical removal and
chemotherapy to radiological treatment and
combination therapies — come up against
biological limits. These can be malignant
growths that are difficult to reach, for exam-
ple, or that lie near critical organs, as with
brain tumors and tumors at the base of the
skull. Another field of application comprises
soft-tissue sarcomas and prostate carcino-
mas, which are surrounded by sensitive
tissues. For these conditions, particle ther-
apy is a new and effective course of treat-
ment. “The results of particle therapy have ex-
ceeded our expectations,” says Dr. Jürgen
Debus, medical director of Clinical Radiology
in Heidelberg. “The tumors were destroyed
quickly and permanently without damaging
healthy tissues. We would now like to use
Schematic illustration of GSI’s treatment station in Darmstadt.
Protons or carbon ions are focused
with pinpoint accuracy on tumor
areas to be destroyed. NATURAL RESOURCES
Protection against blackouts
Intelligent sensors and software
can improve the transmission ca-
pacity of power networks — and
therefore help to prevent large-
scale blackouts.
Alternative power generation
Facilities that use geothermal
power to produce electricity are
environmentally friendly. A new
technology makes them universally practical.
Less is more Energy consumption in industri-
alized countries could theoreti-
cally be cut in half, thereby gen-
erating huge savings.
Trading in greenhouse gases Starting in 2005, it will be possi-
ble to buy and sell emission cer-
tificates in the EU. While creating
a new commercial playing field,
this will also open up new busi-
ness opportunities.
Emission-free coal-fired power plants No pollutants and no carbon diox-
ide emissions. New technologies
will reduce the negative environ-
mental impact of coal.
Page 54
Page 57
Page 44, 49
Page 47
Page 53
The CEO of fictitious energy consulting company “Energy for Us”
uses a large screen to present new locations for innovative power plants.
The company helps energy providers
in the global power network to update their plants and optimally
combine their output, regardless of whether such power plants are coal-fired, combined-cycle facilities,
wind parks or solar facilities.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Unlimited Power
Even in 2010, fossil fuels will continue to meet most of
our energy needs. However, thanks to companies like “Energy for Us,” power-plant efficiency will be higher and
the use of renewable energy sources will be on the rise. W
ow! That’s a strong wind!” Arthur Can-
ning is totally immersed in the 3D sim-
ulation on his interactive touchscreen. In just
a few months — before the end of 2010 — a
series of wind parks are to go into operation
not far from the Atlas range of mountains in
Morocco. The facility will produce more elec-
trical power than all the offshore parks that
have been built to date in the North and
Baltic Seas. Moreover, thanks to the recent
expansion of the “Union for the Co-ordina-
tion of Transmission of Electricity” (UCTE)
power network to North Africa via Gibraltar,
As the world’s population grows, so too does demand for energy.
Today, this primarily means more coal, oil and gas. However, re-
serves of fossil fuels are on the wane, and greenhouse gases such
as carbon dioxide pose a threat to our climate. Here’s a look at
how we can satisfy our need for more energy while reducing our
consumption of raw materials and cutting emissions.
Energy for
Tomorrow’s World
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
ithout a doubt, one of the most hotly
debated questions of the moment is
how we are going to satisfy the growing de-
mand for energy over the coming decades. It
looks certain that the world’s population will
grow to around eight billion by 2030. More-
over, strong economic growth in Asia and
other emerging economies will lead to a sub-
stantial increase in energy demand, particu-
larly electricity. We therefore need to tap
fresh sources of raw materials and open up
regions with new resources. Supplying the
world with electricity, heat and cooling sys-
tems poses a massive challenge — not least
when this has to be achieved in an economi-
cally, ecologically and socially acceptable
In a report entitled “World Energy, Tech-
nology and Climate Policy Outlook” (WETO)
from May 2003, the EU Commission con-
cludes that the consumption of primary en-
ergy will increase by around 70 percent be-
tween now and 2020. According to “World
Energy Outlook 2002,” a report published by
the International Energy Agency (IEA) in
Paris, electricity production in particular is
forecast to increase substantially more
quickly than the world’s population (2.4 per-
cent as opposed to one percent per year).
The World Energy Council in London and the
IEA forecast that if nothing is done, the
global output of carbon dioxide (CO
) will in-
crease by almost 50 percent by 2020. Other studies based on different assump-
tions and various factors — such as more
efficient power-plant technologies or the
increased use of renewable energy resources
— come to similar conclusions. They all
agree that energy consumption and CO
emissions will rise substantially unless eco-
nomic growth can somehow be uncoupled
from energy use world-wide.
King Fossil. According to a study by the Fed-
eral Office of Geosciences and Raw Materials
(BGR) in Hanover, Germany, nonrenewable
sources of energy still cover around 90 per-
cent of the world’s primary energy needs.
“Despite the enormous growth in the use of
renewable energy, we’ll still see nonrenew-
able sources dominating over the coming
decades,” says Thomas Thielemann, a scien-
tist at the Department of Primary Energy at
the BGR. “And that’s for the simple reason
that renewable energy is still too expensive
and won’t be able to provide the required
amount of electricity for some time to come.” China, for example, whose GDP has been
growing at a breathtaking rate of between
seven and nine percent for a number of
years, plans to meet its energy needs largely
with power generated from cheap coal.
China is the world’s biggest producer of coal,
followed by the U.S. Of the 3.5 billion tons of
coal produced worldwide each year, China
accounts for one billion tons. Despite the
high level of consumption today, the BGR
calculates that there will be enough coal to
meet current demand for a good 200 years
to come. “Calculated on a long-term basis,
trade in coal will increase annually by an
average of between one and two percent,”
says Thielemann.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
it will be possible to transmit the electricity
generated in Morocco to nearly all European
countries. Russia will also soon be linked up,
as will the Middle East via a connection
through Turkey. Arthur, who is a UCTE repre-
sentative, enjoys working with Energy for Us.
The company’s share price skyrocketed in
2008, when more stringent regulations gov-
erning greenhouse gases went into effect. Not a surprising development, given that
Energy for Us not only provides consulting
for operators of conventional power plants
who wish to upgrade their facilities, but also
develops and implements its own concepts
for emission-free power plants. In other
words, it is involved in everything from coal-
fired Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle
(IGCC) units with CO
2 separation and storage
capability all the way to wind, solar and geo-
thermal facilities and solar-chimney power
plants. Syria will also soon be joining the UCTE,
which coordinates the interests of power-net-
work operators in the regions where it is ac-
tive. “It would be a great idea to build a new
solar-chimney power plant near Ar Raqqah,”
says Energy for Us Managing Director Chris-
tine Paul. She uses her index finger to zoom
in on the area surrounding Ar Raqqah. “Our
simulation shows that such a facility could
continually provide the network with about
200 megawatts of power,” she reports. “It would have to be huge!” Arthur ex-
claims. “Well, the tower would be 1,000 me-
ters high, and the glass-covered surface
would be seven kilometers in diameter,” says
Christine. “We’ve already calculated the facil-
ity’s stability, efficiency and profitability using
data from a 200-megawatt solar-chimney
plant in Australia. That plant’s been running
without a hitch since some months. Our cal-
culations incorporated all the parameters, in-
cluding total hours of sunlight, wind speed,
risk of severe weather and earthquakes, sur-
face conditions, pollution level and surround-
ing infrastructure.” “Great,” says Arthur. “And what about the
geothermics? What were the results of the
test drilling in Turkey?” “Most of the tests
were very successful,” says Christine, “which
means we’ll soon start construction. Unfortu-
nately, however, one of the projects revealed
that the bedrock properties aren’t suitable.”
“Can you stay within budget?” “Definitely. In
fact, we even originally figured in the possi-
bility of two unsuccessful test bores. Besides,
drilling costs are now 50 percent lower than
they were for the geothermal co-generation
plant in Basel in 2004, so there’s no possibil-
ity of a financial bottleneck here. By the way,
the Basel power plant produces enough en-
ergy for 5,000 homes: 30 megawatts of ther-
mal power and three megawatts of electrical
power. The newest geothermal power plants
will be even more powerful.” “Good,” says Arthur. “We discussed a so-
lar unit in southern Spain last week, so that
leaves the IGCC units. Is anything new going
on at the German pilot facility with CO
2 sepa-
ration capability?” Christine zooms in on Ger-
many. “We’ve recently been able to reduce
the electricity-generation price using some
technical innovations. But when it comes to
efficiency ratings, the hard-coal-fired pilot
unit doesn’t measure up to conventional
steam power plants. We don’t expect emis-
sion-free IGCC power plants to become com-
petitive until 2020, but we’ll keep moving
ahead with construction of clean coal-fired
plants, and we hope that the UCTE will con-
tinue to provide funding.”
Arthur pauses to consider this. “The
member states are currently discussing this
issue,” he says. “And the initial signals are
very positive, especially now that China has
expressed strong interest in our research re-
sults and the UCTE is very interested in close
cooperation with Asia. The coal reserves
there are enormous.” “And what about Rus-
sia, with its natural gas fields?” Christine in-
quires. “Does the UCTE plan to take it on as a
new member soon?” “Yes, before the year is
out,” Arthur replies. “We’ve been planning
this for a long time, but we’ve had to post-
pone it because of fears that it could result in
fluctuations in our huge power network. But
now new technologies, especially in the area
of active dampening elements, have enabled
us to deal with such a contingency. Our
motto, ‘Unlimited Power,’ is becoming more
and more of a reality,” Arthur concludes with
a confident smile. Ulrike Zechbauer
Workers (right) inspect a gas turbine
in the combined-cycle power plant at
Paka, Malaysia, a turnkey project com-
pleted by Siemens in 1994. The plant
has been in almost continuous opera-
tion ever since. The latest combined-
cycle power plants (left) achieve elec-
trical efficiencies of almost 60 percent.
With cogeneration of heat and power,
the overall efficiency can reach 85 percent — many times that of older plants. WHERE WLL ELECTRI CI TY COME FROM I N
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Worldwide electricity generation by
source (in 1,000s of TWh)
Other *
* Wind, Sun, Biomass …
Water Nuclear Natural gas Oil
1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Global power plant capacity by source
(in 1,000s of GW)
Other *
Water Nuclear Diesel Gas turbines
Combined cycle
considerations. For example, if a CO
leads to a substantial increase in the price of
electricity generated from coal or gas, some
experts expect that nuclear power could ex-
perience a real renaissance. With the generation of hydroelectric
power forecast to increase by 1.8 percent a
year, its share in the world’s power supply will
remain the same or even decrease slightly.
“On the other hand,” points out Frank
Haffner from the Strategic Energy Field at
Siemens Corporate Technology in Erlangen,
Germany, “renewable sources of energy, such
as wind and solar power, will post the
strongest growth at more than six percent
per year. But their overall contribution is so
small that it will still only account for approx-
imately three percent of the world’s total
power supply by 2020.”
Synthetic Future? According to the EU’s WETO
report, energy demand will grow at about the
same rate in all major sectors of the world
economy. Today, for instance, industry ac-
counts for around 35 percent of total energy
consumption, transportation a further 25 per-
cent, and private households and other con-
sumers the remaining 40 percent. In the trans-
portation area, oil remains the number one
source of energy. Assuming that demand stays
at today’s level, WETO predicts that “conven-
tional oil reserves could reach alarmingly low
levels after 2030.” The Oil Depletion Analysis
Center in London goes even further, forecast-
ing that oil production will peak by 2010, so
that the search for alternative oil supplies — in-
cluding intensive processing of oil sand — will
have to be greatly intensified in the near
future. This, in turn, will inevitably lead to an
increase in production costs. Siemens’ studies
predict that more and more synthetic liquid
fuels, initially produced from natural gas and
later coal, will help to meet growing demand
(see p. 51).
But the question as to when fossil fuels
will run out is ultimately irrelevant. In the
final analysis, what should concern us is not
how long the world’s oil, coal and gas re-
serves will last, but rather the amount of car-
bon dioxide with which the international
community proposes to burden the atmos-
phere. Today, engineers are working fever-
ishly to develop power plants that are more
efficient and emit as little carbon dioxide and
as few pollutants into the air as possible. This
has led to radically new designs for coal-fired
power stations, which first convert the coal
into gas before power generation — and can
even be combined with gas-liquefaction
techniques (see p. 44). Such power stations will have to ap-
proach the high efficiency of today’s com-
bined-cycle power plants, which, in turn, will
require even more intensive efforts to en-
hance turbine efficiency. The advantage of
this type of power plant is that it produces
hardly any emissions. In addition, it would be
relatively easy to separate the carbon dioxide
from such a plant and store it underground
(see p. 49). New power plant technologies
are also being developed for regenerative
energy sources. These include geothermal
plants that put the earth’s heat to work (see
p. 53) or plants that use tidal currents.
Over the next 20 years, some 200,000
megawatts of generating capacity will have
to be replaced in Europe alone. For the sake
of comparison, a large coal-fired power plant
produces around 1,000 MW. This prospect
bodes well for the environment since, regard-
less of which technology is used, all new
power plants will be high-efficiency facilities.
In the WETO report, the EU Commission
notes that “in 2030, more than half the elec-
tricity produced will come from technologies
first developed in the 1990s.” In other words,
as the age of wasteful energy generation
slowly but surely comes to an end, the future
will belong to economical, high-performance
power plants. Tim Schröder
Energy can be saved in a variety of ways, as indicated by the heat losses of a typical
house (left), or by efficiency improvements,
as exemplified by a new type of turbine
blade (center and right). Sources: Siemens PGCS, IEAWorld Energy Outlook 2002
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
a radical reduction in energy consumption in
Germany,” he says, pointing out that renovat-
ing old buildings, sophisticated temperature-
control systems and low-energy houses could
help cutting energy consumption. “In Ger-
many, we currently consume an average of
240 thermal kilowatt-hours (kWh) per square
meter of occupied space. Targeted action
would reduce that to between 50 and 60
kWh in the coming decades,” he says. All in
all, this would cut total energy consumption
in Germany by some 12 to 15 percent.
But experts agree that more is required
than increases in energy efficiency and en-
ergy savings if we are to meet the world’s
growing demand for power. The appetite for
electricity is particularly large, as the emerg-
ing and developing economies strive to gain
a stake in the prosperity enjoyed by the
industrial nations. The IEA estimates that
global power production will double from
15,500 terawatt-hours (TWh — billion kilo-
watt-hours) in 2000 to more than 31,500
TWh in 2030. Providing that kind of capacity
will require a sophisticated energy mix.
Prof. Rolf Kreibich, Director of the Berlin-
based Institute of Future Studies and Tech-
nology Assessment (IZT), calls for more-effi-
cient power plants and increased efforts to
save energy. “With efficiency as low as 25
percent, the standard of power plants in
Eastern Europe, China and India is still disas-
trous,” he says. Modern combined-cycle
power plants achieve an efficiency level of
almost 60 percent. And when they are allied
with cogeneration — i.e. a district heating
system — that figure reaches as high as 85
percent. “If the countries in question don’t
make their power plants more efficient, the
current rate of economic growth will become
untenable,” Kreibich predicts. In particular,
it’s the economies with high growth rates
that need rapidly to enhance the efficiency
of their production plants, power plants, and
heating systems for buildings. “If not, high
level of energy consumption will ultimately
harm their economies, since it will cause
serious environmental problems and have a
major impact on public health. Things to
worry about here include air pollution and
contamination of water supplies, the ground,
and the food chain.”
Big Savings. Kreibich is also seriously con-
cerned about energy efficiency in industrial
nations (see p. 57). “We’ve found that a more
rational use of fossil fuels would bring about
Electrical Full-load hours Invest- Power
output Efficiency per annum ment generation
MW % h E/ kW Ect / kWh
Nuclear 1,600 36 8,000 1,700 4.4
Coal 700 46 7,000 700 3.4
Lignite 850 43.5 8,000 750 3.3
Combined cycle (natural gas) 700 58 7,000 400 3.8
Hydroelectric 700 5,000 1,800 5.6
Wind (coast) > 1 2,500 700 5.8
Photovoltaic > 1 2,400 6,000 43.7
IGCC (see p. 44) 700 51 7,000 1,300 4.2
IGCC with CO
separation 700 45 7,000 1,540 4.8
Combined cycle with CO
sep.700 52 7,000 560 4.4
Costs have been calculated on the basis of an assumed operating life of 30 years (50 years for nuclear energy), an amortization period
of 15 years, 70% borrowed capital, and 8% discount. CO
separation (see p. 49) has been considered without liquefaction, transport and
The question is not :“How long will fossil
fuelreserves last
?” Instead it is:“How
much CO
can we afford to produce?”
Powered with Gas. Experts at Siemens pre-
dict that power production will rise by 2.4
percent every year between now and 2020.
At 2.1 percent per year, coal-fired power gen-
eration is expected to experience slightly less
growth. Siemens anticipates that the major-
ity of new, efficient power plants will run on
gas. The company therefore forecasts the
biggest growth in the power plant sector to
be in gas-fired generation, which is expected
to rise by 5.6 per cent a year. Oil-fired gener-
ation — already comparatively low — is ex-
pected to decline even further in the future. By contrast, nuclear power’s contribution
to the energy picture will grow until 2020,
largely because the U.S. and Asia plan to in-
crease the number of their nuclear power
plants. Over the past two years, a number of
nuclear power plants have entered service in
China. In Finland, meanwhile, Framatome, a
joint venture between Siemens and France’s
Areva, is building Europe’s first-ever pressur-
ized-water reactor with a rating of some
1,600 megawatts. The facility, which will be
operated by utility TVO, is due to be com-
pleted in 2009. Nevertheless, the importance
of nuclear as a proportion of the world’s
overall power supply is expected to decline as
old plants are decommissioned and compar-
atively few new ones are built to replace
them. As far as the long term is concerned,
the future of nuclear power remains unclear.
Major factors here include not only public ac-
ceptance and the issue of how to dispose of
spent fuel elements safely, but also economic
Source: Siemens PGCS 4
Zero emission coal-fired
power plants? The dream may soon become a reality —
thanks to integrated coal gasification technology.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
A future with coal? State-of-
the-art technologies for low-
emission combustion could
herald a renaissance for coal-
fired power plants. Such technologies transform
hard coal into a synthesis
gas that generates elec-
tricity in a gas turbine. N
atural gas or coal? Until now, purely in
terms of investment costs and effi-
ciency, it’s been easy for energy providers to
make that decision. Combined-cycle plants
— i.e. a combination of gas and steam tur-
bines — have an efficiency rating of around
58 percent, while coal-fired plants only attain
an efficiency of slightly more than 48 per-
cent. Moreover, at 400 euros per kilowatt
(kW) of power, the investment costs for com-
bined-cycle plants are much lower than for
coal-fired plants, which cost more than 700
euros per installed kW. It’s therefore no surprise that only com-
bined-cycle power plants have been built in
the U.S. in the last four years. An EU study
entitled “World Energy, Technology and Cli-
mate Policy Outlook,” which predicts that the
amount of electricity produced from natural
investing heavily in new plants until 2006. If
investors continue to opt for natural gas,
there will be no way to avoid imports. The
U.S. currently produces nearly all of the nat-
ural gas it requires, but forecasts say that im-
ports will account for at least 25 percent of
total consumption by 2030. The gas will have
to be transported from other continents in
liquid form. This will be expensive — and
there’s also the danger of terrorist attack.
Coal, on the other hand, is available in
sufficient amounts around the world. Fur-
thermore, the EU predicts that coal prices will
hold steady until 2030. The U.S. Department
of Energy therefore launched the Clean Coal
Power Initiative in 2002, which will provide
half of the investment costs for new coal-
fired power plants over a ten-year period, re-
gardless of which technology is employed.
The only condition is that the facilities fulfill
strict environmental and efficiency criteria.
“Siemens is prepared for a renewed increase
in demand for coal-fired plants,” says Dr. Georg
Rosenbauer, an energy expert in strategic
planning at Siemens Power Generation (PG)
in Erlangen. Particularly encouraging is the
fact that the gasification technology Siemens
has already tested enables hard coal to be
used in gas turbines or combined-cycle
processes. And, when it comes to reducing
pollutant emissions, the technology can even
compete with the clean and highly efficient
combined-cycle power plants that use nat-
ural gas. From Coal to Gas. A gasification and com-
bined-cycle unit is referred to by specialists as
an “Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle”
(IGCC) power plant. At such a facility, a liquid
or solid fuel (e.g. hard coal) is converted into
a gas and then burned in a gas turbine. The
advantage of this process is that pollutants
can be separated before combustion begins
— or never form in the first place. IGCC
plants that use hard coal still aren’t as eco-
nomical as conventional steam power plants.
Nevertheless, “this young technology harbors
substantial potential for improvement in
terms of both technology and economy,”
says Jürgen Karg, who is responsible for IGCC
Marketing at Siemens PG.
IGCC facilities that are currently commer-
cially operated as power plants or used in the
petrochemical industry in Europe already of-
fer one big benefit. They’ll “eat” anything —
whether it’s a mixture of coal and biomass,
as is the case in Buggenum, Holland; coal
and petroleum coke in Puertollano, Spain; or
liquid refinery residue (e.g. asphalt) in Priolo,
Italy. They can digest nearly any fuel and
convert it into a hydrogen-rich synthesis gas
that can be used to operate a specially
designed gas turbine or a fuel cell. What’s
more, refineries can use the synthesis gas to
create hydrogen for their own needs.
According to Siemens market analyses,
IGCC units could play an important role in the
near future when it comes to using refinery
residue, especially since gasification of liquid
residue is much less expensive than coal gasi-
fication. Siemens PG has estimated that by
2010, up to 120 gigawatts of additional out-
put could be produced worldwide by upgrad-
ing existing refineries and building new ones.
The key factors driving this development are
more stringent environmental regulations
and demand for ever better product quality.
The residue created as a byproduct of crude-
IGCC technology separates pollutants
before combustion
begins, or com-
pletely prevents them from forming. strictive legislation would play into the hands
of IGCC proponents, while conventional coal-
fired plants that burn powdered coal and pu-
rify exhaust gases would retain their appeal
in the event of less restrictive legislation.
IGCC units can separate pollutants such as
sulfur or vanadium from the synthesis gas
and then concentrate and reutilize them.
And CO
can be more easily separated from
the compressed synthesis gas than from flue
gas (see p. 49). However, Rosenbauer
believes that IGCC plants with CO
won’t be competitive until 2020. Breaking Efficiency Records.Until then, en-
gineers will attempt to gradually increase the
gas worldwide will triple between now and
2020, also confirms the trend toward com-
bined-cycle plants. The situation is neverthe-
less being reconsidered, especially in the U.S.
“Lately, there’s been increased interest in
clean coal-fired plants,” says Frank Bevc,
Director of New Technologies at Siemens
Power Generation (PG) in the U.S. The reason
for this is that natural-gas prices have
increased sharply since September 11, 2001
— from $2.60 to $5.60 per gigajoule. Unlike
Germany, where power plants with a com-
bined output of approximately 40 gigawatts
will need to be updated by 2020, the U.S. still
has excess capacity, so it won’t have to begin
oil processing must either be disposed of
properly or else further processed. One solu-
tion is offered by gasification and IGCC tech-
nology. Siemens PG and its partners have
developed a concept for a standardized IGCC
facility in the 500-megawatt performance
class, for which there is a particular need.
Siemens is providing the power-plant compo-
nents, while the partner companies are
responsible for the gasification process and
the subsequent purification of the gas.
Whether, and when, IGCC power plants
that use coal will pay off in terms of directly
generating electricity depends on legislative
decisions regarding pollutant emissions. Re-
efficiency of conventional power plants. Re-
placing old facilities with new technologies
would offer the potential for reducing CO
emissions by 40 million tons per year in Ger-
many alone — 13 percent of the total CO
emissions from power plants. Upgrading ac-
tivities are already well advanced for brown-
coal facilities, which account for 26 percent
of total electrical output in Germany — the
highest among all fossil-fuel energy sources.
New, highly efficient power plants are
already operating in central and eastern
Germany, and the RWE Group opened the
world’s largest brown-coal power plant
near Niederaußern in 2002. The facility is
This IGCC power plant in Spain
processes coal and petroleum coke.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Paying the price for hot air. Carbon dioxide will be offered at market prices when the EU introduces emission-certificate trading next year. The goal is to avoid future emissions in those places where it is cheapest to do so. N A T U R A L R E S O U R C E S
In 2005, emission-rights
trading for carbon dioxide
will be introduced in the EU. Not only will this
change basic corporate
economics; it will also
open up new sources of
profit for the most efficient players. Trading with
Greenhouse Gases
ack in October 2003, the European
Union passed a guideline that will lead
to the first phase of emission rights trading in
2005, thus making the EU a global pioneer in
this area. According to the Kyoto Protocol
agreement of 1997, in which many countries
pledged to reduce their emissions of green-
house gases by at least five percent by 2008
to 2012 (compared with 1990 levels), inter-
national emission-certificate trading was not
due to begin until 2008 (see Pictures of the
Future, Spring 2002, p. 67). The Kyoto treaty
will go into effect when the signatories ac-
count for at least 55 percent of emissions
produced in 1990. However, the 117 coun-
tries that have so far agreed to join are
responsible for only 44.2 percent of the emis-
sions. Russia, which accounts for 17.4 per-
cent, could make up the difference, but it
won’t reach a decision until the end of 2004. As a result of emissions trading, one ton
of CO
will be given a market price. The goal
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
The conversion of a liquid or solid fuel — such as hard coal or refinery
residue — into a so-called synthesis gas is conducted in several stages: ➔Air separation (1):Pure oxygen is needed for the gasification process. To liquify oxygen, air is compressed to between ten and 20 bars with the
help of the gas turbine’s (7) compressor (2) or a separate compressor. The oxygen is separated through distillation at a temperature of approximately -200 degrees Celsius.
➔Gasification (3):Chemically speaking, this is a combustion process with
pure oxygen. However, it involves less oxygen than would be necessary for
complete combustion. The process produces a crude gas consisting mainly of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H
). Steam is then used to transform
CO into carbon dioxide (CO
) and additional hydrogen. There are three procedures for gasifying solid fuels such as coal or petroleum coke. IGCC technology primarily utilizes what is known as the entrained flow gasification
process. Here, coal dust is pressurized and fed into a burner along with nitro-
gen as a carrier gas. It is then converted into a synthesis gas in the gasification
unit using oxygen and steam. ➔Crude gas cooling (4):The synthesis gas has to be cooled before further
processing. This cooling process creates steam, which is used to generate
electricity in the combined-cycle plant’s steam turbine. ➔Cleaning (5):After the gas has been cooled, filters are used to capture ash
Air separation at
-200° C
Gasification unit Power plant facility (combined cycle)
Solid or liquid fuel:
Coal, biomass,
residue, or
similar material
Gasification unit
Oxygen O
Nitrogen N
Flue gas
Gas-turbine com-
bustion chamber
Gas turbine Exhaust
Water Condensate
Water tank
Gas purification
Cleaned gas
Crude gas
particles, after which carbon dioxide can also be removed, if required. Other
pollutants such as sulfur and heavy metals are also captured using chemical
and mechanical processes. This achieves the fuel purity necessary for oper-
ation of the gas turbines. ➔Combustion:The hydrogen-rich gas is mixed with nitrogen from the air
separation process, or else with steam, before entering the gas turbine’s
combustion chamber (6). This reduces the combustion temperature and
largely suppresses the formation of nitrogen oxides. The flue gas created
through combustion with air flows into the gas turbine blades (7). This gas
mainly consists of nitrogen, CO
and steam. Because of this combination
with nitrogen or water the gas’s specific energy content is reduced to ap-
proximately 5,000 kilojoules per kilogram. Natural gas has ten times that,
which is why the fuel-mass flow through the gas-turbine burner in an IGCC
power plant has to be around ten times higher than in a natural-gas unit.
➔Exhaust cooling (8):After the flue gas has settled in the gas turbine and
heat has been recovered in the steam generator, the exhaust gas is released
into the atmosphere. The steam flows resulting from crude-gas and ex-
haust-gas cooling are combined and fed into the steam turbine (9). After
settling, the steam is sent back through the condenser and the feeder water
tank into the water/steam cycle again. The gas and stream turbines are con-
nected to a single generator (10) that produces electrical energy.
equipped with a Siemens steam turbine that
has an efficiency rating of more than 43 per-
cent at a net output of 965 MW. Thus, the
plant not only saves on fuel but also emits
three million tons less CO
per year com-
pared with a 600-MW block built in 1974,
whose efficiency rating is only 35 percent.
But Niederaußem is just the beginning of a
series of brown-coal plants that are equipped
with optimized technology (known as BoA
facilities). Plans call for efficiency to be raised
to over 50 percent through two measures.
Source: Siemens PG
➔ The first involves drying out the brown
coal, which can contain up to 60 percent wa-
ter. Water is currently removed with flue gas
at 1,000 °C — a process requiring a lot of en-
ergy. A new fine-grain drying procedure
should increase efficiency in BoA-Plus power
plants by four percentage points to over 47
percent beginning in 2015. This procedure
efficiently employs energy from evaporated
water for the drying process.
➔The second measure is to raise steam tem-
perature, which would yield an additional
four percentage points in efficiency. New Materials for Efficient Turbines. The
laws of physics tell us that the greater the
temperature difference between the steam
flowing in and out of the process, the higher
the efficiency. Steam at the Niederaußem
facility enters the high-pressure turbine at
600°C and a pressure of just under 300 bars.
The problem here is that “conventional mate-
rials cannot withstand temperatures above
620°C,” according to Uwe Hoffstadt, who is
responsible for turbine design at Siemens PG
in Mülheim an der Ruhr. In the Komet 650 project, which ended
in 2002, several German companies and in-
stitutes attempted to find materials that
could withstand temperatures 50 degrees
higher than usual. To this end, a high-tem-
perature test facility was built at the VEW
power plant in Westphalia. “Nickel-based
materials performed best over 16,500 hours
of full-capacity operations,” says Christian
Stolzenberger from VGB Powertech, the Euro-
pean association for power-generating utili-
ties, which coordinated the project. The Euro-
pean project AD700, which will become a
VGB initiative in 2004, has an even more am-
bitious goal: to achieve operation at 700° C.
RWE also studies the possibility to realize
-free brown-coal power plants. The prob-
lem here is that the associated efficiency
losses, and consequently the costs of produc-
ing electricity, are very high. The strategy for
the next few years is therefore clear for Dr.
Johannes Ewers, who is responsible for the
further development of power-plant technol-
ogy at RWE Power AG: “Our top priority is to
boost efficiency.” Bernd Müller
ven when oil finally runs out, there’ll be
enough coal left to meet our energy needs
for several centuries. But if the estimated
5,000 billion tons of carbon resources were
burned the same way as today, the amount
of carbon dioxide (CO
) emitted would be 17
times greater than the total for the past 150
years. Merely increasing the efficiency of
power plants will therefore not be enough to
prevent a dramatic greenhouse effect. One
possible solution is to separate CO
from ex-
haust gases and store it underground. This
would allow us to continue to use fossil fuels
to generate power, and give us time to devel-
op a sustainable hydrogen-based economy.
But the separation and storage of CO
the so-called sequestration — is expensive,
costing between 30 and 42 euros per ton of
Due to higher emissions taxes,
the removal of carbon dioxide
from the exhaust gases pro-
duced by power plants could
become not only environmen-
tally but also economically de-
sirable in 15 to 20 years. Pilot
projects are already under way.
Deep-Sixing Carbon Dioxide
. Nevertheless, as with other new tech-
nologies, these costs will fall significantly in
the future. Furthermore, emitting CO
become also expensive, either through emis-
sion-certificate trading (see p. 47) or because
of taxes. “Due to these two trends, CO
2 se-
questration will probably become profitable
in 15 to 20 years,” says Frank Haffner of the
strategy field for Energy at Siemens Corpo-
rate Technology. To ensure that the technol-
ogy is ready by then, the EU initiated the
SINK research pro-
jects in early 2004, and is providing around
15 million euros of funding for each.
Detergents for CO
.Scrubbing carbon diox-
ide out of gas mixtures is a long-established
process, and industrial companies sometimes
do this to exhaust gases from power plants.
Such steps have not been motivated by envi-
ronmental considerations, but to re-use the
gas in oil or food production. To extract CO
flue gas is channeled through a solvent such
as ethanolamine. After the amine binds the
, the cleaned exhaust gas can be released
into the atmosphere. Then, the “detergent”
has to be heated so that the CO
is again re-
leased — a process that consumes a lot of
energy. Flue-gas scrubbing and CO
tion reduces a coal-fired power plant’s effi-
ciency by 11 to 14 percentage points, so
operators have to use more fuel to generate
the same amount of power.
One advantage of this approach is that
the changes needed for power plants are
minimal. However, a chemical plant is re-
On this natural-gas facility in the North Sea, Statoil pumps one million tons of CO
2 a year into the earth’s crust.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
In 2002, participants from 12 companies simulated nine years of emissions trading in
Karlsruhe, Germany, as part of a project led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and
Innovation Research (ISI). During the project, they bought and sold emission certificates
via an Internet trading platform. First, the companies determined their emissions for
1990 and 2000 and entered these figures and the corresponding production volumes
into a special database. Future production volumes were then estimated and used as a
basis to extrapolate future emission levels. The emission targets were set on the basis of
this information and previously registered technical reduction measures. In the next
phase, free emission certificates were issued in accordance with a special key. Then the
actual trading began. Those companies that remained below their emission targets were
entitled to sell the difference. Those that exceeded them, on the other hand, had to buy
additional certificates or take steps to reduce their emissions. To help the participants, a
tool was set up for calculating the minimum price of carbon dioxide at which reduction
measures would make economic sense. For example, if it costs ten euros per ton of carbon dioxide to increase a plant’s efficiency, it was cheaper to do so than to buy more certificates for 15 euros per ton of carbon dioxide. Participants could therefore quickly
and easily see whether investing in a given reduction measure would be worthwhile.
Sanctions of 100 euros per ton of carbon dioxidehad to be paid for excess emissions. The project goal was to prepare the participants for real-life emissions trading. As project
manager Dr. Joachim Schleich from ISI explained, “If you haven’t mastered the rules, you
won’t be able to boost your efficiency.” is to avoid emissions in those places where it
is cheapest to do so. Voluntary trading actu-
ally began in 1996, often internally at inter-
national corporations such as BP. Since then,
sales generated by CO
2 emissions trading
have reached one billion euros worldwide. Everything from Cement to Steel.Pilot pro-
jects have revealed that the problems often
lie in the details. There are some tricky ques-
tions to answer. For instance, how will CO
rights initially be assigned? Who will get
what? How will new countries be integrated?
Emissions trading in the EU is not a straight-
forward matter. After all, it will affect around
10,000 industrial plants across the continent,
from power plants and steelworks to cement
factories. The EU has asked its member states
to draw up national allocation plans for the
certificates by the end of March 2004. These
plans will be used to determine how many
certificates will be issued for the first trading
period (2005 to 2007) and how this process
will be carried out. Overall, the goal is to
issue exactly the number of certificates that
Source: EU data, German Business Institute in Cologne, 47 / 2003 Deutscher Instituts-Verlag
Total emissions in 2001 in millions of
tons of CO
Percentages by which greenhouse-gas
emissions should fall or are allowed to
rise between 1990 and 2012 according
to the Kyoto Protocol
Change from 1990 to 2001 (in %)
will enable EU member states to fulfill their
reduction commitments. Emission-reduction
measures that plant operators have taken
since 1990 — known as “early actions” —
will be taken into account. National govern-
ments also have to verify how they intend to
meet the country-specific reduction obliga-
tions laid down in the Kyoto Protocol. This
includes a declaration of how they will deal
with sectors such as transportation and
households that are not directly affected. Even though the U.S., which emits more
than any other country, does not want
to sign the Kyoto agreement, a voluntary
exchange for certificates has been set up in
Chicago. The first certificates were auctioned
in September 2003, and electronic trading
was launched in mid-December. The Chicago
Climate Exchange (CCX) currently has 32
members, including the city of Chicago and
industrial names like Ford and Motorola. All
of them have committed themselves to cut-
ting their CO
2 emissions by one percent a
year until 2006. Richard L. Sandor, the founder and chair-
man of CCX, was involved in the introduction
of trading for sulfur-dioxide certificates back
in 1995. Now he’s thinking of trading other
raw materials, such as water, on stock ex-
changes. Sandor is convinced that in the fu-
ture more markets will emerge for natural re-
sources that previously seemed inexhaustible
and therefore do not yet have a price tag. He
believes that the financial sector should also
take part in the trading process. After all, the
idea of using emission credits to finance in-
vestments in emission-reducing plants could
well become reality someday. Emissions trad-
ing therefore opens up new opportunities for
As a supplier of energy-efficient products
and solutions, Siemens can help limit CO
emissions worldwide — for example,
through the latest power-plant technology
(see p. 44) or energy-saving measures re-
lated to performance contracting (p. 58). If
state-of-the-art technology were introduced
into all of the coal-fired plants in operation in
the EU today, their CO
2 emissions would be
cut by about 20 percent. Sylvia Trage
rude oil and natural gas meet more than
half of the world’s energy needs. “But due
to economic and demographic developments,
in the next 50 years we’ll have to produce
around one-third more crude oil and about
three times more natural gas than we do
now,” forecasts Wolfgang Stahl from Ger-
many’s Federal Institute for Geosciences and
Natural Materials. The problem is that the age
of cheap oil is coming to an end; according to
the International Energy Agency (IEA), ex-
ploitation of conventional sources will peak
within the next decade. Predicted extra demand could be met by
resources that were previously too expensive
Going for the Gas
As demand for oil increases, attention is shifting to deposits
that were previously too expen-
sive to exploit, such as deep-
sea reserves and oil sands. Another exciting technology is
natural gas liquefaction.
to tap. At today’s oil price of 20 to 30 dollars a
barrel, it would be economically viable to ex-
ploit sources such as oil sands (see box, p. 52)
and remote gas reservoirs. Experts believe that there are large oil and
gas deposits below the ocean floor at water
depths of between 500 and 2,000 meters,
which makes drilling extremely difficult. “Fixed
oil rigs are not up to this task,” explains Fritz
Kleiner of Siemens Power Generation (PG) in
Erlangen. Floating rigs may provide an answer,
but must expend significant amounts of en-
ergy since natural pressure is often too low to
bring the oil the long distance to the surface.
As a result, some of the production systems
will have to be set up on the ocean floor itself.
A whole army of robots will be needed to
build and maintain such underwater plat-
forms. Some will be remote-controlled from
on board a ship, while others will work com-
pletely independently. The materials used in
such facilities will be subjected to enormous
pressure and corrosive seawater. “Their elec-
tronic components will have to be as reliable
as possible, because every repair will be ex-
tremely expensive,” says Kleiner.
With a view to ensuring the survival of
such facilities, a team headed by Joost Wijnant
at Siemens PG in Hengelo, Netherlands, has
developed non-sealed compressors with mag-
The first autonomous pumping sta-
tion will go into operation in 2007 at
a depth of around 1,000 meters off
the Norwegian coast. N A T U R A L R E S O U R C E S
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Underground carbon dioxide is nothing unusual.It is produced during the metamorphosis
of rocks. CO
can also often be found in natural-gas fields such as Statoil’s Sleipner field, where it is unavoidably extracted with the gas. Because of Norway’s high CO
tax, Statoil pumps one
million tons of CO
per year into the Utsira Formation, a salt water imbued sandstone layer
under the North Sea. This strategy saves the company some $50 million per year. According
to Statoil’s Dr. Tore Torp, the Utsira Formation „could hold an estimated 600 billion tons of CO
— enough to accomodate the combined CO
2 emissions of all European power plants for 600
years at current emission rates.” In the U.S., CO
2 is used to extract the remaining petroleum
from nearly depleted oil fields, and most of the gas then stays underground. In one such program, CO
is transported more than 300 kilometers from a coal gasification power plant in
North Dakota to the Weyburn oil field in Canada. At the Sleipner and Weyburn fields, researchers
are studying how the gas behaves and spreads and how it reacts with water and rock.
In early 2004, the EU launched the CO
2 SINK project (see image below), which is being coordinated by the Geoforschungszentrum (GFZ) Potsdam. Its goal is to pump CO
2 from a biomass gasification plant into a layer of porous sandstone below an unused natural-gas
reservoir near Ketzin, where it will be monitored. For the first time ever, researchers plan to
use drill holes to directly observe how the CO
behaves underground. Unlike the Sleipner and
Weyburn fields, Ketzin is located near a major city: Berlin. This will also allow the researchers
to gain experience with respect to approval processes and public acceptance of such projects. Storing CO
underground poses two risks:leakage and acidification of groundwater. Al-
though CO
is non-toxic and is contained, for example, in mineral water and beer, this odor-
less gas is heavier than air and can suffocate people and animals in depressions where there is
no wind. In 1986, large amounts of CO
erupted from the Nyos crater lake in Cameroon, killing
over 1,500 people and all animals in a 14-kilometer radius. Although this situation was very
different from that of the sandstone layer near Berlin, such deposits must be closely monitored.
Power plant with CO
Surface monitoring of CO
Covering layer
Injection wells for various studies (transport, geophysics)
quired to deal with huge amounts of exhaust
gas, as the coal is burned with the help of air.
But normal air consists of only 20 percent
oxygen, while most of the rest is “useless”
nitrogen. One aim of the CASTOR project is
to develop a large CO
-scrubbing research
facility that is also cost-effective. Meanwhile, the ENCAP project is follow-
ing a different approach, involving combus-
tion with pure oxygen, which produces only
fore reduces a power plant’s efficiency by
seven to 11 percentage points. The ENCAP
project involves evaluating new types of
membranes that can effectively extract oxy-
gen without requiring large amounts of en-
ergy. This process will require a new turbine,
which is currently under development.
-Free Combustion.A third, elegant ap-
proach involves extracting CO
2 before com-
bustion takes place. This requires that power
plants be equipped with Integrated Gasifica-
tion Combined Cycle (IGCC, see p. 44) tech-
nology. In an IGCC system, fuel reacts with
oxygen-enriched air or with pure oxygen and
water vapor. The result is synthesis gas,a
mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
But instead of pumping this gas directly into
a combustion chamber, an additional, inter-
mediate step could be employed to trans-
form the IGCC system into a CO
-free power
plant. Here, the synthesis gas is combined
with water vapor to create CO
2 and hydro-
gen. Because the resulting CO
is highly con-
centrated, it can easily be extracted like any
other concentrated gas. The leftover hydro-
gen is then combusted, producing only water
vapor as emissions. This approach also re-
duces power-plant efficiency by seven to
eleven percentage points. As part of the ENCAP project, Siemens
and partners like Alstom Power are develop-
ing burners and combustion chambers that
can process hydrogen-rich gases. “Complete-
ly new technologies are needed because of
the gases’ high flammability and rapid flame
propagation,” says Günter Haupt from Siemens
Power Generation. Changes would also have
to be made to the gas turbines. A burner pro-
totype is due to be tested at the German
Aerospace Center in Cologne in late 2005. This technology has also been endorsed
by the U.S. government and is being sup-
ported by the country’s coal industry and
power suppliers. As part of the FutureGen
initiative, the world’s first CO
-free IGCC
power plant is due to be set up over the next
ten years at a projected cost of one billion
dollars. The facility will use coal to produce
electricity as well as hydrogen. The resulting
2 will be sequestered. Carola Hanisch
and water vapor as exhaust gases and
no nitrogen. The water vapor can then be
easily removed by means of condensation,
with only CO
left over. Chemical scrubbing
is thus no longer necessary. But a gas — oxy-
gen from the atmosphere — also has to be
extracted when using this approach. The
standard method of cooling air until it lique-
fies also consumes a great deal of energy
and is expensive. Using this method there-
Energy from the Earth
Why do you consider geothermal energy
the wave of the future?
Gehrer:It’s the only energy source that is
available around the clock all over the world.
It’s almost inexhaustible, can be utilized on a
decentralized basis in small units, and oper-
ates in a closed cycle, during which it produces
no emissions. Given the problems associated
with CO
, this makes it extremely attractive.
Anyway, fossil sources will soon be exhausted.
That’s what people were saying 40 years
Gehrer:In those days, for every ten barrels
of oil that were used, 40 to 50 barrels of
new oil were discovered. Today, that figure
is only two barrels. We’re sitting on a virtu-
ally inexhaustible supply of geothermal
energy, yet choosing to transport oil, gas
and coal over thousands of kilometers
rather than digging a few kilometers into
the earth.
What about the 200 geothermal power
plants that are already in operation?
Gehrer:Those plants use hot springs in volcanically active regions as their energy
, whether they be in Italy or in Mexico. Here, ground water with a tem-
perature of about 150 to 200 degrees
Celsius is pumped to the surface and
used to produce electricity. Power plants
based on this technology already provide
some 6,700 megawatts worldwide. But
with another technology, known as the Hot-
Dry-Rock process, electricity can now be generated anywhere. The first commercial
power plant of this kind is due to go into Willy Gehrer, 58, has headed Power Systems at Siemens Switzer-
land since 1994. Since 1998 he has been President of ETG Electro-
suisse, the Swiss Electrotechnical Association.
operation in five years in Basel, Switzerland.
It will deliver 30 megawatts of thermal and
three megawatts of electrical power and
supply energy to 5,000 households. Based
on a 20-year amortization plan, the
cost of generating heat by this means is
about 0.02 euros per kilowatt-hour, while
for electricity the figure is around 0.12 euros — this is about the same as the cost of energy from a new hydroelectric or wind-
driven power plant. I’m convinced that in 20 years geothermal power plants will be
delivering ten percent of the total electricity
produced worldwide.
00 – 6,0
00 m
500 – 1,000 m
500 – 1,000 m
Heat ex-
Power generation
Heat distribution
How does the Hot-Dry-Rock process work? Gehrer:Water is forced into the earth at a
depth of four to six kilometers through an injection well. There, it disperses into small
cracks and fissures and is heated through
contact with the rock, which has a tempera-
ture of between 150 and 250 degrees Cel-
sius. The heated, pressurized water then
flows into other wells, which transport it up to a heat exchanger on the surface. The exchanger’s secondary cycle drives a steam
turbine with a generator. The cooled water
then flows back into the injection well. Interview conducted by Ulrike Zechbauer
Only five kilometers from
our location is a virtually inexhaustible energy
source that we have hard-
ly begun to tap: crystalline
rock formations with a
temperature of some 200
degrees Celsius. Using
Hot-Dry-Rock technology,
water can be forced into
these formations and re-
turned to the surface boil-
ing hot via drill holes. It
can then be used to gen-
erate electricity or used
for district heating.
Source: M.O. Häring, Häring GeoProject, 2002
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
In the GTL process, which was developed
by German researchers Franz Fischer and Hans
Tropsch in 1925, methane is converted with
oxygen at high temperatures into “synthesis
gas,” which is a mixture of hydrogen and car-
bon monoxide. This accounts for up to 60 per-
cent of overall production costs. Particularly
expensive is the oxygen, which is obtained by
means of energy-intensive air liquefaction.
“But in ten to 15 years, it may be possible to
cheaply extract oxygen from air with ceramic
membranes similar to the ones in oxide ce-
ramic fuel cells,” states Wutkewicz. Synthesis
gas is also produced in new coal-fired power
plants known as IGCC plants (see p. 44). In stage two of the Fischer-Tropsch
process, synthesis gas reacts to form waxy
paraffins. These long-chain hydrocarbons are
then cracked. Depending on the catalyst
selected, the proportion of the various hydro-
carbons in the crude oil can be varied at will.
The industrial sector prefers intermediate frac-
tions, which are used to produce diesel and
kerosene. But because this production method
is energy-intensive, GTL diesel creates around
the same amount of carbon dioxide as con-
ventional fuels. Designer Fuels.The key advantages of GTL
diesel are that it’s especially clean and con-
tains almost no sulfur or aromatic hydrocar-
bons, such as benzene, which is carcinogenic .
With the help of additives that replace sulfur
and have a similar lubricating effect, GTL
diesel can be used in any diesel engine — and
with fewer emissions of harmful gases, as was
recently confirmed by a test conducted by VW
and Shell. Engine developers are enthusiastic
about GTL diesel. That’s because it paves the way for the
creation of designer fuels that are modified
specifically for certain engine types. “New
emission limits can be adhered to only if fuel
composition is precisely defined,” says Dr. Her-
bert Stocker, who is responsible for coordinat-
ing advanced development at Siemens VDO
Automotive Powertrain in Regensburg. With
this in mind, the EU has already established
that by 2005 diesel may contain no more than
0.005 percent sulfur. And that’s set to drop to
0.001 by 2011.Ute Kehse
In 2003, Canada became the country with the second-largest oil reserves in the world —
practically overnight. OPEC classified oil-sand deposits in the province of Alberta as a “con-
firmed reserve.” According to Natural Resources Canada, a government agency, enough oil
is available in Alberta to satisfy global demand for one hundred years. Oil sand is a mixture
of sand, clay, water and long-chain hydrocarbons (bitumen). As an alternative to strip min-
ing, the hydrocarbons can be extracted using hot, pressurized water vapor, which in some
cases contains solvents. Oil companies pump this vapor into the ground, and the liquefied
bitumen, which no longer contains sand, can then flow out. Converting this tarlike mater-
ial into crude oil is a real technological challenge. Hot sodium-hydroxide solution is used to separate the bitumen from other components. The hydrocarbon chains, some of which
are over a thousand carbon atoms long, are then cracked and enriched with hydrogen.
Following a series of refinement measures, a synthetic crude oil is produced that can be
used to make diesel, gasoline, heavy oil or kerosene. 0
2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030
Barrels per day (millions)
Source: Energy – The Next Fifty Years, OECD 1999
Gas-to-liquid and non-conventional
sources of oil (e.g.
oil sands)
The Sources of Oil
OPEC Middle East
World excl. OPEC countries (Middle East)
The demand for oil will con-
tinue to rise due to population
growth and economic develop-
+ Conventional oil ex-
traction will reach a high point
sometime around 2015.
After that, the focus will increasingly be on non-conven-
tional sources and on oil from
gas-to-liquid production.
(LNG) has been shipped in tankers since the
late 1960s, but oil companies have recently
started chemically converting gas to a syn-
thetic crude oil directly at source. In this gas-
to-liquid (GTL) process, the carbon atoms in
the natural gas (mainly CH
) are formed into
chains containing up to 20 links. Industrial
companies can then use the liquid hydrocar-
bon mixture to produce various fuels, particu-
larly diesel. Today, the process is so efficient that the
cost of sulfur-free GTL diesel is comparable to
that of purified fuels produced with crude oil.
“Lots of new gas refineries will be built in the
coming years,” predicts Mirko Wutkewicz of
Siemens Corporate Technology in Erlangen.
Shell and South Africa’s Saso, for example, are
investing $5 billion in two GTL plants in Qatar.
Plans call for these plants to produce 177,000
barrels of diesel, kerosene, lubricating oils,
naphtha and paraffins per day by 2011.
netic bearings. These do not require any lubri-
cating oil and remain maintenance-free for
many years. “We’ve fitted 15 machines on
land with the compressors,” says Wijnant.
“Later they’ll work offshore, and then we’ll be
able to reach the ocean bed.” The first com-
pletely autonomous underwater pumping sta-
tion is due to be opened at the Ormen Lange
gas field in 2007. The field is operated by sev-
eral oil companies as well as Norway’s state-
run Petoro. The station will be 120 kilometers
off the Norwegian coast at a depth of 800 to
1,100 meters. Due to harsh weather, the area
is only accessible five months a year.
Liquid Natural Gas. While crude oil is becom-
ing increasingly difficult to obtain, plenty of
natural gas is still available. With increasing
gas prices, it now makes economic sense to
utilize this former byproduct of oil extraction
even at remote deposits. Liquefied natural gas
Lights out in New York, radio silence in Italy. Ever-
expanding power networks worldwide seem more
susceptible to disruptions than ever before. But
there are ways to prevent a collapse.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Preventing Blackouts
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
North America shines — but in August
2003, only partly. The satellite photo
on the left was taken 20 hours before
the blackout. The image on the right,
seven hours after the lights went out.
The cities of Detroit, Columbus and
Toronto — as well as New York (see
left) — were still without electricity
and nearly completely in the dark. T
he events that appeared on television
sets around the world on August 14 and
15, 2003, remain seared in people’s memo-
ries. Thousands of New Yorkers heading
home by foot on the city’s roads. Nothing
was working. Subway trains were frozen in
place on their tracks. Blackout. When night
fell on the city, New York was wrapped in a
darkness. But New York wasn’t the only place
where the lights went out. An area stretching
about 1,000 kilometers — extending all the
way to Michigan and Canada — also lost
power for many hours. In western Ohio, it
took two days to get some areas back on the
network, and within a month blackouts
struck in Sweden, London and Italy. Hardly
anyone believes it was a coincidence. A task force of the German Association
for Electrical, Electronic & Information Tech-
nologies (VDE) determined that the malfunc-
tion of two power plants and an important
transmission line, caused by a bush fire, led
to a domino effect in the United States.
When the main transmission line went out of
service nearly 1,000 kilometers from New
York, the remaining lines became over-
loaded. One after another, they shut down.
And the power plants connected to the elec-
tricity network via those lines shut down as
well. Overall, about 100 power plants in the
United States and Canada went off-line.
Within minutes, hundreds of error messages
were blinking in control centers, and techni-
cians were overwhelmed because of a lack of
intelligent error-analysis systems. “We’re a su-
perpower with a third world electricity grid,”
said Bill Richardson, a former U.S. energy sec-
retary and now Governor of New Mexico.
The Italian blackout also was caused by
the failure of an important transmission line
— this time in Switzerland — and by a result-
ing overload elsewhere in the system. “In the
foreseeable future, Germany will not experi-
ence such a widespread situation,” believes
Edwin Lerch of the Siemens Power Transmis-
sion and Distribution (PTD) Group in Erlan-
gen. “But the situation is getting more diffi-
cult in Germany and Central Europe as well.”
A member of the VDE task force, Lerch is
certain that Europe’s interconnected grid is
being subjected to increasing stress by its
liberalized energy market and unrestricted
trade in electricity.As a result, electric power
has become a product that is distributed
according to supply and demand. “But the
power grid wasn’t designed for this type of
trading,” says Lerch. About 50 years ago, a number of coun-
tries, including France, Austria and Germany,
established the Union for the Co-ordination
of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE). As is the
case today, UCTE countries and regions were
self-sufficient. That’s because the regional
utilities had always been reliable sources of
electricity. The original idea behind the UCTE
was for the network to provide help if power
plants in one region suffered outages. To
accomplish this, it would have to be possible
to activate a total of 3,000 extra megawatts
(equal to the output of several large power
plants) within 30 seconds. But over the years,
the UCTE network has steadily been turning
into an electricity highway. Following the lib-
eralization of the European market, power
began to be traded at special exchanges like
a commodity, and that trade is increasingly
being conducted internationally. But the UCTE network wasn’t designed
for such electricity trading. Italy has been im-
porting more and more electricity since the
mid-1990s, for instance, and the country has
decided not to build new power plants or ex-
pand transmission lines. Generally purchased
inexpensively at night from France, Poland or
Germany, electricity is steered into pumped-
storage power stations. As a result, the trans-
mission lines running across Switzerland are
often pushed to their performance limits.
And that’s not supposed to happen under the
UCTE regulations. The key rule here is “n mi-
nus 1”: When one line goes out of service,
the others must pick up the load. This rule
was broken during the Italian blackout that
occurred at the end of September 2003.
After one line went out of service, the others
became overloaded, and eventually all the
lines to Italy went down.
Physical Limits.Prof. Hans-Jürgen Haubrich
of the Institute for Power Systems and Power
Economics at the Aachen University of Tech-
nology has concluded that “today’s active
electricity trading has already pushed the
UCTE network to the limit.” In order to keep
the network stable in the future, trading
must be restricted or new transmission lines
will have to be built, Haubrich adds. But new
lines are very expensive, and Haubrich be-
lieves there is little chance they will be built
—- at least not in Germany. As a result, engi-
neers are working feverishly to push the
capacity of today’s lines to their physical lim-
its. Dr. Georg Rosenbauer, an energy expert
in strategic planning at Siemens Power Gen-
eration in Erlangen, thinks such work makes
sense. Right now, the capacity of overland
transmission lines is restricted by a potential
thermal limit, which is reached only on a few
hot days each year. During cold weather, the
same lines can carry a heavier load. To help
the lines carry more electricity safely, sensors
would have to be installed along a power line
to measure the line’s true temperature. With
the help of smart software, more electricity
could be transmitted along the same line. This
would increase transmission capacity and pay
off for the network operator in real earnings. A Network of Rubber Bands. The stability of
the European UCTE network has made some
people envious. Regions with less stability
would like to join the network, which poses
entirely new challenges. Today, the UCTE
area extends from Poland to Portugal, from
Germany to Italy, and from Belgium through
the Balkans to Greece. “That makes it precari-
ously big,” says Ronald Völzke, a power net-
work specialist at Siemens PTD. “You can think of the supply system as a
network of rubber bands. A number of large
units, the power plants, and many small
units — in other words, the consumers —
hang on the knots,” explains Völzke. When
one power plant suffers an outage, one unit
is lost. But when a line suffers a failure, one
of the rubber bands snaps. A closely linked
network with densely packed power plants
can quickly absorb such a blow. But a large
network can experience slow, long-range
shock waves that subside slowly. “If 3,000 megawatts are lost in Portugal,
the network begins to oscillate,” Völzke ex-
plains. Within seconds, 3,000 megawatts are
swinging back and forth between Portugal
and Poland, the other end of the network.
Experts say this phenomenon has been oc-
curring more frequently since the UCTE was
extended eastward at the beginning of the
1990s. And they predict that if counter-
measures aren’t taken it will increase when
new partner countries are added.
Ending network oscillations.To enable
Russia to join the Central European system,
Smart software would allow more electricity
to be transmitted safely.
New York /
Long Island
New York /
Long Island
Source: NASA, Earth Observatory, Chris Elvidge, U.S. Air Force
Energy consumption in the industrialized world could be cut in half.
Unfortunately, consumers are often unaware of how easy it is to reduce their energy use, which is why experts from Siemens are willing to help them discover the hidden potential for savings.
Hidden Treasures
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
erlin’s 77 indoor and outdoor public-
swimming pools attract millions of visi-
tors each year. The facilities spend huge
amounts of money on air and water heating
and lighting. With 11 of the larger pools alone
spending 4.87 million euros per year on en-
ergy, the city was obviously interested in cut-
ting costs. With this in mind, experts from
Siemens Building Technologies (SBT) system-
atically examined the pools’ infrastructures.
They replaced several old boilers, converted
the energy system from oil to gas, and
installed more efficient equipment for heat
recovery and water heating. The team also
updated the pools’ building automation tech-
nology, renovated their lighting systems, and
industry and transport. Most of the requisite
technologies already exist and have been
tested. However, consumers are often insuf-
ficiently informed as to the amount of energy
they could save by utilizing more efficient
processes. They are also unaware of how
low the associated investment costs often
actually are.
Internationally renowned energy re-
searcher Amory B. Lovins offered a very opti-
mistic scenario in this regard in November
2003. In spite of a growing population and
increasing prosperity, worldwide energy con-
sumption could be reduced to a fraction of its
current level by 2050. Conversion from pri-
mary to secondary energy can improve effi-
built modern facilities for recycling muddy
water and producing ozone. Today, the results
are clear. Berlin’s public swimming pools now
spend 1.63 million euros less per year — or
one third of their previous total energy costs.
Of this amount, 330,000 euros is being kept
by the city; the rest is being used to pay off
the investment.
Energy-saving strategies are by no means
limited to swimming pools. Today, 30 years
after the first oil crisis — which in one fell
swoop demonstrated to the industrialized
countries the importance of conserving finite
energy resources — there is still huge poten-
tial for drastically reducing consumption of
coal, oil and gas in households, offices,
Systematically saving energy :
Siemens engineers help customers
identify weak points and solve the as-
sociated problems. In many instances,
this can lead to a 20 to 40 percent re-
duction in annual energy costs. What’s
more, the investment is recouped
through the savings themselves. 56
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
the country could be linked to a high-voltage
direct-current connection that would not be
susceptible to oscillations. This is how dis-
tances of up to 3,000 kilometers are bridged
between power plants and consumers in
countries such as the United States and
China (see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2003,
p.78). Aachen University’s Prof. Haubrich
expects the network-oscillation problem to
become even more acute if the frequently
discussed Mediterranean ring is indeed
added to the UCTE. This area includes Gibral-
tar, Morocco, Libya and Algeria, as well as
Turkey. But this expansion would also be
quite attractive to Europe, because low-cost
wind power could be imported from windy
Despite these difficulties, expansion
seems within reach because a second solu-
tion to network oscillation (in addition to the
direct-current approach) is available. FACTS
(Flexible AC Transmission Systems) can be
used as active damping elements, and, if
carefully regulated, could check network
oscillations in seconds. FACTS are a combina-
tion of controllable semiconductor devices
and conventional components that can be in-
tegrated into points in the interconnected
system. With FACTS, a network operator can
quickly and precisely regulate how much out-
put to transmit or to allow to pass between
points.“Only a few of these expensive electri-
cal dampers are in use across Europe now,”
Völzke says.“But given the further expansion
of networks,we expect demand to grow.”
In the U.S., FACTS have been used for decades
to stabilize the network.
Power in Reverse. Electricity networks are
also facing a different challenge “from be-
low”: the reversal of power flows. Electricity
generally flows from big power plants to the
consumer through a network of smaller and
smaller branches. But if many decentralized
electricity producers — consider fuel cells, for
instance — feed large amounts of electricity
into the network at some point in the future,
the power’s direction of flow could some-
times reverse, at least at low voltage levels.
The problem is that the system’s safety
devices — the fuses in the network — are not
designed to handle such reverse flows. If a problem occurs in one network sec-
tion today, the malfunctioning segment
shuts itself down according to a hierarchical
principle. But if the electricity flows in the op-
posite direction, the protective system simply
isn’t activated. “The widespread inclusion of
power from decentralized producers will
eventually require new protection concepts,”
says Siemens Power Generation’s Rosenbau-
er. He adds that fast communication com-
bined with decentralized management will
allow operators to meet this challenge. In the
process, the fuses could be linked by means
of data lines, which would enable them to
communicate directly with one another to
locate problems. A defect could then be
quickly repaired or held in check, says Rosen-
bauer. Such a software solution might have
prevented the collapse in the United States. Following the U.S. blackout, recommen-
dations were drawn up by the members of
the North American Electric Reliability Coun-
cil (NERC), who represent the electric indus-
try and other interest groups. In addition to
supporting improved training for employees,
the council said communication should be
optimized between power plants, transformer
substations and network operators’ fault sites.
Effective information systems also should be
developed, to provide improved and clearer
reports on the state of the network while
assisting workers with decision-making dur-
ing emergencies. Tim Schröder
Opinions differ on the best way to
integrate sea-based wind parks into
the supply network.Plans by the German government call for several
thousand wind-power facilities with a total output of up to 25,000
megawatts to be built in the North
Sea and the Baltic Sea.As a result,
large power-plant capacities will be
created for the first time outside Germany’s industrial centers. The
plans mean that over 1,000 km of
new overland transmission lines will
have to be built. The amount of power fed into the network will also fluctuate, depending on
wind strength. Experts say windmills alone will never replace conventional power plants. Reserves will have to be created by “shadow power plants” — facilities like gas-fired plants
that can go into operation when wind is insufficient. What’s more, the German Association
for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE) thinks that the plans will boost demand for controlling power ranges, which means that power plants must constantly run at low levels in order to quickly ramp up output if needed. The German Wind Energy Associa-
tion (BWE) asserts, though, that wind speed can be forecast a day in advance, with only an
8.5-percent margin of error. The association says there would be no abrupt fluctuations. The
group also maintains that pumped-storage power stations could be activated at short notice
and could absorb unexpected surpluses. Furthermore, the European interconnected network
has the capacity to offset fluctuating amounts of wind, the association reports. Dr. Martin
Hoppe-Kilpper, of the Kassel Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology, dismisses concerns
that huge amounts of wind energy would be lost when major storms force windmills to be
turned away from the wind. “A storm front approaches at about 100 km/h. It’s easy to predict
when it will reach a specific wind park,” he says. 23 percent. The savings were achieved
through better lighting, new elevators, fre-
quency converters and fans. ➔German Rail (DB) has cut energy costs at
Dresden’s central station by 40 percent.
Renovation of the heating system and mod-
ernization of electrical equipment as well as
building management and heat insulation
systems cost 880,000 euros, but lead to an-
nual savings of 246,000 euros.
➔ The Wola Hospital in Warsaw, Poland,
recouped its investment very quickly —
within seven months in fact. Heat exchang-
ers were optimized in four buildings, two
heating stations were replaced and a new
external lighting system was installed. The
measure required a total investment of only
200,000 euros. However, the hospital now
saves more than 330,000 euros a year. ➔ Some 1,000 customers in the U.S. have
achieved savings totaling approximately $1.4
billion with help from SBT since 1995. Expert
teams from SBT’s “Energy Services & Solu-
tions” unit are pioneers in the U.S. when it
comes to performance contracting, which in-
cludes systematic energy checks as well as
energy monitoring, controlling, optimization
and auditing. Among the unit’s customers is
the University of Texas at El Paso, which is
now saving $1.65 million per year in energy
costs, thanks to the modernization of its
power supply and building management
facilities. Energy-saving contracts actually guaran-
tee savings. Siemens pays the difference if
savings targets are not achieved, while the
partners split any savings that exceed the
contract’s target. The customer keeps all sav-
ings after the contract period has expired.
“That’s a win-win situation for us and the cus-
tomer,” says Hansjörg Sidler, head of Energy
Services & Solutions at SBT in Zug, Switzer-
land. Along with lower energy costs, facility
owners also profit from what is often a large
increase in property value that results from
installing energy-saving equipment. It is
therefore clear that conservative use of finite
natural resources can have a variety of posi-
tive side effects. It’s high time for more
people to became aware of the possibilities. Günter Heismann
Experts anticipate that worldwide
electricity production will double to
31,500 terawatt-hours per year by
2030. Most of this power will continue
to be generated by fossil fuels, al-
though energy efficiency ratings will
increase steadily. Natural gas will be
the primary source of electricity pro-
duction. Its use will increase at 5.6 percent per year. (p.41)
The emissions of coal-fired power
plants are virtually pollutant-free when
equipped with integrated gasification
units. These units transform coal into
synthetic gas that is then burned in a
gas turbine. Pollutants, such as the
greenhouse gas carbon dioxide,can be
separated beforehand. (p.44)
Emission certificates for CO
transform the market. The first trading
period for certificates will begin in the
EU in 2005. There are still many open
questions, however. The EU and the
U.S. are also conducting research into
techniques for separating CO
power plant exhaust gases, and then
storing it underground. (p.47, 49)
Conventional oil production is expected to peak during the next
decade. Experts are thus studying the
exploitation of oil sands and deep sea
deposits. Natural gas will also serve as a raw material for synthetic liquid
fuels. (p.51)
Siemens researchers are focusing
their renewable energy activities on
geothermal applications. In 20 years,
some ten percent of the world’s elec-
tricity could come from geothermal
sources. (p.53)
The capacity of overhead power
lines can be improved with the help of intelligent sensors. To increase network stability, Siemens researchers are also developing software that
quickly registers disturbances, ana-
lyzes them, and then helps to keep
them localized. (p.54)
Clever energy-saving measures
could cut consumption in half in industrialized countries. Siemens offers solutions that optimize energy
utilization by companies or local governments, and also pay for themselves through the savings they generate. (p.57)
Energy and climate politics:
Dr. Georg Rosenbauer, PG
Strategic marketing, energy: Frank Haffner, CT SM EDM
Coal gasification:
Frank P. Bevc, PG Jürgen Karg, IGCC PG Uwe Hoffstadt, PG
separation project:
Günther Haupt, PG
Synthetic fuels:
Fritz Kleiner, PG Joost Wijnant, PG Netherlands
Geothermal technology:
Willy Gehrer, Siemens Switzerland
Network stability:
Dr. Edwin Lerch, PTD
Dr. Ronald Völzke, PTD
Energy conservation:
Hansjörg Sidler, SBT Switzerland
Emission certificates, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research:
Dr. Joachim Schleich,
IGCC at Siemens PG:
World Energy Council:
International Energy Agency (IEA):
Union for the Co-ordination of Transmission of Electricity:
Kyoto Protocol at the UN website: FutureGen /Clean Coal Power Initative:
Hoffmann, Peter, Tomorrow’s Energy, MIT Press, 2002
Watts, Robert, Innovative Strategies for CO
Stabilization. Cambridge University Press, 2002
In Brief
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
ciency by a factor of 1.5, says Lovins, who is
also head of the Rocky Mountain Institute in
Snowmass, Colorado. End consumers could
theoretically save three-fourths to five-sixths
of the current energy they use. How to Save 35 Percent. As critics are quick
to point out, Lovins’ predictions are based on
radical conservation measures, some of
which would be extremely difficult to imple-
ment. However, leading European scientists
still come up with impressive figures even
when employing more conventional assump-
tions. “It will be possible to achieve efficiency
gains of 25 to 35 percent in most industrial-
ized countries over the next 20 years,” pre-
dicts Professor Eberhard Jochem from the
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in
Zürich, who conducted a study on energy
consumption in Western Europe on behalf of
the UN and the World Energy Council. Adds Professor Peter Hennicke, president
of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Envi-
ronment and Energy, “In Germany alone,
energy expenditures could be cut by up to 60
billion euros per year if state-of-the-art tech-
nology were introduced throughout the en-
tire country. That figure corresponds to about
half of total current energy expenditures.”
Savings in the area of secondary energy
have the most sustained impact. If, for exam-
ple, electricity consumption were to be re-
duced by one unit, the utilization of primary
energy could be decreased by two to three
units, depending on the efficiency of the
power plant in question. A whole range of
electricity-saving devices is already available,
and these can be used by both private house-
holds and companies to dramatically reduce
energy consumption. For example:
➔ Last year, Siemens lighting subsidiary
Osram introduced electronically controlled
energy-saving lamps. The lamps require up to
75 percent less electricity than comparable
conventional light bulbs. This new genera-
tion of the Dulux EL Economy Classic lamp is
also much lighter and more compact than
previous models. ➔ In another development, Siemens Trans-
portation Systems has come up with an
energy storage unit for commuter trains and
similar electric local public transit systems.
Known as Sitras, the system harnesses a
locomotive’s braking energy and releases it
into the power network. Up until now, it was
possible to utilize this energy only if another
vehicle was accelerating at exactly the same
time that the braking action was taking
place. power plant blocks and thus an 11-million-
ton decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. Unfortunately, companies generally tend
to consider only the relatively high procure-
ment costs of such investments rather than
their energy-saving potential. As such, they
fail to realize that the investment is more
than paid for through lower operating costs
over time. For example, assuming an operat-
ing life of ten years at 2,000 hours per year,
the procurement costs for an energy-saving
motor account for less than three percent of
total costs. On the other hand, more than 95
percent of all costs for such a motor are gen-
erated by its electricity consumption.
Pay as You Save. SBT offers a special service
for uncovering the potential for all types of
energy savings: “Performance Contracting”
for industrial facilities, hospitals, schools and
government administration buildings. Work-
1,300 capacitors, each with a capacity
of 2,400 Farads,harness and store a
commuter train’s braking energy.
More efficient electric motorscould make
eight power plantsin Germany redundant. ➔ Meanwhile, the latest generation of en-
ergy-saving motors from Siemens Automa-
tion and Drives can reduce power loss by up
to 45 percent compared with conventional
electric motors. This is achieved by greater
use of active materials such as iron, copper
and aluminum, as well as through improved
bearings and ventilation, better sheet metal
quality and other refinements. German com-
panies spend some 12.5 billion euros annu-
ally on investment and operating costs for
electric drive units. If they used electricity-
saving motors exclusively, they could cut
their energy costs by about 1.5 billion euros
per year, according to the German electrical
and electronics manufacturers association.
That’s equivalent to the output of eight fossil
ing together with the customer, Siemens spe-
cialists first check the energy efficiency of all
lighting units, electrical devices, machines,
heating systems, and water and ventilation
systems. In a second step, they determine
the measures that can be taken to improve
energy utilization, as well as calculating the
overall financial impact of such measures. If
the partners agree that the potential savings
both justify the investment and can pay for it,
they sign an energy-saving contract that runs
for several years. In addition to the Berlin
swimming pools, many other Siemens cus-
tomers have thus been able to achieve im-
pressive successes. Here are a few examples:
➔ pharmaceutical giant Schering has cut
energy costs in four buildings in Berlin by
France’s MotionBridge has developed a fast, simple search
engine for the mobile Internet. This Siemens-financed
start-up has become the market leader in Europe, with
customers such as T-Mobile, Orange and O
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Searching the Cell Phone
After a user enters a search
term, MotionBridge auto-
matically directs him to the
correct page in the mobile
more frequently they will return to them.
Soon, MotionBridge plans to package the
search results. Users who type in ”Beckham”
won’t only find out the latest news about
the British soccer idol now playing for Real
Madrid — they’ll also get links to Beckham’s
fan site and to a cell phone being marketed
with the star’s name.
The software also tracks frequently used
search terms that produce no results. This is
how one mobile communications provider
nyone who’s spent time exploring the
mobile Internet knows about long
loading times. A search drags on for minutes
because a user has to click through
numerous links when navigating a site or
painstakingly type in a Web address. But
things could go much faster. French start-up
MotionBridge has developed a user-friendly
search function that reaches the goal with
just a few clicks. "With our intuitive input
system, which is even equipped with an
automatic correction function for typos,
users reach a site 50 to 70 percent faster
than they would with a conventional search
function,” says Emmanuel Marot, one of
MotionBridge’s three founders. The Paris-
based company has become a sort of Google
for the mobile Web. Its search function is
already used by leading cell-phone operators
throughout Europe, companies that serve a
total of about 75 million customers. These
operators include T-Mobile in Germany, the
United Kingdom and Austria; Orange in
France; and O
in the United Kingdom.
Weater becomes Weather. ”For navigation,
we use keywords like ‘weather’ or ‘sport,’”
Marot explains. ”That allows our Classic
search function to bypass a Web site’s
hierarchical structures.” Using conventional
navigation to track down a weather forecast
for a particular region requires clicking
through several steps before finally accessing
the information. MotionBridge, on the other
hand, sends the user to the correct site
immediately after the word ”weather” is
entered. And typing in ”weater” or ”weat”
isn’t a problem. The system recognizes the
words and asks if the user means ”weather.”
It makes no difference whether the search
result is located on the cell-phone company’s
Web site or on the entire mobile Web. And it
doesn’t matter which underlying standard is
used either — whether WAP, i-mode or
UMTS. A user who enters ”Lufthansa” or
”Siemens” is sent directly to those companies
— or right to the pages of Amazon or eBay
when the names of these online companies
are entered. Entering numbers works too.
Instead of ”sport,” a user can type in the
corresponding numerical keys: 7
This makes the cell phone’s small keys much
easier to use. Other search engines haven’t
taken advantage of this input option, which
is commonly used for text messages.
Fast Wizard.The program installs a
predefined list of keywords in the cell phone,
and these can be selected just like telephone-
book entries. When the letter ”w” is entered,
”weather” appears immediately, and one click
later, the user lands at the desired page. The
system's advantage is that this “Wizard”
function performs the first step of the search
offline, which accelerates arrival at the target
site. And if the keyword doesn’t appear on
the list, the Classic search function goes into
action. At present, Orange customers in
France are getting to know Wizard, and other
European cell-phone companies have ex-
pressed interest as well. For the time being,
Wizard works only on cell phones with the
Symbian operating system, but it will also
soon be available for Java-capable cell
phones and various smart phones.
Telecommunications companies expect
the mobile Internet, in particular, to be a
future revenue source that will enhance their
telephone business. And with an intelligent
search engine like MotionBridge in their
product lineup, the companies have a feature
that will attract customers into the cell-
phone Web. ”Studies have found that with
MotionBridge, data traffic rises by as much as
50 percent,” reports Ulrich Bolze, who
manages the MotionBridge investment for
risk-capital provider Siemens Mobile Accel-
eration (SMAC). ”Pure search queries have
even tripled. It seems that a lot of users are
searching just for the fun of it,” says Bolze.
The service pays off for providers offering
such standards as GPRS and UMTS, which are
billed by the volume of data traffic rather
than by the minute. They also earn money
from additional services, such as the ring
tones that can be called up on MotionBridge
and downloaded.
MotionBridge also offers network opera-
tors other ways of optimizing their product
ranges and boosting sales. The software’s
comprehensive statistical program operates
in the background and can track the 20 most
frequently used search terms. Providers can
place these terms in a prominent position
and thus raise the number of hits. Studies
have shown that 20 percent of services
attract about 80 percent of data traffic. The
faster users reach these popular sites, the
could be searched quickly. The cell phone
would re-contact the server only if an order
were placed or additional information ob-
tained. ”The supplier could constantly change
the lists, and they would be updated as soon
as the user went online,” Marot adds.
MotionBridge gets a share of the
telecommunications companies’ revenues
generated by use of the search service. The
cash register rings every time there’s a
successful click on the mobile Web, and
MotionBridge expects to reach the break-
even point this year. ”With UMTS, it will be
even more important to make navigation
easier and faster because more content will
be available,” Marot says. ”With our
innovations, we’ll remain the leader in
mobile communications.” And it’s also
possible that MotionBridge will follow in
Google’s footsteps one day — possibly with a
listing on the stock exchange.
Norbert Aschenbrenner
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
“Surveys have shown that the service
provider’s data traffic increases by as much as 50 percent with MotionBridge.”
learned that a frequently used e-mail
provider wasn’t represented in the mobile
net, even though many potential customers
thought it was. Everyone involved would
profit from a WAP site for the e-mail provider.
Mobile Business.MotionBridge also wants
to simplify access to mobile business applica-
tions — an area where market researchers
expect to see significant demand. ”Right
now, we’re working on a Java application
that loads online companies’ product lists onto
a cell phone,” says MotionBridge founder
Marot. As a result, Amazon’s 100 best-selling
CDs or DVDs could be available offline and
Google: 200 million queries per day
“We want to make our search engine even smarter,” says
Google’s Chief Technology Officer, Craig Silverstein.
Network communities
Virtual teams on the Internet
will have more knowledge than
the combined knowledge of
their members.
Lifelong learning
Modern communications tech-
nologies like telelearning and
e-learning allow customized continuing education.
Computers as knowledge tools
Smart analysts can use data-
mining techniques to generate
valuable knowledge from vast quantities of data.
Page 78
Page 82
Life is a quiz
“Games of knowledge and mental
skill help us in an over-informed
world,” says Eckhard Freise, the
first German winner of Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Page 84
Page 68
Page 71
Page 75
A knowledge manager of the future gets
a rush job. A fatal viral disease has bro-
ken out, and he has to determine how
the pathogen has mutated. The informa-
tion is vitally important for the develop-
ment of a vaccine. A computer program
that organizes viruses according to their
genotype and other criteria — making it
possible to compare them — provides
part of the answer. Memex, a multime-
dia information desk that provides links
to experts around the world, also helps.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Desktop Detective
July 2015: Harold Kuhn must identify
a deadly virus — as fast as possible.
ell, Ben, how are you doing with your
geometry homework?” asks Harold,
calling to his son in the next room. “All right,
Dad. I can use the new 3D program my soft-
ware agent found on the Internet to rotate
conic sections in space,” answers the 14-
year-old from behind his virtual-reality
glasses. “I’m doing a homework problem with
my Canadian study partner.” “Great,” says
Harold, turning to his memex, an interactive
desktop with a large touch-screen display,
several holograph projectors and a broad-
band Internet connection.
“What are you working on, Dad?” “It’s a
corporate takeover,” answers Harold, who is
a successful freelance knowledge manager.
“Nanosoft wants to take over a competitor,
and I’m supposed to make sure the knowl-
edge there isn’t lost. It’s a lot of routine stuff.
Recording data, everything from projects fin-
ished a long time ago to...” “Dad, OK, OK,”
says Ben. “Then I have to map out the organi-
zational structure of the company in detail,”
Harold goes on proudly at a somewhat
higher volume. “I have to go through the
weblogs of employees — I have software
tools for that on my memex, and they do it
almost automatically.” “Dad, please!” “But it
really gets exciting when I can start interpret-
ing the results of the data mining. That al-
Wealth in workers’ minds
How companies deal with their employees’ knowledge has a major impact on competitiveness.
If they are to make the most of the po-
tential harbored in the knowledge available
today, companies, society and each individ-
ual face an enormous challenge. Companies
must create knowledge strategies — and em-
ployees must practice lifelong learning be-
cause knowledge grows old very rapidly.
“Even in simple jobs, knowledge is gaining a
higher and higher priority,” says Andreas
Schleicher, an expert at the Organisation for
ployed in agriculture and production. But the
relationship has reversed today in favor of
the service sector — which mostly provides
information services, in segments that in-
clude banking, insurance, media and science
(see graphic p. 67). “Eighty percent of all the scientists who
have ever lived on Earth are working right
now,” Kreibich says. Five exabytes of digital
data — a 19-digit figure — were created and
stored in 2002, according to calculations by
researchers at the University of California at
Berkeley. That amounts to nearly 800 mega-
bytes for every person on the planet. To
transform that data into value, however, it
must mature into knowledge in people’s
minds — knowledge that enables them to
take meaningful action. This, as experts
agree, is the challenge facing the knowledge-
based society.
he knowledge-based society isn’t just a
trendy catchphrase. We’re actually on our
way to creating it, and some people have
already moved in,” says Prof. Rolf Kreibich,
director of the Institute for Futures Studies
and Technology Assessment in Berlin. In the
world’s industrial countries, knowledge and
know-how are the forces behind growth and
progress. One hundred years ago, nearly 80
percent of workers in Germany were em-
Children face the data flood. Lifelong learning in a knowledge-
based society will only be possible
if citizens start practicing early on.
Economic Cooperation and Development in
Paris who was responsible for the PISA Study,
a series of tests that compared the perfor-
mance of 15-year-old schoolchildren in the
OECD’s 30 member countries. He gives an ex-
ample: Today’s auto mechanics use operating
manuals that are up to 15,000 pages long. A
society not only has to provide its citizens
with basic knowledge but also has to moti-
vate them to learn, Schleicher says. The abil-
In 2002, 31 billion e-mails were sent daily. The mails’ average size was about 60 kilobytes. In one year, that amounts to
668,000 terabytes. One-third of that was
spam, or junk mail.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
lows me to decide which experts are best
suited for which subjects. And then...” “Dad, what’s that flashing red light be-
hind you?” Ben calls. Harold spins around,
noticing the signal for an incoming message.
Dr. Mel Robinson’s hologram hovers above
the desktop. Mel is an old acquaintance, a
biochemist at the World Health Organization,
and Harold has done some tricky investiga-
tions for him over the years. “Hi, Harold,” Mel pants. “Turn on CNN.
There’s an epidemic in Panama, thousands
are already infected. The entire Colón free
trade zone is under quarantine, and the
Panama Canal has been closed since last
night. Are you listening? Harold tears himself away from the de-
scription of his work he had planned for his
son. “Harold!” Mel repeats “Can you spare
some time? This is an emergency!” Harold
stares at the wall display in disbelief, with its
flickering images of people in masks carrying
lifeless bodies across dusty suburban streets.
The reporter is talking about a panic. “What
should I do?” Harold asks.
“We’re pretty sure it’s a hemorrhagic
fever. Early analyses indicate that it’s some-
thing like Ebola, but we don’t know how it’s
mutated,” rasps Mel, a note of irritation in his
voice. “We suspect it started with one of
those damn local bat species down there,
you know, from that Portobelo nature re-
serve. Damn, we told them...”
“Mel, get to the point. What can I do to
give you a hand?” says Harold, suddenly
aware of the publicity this could bring him.
“Well, Harold, you’re a cluster expert. Find
out every possible thing you can about the
Ebola mutations, so we can develop a vac-
cine. I’ll send you a link to our database. I
want you to analyze all the hemorrhagic
viruses in it; there are several million vari-
eties, not to mention the artificial ones.” “When do you need the results?” “Yester-
day,” says Mel. “Just get on it, and I’ll try to
find an eyewitness who lived through the
1976 ebola outbreak in what they used to
call Zaire. I’ve heard there’s a tribe down
there that’s supposed to be immune.” “And where do you expect that to get
us?” asks Harold. “If we can come up with a
blood sample there, that may help us,” Mel
answers. “A mutation similar to this Panama
virus would be good enough as a model for a
vaccine. You’ll find everything we know
about the new virus in the database.” Mel’s hologram disappears. Harold loads
the database and begins searching for infor-
mation about the Panama virus. To accelerate
the search, he limits it to parameters associ-
ated with mutations, and ensures that the
data sets are compatible with one another —
one of the major problems with scientific
documentation. Then he starts up the cluster
program, which scans all registered viruses for
similarities with the Panama type, based on
their appearance, genotype and other criteria,
such as the symptoms they have caused. Now
it’s just a question of time.
Gradually, the program divides the viruses
into groups, and the software displays the
clusters in a hologram. The closer two viruses
are to each other, the more similar they are.
Harold has highlighted the values for the
Panama virus in color. Suddenly two variants
show up right next to it. “Search Completed,”
the system tells him. Working as rapidly as
possible, he examines all the characteristics of
the viruses. But he soon notices that the first
virus mutation is a dead end — a patented ex-
perimental result that could never have af-
fected a bat. But the second virus looks like a
winner. The program checks it and displays
the addresses of researchers familiar with it.
A moment later Harold contacts Mel. “Got
something for you. Looks like we’ve found it,”
he says. You’ll have it in a sec.” “Great!” says
Mel. “And I’ve found a retired specialist in trop-
ical medicine who took blood samples back
then in Zaire. Miracle he’s still alive. Together
with your data, that should do the trick. Our
labs are eager to get started. Many thanks, till
next time.” “OK, if my analysis turns up any-
thing else, I’ll be in touch,” says Harold. Minutes later, while Harold is still basking
in the glow of his success, a CNN reporter flick-
ers on the wall display saying, “The World
Health Organization has just reported that it
has identified the pathogen and is now devel-
oping a vaccine. There is a chance, however...” “Ben” Harold calls, “As I was saying...”
Norbert Aschenbrenner
the Bits
At home or in the office —
we’ve never before faced
such a flood of information.
The question is, how can useful information be sepa-
rated from the worthless,
sensibly turned into knowl-
edge, and shared in a way
that allows individuals and companies to succeed?
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Germany, suggests that a seal of quality for
information on the Web should be devel-
oped. “Knowledge and information on the In-
ternet have to be reliable,” he says, adding
that those who produce knowledge are inter-
ested in its reliability as well. Krohn suggests
that rating agencies similar to those that
check a company’s creditworthiness could
evaluate the quality of information on the In-
ternet. Siemens has already introduced a
simple form of quality check in several com-
munities, whereby group members rate the
information they have used on a scale from
“very useful” to “unusable.” “Knowledge never will be as stable as a
mass-produced product you find in a depart-
ment store,” Krohn says, “because it changes
constantly.” As a result, he recommends that
people take an experimental approach to
everyday living. Given the wide access to
information now available, everyone can
conduct research that applies to their own
lives. The Internet can steer us in planning a
vacation trip to the best beaches, or when
selecting high-tech equipment for office and
home. Krohn is watching this practical form of
research as it works its way into all areas of
life. At the same time, scientific research is in-
creasingly leaving the closed world of the
laboratory. Krohn points to real experiments
that are so complex that they never could be
performed in a lab, such as open-field testing
of genetically altered plants. “One character-
istic of a knowledge-based society is that, to
an ever-increasing extent, research tends to
penetrates into the fabric of society,” Krohn
Beware of Information Overload. Scientists
are accustomed to drawing conclusions on
the basis of incomplete and imprecise infor-
mation. But this practice unsettles non-scien-
tists. Prof. Gerd Gigerenzer, director of the
Max Planck Institute for Human Development
in Berlin, is working to determine which
types of information make the most sense —
and in what volume. Psychologists have
found, surprisingly, that too much informa-
tion often has a negative effect on the qual-
ity of a decision. The critical factors in the
process come from an individual’s experi-
ence. In his research, Gigerenzer showed a
group of professional European handball
players a video of a particular scene from a
game. He froze the action at a certain point,
and the players then were asked to describe
how they would react. The coaches later
compared the answers with statements the
players made after examining the situation
more closely. The evaluation revealed that
the spontaneous answers were better than
the ones that were supposed to be well-
founded. Obviously, experts can size up a sit-
uation very quickly when they have a small
amount of key information. But a surfeit of
information seems to cause confusion. Gigerenzer concludes that we must de-
velop decision-making principles that take
uncertainty into account. One way of doing
so is through simplification. For instance,
Gigerenzer has devised a method that uses
just a few questions to determine whether a
person with severe chest pains should be
sent to intensive care or to a regular hospital
room. In the United States, doctors con-
cerned about potential malpractice lawsuits
send 90 percent of these patients to inten-
sive care, many of them unnecessarily. First, Gigerenzer asks about a specific ab-
normality in the ECG. If it is present, the pa-
tient is placed in intensive care right away.
The second question focuses on the person’s
primary complaints. If the complaints don’t
involve the heart, the patient is sent to a reg-
ular ward. Studies have shown that the
method performs better than complex sys-
tems used by experts. And there’s one other
advantage: Thanks to a decision tree, the
doctor can follow the case step by step. “We
create robustness through simplicity,”
Gigerenzer says. Google is based on simplicity as well. Its
excellent user-friendliness and powerful
search algorithms have turned it into the
most widely used search engine. Every day it
handles 200 million queries (see interview
on p. 78). Google’s creators have tailored a
sophisticated technology to users’ needs. As
a result, they’ve heeded the advice that ex-
perts have been giving all along. In other
words, human beings must be at the heart of
the knowledge-based society. As bearers of
knowledge, humans are the No. 1 productive
power, despite all the technical support avail-
able from machines and computers.
Norbert Aschenbrenner
1900 1930
1960 2000 2020
Strategists &
Knowledge workers
Service providers
(about one-half of them
will be data processors
and communicators
in 2020)
Blue collar workers
13 11 10
Numbers in percentages
Source: McKinsey & Company
19 24 25
83 70 51 38 15
Assisting, consulting,
teaching, publicizing,
organizing, managing,
researching, developing
Office work, trade activities, general ser-
vices (cleaning, cook-
ing, storing, transport-
ing, securing)
Obtaining raw materi-
als, manufacturing
products and building
In 2002, around 31 million hours of television
programming were pro-
duced around the world —
excluding reruns. That
amounts to about 70,000
terabytes depending on the broadcast data rate.
Source: University of Berkeley
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
ity to motivate oneself emerges very early,
placing challenging demands on the educa-
tional system.One approach is learning via
computers. Today, online lectures provide a
preview of the way knowledge will be shared
in the future — by interactive and multimedia
means (see p. 82).
At the moment, the OECD is working on
a study with adults that employs the Pisa
testing model. “We want to create an empiri-
cal foundation to determine the best way to
enable lifelong learning,” says Schleicher. In
each country, a total of 5,000 people in vari-
ous age groups are being interviewed. With-
out wanting to anticipate the findings of the
new study, Schleicher says knowledge shar-
ing is a decisive factor.
Knowledge has one special quality: when
shared, it expands instead of shrinking. For
this reason, knowledge management has
been a top priority at Siemens for years. But
that’s not surprising, because the company is
built on innovations that arise from new
knowledge. To “cultivate” knowledge suc-
cessfully, a company needs to have an orga-
nizational structure that encourages discus-
sion, it needs to meet the technical require-
ments that advance research and it needs to
create incentives that encourage people to
pass on their knowledge (see p. 68). World-
wide, Siemens has more than 1,500 “Com-
munities of Practice” in which some 90,000
specialists, representing a variety of disci-
plines can exchange ideas in virtual settings
and personal meetings. They can pose and
answer questions about special problems
and download “knowledge objects” that con-
tain documented solutions and experiences. Earning a Reputation Through Knowledge.
Open to all in principle, communities on the
Internet create a new form of meeting place
that extends across company and country
borders. The exchange is uncomplicated, and
expertise counts more than hierarchies (see
p. 75). In these communities, experts and
non-experts alike collaborate to develop pro-
jects. They can write software, for example
— license-free programs like the Linux oper-
ating system or OpenOffice office tools. The
Data is raw material: Bits, numbers, facts. When imbedded in a relevant context, it becomes information, and following further interpretation — based on factors like experience — it becomes knowledge in the human brain.
Data volume
Byte (B)
Kilobyte (KB), 10
Megabyte (MB), 10
6 bytes
Gigabyte (GB), 10
Terabyte (TB), 10
Petabyte (PB), 10
Exabyte (EB), 10
Corresponds to:
8 bits (a bit is the smallest digital unit, a decision between
0 and 1). In a byte, all the numbers up to 255 can be dis-
played, including all of the symbols of the ASCII code.
A written page: 2 KB
Low-resolution photo: 100 KB
High-resolution photo: 2 MB
The complete works of Shakespeare: 5 MB
20 shelf-meters of books: 2 GB
Collection of Beethoven’s works: 20 GB
50,000 trees processed into paper and then printed: 1 TB
Contents of the U.S. Library of Congress: 10 TB
Contents of all academic libraries in the United States: 2 PB
Data volume of all hard disks in 1995: 20 PB
Total amount of information generated in 1999: 2 EB
All words ever spoken by humans: 5 EB
Source: Roy Williams, California Institute of Technology
programmers of this open-source software
see their reward in creating something
jointly, helping others and earning a reputa-
tion through knowledge. Like knowledge
management, open-source software is based
on give and take. Siemens, for instance, has
published software for employee portals.
“We don’t earn any license fees this way. But
we get our name out there, and we can
benefit from the service business,” explains
Karsten Ehms, who works on knowledge
management at Siemens Corporate Technol-
The Internet is a form of knowledge
reservoir, but it has one crucial shortcoming.
The reliability of the raw information is diffi-
cult for individuals to check. “We are being
bombarded with information, including junk
information,” says Kreibich. “To remain fit for
the future, we need selective knowledge.”
Our brains are perfectly suited for this task in
everyday life, he says. When you’re driving a
car, your senses experience billions of im-
pressions, but you process only the most im-
portant ones, those that ensure an accident-
free trip. “To obtain orientation knowledge,
we have to act in the very same way,”
Kreibich says. In terms of the Internet, this
means that the computer of the future will
understand the meaning of particular infor-
mation and its context. In a “semantic web”
being developed by experts (see Pictures of
the Future, Fall 2002, p. 41), Web sites con-
tain background information and descriptive
tags that simplify communication by com-
puters and ease the work of search engines.
Wolfgang Krohn, a sociologist and pro-
fessor at the Institute of Science and Techni-
cal Research at the University of Bielefeld,
A hard disk: In 2002, up to two exabytes of data
were stored on hard disks, twice as much as in 1999.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
More and more companies are
realizing that the way they
manage knowledge is a major
factor affecting their competi-
tiveness. Eventually, say the
experts, knowledge manage-
ment is expected to transform
companies into knowledge-
guided networks. Heading for Knowledge-
Guided Networks
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
sary to share knowledge.” Döring knows
what he’s talking about, because he’s one of
the inventors of ShareNet, an outstanding
Intranet-based KM system. ShareNet was
developed in the late 1990s for Siemens
nformation and Communication Networks
(ICN) in response to wide-ranging market
transformations. The worldwide deregulation
of the telecommunications market had cre-
ated a new business environment. “Suddenly,
our salespeople were facing the challenge of
having to offer solutions rather than precisely
defined products. That significantly increased
our influence on the value-added chain as
far as customers were concerned,” Döring
recalls. W
hen knowledge management became
a hot topic a few years ago, many
managers regarded it as a bitter pill that had
to be swallowed — just once — in order to
conjure up a happy ending.” Peter Heinold of
Siemens Corporate Information and Opera-
tions (CIO) is familiar with the hype sur-
rounding Knowledge Management (KM), as
well as the disappointment that may follow
it. “In many cases, KM was simply decreed,
without being rooted in a company’s
processes or its corporate culture,” he says.
“Or it was practiced as a kind of fashionable
accessory.” When such measures failed to
lead to commercial success, spark innovation
or boost ongoing business, disappointment
set in. Some observers concluded that the
bursting of the New Economy bubble also
meant goodbye to Knowledge Management.
But the prophets of doom were wrong.
Companies whose first experiments with KM
from the experiences of their colleagues on
an international bases when they were devel-
oping the bid,” reports Janina Kugel, head of
Knowledge Management at ICN. Sales staff
using ShareNet found out that similar sys-
tems had already been successfully imple-
mented in Thailand and Chile, which meant
that their colleagues in those countries could
give them valuable information about the
hardware and software features that would
be needed.
The key to ShareNet’s success is the will-
ingness of its users to share their knowledge.
Currently, the system is being used in several
Siemens Groups, including SBS, Medical So-
lutions and Siemens Financial Services (SFS).
Urgent inquiries can be answered via
ShareNet within a few hours. Someone is always availablewithin the system.
ICN needed a well-oiled instrument with
which it could respond to these new chal-
lenges. The result was ShareNet, which is
easy to learn and user-friendly. In addition to
providing a database containing all project
results, it focuses on enabling employees at
ICN to communicate and exchange their
know-how, project experiences and com-
ments. ShareNet focuses mainly on the inter-
active components of knowledge exchange.
Because knowledge is always related to solu-
tions, there’s plenty of room for chat rooms,
community news, and discussion groups.
What’s more, ShareNet is independent of
time zones and organizational structures.
Someone is always working in the system,
somewhere in the world — so urgent ques-
tions are generally answered within a few
What Chile Can Do for China. One shining
example of ShareNet’s top performance is a
business coup Siemens accomplished in
China. “Our sales staff received a commission
for a pilot project from a telecommunications
company because they were able to draw
“Just 18 months after its introduction, 6,000
ShareNet users were registered in 48 coun-
tries, and today there are around 16,500
users in more than 70 countries,” says Kugel
proudly. At the beginning, ICN offered users
incentives such as cell phones. But now, ICN
is boosting users’ motivation another way —
through its “Expert and Master Program.”
Each user’s contributions are evaluated by
other users in terms of their utility. The indi-
viduals who receive the best evaluations are
publicly praised in the ShareNet community.
“That way, we make ensure that users’ moti-
vation comes from within. That’s often worth
more than financial incentives,” says Kugel.
Motivation is Everything. The core of a
functioning KM system is the way it ap-
proaches the question of what conditions
will encourage people to share their knowl-
edge with colleagues — in many cases, with
colleagues they don’t know, who don’t work
in their department or Group, or even in their
regional company. This situation is not a
problem if the initiative comes from workers
themselves and if they organize themselves
Siemens ICN manager Joachim Döringis
one of the “fathers” of the ShareNet KM
system. The system is used by 16,500 employees in more than 70 countries. mentation — are centrally stored and avail-
able at any time, no matter where the user
might be. Discussions and coordination pro-
cesses can thus be handled in an interactive
manner. If it is optimally implemented, KM can
measurably increase a company’s operational
success. To reach this goal, employees must
be able to use the knowledge gained from
outstanding projects and local innovations in
a global manner. For example, a solution de-
vised by the AGiLiENCE Group — a start-up
company — helped an international pharma-
ceutical company to compile the experiences
and results of its laboratories all over the
world so that it could bring new medications
to market more quickly. AGiLiENCE, which
was co-founded by former Siemens employee
Dr. Christian Kurtzke and is supported by
Siemens Venture Capital, developed the
Mona expert system, which enables develop-
ers to post urgent inquiries as Word docu-
ments via a simple user interface. Unlike
e-mails, which must be directed to a specific
recipient, Mona guides the inquiry to the
experts best suited to answer it. The system
also matches questions with existing answers
and makes them immediately available to
the user. The system is so easy to use that
even newcomers quickly have expert infor-
mation at their fingertips.
Active Employees.Knowledge Management
as a whole is a complex process, which re-
quires more than an optimal information and
communication infrastructure. “Ultimately,
these tools are only secondary in impor-
tance, because they merely support the
process,” says Dr. Gerhard Zorn, head of
Knowledge Management & Business Trans-
formation at Siemens Corporate Technology
(CT). The crucial link in the process is the
people involved. All of them, from top man-
agement to individual employees, have to be
willing to actively implement KM.
One key to successful KM is a close con-
nection with ongoing business activities.
Joachim Siemens ICN manager Döring puts
this even more straightforwardly “The main
thing is the pressure to act quickly. If it’s
there, nobody even has to ask if it’s neces-
had run aground drew lessons from those ex-
periences and launched new and successful
KM projects. And at companies like Siemens,
where KM had been comprehensively intro-
duced from the very beginning, there’s no
doubt at all that it’s the ideal tool for mining
business-related knowledge. The advantages
offered by knowledge management are obvi-
ous. Companies avoid performing the same
tasks twice by making more effective use of
the knowledge available to them in data-
bases, archives and documents. That helps
them cut costs and save time. One example
of this tool is the cooperation of “virtual
teams” such as those operating at Siemens
Business Services (SBS). There, various Web-
based functions are available to project man-
agers from various locations who work to-
gether in the team. All documents that are
relevant to a project — from initial bid and
correspondence to the status of the imple-
Each day, several gigabytes of information enter the IT systems of almost every large company — as orders, production data, or customer inquiries at call centers. Data-mining technologies can sift through this information and extract valuable knowledge, which can be used to boost
revenues, develop better marketing strategies, or improve maintenance.
Electronic Treasure Hunting
f you order a book or a CD from Amazon,
you’ll immediately be provided with infor-
mation on related products that may be of
interest to you. These product suggestions
generally hit the mark, which means higher
revenues for the online retailer. Data mining
is what enables companies like Amazon to
provide this service. It’s a little like electronic
treasure hunting, whereby computer pro-
grams analyze existing data in order to ob-
tain new and useful information. Data min-
ing is primarily viewed as a tool for service
providers such as mail-order companies,
wireless network operators and banks. It al-
lows them to collect the information gained
from millions of clicks at their websites, pay-
ment transactions, or phone-call data and
apply it toward creating better marketing
strategies or more targeted customer service.
“Data mining first appeared on the scene
about ten years ago,” says Hans-Peter Kriegel,
a pioneer in the field and a professor of in-
formation technology at the University of
Munich. It began with supermarket scanners
that made possible a detailed analysis of
each product bought. “One of the first results
is now legend in the data-mining research
community,” says Kriegel. “People who buy
large bags of diapers generally also purchase
beer.” Algorithms were utilized to generate
thousands of such associations, some of
which were useful, many strange, and most
irrelevant. “It quickly became clear that you
could only obtain valuable information if you
asked the right questions,” Kriegel explains.
Data mining is more than just data analy-
sis (see illustration on p. 73). It is part of a
procedure that begins with the processing of
data and generally does not end even after
results have been interpreted, as the latter
activity only brings forth new questions. “In-
dividuals still play an important role, since
human intervention is necessary at many
stages of the process, and such intervention
is only possible with some degree of advance
knowledge,” says Ulrich Reincke, head of
the Analytical Solutions Excellence Center in
Germany for U.S. software company SAS.
Data mining at Siemens. Dr. Volker Tresp
(right) and colleague Christof Störmann
from Corporate Technology have developed
software that automatically recognizes fraudulent behavior among cell-phone users.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
into Communities of Practice (CoP) (see
p. 75). “These employees are especially
interested in learning processes and are
committed to the continuing success of their
Groups,” explains Karsten Ehms from Knowl-
edge Management & Business Transforma-
tion at CT. The willingness to work across or-
ganizational boundaries in a certain area of
knowledge creates a special identity, accord-
ing to Dr. Josef Hofer-Alfeis, a KM pioneer
who is a Senior Manager for Siemens’ CIO.
What’s more, he adds, CoPs are excellent
repositories of knowledge that in many cases
even survive a restructuring of the organiza-
tion. “The important thing is that these grass-
roots initiatives should be sustained by man-
agement and embedded in a comprehensive
KM system. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll be-
come isolated solutions with limited effect,”
says Hofer-Alfeis.
Support from the Top.If KM is introduced as
a comprehensive process, it operates across
organizations and transforms existing struc-
tures — provided that management agrees
with and supports these steps. This “accep-
tance of responsibility by management” is
crucial to KM’s success, according to Prof.
Franz Lehner, who holds the Chair of Busi-
ness IT and Business Engineering at the Uni-
versity of Regensburg. Employees need to be
sure that their work will be appreciated. Sup-
port from the top also ensures that the
process will receive the resources it needs.
That’s particularly important if employ-
ees believe that KM is a threat to their jobs.
“Actually, KM has the very opposite effect,”
says Lehner. With the help of co-workers’
know-how, new business areas that safe-
guard jobs can be developed. That’s exactly
what has to be made clear to workers. “Espe-
cially in economically difficult times, when
fewer financial investments are being made,
the intelligence that is available within the
company itself is a priceless asset.”
That’s especially true of a company like
Siemens, where between 60 and 80 percent
of the added value is knowledge-related. To-
day, KM is absolutely indispensable for the
company. “Siemens has gained millions of
euros through knowledge management —
through both new customer contracts and
savings in time and money,” says Hofer-
Alfeis. One example is “ProjectManage-
ment@Siemens,” where knowledge sharing
is one of the methods used to develop com-
mon standards and new tools for the com-
pany’s approximately 10,000 project man-
agers all over the world.
Why Customers Like KM.At Siemens, KM is
used not only internally, but also as part of
Siemens Business Services’ consulting activi-
ties — and with increasing success, accord-
ing to Ulrike van Briel, who is responsible for
business development at SBS. “The time is
right for KM, and customers are ready for it
too,” she says. More and more, customers are
realizing that individual applications generate
specific changes, but a comprehensive KM
process brings them much more added
value. She also sees considerable potential
for KM in public administration: “In view of
growing cost pressure, KM offers solutions
that can speed up bureaucratic processes,”
she says.
For example, “electronic files” can cut
downtimes and processing times associated
with legal procedures. That’s important
when deadlines have to be met in order to
avoid costs for individual citizens or state in-
stitutions. Knowledge Management is an ongoing
and comprehensive process — rather than a
“bitter pill” that needs to be swallowed. Once
introduced, KM functions as an interactive
process involving people, technology, organi-
zational structures, and the occasional sup-
port of an ever-present knowledge manager.
He or she helps to ensure that the knowledge
contained within a company is systematically
increased and enhanced. However, according
to Karsten Ehms at CT, the long-term success
of KM will lie in the fact that “it will one day
make itself superfluous. In ten to 20 years
you won’t see a door marked ‘Knowledge
Manager’ anywhere,” he predicts.
According to Ehms, this will also be re-
flected in the corporate structures of the fu-
ture. “Companies will operate like knowl-
edge-guided networks, and there will no
longer be any hierarchies in the traditional
sense of the word.” Sabine Saphörster
“If Siemens only knew what Siemens knows” — this statement has long become redundant. The year 2003 marked the first time that Siemens was honored as the “Most
Admired Knowledge Enterprise (MAKE).” Every year, Teleos, an independent KM research
company, grants this title to a European company that has initiated outstanding KM programs Previous winners include BP and Nokia. At Siemens, the major KM activities are carried out in the ICN, ICM, SBS, MED, SFS Groups and Siemens VDO. There are more
than 1,500 Communities of Practice (CoP) with 90,000 members, and about 250 of
these operate across Group and regional boundaries. Some 20 percent of all Siemens
employees worldwide are in a CoP. These marketplaces offer more than 250,000 “knowl-
edge objects” — structured documents or discussion forums on methods, solutions and
experiences. In some marketplaces, around one-third of the objects are downloaded per
month. That’s a key sign that the community is active. Two-thirds of CoP members who
post urgent questions receive at least one answer within two days. Today about 50 full-
time or part-time employees are responsible for KM at Siemens. That’s in addition to
some 1,000 employees who support KM processes and 30 KM consultants.
Successful knowledge management reduces costs and safeguards jobs.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Recognition of deviations is also a fea-
ture of systems designed to track cases of
credit-card fraud. Here, data on account
transactions is used to generate a pattern for
the typical behavior of a normal customer. If,
for example, a credit card is used to withdraw
cash from several ATMs in a short period of
time, or to purchase large amounts of expen-
sive electronic equipment, the algorithm
interprets such behavior as suspicious. The
system then warns the issuing bank, which
treats the card as possibly having been
stolen. Such analyses and interpretation
require powerful computers, as the huge
amounts of data have to be processed as
quickly as possible in a cyclical manner.
Siemens CT has developed another type
of forecast tool for banks to help them plan
precisely when to fill ATMs and how much
cash to put in them. Up until now, ATMs have
been stocked with much more cash than
they needed. The sums range from 20,000 to
40,000 euros per machine — which adds up
to a mountain of money considering that in
Germany alone there are some 50,000 ATMs.
Estimates indicate that banks could earn ap-
proximately 50 million euros per year on this
cash at about five percent interest.
Recognizing Cell-Phone Fraud.Siemens CT
has also developed a system that recognizes
fraud in wireless networks. The system is
now being used by a network operator with
approximately one million customers. “Our
software sounds an alarm when a cell-phone
customer begins behaving in an unusual
manner,” Tresp explains. This might involve
making several consecutive calls abroad or to
special service numbers that charge high
rates. Such fraud often involves people who
sign a cell-phone contract although they
don’t have enough money in their account to
cover the costs, and then defraud the net-
work operator by selling call time cheaply for
cash until the company blocks the SIM card.
In another application, SAS uses data-
mining techniques to determine which cus-
tomers are highly likely to cancel their cell-
phone contract in the near future. The
advantage for the network operator is that it
can offer the customer a better package be-
fore he or she decides to cancel, thus boost-
ing customer loyalty. The SAS system applies
all telephone-related data to the analysis, in-
cluding time and duration of calls as well as
the numbers dialed and the corresponding
costs. It then compares this information with
data on the area in which the customer lives,
which it obtains from data providers and which
can contain up to 100 parameters. This is
supplemented by information from call cen-
ters — in other words, complaints, questions
or special requests. All of the data on individ-
ual customers is encoded and made anony-
mous, which means it cannot be traced back.
Due to data-protection considerations,
data-mining tools store raw data for only a
short period and then combine them into
Clearing and
Data warehouse
Selection and
Data mining
Findings and
Evaluation and
Data mining is a complex process. Although it takes place inside computers, it still calls for skillful human intervention at several
stages along the way. First of all, the data is combined into an appropriate form so that it can be analyzed. Before the actual data-
mining process begins, certain data is selected. Following analysis, experts have to interpret the patterns that have been found. This allows them to see whether the software has uncovered interesting correlations or only information that is irrelevant.
Each slice of the “share-price pie” (above)
depicts development of a share price on an
index over 20 years, starting at the center
and moving outward. The exchange rates
are standardized and comparable. The
lighter the color, the higher the price.
Identically colored rings stand for identi-
cal developments. The VisDB system (be-
low) is used to analyze large databases. It allows various visualizations to be made.
Source: Prof. Daniel Keim, University of Constance
Dr. Ralph Neuneier and his researchers at Siemens Corporate Technology are using data-
mining tools from Panoratio to analyze commercial websites. Such tools make it possible
to examine “clicking behavior” in real time. Web surfers can thus be presented with links
that other users displaying similar clicking behavior also visited. The Siemens website,
which was recently named the best among 200 companies by ComputerBild magazine,
has over a million visitors a month. Panoratio software compresses the data generated by
mouse clicks from one gigabyte to about five megabytes and makes it accessible in a net-
worked form. Information collected includes duration of visit, user domain, pages previ-
ously visited and the order of the clicks. Researchers can thus see how users navigate the
site and which content interests them. Personalization measures could then be imple-
mented that would make the site even more appealing. For instance, frequent visitors
could be recognized and greeted at the homepage with a list of their preferred links.
“Unlike statistics, where data is created, se-
lected and analyzed for a particular purpose,
data mining involves the analysis of an un-
controlled flood of data as a means of draw-
ing conclusions about the future,” he adds.
The trick is to not only find interesting corre-
lations in the present, but also to be able to
make predictions about future behavior.
Data Jungle Pitfalls.The first step in mining
involves preparing the data. That’s a big chal-
lenge, according to Reincke, since much of
the data comes in volumes of ten or more
terabytes and the data sets are generally in
different formats. Anyone who has ever at-
tempted to convert an address file with more
than ten fields per entry from an e-mail pro-
gram into tabular form is well aware of the
pitfalls of the data jungle. First and last
names often get switched, and zip codes can
end up in the field for street names. But real
data mining is even more difficult, as it usu-
ally involves data formats from several differ-
ent divisions of a company. And once you’ve
finally got the formats in line, you still have
to search for and correct errors and outliers —
statistical anomalies. Experts estimate that
preparing the data for processing accounts
for 60 to 90 percent of data-mining costs.
Database specialists choose their data
mining tool according to the type of issue in
question. “Decision trees are very helpful in
determining rules,” says Dr. Volker Tresp
from Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in
Munich. Such trees, which are similar to
computer flow charts, are constructed in
stages on the basis of the questions being
posed and the possible answers. In the
process, IT engineers use part of the data
they already have in order to test the tree’s
predictive ability. Once they’ve set up a sys-
tem that correctly depicts all factors, they can
make fairly good predictions and explain
them in a logical way. Neural networks,
which are based on the structure of the hu-
man brain, function in a similar manner.
and his team used such a procedure as the
basis for developing a prototype of an inter-
active similarity-search system. The program,
known as Boss, specializes in the manage-
ment of CAD components, such as automo-
tive parts, but can also be applied to the or-
ganization of any type of object. Another
cluster procedure takes similar objects —
screws, for example — and positions them
next to one another in a two-dimensional de-
piction. Boss places the objects in hierarchical
order and generates appropriate depictions
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Cluster analyses find similarities.
Decision trees generate forecasts.
Neural networks tackle complex issues. “Such networks are more robust with regard
to faulty data, but they’re also harder to inter-
pret and are therefore mostly used in con-
junction with very complicated problems,”
says Tresp. Siemens uses neural networks to
optimize rolling mills and paper production,
for example, and has also developed a sales
forecast program for products such as cell
phones (see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2003,
p. 27).
A third method is cluster analysis, which
is useful for establishing similarities and is es-
pecially good for identifying outliers. Kriegel
of those that are similar. “A vehicle or aircraft
designer can then quickly determine whether
or not an existing part can also be used for a
new model,” Kriegel explains. “Engineers can
search the database without having to fur-
ther specify the component — and that saves
time and money.”
One Step Ahead of Machine Failure.How-
ever, it’s not just development departments
that can benefit from data mining; the proce-
dure also leads to improvements in produc-
tion. Whether it’s semiconductor production,
cell phone manufacturing or auto production
— supplier parts may individually fulfill all re-
quirements, but they can cause problems in
combination when installed in the final prod-
uct. The networking of all process data can
reveal correlations that an individual engi-
neer cannot see and quality-control experts
would have difficulty finding. A data-mining tool such as a neural net-
work recognizes the parameters that are crit-
ical for ensuring high quality and which
therefore must be most carefully monitored.
It can also make forecasts, regarding mainte-
nance, for example. “Data on equipment and
processes can be employed to make forecasts
of the likelihood of machine failure,” Reincke
explains. @
Companies are like sponges. They soak up the knowledge in their employees’ minds. Communities — virtual teams on the Internet — can help share this treasury of information if employees are effectively motivated. Greater than the
Sum of its Parts
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
eorg Wilsberg’s new case is a tricky one.
His friend Manni believes that his
uncle’s death was no accident. Wilsberg, an
amateur detective, takes on the investigation
— and uncovers a construction industry
scandal. Then another crime is committed…
The story that flickered across German
TV screens on October 18, 2003, appeared to
be the work of a single writer. But the mys-
tery was actually the product of six amateur
authors — including a doctor, an educator and
an office worker — who put together their
script on the Internet.The eScript project by
German television station ZDF began as an
experiment in 1999. Today, it delivers three
Wilsberg mysteries a year. “The scripts are just
as good as those written by professionals,”
says Martin R. Neumann, a television-movie
Bernardo A. Huberman at a conference in
March 2004. HP had automatically analyzed
its employees’ e-mail connections and discov-
ered many commonalities that the structure
of the organization did not take into account.
The tremendous potential of data mining
has only just begun to be exploited. Now, the
lucrative market it represents is attracting
companies like Microsoft, which sent a Beta
version of its Yukon data-mining platform to
more than 10,000 software developers for
testing. Microsoft intends to use Yukon to
compete with similar products from Oracle
and IBM. “The platform will contain several
different algorithms for things like decision
trees, clustering and association rules,” says
Surajit Chaudhuri, manager of the data man-
agement, exploration and mining group at
Microsoft. “In the long term we are also inter-
ested in text mining.” This could some day
allow even private users of Microsoft prod-
ucts to structure and analyze old data from
their Office programs.
Another forward-looking enterprise is
Panoratio (see box and Pictures of the Future,
Fall 2003, p. 55). The company has devel-
oped a type of MP3 system for databases
that reduces terabytes of data down to sev-
eral hundred megabytes, thus enabling ex-
tremely rapid analyses even on standard PCs.
Such technology will not only help Amazon
tip off customers about the right book. It will
also enable industrial companies to mine
their own data more efficiently in the future
and thus optimize their logistic and produc-
tion processes. Norbert Aschenbrenner
ning letters and analyzing them with the pro-
gram. Afterwards, they were distributed elec-
tronically. Text mining can also automatically
analyze website content.
Following its merger with Compaq,
Hewlett-Packard used SAS software to reor-
ganize the product range of its different
brands into new categories. This process in-
volved the comparison of more than one mil-
larger, completely anonymous sets at regular
intervals. “We feed the software with data
collected in the past,” says Reincke. “This
leads to the generation of patterns that are
characteristic of those customers who have
actually canceled contracts.” The patterns are
applied to current data and the system then
produces a cancellation probability state-
ment for each customer.
Evaluating e-mails. Calls made to call cen-
ters are converted into text documents,
which are then examined using a new
method known as text mining. Here a pro-
gram recognizes similar documents by com-
paring the words they contain. “The program
automatically breaks a text down into its indi-
vidual elements,” Reincke explains. The soft-
ware puts all words into their basic forms and
selects simple synonyms in order to reduce
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
complexity. Similarities are determined on
the basis of how often certain words are
used in the texts. A “well-trained” data-min-
ing system can, for example, classify incom-
ing e-mails and automatically forward them
to the right destination.
Researchers at CT also wrote Teklis — a
text-mining program that sorts incoming
conventional mail. One project involved scan-
lion products. The classification, which, if
manually executed, would have occupied an
entire team for a long time, was completed
by a single employee within just a few weeks
with an accuracy of 95 percent. “What’s more,
by using data-mining methods we also found
out that our organizational structure does
not always reflect the actual connections be-
tween employees,” stated HP Lab Director
Networks of telephone and e-mail connections. Special software uses tele-
phone data to determine the density of
phone calls in the U.S. (left). Hewlett-
Packard has compared its organizational
structure with e-mail communication
among its employees and discovered
many virtual commonalities in the
process (right). Each dot stands for an
employee and each line for communica-
tion made via e-mail.
We have only just begun to tapthe
tremendous potential of data mining.
online forums in two ways. First, a Web log
usually belongs to one owner who maintains
it, and secondly, the entries are chronologi-
cally organized, like a ship’s log — thus the
name “Web log.” In the process, subjects can
be summarized and structured with links.
At the Center for New Media at the
Krems Danube University in Austria, all em-
ployees have their own Web logs, which
serve as a file system. “The knowledge and
experiences of each employee are accessible
by all,” says Thomas N. Burg, the media
scientist who heads the center. Burg’s team is
developing an extranet based on Web logs for
an Austrian government agency. The extranet
organizes the flow of information between
companies and the agency. Next, Burg wants
to make it easier to set up social networks by
using Web logs.
Hofer-Alfeis is also working on ways to
automatically establish knowledge networks.
He believes that if all Siemens employees had
knowledge profiles that were semi-automati-
cally generated from documents and e-mails,
people with similar interests could be
brought together in new or pre-existing com-
munities — something like flirting on the
Internet. “But the activities of a community
have to grow out of the business strategy,”
Hofer-Alfeis adds.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial En-
gineering in Stuttgart is going a step further.
Using Vitero software that the institute devel-
oped itself, entire meetings are conducted on
monitors. Scattered in various locations, par-
ticipants meet in a virtual room, sit down
with a click of a mouse and see the other
members as small images sitting around a
table. While a presentation appears on the
table, team members can type questions in
small balloons and make gestures. “After a
short time, the participants feel they are
right in the thick of things,” says Dr. Fabian
Kempf from the institute. Unlike regular
meetings, where the biggest challenge is
often the fight against passivity and drowsi-
ness, communication at online meetings is
more intense and lively, he says. Adds Kempf:
“During a Vitero meeting attended by six
persons, up to 15 gestures are used each
minute.” Bernd Müller
When Online and Offline Fuse Christoph Müller, 40, is a sociologist in Zurich. At the
University of Bern, he worked
on a research project on online community building,
and is now addressing this
topic in his dissertation. What ‘s the difference between social contacts in real life andon the Internet?
Müller:Our studies of people who use chat rooms and newsgroups show that the
boundary between “online” and “offline” is
disappearing — young people, in particular,
are fusing both worlds in their social con-
tacts. Most of them get together offline in
places like discos after making the first contact on the Internet. In companies too,
online and offline contacts are increasingly
gaining equal status. Are such virtual communities built on relatively shaky foundations?
Müller:Not necessarily, but maintaining stability can be a challenging task.Many
groups stick together when they have a long-
term common interest — that can be stamp
collecting, Indonesian cooking or old tube
amplifiers. The important thing is that the
members have control. By using too much
organization and oversight — which is un-
fortunately the case with many companies
— you can squeeze the life out of a virtual
community. What sort of people get involved in a virtual community, and why?
Müller: Activities on the Internet essentially
attract the same types of people who generally get involved in groups. A boost in
prestige is certainly one motivation. For in-
stance, some people will invest a lot of time
and energy in helping others. The driving
force can be a conviction about life — some-
thing like, “If I help somebody today, some-
body will help me tomorrow.” A good exam-
ple is open-source programmers who make
their products generally available without
any commercial interest in mind. Companies
could learn a lot here. What role will virtual communities play in ten years?
Müller:In his science-fiction novel Snow
, Neil Stephenson described cyborgs
who had cell-phone antennas implanted directly into their brains. As a result of these
transplants, the cyborgs constantly transmit
their audiovisual impressions back to a head-
quarters and receive orders. We don’t neces-
sarily need implants, but thanks to video-capa-
ble UMTS cell phones, we may be online all
the time some day soon, letting those around
us know exactly what we’re seeing, hearing
and feeling. Interview conducted by Bernd Müller
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
editor at the broadcaster’s headquarters in
Mainz and the coordinator of the virtual
script-writing community. For their efforts,the
writers involved in the project have received
the Grimme Online Award.
Knowledge-based communities are really
nothing new. From the caves of the Stone
Age to today’s meeting rooms and cafeterias,
people have always gotten together at the
same time and place to create knowledge
and share it. But a new twist has evolved.
Communities also can form in Internet
forums or chat rooms. These communities
transcend departmental, company and na-
tional borders and are entirely independent
of time and place. This is a tremendous op-
portunity for companies to improve their per-
portant for a member? Karsten Ehms of the
Research Center for Knowledge Management
at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in
Munich conducted interviews and sent out
questionnaires to find out why Siemens em-
ployees use virtual marketplaces to exchange
information. The main reason was “learning
and gaining new knowledge,” followed by
explanations that include sharing similar
experiences and comparing perspectives on
society — the very same motives that you
can find offline. But there are differences.
Udo Konradt is a professor who studies work,
organization and market psychology at the
University of Kiel. In an empirical study of
several companies, he determined that vir-
tual communication was conducted in a
ideas from the business process should
always be followed up. This can lead to im-
portant advantages. For example, Ehms has
seen communities discover clues to gaps in
the company’s strategy.
➔Potential users frequently don’t know any-
thing about the existence of a special online
forum, particularly when they work abroad
or in other business areas. As a result, these
people must be actively cultivated. It’s worth-
while to search for them. “Twenty people
who are interested in the community are
enough. Fifty is the optimal number,” says
Ehms’ colleague Dr. Manfred Langen.
➔Surveys ensure that a community doesn’t
just muddle along. One source of motivation
that works better than financial incentives is
a points system like those used by Amazon
and eBay. Members receive a positive evalua-
tion from the others when they make a good
presentation, and that raises their standing in
the community. No place for windbags. Langen’s dealings
with Siemens’ communities have been very
positive. Employees are required to attend
meetings, but members of virtual communi-
ties go only when they will get something
useful from the gatherings, he says. “Wind-
bags don’t stand a chance,” he adds. Some
critics maintain that knowledge manage-
ment will strip away the authority of experts.
But Langen, an electronics engineer at
Siemens, rejects such notions. The reluctance
to share information is a reaction to bad ex-
periences and flawed structures in a com-
pany, he says. The fruitful results of Siemens’
knowledge-exchange effort are reflected by
the company’s recent success in the “Most
Admired Knowledge Enterprise Award” com-
petition, In 2003, Siemens was ranked No. 1
in Europe and seventh worldwide in the
knowledge-management survey of man-
agers. In the future, Web logs will play an im-
portant role at Siemens, according to Ehms.
These logs, originally created as online
diaries, are being used in companies because
they offer easy documentation of work
processes and can be accessed by commu-
nity members. Web logs differ from normal
“A real community should be one of the five most importantthings in the members’ lives.” formance — assuming they know how to
mine this scattered wealth of knowledge.
“Communities contain more knowledge than
the sum of what all of the participants know.
They store information and distribute it like a
network,” says Dr. Josef Hofer-Alfeis, who
coordinates knowledge management for the
company at Siemens Corporate Information
and Operations (CIO). More than 1,250 com-
munities devoted to a variety of subjects
have already been created on Siemens’
intranet, Hofer-Alfeis says. The “Knowledge
Management” community of practice that he
oversees is among the biggest, with about
300 members. One of the newest is the
“Innovation Manager” community, with 100
Equitable communication. “A real commu-
nity should be one of the five most impor-
tant things in the members’ lives,” stresses
Cynthia Typaldos, a corporate consultant for
community marketing in Saratoga, California,
and the founder of numerous Web commu-
nities. But when is an online community im-
faster, more concise and more equitable
manner. But a pure online community is only
a dream, he says. “There is no substitute for
occasional face-to-face meetings, because
gestures and facial expressions play a very
important role in our ability to size up
people, particularly when conflicts have to be
resolved,” he concludes. Karsten Ehms also concluded that the
freedom to be creative and to make indepen-
dent decisions was an important motivation.
As a result, Ehms disagreed with many man-
agers who would like to exert more control
over the communities or harness them for
concrete projects.“That would destroy moti-
vation.” A community is not a hierarchically
controlled organizational unit, he says. But,
on the other hand, a community doesn’t
simply run on its own. In this regard, Ehms’
department has come up with a few rules.
➔ The community should cover a certain
area of knowledge and attract people from
the entire company who consider this subject
to be important — regardless of department
or hierarchy boundaries. In the community,
Search enginesshould find what users wanteven when the user’s query is vaguely expressed.
To make searches more efficient,
Web pioneers like Tim Berners-Lee
propagate the use of meta-tags to
structure the information on the In-
ternet in what they call the Semantic
Web. What’s your opinion here?
Silverstein:The goal of all searches is
to give users the information they want while suppressing information
they don’t need. Structure can be useful here. But structure also implies
some amount of compartmentalization,
which can cause the user to miss
serendipitous connections. Also,
depending on the number of mistakes
inherent in the structure, information
can be inadvertently ”lost.” All large libraries certainly have a number of
books that are mis-shelved, making
them practically inaccessible. I think the people working on structuring the
Web are well aware of these dangers. Structure is valuable as a factor in help-
ing people find information — and
since it’s created by intelligent humans
course, the results are better yet when
coupled with intelligence. A reference
librarian with access to a good search
engine is a formidable tool.
What are the limits of a technical
search? How intelligent can it be?
Silverstein:Eventually, very intelligent
indeed. Why shouldn’t computers be able to reason in much the way humans do? But this presents an extra-
ordinary challenge which, I believe, will take centuries to master — even
though others are more optimistic.
ternet. Many companies, especially
content providers, are increasingly in favor of paid content. How will
Google deal with such an Internet?
Silverstein:There’s room for both paid
content and unpaid content on the
Web. I think both will be very healthy
Web sectors for a long time to come.
For years, we’ve been hearing concerns
that — because of advertising — we
shouldn’t trust the content on the Web
any more because it is deteriorating.
This hasn’t proven true yet, and I don’t
believe it will be true in the future.
Will Google offer a paid search one
of these days?
Silverstein: Google’s goal is to make all
of the world’s information available,
and we don’t have any preconceived
notions about how to do it. Undoubt-
edly different answers will make sense
for different types of information. The Google Answers program, at, already has a payment component. Users pay to have
researchers provide in-depth answers to
their questions. The questions are often
highly complex, and users are more
than willing to pay for this service.
In the early days, Google founders
Sergey Brin and Larry Page weren’t
really into making money. Google is sometimes described as creative
chaos. How can you run a company
with 1,000 employees with an approach like that? Silverstein:In the beginning, when
people asked us how we planned to
make money, we’d say, ”The key thing
is to provide a service that people like
to use. Once we have the users, the
money will follow.” And it’s worked. If
we have 1,000 employees who take
this approach, it may be pretty chaotic
but the end result is valuable and use-
ful. I really believe that we make a posi-
tive difference in people’s lives by mak-
ing information more widely available
and easily accessible than ever before.
Whether it’s helping someone buy the
best digital camera, or helping people
with rare diseases find support groups,
search engines have had a profound
impact on the way people live their
lives. I’m truly grateful that I’ve been
able to make a contribution.
Interview conducted by Werner Pluta
rather than dumb machines, it can be a
very useful factor. But it can also be a
dangerous crutch.
Will the Semantic Web prevail?
Silverstein:Some parts of the Web will
be structured, but I doubt whether the
Web as a whole will be. The amount of
information is so enormous and unwieldy
that structuring it —if at all possible —
would take at least ten or 20 years.
Another issue that is gaining in im-
portance is making money on the In-
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
The Internet is an unstructured collection of information in which
Google searches for the proverbial
needle in the haystack. What will be
the major development trends for
the Internet in the next decades?
Silverstein:There will be a quantitative
change. Much more information will be online. But the real difference will be qualitative. When everything you
want to know is on the Web — not only
movie schedules or heart-attack symp-
toms, but also where to find the items
you need at your local grocery store —
then the way you find and use informa-
tion will be very different. This is partic-
ularly true when you can access all this
data even when on the move.
How many websites are indexed by
Google’s spiders?
Silverstein:We have the world’s largest
index, with 4.3 billion documents. As
the Internet — and our capabilities —
expand, this number will grow. One of
our key challenges is to broaden our
search to incorporate other sources of
public information. Recent efforts that
go beyond Web pages include providing
access to printed catalogues (Google
Catalogue Search), newsgroup postings
(Google Groups) and Google News.
What’s the difference between
Google and other search engines?
Google’s Search for Perfection
Google is the de facto standard for Internet search engines. Pictures of the Futureasked Craig Silverstein, 31, Google’s Director of Technology, how his market leading company sees the future of intelligent search technologies on the Internet. Silverstein:Our technology is our pri-
mary differentiator. We have a scalable
architecture designed to cull the plethora
of Web pages, newsgroup messages,
images, news items and shopping-
related information and to deliver the
most relevant results quickly and easily.
We do this on a large scale, handling
more than 200 million inquiries a day.
According to Google’s search algo-
rithm, popularity counts. Doesn’t this
support average search behavior?
Silverstein:Popularity is not the only
criterion for our ranking system. The secret is that the system takes into ac-
count not merely popularity, but also
reputation. If, on my homepage, I pro-
vide a link to a Web page saying, ”This
is the best Web page ever,” this has little effect on Google, unless I can convince other Webmasters to share my opinion and they then link their
Web pages to mine. So, far from having
average results, Google ends up with
the cream of the crop — websites that
are so good that Webmasters the world
over are willing to stake their reputa-
tions on them.
But the technology and the ranking
system alone aren’t enough to equip
Google for the future. One problem
plaguing today’s users is that they of-
ten can’t find what they want, and
this problem is likely to worsen. How
do you propose to deal with it?
Silverstein:Search results are already
closely tailored to users’ needs, as indi-
cated by what they enter in a search
box. In my experience, an accurate
query is all that’s needed for a search
engine like Google to get good results.
This means the user has to be well-
versed enough to search ”correctly,”
and the search engine offers no as-
sistance. Will this change?
Silverstein:Yes. We want to make the
search engine smart enough — or at
least enable it to pretend to be smart
enough — to find what users want
even when their inquiry is vaguely expressed. We won’t ever be as good as a human being at figuring out what
somebody is looking for, but we hope
to do an even better job in the future.
Will intelligent search software such
as software agents be able to help
Silverstein:Not very much in the next
ten to 20 years, I’m afraid. It will still be
a long time before machines approach
human intelligence. But luckily, ma-
chines don’t actually have to be intelli-
gent; they just have to fake it. Access to
a wealth of information, combined with
a rudimentary decision-making capac-
ity, can often be almost as useful. Of
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
In a recent edition of Nature, scientists reported that they had built a robot capa-
ble of conducting its own research. Any
chance you’ll be replaced by a machine
one of these days?
Christaller: Definitely not. My colleagues
have merely combined two elements: stan-
dard equipment that performs automated
genetic experiments and an expert system
that simulates the activities of scientists with
this equipment. It’s a technology that’s been
around for 30 years. Compared with doc-
toral candidates, computer simulation deliv-
ers better results. But that’s not very surpris-
ing, because rules for planning experiments
are implicitly stored in the expert system. It
would really be going out on a limb to label
this system a robot scientist. This work would
have been rejected as trivial by every schol-
arly journal for artificial intelligence (AI).
Well, AI researchers are notorious for going out on limbs with their predictions.
Fifty years ago, people were saying that
we would have intelligent machines today.
Christaller:That’s true, unfortunately.
Why is it that we can build chess comput-
ers capable of beating Grand Masters but
can’t build robots that can find their way
around in a strange environment?
Christaller:Chess is a game with rules that
can be formalized and are easy to program
— but our environment isn’t. As the behav-
ior of individuals in their surroundings be-
Machines with Human
Intelligence? Not a Chance
Prof. Thomas Christaller, 54, is director of
the Fraunhofer Institute for Autonomous Intelligent Systems in Sankt Augustin, Ger-
many. He is also a professor at the University
of Bielefeld, and head of the GMD-Japan Re-
search Laboratory in Kitakyushu. An expert
in robotics, Christaller has helped to create a
large number of autonomous machines. comes less fixed in the genome, members of that species become less predictable. This forces individuals to put themselves in the position of others. I call this type of behavior “trial behavior” and believe it is the
key to intelligence. Our brain is a powerful
simulation machine.
When will the trial-behavior robot appear
on the scene?
Christaller: I would like to be there when it’s
developed. But I’m afraid it will take a gener-
ation — say 30 years. To get there, we’ll
have to radically change our way of thinking.
What you’re saying is that structured
knowledge — as in a database — is easy
to process, but machines can’t handle
everyday knowledge?
Christaller:That’s right. An encyclopedia is a collection of knowledge — but it’s not in-
telligent. To cope with life, a robot has to
possess a lot of everyday knowledge. It must
know that a chair has four legs and can be
moved and carried around, while realizing
that this might not be true of a cupboard.
We can build robots that never run into anything, thanks to their sensors. But to recognize a chair as a chair and know what
it’s used for? Not a chance.
Has a return to thinking about the abili-
ties of the brain — the key word here is
“neural networks” — moved AI forward?
Christaller:Even though no one has suc-
ceeded so far in making a model of intelli-
gence using neural networks, this seems to
be the most promising way forward. Tradi-
tional AI, which works with symbols, func-
tions for codified knowledge. But if you want
to create human-like behavior, you have to
learn from the brain. Its complexity is cre-
ated to a large extent by countless oscillators
— positive feedback neural networks.
Will machines ever be able to draw conclusions in the way humans do?
Christaller: No. I’m not aware of a single
convincing argument to support that
premise. All previous machine solutions that
outperform humans are based on different
principles from those we find in the brain. If
we define intelligence as the ability to make
predictions about human behavior, then the
chances are good that humans will be better
than any artificial system. But computers will
play an important role in the processing of
information that can be formalized. There
are no theoretical boundaries here, just tech-
nical and practical ones — like the fact that
knowledge doesn’t stand still. As a result, I
think that knowledge systems will require
much more maintenance than normal data-
bases do.
Will there one day be machines that have
Christaller: Feelings didn’t arise without a
reason. They allow us to boil down the huge
store of possible alternative actions to a very
few and to write off the rest — on the basis
of subjective perceptions. Otherwise, our
pondering would never come to an end. If
we want to build robots that function accord-
ing to principles similar to those that deter-
mine how we behave, then they must have
a world in which feelings have a purpose for
them. But today’s robots don’t need feelings. Rodney Brooks of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that the differences between humans and ma-
chines will gradually disappear over the
next 50 years. Do you agree with him?
Christaller: No. That’s a strange prediction.
Interview conducted by Jeanne Rubner
83% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .To improve synergies among units
74% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .To achieve higher added values for customers
70% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .To improve quality in operational and functional processes
67% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .To reduce costs 63% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .To accelerate innovation
37% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .To boost revenues
26% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .To reduce exposure to specific business risks
lthough “knowledge” generates on aver-
age more than 50 percent of total
added value, according to Germany’s Federal
Ministry of Economics and Technology, intel-
lectual capital is often not utilized. A survey
conducted by auditing firm KPMG revealed
that 78 percent of participating companies
believe that they lose business because they
make insufficient use of internal knowledge.
That’s hardly surprising, given that compa-
nies on average invest less than two percent
of their earnings in knowledge management
(KM). One reason for this is that return on in-
vestment is difficult to quantify. That’s be-
cause knowledge must be improved before
the advantages — better products, closeness
to the customer and higher innovative capac-
ity — can be realized.
For 500 companies in Germany that par-
ticipated in a study by the Fraunhofer Insti-
tute for Systems and Innovation Research,
the most important reason for KM is the
internal dissemination and integration of
knowledge. The second most compelling
Knowledge Management in Flux
reason cited was concern over “brain drain”
—the loss of knowledge that results when
employees leave. Over 95 percent of the sur-
veyed companies use the Internet as an infor-
mation source, though strategies for the
management of external knowledge are not
the norm. For every sector, the study shows a
clear correlation between KM activities and
innovative capacity. And in an online survey
conducted by the Institute for e-Manage-
ment, companies unanimously reported that
they view intranet development as a positive
factor, although only one in three companies
is systematically introducing an intranet.
According to KPMG, the application of KM
has changed considerably:
➔In 1998 companies were mainly interested
in technical solutions for storing information
and making it accessible. KM was not yet
integrated into everyday work activities.
➔Some two years later the first unequivocal
successes were enjoyed by companies prac-
ticing KM, even though errors were made in
its implementation.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
➔ Almost all respondents in the 2002/2003
study rated KM as a strategic advantage.
Companies are concentrating particularly on
establishing communities of practice, com-
petence centers, information portals and
document databases. In addition to making
KM more professional, the agenda for the
future includes the incorporation of cus-
tomers, suppliers and partners.
Knowledge management is now also im-
portant for small and medium-sized compa-
nies, as another KPMG study shows. Nearly
one third of the respondents have already
introduced KM. “Because information can be
communicated faster in smaller companies,
they achieve a great deal with a small invest-
ment,” explains Peter Heisig, head of the
Knowledge Management Competence Cen-
ter at the Fraunhofer Institute IPK in Berlin.
“Like quality management, knowledge man-
agement will become a kind of builder’s kit
providing a variety of methods and tools,”
maintains Heisig, who is collaborating on a
guide to good practices in knowledge man-
agement for the European Committee for
Dörte Otten
The German Association for Personnel Management specifies over 90 KM tools, including:
➔An electronic “who’s who” for finding sought-after experts quickly,
➔Lessons-learnt processes for the exchange of experiences on successes and failures,
➔Mentoring to facilitate contact between new employees and experienced co-workers,
➔Networks of experts,
➔Corporate universities for cross-border and multigroup continuing education.
Source: 2002/2003 KPMG study 1.5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .No clear strategy in place
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Lack of time for employees to process and apply knowledge
2.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Inadequate support from executive management
2.2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Inadequate coordination of subareas
2.3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Information technology weaknesses
2.3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sharing of internal knowledge a problem
2.6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Imprecisely determined information needs
2.7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .No exchange with external partners
2.7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Insufficient employee involvement 2.8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Low employee acceptance
3.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .No confidence in quality of content
3.3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Insufficient incentive systems
4.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Usage concerns 1 2 3 4 5
1 (high) to 5 (low) In medium-sized companies
Source: 2001 KPMG study for Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
1.8 Companies expect synergy effects and added value from
knowledge management. KM may be difficult to introduce,
however, if strategies and resources are in short supply. Lifelong learning is a fundamental requirement for survival in the knowledge-based society. Thanks to
modern information and communication technology,
students and professionals can learn according to their
own individual rhythms — at any time or place.
The Classroom Comes
et’s greet Beijing. Good afternoon, Bei-
jing!” A response comes promptly: “Hello,
Zurich!” “Can we get Warsaw on the line
now? I’d better say a good morning here,”
says Rolf Pfeifer as he checks his watch,
which shows that it’s 9:15 a.m. Pfeifer, who heads the Institute for Artifi-
cial Intelligence at the University of Zurich
and is a guest professor at the University of
Tokyo, gave lectures of a special kind during
this past winter semester. In Zurich, Pfeifer
was hooked up to Beijing, Warsaw, Munich
and Tokyo via video conference. His presen-
tations in English were projected onto
screens in the lecture halls, and the students
could ask questions at any time. In fact, any-
one could have come to the lectures by click-
ing Those who
couldn’t attend were able to download a
video. Slides, homework assignments, litera-
ture and links were also available. The orga-
nizers describe their series as “experimental
global instruction.”
Such live, online lectures are just a pre-
view of the way we will learn in the future —
through interactive multimedia technology,
unconstrained by time and place. Nor do
Training on computers, the Internet and
in virtual classroomswill become key ele-
ments of lifelonglearningin the future.
experts believe that this way of transmitting
knowledge should be limited to the college
campus. Professionals need to use it as well.
Today’s knowledge workers constantly have
to organize, evaluate and select information,
and then create new knowledge based on it.
In other words, they have to accept the idea
of lifelong learning. “To accomplish that, knowledge workers
need to have subject-specific and method-
ological expertise as well as creativity and in-
dependent problem-solving skills,” says Heinz
Mandl, who holds a chair at the Institute for
Pedagogic Psycho-logy at the Ludwig Maxim-
ilian University in Munich. To prepare people
for this change, Mandl proposes a “construc-
tive teaching and learning model” in which
students actively acquire knowledge from a
problem-focused environment. This means
that the tasks assigned to the student must
be realistic. “The knowledge that students
acquire is no longer lecturer-oriented, but is
instead based on their previous knowledge
and experiences,” Mandl says.
Learning Partner. Tomorrow’s instructional
environment will still feature plenty of books,
but will also include computer-based training
(CBT), Web-based training (WBT), CD-ROMs
and teleteaching through video conferences.
Such e-learning possibilities eliminate the
need for long trips to training centers, and
open the door to anywhere, anytime learn-
ing. Neverthless, classic teaching is not about
to disappear. “The future belongs to ‘blended learning,’
a mixture of on-site instruction and e-learn-
ing,” Mandl says. The on-site phase offers
several benefits. Students can be led by a
specialist, have a chance to get to know one
another, and can form working groups.
These groups also promote teamwork and
discussion. During the virtual phase, students
can be assisted by telelecturers. This ensures
that they always have someone to answer
their questions.
Such an approach to learning is also be-
ing applied at Siemens Professional Education
(SPE), which has created a new training pro-
gram for German high-school graduates who
decide against a college education but want
to learn an IT job. During “Siemens Live
Learning” — whose first modules will begin
in the fall of 2004 — students will receive
theoretical and practical training at Siemens
learning centers. The companies will intro-
duce the trainees to operations at the job
sites and focus on putting new employees to
work. During a normal three-year training
program, students attend a vocational school
for 38 weeks, a period during which they are
unable to be on the job. But with SPE’s Live
Learning approach, the theoretical section
has been split up, reducing on-site instruc-
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004 83
Communications technology also opens
up new opportunities for Siemens employees
who are in the middle of their careers and
can attend advanced training courses only at
great expense. “Take learning during the
work process as an example,” says Karsten
Ehms, a psychologist at the Corporate Tech-
nology Center for Knowledge Management
& Business Transformation. Here, workers
have all of the information they need to com-
information resource regarding further
courses, could be made available as well.
However, crucial parts of the picture are still
missing. “We still need to answer one major
question,” says Ehms. “How can we structure
information levels, link them and make them
Intranet Diaries. Ehms also sees the use of
Web logs evolving into another trend. These
tion to 18 weeks. This means that trainees
will spend the remaining time at their
work-station computers and will follow the
trainer’s instruction on the Web. Virtual Classrooms. “Our concept employs
virtual classrooms. That means that students
get their theoretical instruction through the
Internet at their own job sites. All they need
is a PC and an ISDN connection,” says Uwe
Regitz, who heads SPE’s activities in northern
Bavaria. SPE also offers business-administra-
tion courses, modules for team training, and
presentation and project management tech-
niques. “During the training program, we
work to prepare students for management
tasks,” Regitz says. After completing the
training courses and a two-year practice
phase, they can earn a bachelor’s degree dur-
ing an in-service program. plete an assignment right at their work sta-
tions. Ehms points to SieMap as an example.
This editorially managed portal in the Siemens
intranet already contains links to documents,
a search function and a glossary. But its po-
tential extends far beyond these services,
Ehms says. “You could gradually expand the
service and add content from instructors —
things like information on project manage-
ment or control.” The time spent on lessons
could range from two minutes to 60 minutes.
The decision would be left up to the student.
If students feel that two minutes is sufficient,
then they can return to work. If not, they can
go on to the next learning segment.
The service would be even more user-
friendly if a subject could be approached
from a variety of perspectives. Possible selec-
tion criteria could include business processes,
products or organization. Links to CBT and
personal Internet sites contain a list of anno-
tated links or chronological reports about ex-
periences. The contents are input through a
simple user interface. Experts are determin-
ing how much added value the net diaries
would provide Siemens. For example, an
employee could write a summary at the end
of a project and put it on the intranet as a
Web log. If a coworker came across the log
during his or her own research, he or she
could add a comment to it. If both were on-
line, they could get in touch with each other
and exchange more information (see p. 75). Despite all of this technology, the human
aspect of things is not being left by the way-
side. After all, knowledge employees are ex-
pected to organize their own learning and
motivate themselves. First of all, though,
they have to learn to do so and should not be
left alone during the process. Says Ehms:
“The ideal approach would be for workers to
turn to a learning consultant within the com-
pany. The consultant would provide subject-
matter support and help them decide which
module was most suitable on the basis of
their individual requirements.” Evdoxia Tsakiridou
Can you recall a recent situation where
you experienced a “knowledge gap”?
Freise:I’m particularly embarrassed by the temporary blackout I had during the “Millionaire” show — not only because 13
million viewers were watching; people also
continually bring it up. I couldn’t remember
where UNESCO headquarters was, because
the link in my brain that led to Paris tem-
porarily malfunctioned. Later I suspected
that I didn’t have enough sugar in my sys-
tem. There are many types of “knowledge
gap,” and one is “acute brain and biochemi-
cal failure.” Everyone has it at times. The
UNESCO question was the one before the
final question. So I used all three lifelines,
because I wanted to answer the last ques-
tion on my own, no matter what.
Knowledge and the Art of
Dealing with Uncertainty
Prof. Eckhard Freise, 59, is a historian at the University of
Wuppertal in Germany. His pri-
mary interest is the Middle Ages, especially the transfer of knowl-
edge and education in monas-
teries. Freise received broad public attention in Germany on December 2, 2000, when he became the first contestant to win a million German Marks on the “Millionaire” gameshow.
can be considered either knowledge or simply information. A correct answer on the
show can be the result of anything from
profound knowledge to an intuitive guess.
The nature of the questions varies so greatly
that everyone has to employ each tactic at
least once.
Are people happier if they know a lot?
Freise:Basically, yes. Knowledge helps you
deal with the uncertainties of everyday life. I believe that it offers protection against all
types of adversity, and that the blissfully ig-
norant individual is a fantasy of intellectuals
and cultural critics.
Do people today know more than they
did 50, 100 or 1,000 years ago? Freise:This has lately been called into ques-
tion by scholars who specialize in the history
of knowledge. If you define knowledge as
collective experience, there’s no doubt that
many more people can partake of it today
than in the past. Back then access to knowl-
edge was limited to high priests, to name
one example. In the technologically sophisti-
cated Age of Information, however, some of
us tend to feel superior to the people of the
Stone Age or late Middle Ages. What these
people don’t realize is that many things
handed down orally, such as the ingredients
for making certain paints in the Middle Ages,
have been lost. Indeed, 1,000 years ago
there was specialized knowledge regarding
things like cathedral construction or natural
medicines that is only now being rediscov-
ered, if it hasn’t been lost completely.
It’s said that knowledge is becoming an
indispensable precondition for progress
and prosperity. Do you agree?
Freise:Yes, with reservations. Knowledge
has always been the precondition for dra-
matic improvements in the quality of life.
For example, clever people in the 11th cen-
tury added a so-called moldboard behind the
plow to prevent clumps of earth from falling
back into the furrow. Although it was a
minor invention, it had a tremendous effect.
It dramatically improved crop yields, led to a
doubling of the population in Western and
Central Europe by the 12th century and
greatly improved people’s diets. On the other
hand, mechanization in the 19th century,
like the invention of the loom, led to impov-
erishment for a large share of the population.
Are we now living in a knowledge-based society?
Freise:Yes, in the broad sense of the term.
No matter how limited each individual’s ad hoc collection of knowledge may be, the
sum of existing knowledge is tremendous,
though it’s transitory and in constant flux.
You can see this every day — for example in
chat forums, although several visits to such
forums have led me to believe they are
dominated by a self-proclaimed oratorical
elite rather than by true thinkers.
What do we need to do to succeed in the
knowledge society?
Freise:The Pisa study showed Germany how
hard it is to achieve success, particularly for
the younger generation. This has to do with
growing uncertainty about how to amass
knowledge without ending up with “dead
capital.” And this has led to re-emphasizing
basic cultural skills — language learning,
logical thinking and easily understandable
forms of expression. I suggest that we intro-
duce more knowledge and thinking games;
they help students to deal with an informa-
tion-flooded world. A quiz, for example, is a
ticket to the world of the informed. We must
also spark a passion for learning and teach
the art of forgetting, because everyone must
be constantly deciding which knowledge
they need and which they can discard.
What do schools and universities need to
do to ensure that we are prepared to face
the knowledge society?
Freise:Everyone talks about soft skills, but
no one seems to know how to teach them. A look at the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian
countries could teach us how to make our
specialized fields understandable to non-
experts. Courses should be interdisciplinary.
For example, a historian and a mathemati-
cian could teach the history of the natural
sciences, and each instructor would have to
ensure that the other understood him or her.
The natural sciences are already far ahead of
the humanities here, this is clearly indicated
by the double-digit growth rates popular science publications are now enjoying.
Interview by Norbert Aschenbrenner
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Who accompanied Edmund Hillary on Mt. Everest? That was the final question
Eckhard Freise answered correctly on
“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Do the questions asked on “Millionaire”
actually require knowledge, or is it more a matter of information fragments?
Freise:The distinction that people so often
make today between knowledge and infor-
mation is exaggerated, in my opinion, as you
can see when you watch the show. Many
contestants prepare for the program by
reading a lot and learning all kinds of things
by heart — from the periodic table of the el-
ements to the names of pop stars. Depend-
ing on the individual’s level of education, this
In a knowledge-based society, the key production factor is people’s
knowledge. A century ago, some 80 percent of the workforce was em-
ployed in agriculture and manufactur-
ing. By 2020, the proportion of blue
collar workers in Western industrial nations will fall to approximately 15
percent. One figure in particular un-
derlines the growing importance of
data processing: in 2002, five exabytes
of digital data were newly generated
and stored — that’s 800 megabytes
per person worldwide. (p. 65)
The key to staying afloat in this flood
of data and information is a willing-
ness to engage in lifelong learning. Selective knowledge — the ability to
draw the right conclusions despite in-
complete or excessive information —
will become crucial. Computers and
the Internet will play a leading role in
basic and advanced training. In the fu-
ture, we will learn interactively, using
multimedia technology and to a large
extent independently of a fixed place
or time. (pp. 65, 82, 84)
In a survey, 78 percent of companies
said they lose business because they
fail to make sufficient use of their in-
house knowledge. For years, Siemens
has been successfully managing com-
pany knowledge via its intranet. An
outstanding example is ShareNet from
the company’s ICN Group, which has
16,500 registered users in 70 coun-
tries. (pp. 68, 80)
Today, specialists can exchange information via Internet communities
that deal with specific areas of knowl-
edge. In the future, we will also see
the use of Weblogs — online diaries
that document projects or work
processes. Information in the Internet
will be easier to find, structured in a
more user-friendly manner and, if authentic, awarded a kind of quality
seal. (p. 75)
Data mining helps companies gener-
ate valuable knowledge and forecasts
from routine data. This includes pro-
grams to recognize credit-card fraud
and a system developed by Siemens to economically restock ATMs. Text
mining provides an automatic com-
puter analysis of texts, allowing users
to compare documents and identify similarities. (p. 71)
Knowledge Management, Communities:
Dr. Josef Hofer-Alfeis, CIO PM MSK Dr. Gerhard Zorn, CT CIO CKO
Karsten Ehms, CT IC 1
Dr. Manfred Langen, CT IC 1
Joachim Döring, ICN
Data Mining:
Dr. Volker Tresp, CT IC 4
Web Mining:
Dr. Ralph Neuneier, CT IC 1
Uwe Regitz, SPE Prof. Dr. Thomas Christaller, FhG AIS
Prof. Dr. Eckhard Freise
Prof. Dr. Gerd Gigerenzer
Prof. Dr. Rolf Kreibich, IZT Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Kriegel
Prof. Dr. Franz Lehner
Dr. Rolf Pfeifer, University of Zurich Ulrich Reincke, SAS
Andreas Schleicher, OECDPISA
The e-learning website of the EU:
Tokyo Lectures (Internet lectures):
The Agilience Group:
Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering:
Free Internet Encyclopedia:
Centre for Educational Research
and Innovation: Knowledge Man-
agement in the Learning Society, Organisation for Economic Co-opera-
tion and Development, Paris (2000)
In Brief
Fast, powerful, environmentally friendly — The electric train has proven itself for now 125 years. Siemens has been with it from the very start. 86
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Electrifying Trains PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Siemens’ first electric train (left)
was introduced at the 1879
Berlin trade fair. Some 125 years
later the company is still on
track with a range of systems in
German Rail’s ICE 3 (above).
then,” Lubensky said, “ended up on a dead-
end street.” It was not until 1970 that re-
search in this area was resumed. Better than Steam.At first, single-phase
alternating-current technology became the
focus of research: In 1904, the Siemens-
Schuckert-Werke (SSW) extended the Mur-
nau-Oberammergau rail line in the German
Alps as part of the effort. In place of two
steam locomotives formerly used to pull
heavy trains up the steep grade, an LAG-1
locomotive impressively demonstrated just
what electric propulsion was capable of
achieving. As a result, in 1912 the German
state railways decided to use single-phase
alternating current with a frequency of 16 2
hertz and 15,000 volts. Austria, Norway,
Sweden and Switzerland soon joined in and
created the basis for an interconnected elec-
trified rail network that extended across na-
tional borders. But the conversion was blocked by World
War I and its aftermath. Lack of investment
and growing competition from planes and
cars — the number of cars in Germany grew
tenfold to more than 1.2 million between
1921 and 1929 — turned the once thriving
railroad business into a money-losing propo-
sition. Nonetheless, Germany’ rail system,
the Reichsbahn, achieved considerable tech-
nical success. One pioneering achievement
was the multipurpose E 44 electric locomo-
tive built in 1930. This locomotive, designed
by Walter Reichel and manufactured by SSW,
could be used by both freight and passenger
trains. During the years that followed, faster
and more powerful electric locomotives en-
tered service — particularly in the mountains
and in places where hydroelectric power
could be produced inexpensively. Electric lo-
comotives were much more efficient than
steam locomotives and had the additional
benefit of being able to produce constant
pulling power even on serpentine routes. On
the other hand, the costs of setting up the
electrical system on the rail lines were high.
As a result, steam locomotives dominated
the tracks into the 1950s. For the same rea-
son, electric locomotives had to compete
with diesel locomotives, which still provide
service today on non-electrified branch lines.
Intercity and ICE. It was not until World War
II had ended that the Deutsche Bundesbahn
(DB) could think about electrifying long
stretches of rail lines, even though it was slip-
ping deeper into the red as a result of
money-losing local transportation operations
and competition from the auto industry. In
the freight transport business, standard loco-
motives were developed at the beginning of
the 1960s. They simplified freight transport,
added speed and increased towing capacity.
In passenger transportation, speed contin-
ued to grow in importance. By the winter of
1971, Intercity trains that used electrified
lines to connect major cities were introduced. Together with the electric industry, the
DB also broke new ground. In 1979, efforts
were initiated to use three-phase technology
in train operations, a technology that allows
smaller, lighter and nearly maintenance-free
motors to be introduced. In 1985, a high-
speed “Intercity Experimental” (ICE) train
based on this technology was tested, Acting
under German Rail’s project management,
Siemens assumed responsibility for the elec-
tric technology and the electronics used in
the new train’s drive unit. The third genera-
tion of the ICE — now called “Intercity Ex-
press” — has been in operation since 2000. “In the future, rail travel will be even
quieter, more comfortable and more conve-
nient,” says Jürgen Schlaht of Siemens Trans-
portation Systems in Erlangen. But today’s
passengers don’t have to wait for the future
to enjoy a totally new traveling sensation. “All
they have to do is get on the new ICE 3,” says
Schlaht. “You won’t feel drafts and you won’t
be tossed around in the car. It’s uniformly
quiet in operation and glides gently through
curves.” The new Siemens platform for high-
speed trains known under the name of Velaro
is the logical continuation of this development.
With a view to developing a European
high-speed vehicle (High-Speed Train Europe,
HTE), railroad operators in France, Germany
and Italy have formed an alliance with lead-
ing vehicle producers, including Siemens. A
standardized, modular, basic rail vehicle is to
be adapted to meet the needs of specific
areas of operation. A double-deck version
could be used for high-demand stretches,
and a single-deck version could be developed
for routes with tunnels. But Schlaht says the
appearance of these trains remains an open
question. “At the moment, the HTE is still just
a dream.” Luitgard Marschall
t the blazing speed of seven kilometers
an hour the electric locomotive raced
through Berlin’s trade exhibition. Visitors
were excited. Around 86,000 passengers
eventually dared to take a trip on one of the
three cars during the four-month fair. Others
lay down on the tracks to get a feel for the
invisible power that propelled the “train that
has no steam or horses.” tems, most of which were using horse-drawn
streetcars in the last third of the 19th cen-
tury. Berlin, for instance, had 7,000 horses in
1896. Even though the manure was picked
up twice a day, hygienic conditions remained
questionable. Attempts to replace the horses
with steam locomotives failed because citi-
zens didn’t want to put up with the steam,
flying sparks and noise. So it’s not surprising
that the first electric streetcar that Siemens
introduced in 1881 in Berlin-Lichterfelde be-
came a model for the world. But delivery of electricity proved to be a
problem. At first, it was transmitted through
the middle rail. This system, however, re-
stricted the voltage to 180 volts and raised
safety concerns. The problem was resolved in
1889 when Siemens engineer Walter Reichel
developed the bow collector. By the end of
the century, electric propulsion had spread to
subways, elevated railways, and mining and
industrial locomotives.
In long-distance travel, however, there
seemed to be no reason to replace smooth-
running steam propulsion systems. In 1879,
the German railroad network had more than
10,000 km, of track and thousands of steam
locomotives were rolling. But about ten years
later, the success of the electric train
prompted thinking about electrifying long-
distance routes in the future.
The direct current used at the time in
public transportation systems was not suited
for long distances. As a result, Siemens
turned its attention in 1892 to alternating
current. AC allows line voltage to be as high
as desired; the voltage can then be brought
to the level best suited for the motor by
means of transformers in the locomotive. At
first, three-phase alternating current was
used at Siemens’ factory in Berlin and at the
company’s own test track in Lichterfelde. In
1903, a train reached a record speed of 210
km/h on the Marienfelde-Zossen line. But
three-phase alternating current proved to be
inadequate because of its elaborate electric-
ity feed system over three individual lines
and bow collectors. “Tests conducted back
“Our electric train is creating quite a stir,”
Werner von Siemens, the builder of the
world’s first operational electric locomotive,
proudly wrote to his brother on June 12,
1879 — 125 years ago. This report from long ago may bring a
smile to passengers used to speeding along
in trains like the Intercity Express (ICE) of Ger-
man Rail. Indeed, a lot has happened be-
tween the early days of rail transportation
and today’s 350 km/h trains. But the transfor-
mation was anything but sudden. It took
more than half a century before things really
began to move in terms of long-distance
travel. “There were many technical and orga-
nizational problems that had to be solved,”
says Sven Lubensky, a project expert at
Siemens Locomotives in the Transportation
Systems Group in Munich. “The public also
had to be convinced of the benefits of electri-
cal power systems.”
From Horse Manure to Electric Trains.The
conversion was simplest for urban transit sys-
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
Looking Ahead to Success —
Tomorrow and the Day After
ill computer chips be able to repair
themselves in 25 years? Will we be
capable of implanting electronic intelligence
into our bodies in 50 years? Will ubiquitous
robots produce their own offspring in the
next century? And will people be able to settle
on Mars 500 years from now?
These and other questions — not always
meant to be taken too seriously — motivated
a new book by Georg Berner that aims to re-
veal what the future might hold and what we
can do to make sure we’re ready to face the
world of tomorrow. But the author is not con-
cerned with discussing utopian visions that
may or may not become reality; instead, he
uses these visions as a starting point for a voy-
age into the technological trends of the com-
ing years and decades. In detail and with an
expert’s flair, he describes potential advances
in materials development, IT, communications
technology, the Internet and biotechnology.
Berner, who currently works at the Executive
Office for Information and Communications of
the Siemens Corporate Executive Committee,
is an expert in the field of future research. Pre-
viously with Siemens Corporate Technology,
he headed the Information and Communica-
tions innovation unit and was one of the pio-
neers behind the development of the com-
pany’s future-planning strategy, which is now
known as “Pictures of the Future.”
Technology Trends in Everyday Life. Berner
also ventures further afield from technologi-
cal trends in his book. Drawing on his profes-
sional experiences in sales and as the head of
a global marketing department, he makes it
clear that only by taking a holistic approach
will a company be able to turn its visions of
the future into reality. In addition, he dis-
cusses the impact that new trends in technol-
ogy are likely to have on our daily lives in the
future — and vice versa. How, for example,
will technological advances affect our homes
and our leisure-time activities? How will
freight and passengers be transported in
coming years? What changes will we see in
terms of our jobs and learning behavior? And
how will health care and environmental pro-
tection be structured? Berner addresses all of
these questions in detail. In the process, he
takes into account the development of indi-
vidual means of communication, as well as
the influence of emotions and the needs of
the subconscious. Corporate Consequences. But if Berner had
restricted himself to merely describing tomor-
row’s trends, his book would not be called
“Management in 20XX”. In the second half of
the book, he answers questions that affect
managers in particular. What will all these
developments mean for companies? What
must managers do in order to play a success-
ful part in shaping the future? Which strate-
gies should they pursue? How should they
modify corporate processes and structures to
meet future needs? In this section, Berner provides a specific
list of measures that can be taken, backed up
by theoretical considerations. These include
everything from portfolio, market and cus-
tomer analysis to operative implementation,
project management, appropriate leadership
structures, external partnerships and pro-
cesses with regard to innovation, production
and logistics. Berner also demonstrates that
the rules of the market are changing, and that
global competition is increasingly being domi-
nated by time pressures and knowledge. In
the future, structures are set to become even
more open and networked, and the working
world will be characterized by greater flexibil-
ity and the need for more individual responsi-
bility. Decision-Making Tool. Berner successfully
presents a changing world in all its diversity
and the implications that technological trans-
formations will have for commercial enter-
prises in the future. In the foreword, Professor
Claus Weyrich, member of the Corporate Ex-
ecutive Committee of Siemens AG and Head
of Corporate Technology, writes, “For deci-
sion-makers everywhere, this book offers a
whole host of new ideas, strategies and ways
of thinking. It will surely be widely read in
marketing, sales and R&D departments and
beyond.” Ulrich Eberl
Available in English and German
from bookstores,
or from: or
ISBN 3-89578-241-6
Price: 37.90 euros
The world economy is under-
going a radical transformation.
Global markets with tremen-
dous competitive potential are
emerging, and IT, communica-
tions and biotechnology are setting the trends. Against this
backdrop, companies will sur-
vive only if they push forward
with new ideas. “Management
in 20XX” by Georg Berner ex-
plains how they should proceed
in order to achieve success.
Dialing for Doors Cool Care for
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
efore long, cell phones may be opening doors and paying dispensing machines. At the
CeBIT 2004 trade fair, researchers from Siemens ICM presented a multimedia phone
with an integrated data-reading device and identification chip. A radio scanner on an office
or house door could, for example, recognize the signal from the phone’s identification chip
at a distance of up to ten centimeters, whereupon the security system would allow entry.
Commuters could also use the technology to pay for public transportation.A reader on a bus
door, for instance, would recognize a passenger’s cell phone and identify its user upon
boarding and exiting the vehicle. The
fare would then be automatically deb-
ited from a prepaid card. In the enter-
tainment sector, chips integrated into
concert posters could, for example,
transmit information such as perfor-
mance dates, ticket prices and Internet
links to cell phones within a certain
radius. Users could then immediately
purchase tickets with their phones.
Behind these developments is the
convergence of RFID (Radio Frequency
Identification) and NFC (Nearfield Com-
munication) technologies. na
he more efficiently a gas or coal-fired
power plant works, the less fuel it re-
quires to supply a given amount of electricity,
and the less carbon dioxide it emits.Detlef
Haje of Siemens Power Generation in Mül-
heim an der Ruhr, Germany, has applied for a
patent for a steam turbine with an innovative
rotary cooling system that allows the turbine
to operate under extreme vapor states. Until now, steam turbines could not be
used at temperatures from 600 to 700 degrees
Celsius and at a pressure above 300 bars. How-
ever, the new system now provides active
Radio chip in a cell phone: A scanner on a door grants entry after identifying the cell phone’s ID.
Dr. Detlef Haje’s discoveries have
boosted steam turbine efficiency.
Write on with PenPhone S
iemens developers have created a cell phone in the form of a pen that can be used to
write texts and numbers by hand — the ideal solution for people who find keying in
text messages something of a pain. The PenPhone is used just like an everyday pen. The
device’s special image-recognition system allows users to write normal texts on nearly any
smooth surface — a feat that is beyond the capability of computer organizers that are re-
stricted to a special type of writing applied to their touchscreen displays. The writing func-
tion is activated when a small button at the tip of the pen makes contact with a surface.
When this happens, a tiny infrared camera begins to record about hundred images per sec-
ond as a rough pixel pattern that changes with every movement of the pen. Thanks to this
high scan rate, the system is capable
of recognizing the location of the tip in
relation to its initial position in real
time. The software subsequently uses
these coordinates to display the text
and audibly repeat it using a built-in
speaker. The tri-band cell phone,
which is 14 centimeters long and two
centimeters wide, is equipped with a
Bluetooth interface that allows it to be
connected to a handheld computer or
headset. na
cooling that can be concentrated precisely on
highly stressed areas. Haje’s improved steam
turbine makes fossil fuel-powered plants more
efficient, because they can achieve higher
temperatures and pressures. As a result,
power companies can operate their plants
more economically and with less strain on
the environment (see pages 41 to 44). Haje is extraordinarily productive. In the
past six years he has filed 24 invention
patents in the areas of cooling, sealing and
efficiency improvement. He also played a
vital role in the development of a new
generation of steam turbines that deliver
higher performance. na
Writing with a cell phone. Software transcribes the user’s hand movements.
Sensors serve as the eyes, ears and noses of machines. However, to meet the demands of the
future, developers will have to tackle new chal-
lenges. Tomorrow’s sensors will have to withstand
the heat inside combustion engines, function
within the human body, weigh DNA molecules
and detect explosives. What’s more, they’ll have to help optimize industrial processes, learn from
experience, and join with other sensors to create
networks — even as they shrink to invisibility. Mobile radio and broadband communications are
rapidly changing our lives. More and more people
are online around the clock — and accessible via
various devices at all times. In the world of work the trend is toward the mobile office. Increasingly, all the information required to manage processes
is available practically instantaneously. In the future, cell phones will be able to tell people which of their friends are online and where they
are located. As a result, coordinating schedules —
when planning a movie date, for example — will
be a breeze. But smart technologies will be
needed to protect us from becoming transparent.
From power plants to computer tomographs, approximately 60 percent of the products, systems and services Siemens sells are dependent
on the software they employ. And with over
30,000 software developers, Siemens is a global
leader in this strategic area. Trends such as ex-
ploding complexity, networking, and pervasive
computing are shaping software development.
Scientists are responding with new technologies
such as future-proof modular structures, self-
configuring systems, and self-repairing software.
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Spr i ng 2004
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Publisher: Siemens AG Corporate Communications (CC) and Corporate Technology (CT) Wittelsbacherplatz 2, 80333 Munich
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ages /Richard Laird (16), picture-alliance /dpa (17-2, -5, -6, 47), Corbis (17-3), Osram
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tory (55), MotionBridge (61), German Aerospace Center DLR, RTL, CNN, ARD, eBay (65,
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Siemens Computers (75 t.l., b.r.), Evelyn Mörgeli (77), Google (78), Fraunhofer-
Gesellschaft /AIS (81), University of Zurich (82-83), RTL (84).
Copyright of all other images is held by Siemens AG.
© 2004 by Siemens AG. All rights reserved. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
Order number:A19100-F-P99-X-7600
ISSN 1618-5498
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marks of Siemens AG. Google is a registered trademark of Google
Technologies Inc. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft
Corporation. Java is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems Inc. ICE is a
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The content of the reports in this publication does not necessarily reflect the opinions
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