s Fall 2004 COMMUNICATIONS SOFTWARE SENSOR TECHNOLOGY Always-On Society Intelligence Inside Superhuman Senses T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R R E S E A R C H A N D I N N O V A T I O N Pictures of the Future Scenario 2015: Fantasy Online 8 Trends:Always Online 11 Life at Work:The Mobile Office 14 Security:Moving Target 17 Interview with Thomas Geitner, Board Member and Group Technology Officer at Vodafone:Why Cell Phones have a Multimedia Future 19 Industry:Real-Time Value 20 Home and Leisure:Two-Way Street 23 Facts and Forecasts:Boom in Broadband Technologies 26 Far East: Broadband Mecca 28 Society:Heading for the Lonely Crowd?31 Horizons2020 Scenario — A Glimpse of Things to Come 4 Research Cooperation:Feitoza Foundation, Manaus, Brazil 34 Start-Up /Spin-Off: PolyIC — the Chip Printers (Polymer Chips) 58 History: Electronic Ears (Hearing Aids) 86 Patents:LEDs Illuminate Runways /Chin Up in the Car of the Future 88 Innovation News:Wristband with RFID / SPECT . CT Technology for Early, Accurate Diagnosis /Cell Phone Photo Diary 89 Feedback / Preview 90 I n recent months, Europe has laid the groundwork for future development. The exten- sion of the European Union in May 2004 created the world’s largest single market, which has the economic power of the U.S. but more inhabitants than the U.S. and Japan put together. The election of a new European Parliament in June was soon followed by a breakthrough when the leaders of the EU states agreed on the text of the future EU con- stitution. All of this brings Europe an important step closer to its declared goal of becom- ing the most dynamic economic region in the world — even though much remains to be done in terms of economic reforms. F or companies like Siemens, the new Europe offers tremendous opportunity. This is where we generate 57 percent of our sales and employ two-thirds of our workforce. After the opening of the Iron Curtain, we’ve also been able to revive contacts that go back for more than a century, and today Siemens employs about 25,000 men and women in central and eastern Europe. That brings us closer to customers who demand many infrastructure services and a pool of well-qualified workers whose labor costs are in some cases only one-sixth of those of their colleagues in Germany. B ut in terms of costs alone, neither Germany nor Europe will be able to compete with other business locations, for example, those in Asia. The EU’s strengths must be sought elsewhere: in its socially stable economies, and, above all, in its people’s high level of creativity, thanks to which we have a good chance of taking the lead in innova- tion. And that will be the key to our competitiveness in the future. Siemens too has set its sights high. We want to be the trendsetter in everything we do. A nd that’s why we’ve chosen innovation, along with customer orientation and global competitiveness, as the focus of our top + business excellence program. A major aspect of this program is the synergy between the Siemens Groups — for example, the development of platforms such as a uniform architecture for control systems of every kind, or wireless LAN for use in applications ranging from cell phones to data transmis- sion in factories (see p. 20). Well thought-out platforms not only help to save costs but also permit more flexibility and higher quality, thanks to reusable modules — and that means more benefits for our customers. An additional focus of our innovation program is on areas where we intend to set trends — whether it’s the rise of the mobile office (see p. 14), the smart home (see p. 23) or the real-time enterprise (see p. 20). T his issue of Pictures of the Future also demonstrates the high percentage of cross- sectional technologies at Siemens — for example, sensor technology (see p. 60 – 85) and software (see p. 36 – 57). Most of the added value in almost all of our business areas is based on software, even if it’s not immediately visible in the products. Our 30,000 software developers — that’s more than at many leading software houses — basically make us one of the leading software companies in the world. I am convinced that Siemens is well on the way to becoming theleader in innovation and achieving a significant competitive edge. But the question remains: What will Europe look like in 2020? We recently commissioned TNS Infratest to conduct a study on this intriguing issue. The article that begins on page 4 reports on the future scenario we will publish as “Horizons2020.” Europe and Siemens: Innovation Is the Key Johannes Feldmayer is a mem- ber of the Siemens AG Corpo- rate Executive Committee. He is responsible for the business region Europe, as well as for several Siemens Groups and corporate departments (L&A, SBT, CIO, GPL). P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 32 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE E DI T OR I AL Cover, top right:Software is ultimately nothing but mathematics and logic, trans- lated into lines of code — and yet it makes the world go round. More and more prod- ucts contain software, though the user may not be aware of it. Bottom left: Sensors — like this innovative CO 2 gas sensor — are moving in everywhere. A L WA Y S - O N S O C I E T Y Scenario 2015: Living Memory 36 Trends: Creating Tomorrow’s Codes 39 Programming:Taming Complex Systems 42 Security:Faultless Future?44 Facts and Forecasts:Falling Prices and Exploding Complexity 45 Quality:Model Process 46 Pervasive Computing:Developing a Digital Aura 48 International Development:Software in the Global Village 51 Standardization:Efficiency Revolution 53 Interview with Prof. Michael Cusumano, MIT on an Automatic Transmission for Software 55 Patents:Protecting Innovations 56 S O F T W A R E Scenario 2015: Sensing the Best Wine 60 Trends: Superhuman Senses with information on: Sensors in Textiles, Tires, Engines and Turbines 63 Computed Tomography:Fast Ceramic in X-Ray Light 68 MEMS:Buildings that Think and Act 70 Sensor Networks:Smart Grains of Sand 72 Biosensors:The Pocket Laboratory 74 Optical Sensors:Electronic Eagle Eyes 77 Facts and Forecasts:Toward Intelligent and Networked Sensors 80 Gas Sensors:Digital Bloodhounds 81 Interview with Dr. Udo Weimar, University of Tuebingen, on Sensors that Can Smell 84 S E N S O R T E C H N O L O G Y PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE CONT E NT S F E A T U R E S What developments will characterize our society, our economy and our political system in the coming ten to 15 years? With its “Horizons2020” scenario — the result of a comprehensive questionnaire sent to inter- national experts — Siemens hopes to stimulate public discussion of the issues involved and help formulate appropriate solutions. 4 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 5 I n the theater, the props and the stage set- ting traditionally define the framework within which a certain scene will unfold. The Greek term “scenarium” originally referred to a plot summary, and its meaning was later expanded to mean the director’s overview of the dramatic production. The modern word “scenario” has been borrowed from stage terminology to mean the frame- work within which future developments will evolve. For example, Siemens uses Pictures of the Future scenarios to illustrate the most important technological trends in the com- pany’s business areas. But on what kind of stage will the developments of the coming years and decades take place? What social, political and economic frameworks are in- volved? To find the answers to these questions, Siemens commissioned TNS Infratest Munich, a business research company, to conduct an initial study throughout Europe. Since 1947, TNS Infratest has conducted thousands of studies for clients from the public and private sectors, including a number of studies of fu- ture scenarios. The company is part of the London-based Taylor Nelson Sofres, one of the world’s leading market research compa- nies, which has more than 14,000 employ- ees in 70 countries. The study which was com- missioned by Siemens, entitled Horizons2020, will be presented to the general public for the first time during the “Science Days” in Munich at the end of October, 2004. “Horizons2020 is not about political sce- narios such as those that were developed by the RAND Corporation during the Cold War, nor is it about strategic scenarios that com- panies can use to forecast probable future developments,” says Dr. Joachim Scharioth, CEO of TNS Infratest Business Research, who was already working out scenarios at the Battelle Institute in the 1980s. “Instead, it de- velops a so-called communication scenario. With Horizons2020, we depict several possi- ble futures that are consistent in themselves and together describe the entire range of possible developments. In other words, they are like the stage settings in a theater be- cause they show us how much scope we will have to shape the future.” The aim of com- munication scenarios, he adds, is not to fore- cast future developments and the likelihood that they will actually happen. Rather, the goal is to clearly visualize a variety of possible futures and their internal relationships. The client — Dr. Barbara Filtzinger, head of Public Relations at Siemens Corporate Communications — adds: “Through Hori- zons2020 we aim to initiate a dialogue with interested parties in the general public about possible developments, the challenges facing us and conceivable solutions. We’ve chosen a timeframe of 15 to 20 years, which is far PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE HOR I Z ONS 2020 S C E NAR I O enough in the future not to be a simple con- tinuation of today’s situation but is also not so distant that our ideas would be only wish- ful thinking or science fiction without any connection to reality.” How long 20 years can be should be clear to anyone who thinks back to the way things were in 1984. In those days, who would have dared to predict the collapse of the Eastern bloc or the east- ward extension of the EU? And who had any idea of the coming Internet? Mobile phones were as yet unknown and hardly anyone had a personal computer. Alternative Developments.In order to find out how experts view current trends in spe- cific areas, TNS Infratest developed an exten- sive questionnaire together with Siemens and an international advisory board and sent it to several hundred experts throughout Eu- rope. The areas involved covered economics and politics, technology and the environ- ment, and culture and society. “The group included many experts at universities who re- flect on the future of their respective research areas as well as company CEOs and European political leaders,” says Scharioth. The ques- tionnaire contained many descriptors — that is, two alternative descriptions of possible fu- ture developments. The 116 questionnaires returned in the first round were processed and the “non-critical” descriptors — in other words, the areas where most of the experts were in agreement — were filtered out. The remaining descriptors were divided into “critical” descriptors — here, the experts split into two opposing camps — and those marked by a wide diversity of opinions. For the latter group, a new questionnaire was sent out, and this time the experts were informed about the opinions that had been expressed by their colleagues throughout Europe. “This made the responses more defi- nite,” explains Scharioth. As a result of the two questionnaires and the meetings of the advisory board, TNS In- fratest identified a total of 76 critical descrip- tors, 32 non-critical descriptors and 10 mega- trends (see box below). “That makes this Siemens study one of the most comprehen- sive and complex ones I know of,” says Schar- ioth. Normally, he adds, research companies are commissioned to carry out much more specific studies. For example, automakers such as BMW or VW wish to find out about the future of mobility, and companies like Shell are interested in trends in the energy supply sector. “So far, I haven’t heard of any other companies commissioning a study that examines every area of people’s lives and works with as many as 76 critical descriptors,” he says. “Of course, one reason for this is that ➔ Increasing globalization ➔ Increasing longevity ➔ Fewer children ➔ Greater significance of women in business and society ➔ Free choice of lifestyle ➔ Growing significance of virtual communities ➔ Networking of communication media ➔ Growing mobility (“delocalization”) ➔ Growing migration to Europe ➔ Acceleration of technological knowledge creation and product cycles Evaluating Europe’s Future.Scharioth’s team therefore investigated which alternatives the experts judged to be especially important, how often they were mentioned and the ex- tent to which they were correlated with a “positive future index.” To this end, the ex- perts were asked their opinions about how positive the future would be in their respec- tive regions and fields of expertise. A total of 38 percent of the experts believed that living conditions in Europe in 2020 would be very good or excellent, whereas only 16 percent expected good economic conditions in 2020, and a mere seven percent believed the social climate would be positive. By contrast, 56 per- HORI ZONS 2020: TEN MEGATRENDS Experts from all over Europereviewed developments in all areas of life. such broadly conceived scenarios do not serve purely economic corporate goals, since they cannot make reliable predictions about the likelihood of these scenarios actually tak- ing place,” adds Scharioth. After all, in purely mathematical terms, 76 critical descriptors yield 2 76 = 75 x 10 21 (75 billion trillion) possi- ble futures. It wouldn’t make much sense to carry out a statistical evaluation of that much data. cent of the experts expected cultural life in Europe to be exciting in 2020. “All in all, we received 38 different descriptor impressions that are likely to have a positive impact on the future,” says Scharioth. In order not to arrive at one purely opti- mistic and one purely pessimistic future sce- nario version, TNS Infratest used a strategy that, according to Scharioth, has rarely been used in previous studies. “We put about the Horizons2020 — A Glimpse of Things to Come 6 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 7 H OR I Z ON 1: T H E D E C E L E R AT E D S OC I E T Y H OR I Z ON 2: T H E P E R F OR MA N C E - O R I E N T E D “ M E ” S OC I E T Y In the first version of the Horizon2020 scenario, by 2020 European national governments, political bodies and societies have developed sustainable solutions to the problems of health care, education and old-age care. They have also found ways to ensure legal security and protect their citizens effectively from terrorism. A “35-state Europe” has still not completely evolved, but Europe is nonetheless a peaceful island floating in the chaotic global ocean, in contrast to other associations of states and economic blocs. Europeans generally trust their governments, political parties and trade unions. Their basic attitudes are conservative, and they tend to hold on to tried and tested institutions. They are skeptical about major changes and immigration by non-Europeans. In this society, a socially responsible market economy is highly valued, as are top environmental quality and the shared European cultural tradition. Companies, organizations and individuals are judged according to their fair- ness, consideration for others and sense of responsibility. People feel responsi- ble for the generations that will follow them. Environmentally friendly tech- nologies are very popular, and sustainable economic planning is desired and actively promoted. With regard to the ethical applications of genetic engineering and biotech- nology, Europeans have agreed on a common denominator that allows indus- try to establish secure legal claims in these areas. Security is so highly valued that people are open to new technologies for surveillance and personal identi- fication. However, any innovations that might lead to outside scrutiny of their behavior as consumers are roundly rejected. People focus on their private spheres, old people are well integrated in so- ciety and children represent one of the very highest values. The proportion of patchwork families and other non-traditional lifestyles continues to increase, but it is relatively easy to combine families and careers. Thanks to modern communication media and the growing trend toward the information, knowl- edge and service society, people are increasingly doing a large proportion of their professional work at home. The smart home, with special zones for me- PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE HOR I Z ONS 2020 S C E NAR I O dia, work and rest, is gaining in importance — and people’s lives are once again centering on their homes. These overall developments represent a trend toward “deceleration” in large parts of Europe. People are putting a brake on their demands, partly as a necessary response to global competition and partly as a matter of free choice. Economic growth is slow, and as a production location Europe cannot keep pace with the up-and-coming countries of Asia. In central and northern Europe, the service and information sectors are well developed; in eastern Europe, traditional industry is strong, and in southern Europe the strongest sector is tourism. The amount of disposable income in private households is declining, partly as a result of the growing proportion of self-financed healthcare, pen- sions and security. In addition, the cost of mobility is growing, because an in- creasing proportion of the transport infrastructure is being privately financed, from toll roads to local public transportation and parking fees. As a result of declining incomes, consumption is no longer a status symbol and the trend is toward careful shopping. In the private sector, do-it-yourself services are gain- ing in popularity. Cars and other major investments are often shared, cultural tourism is on the increase, and hotels are selected for their flair, as the aim of travel is in many cases meditation, carefully chosen pleasures and closeness to nature. People’s lives are becoming more deliberate, quiet and socially secure, be- cause the differences in income between rich and poor are gradually shrinking. There is a large variety of work models to choose from, and they permit new combinations of earning, learning and leisure time. Many people are striving to achieve the right balance between work and leisure, even if they need to hold down two or even three jobs, and they try to schedule “out times” so they’re not continuously accessible. For many individuals, relaxation and retreat into private comfort zones, enjoyment of life and a holistic focus on health are more important than professional success. In the second scenario version, a dynamic market economy is the distinguish- ing feature of Europe in the year 2020. National states now define only the regulatory framework and restrict their services to minimal state-supported so- cial security — even in areas they had in the past regarded as essential. Because government attempts to reform the areas of education, health care and retire- ment provisions have failed, these areas have been increasingly taken over by private companies. This has led to the creation of international education and healthcare companies, and an increasing number of private firms are responsible for such matters as citizens’ safety from terrorists and network saboteurs. The healthcare and security sectors are the strongest engines driving the economy. Hand in hand with the retreat of the state goes an emphasis on individual responsibility, motivation to achieve and flexibility. Self-realization is regarded as the highest goal, and consumption is a value in itself. Change is viewed as positive, and citizen initiatives and self-help groups have gained significant ground. Companies as well as individuals strive to further their own interests. Lifestyles in this society are characterized by rampant competition and little commitment to permanent structures. Private as well as professional partner- ships are quickly formed and just as quickly dissolved. Many plans are very short-term, and private networks fluctuate greatly. Some friends are for evenings at the theater, while others are for vacations. The world has become a village. It’s nothing unusual to have friends and ac- quaintances all over the globe who are easily accessible, thanks to increased mobility and more powerful communication technology. Meanwhile, the tradi- tional family is losing significance and being replaced by a wide variety of rela- tionships. Only affluent couples find it easy to combine children and careers. On the whole, all these developments are leading to an increase in social problems. People who are “time poor and money rich” stand in contrast to those who are “time rich and money poor.” A well-educated elite dominates econom- ically and culturally. There is conspicuous consumption, multifunctional adven- ture vacations and luxury brands as well as poverty, no-frills vacations and dis- count stores. It is also easier to move from one social class to another, and social advancement is easy for high achievers — at least in principle. A variety of ed- ucational institutions compete with one another, and most new jobs are being created in the areas of information acquisition, processing and communication. Thanks to the development of the knowledge society — especially in the core states of Europe — a moderate but constant rate of economic growth has been achieved. Consequently, the average amount of disposable income has risen and there is still some leeway for private consumption in spite of the pressure to privately finance individual healthcare, pension plans, mobility and security. E-commerce has become part of everyday life, as has the use of the Inter- net and multimedia communication. All the devices that surround us daily are intelligent and networked, and autonomous systems (robots and software agents) help us with our everyday tasks and professional work. Constant ac- cessibility, even when we’re traveling and during our leisure time, makes it possible to delocalize the workplace — people can do their work anywhere in the world, and that makes it easier to form ad hoc teams for a variety of projects. That’s why more and more companies are working with a small core team of employees and a large number of cooperative arrangements and flexible con- tracts with freelancers. At the same time, this means that companies are mak- ing greater efforts to keep their valuable employees for a longer period of time. On the other hand, workers feel less loyalty to their employers. Every generation is its own top priority, and as a result, overarching issues that affect more than one generation are seldom addressed. Global competition for resources — energy, water and food — is in full swing and is causing short- ages outside of Europe. Environmental protection receives lip service as an im- portant value, but most people are not prepared to pay a higher price for it. With regard to biotechnology, genetic engineering and medical therapies, every country has its own ideas about what should be permitted — and therefore medical tourism is on the rise as wealthy patients travel to other countries in order to take advantage of advanced therapies. together define the framework within which Europe will most probably develop between now and 2020. The reality will certainly lie somewhere in between.Ulrich Eberl www.siemens.com/horizons2020 same number of positive alternatives for the descriptors in Horizon1 and Horizon2,” he says. “That was the only way to ensure a meaningful discussion; otherwise everyone would have welcomed the one scenario ver- sion and rejected the other one.” Additional input came from the Pictures of the Future scenarios, as worked out by Siemens experts from Corporate Technology and the Groups. These deal with the most important techno- logical trends of the future. Horizon1, the first scenario version, describes a development very much in the European tradition: a rela- tively strong state and a society that values solidarity and sustainability. Such a society is willing to accept a modest rate of economic growth — along with the associated conse- quences for its social services system. The other scenario version, Horizon2, which is also logically consistent, sketches an economically dynamic society shaped by markets and glob- al competition. In addition to being very flex- ible, such a society must be prepared to ac- cept a high level of individual responsibility and greater social risk. Horizon1 and 2 taken ALWAYS-ON SOCI ETY HIGHLIGHTS Two-Way Street TV will be interactive and even accessible on your mobile phone. Broadband access,wireless tech- nologies and networked house- hold appliances will transform the home environment. The Value of Real-Time Information Comprehensive networking of all production and equipment data will increase cost-effectiveness in industry. Lonely Crowd? Sociologists expect a shift to new communication norms. Constant accessibility will increase the value of privacy. Dialing up a Multimedia Future Vodafone’s Thomas Geitner has high hopes for UMTS and data services that transform cell phones into all-purpose multimedia devices. Always onin the Mobile Office Whether it’s phone calls, e-mails or SMS, future systems will know where, when and how people can best be reached, thanks to LifeWorks. Page 23 Page 31 Page 14 Page 19 Page 20 2015 Peter, a participant in an online computer game, has taken on the role of a dwarf and is fighting along- side his three teammates. His home entertainment system gives him a realistic impression of the game’s virtual world by means of his 3-D glasses, while a data glove enables him to move through his virtual sur- roundings. But suddenly, there’s an emergency call from the real world… 8 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 9 S C E NAR I O 2015 A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y Fantasy Online Munich, October 2015: Bogoroth, the dwarf, is battling his way through the virtual world of a computer game. Back in real life, he’s Peter, the engineer, who has just corrected a malfunction at the factory. L ovely elf-woman, it’s a pleasure to see you again,” says Peter, greeting his fellow player. Peter has taken the afternoon off so that he can dive into the virtual world of the computer game “Fellows of Glendalough.” “Dwarf Bogoroth, I greet you,” answers Al- wyne, the elf-woman. “The others must al- ready be at the meeting place. A severe trial awaits us today.” Peter’s hand is sheathed in a data glove with sensors that translate his finger move- ments into computer commands. Peter balls his hand into a fist, which is the signal for his figure in the game to start walking. In the real world, Peter is sitting in a comfortable armchair and wearing 3-D glasses. The stereo display and sound system of his home enter- tainment system provide him with an aston- ishingly realistic impression of the game’s vir- tual setting. His voice and his movements are transmitted via a high speed data transmis- sion line into the Internet, or, more precisely, into the game server. There, all the informa- tion gathered from all the players converges in real time and is immediately sent back to the players. Peter is now at the entrance of the valley in which the monastery of Glen- dalough lies. He can see the stone tower of the monastery looming above the treetops. Alwyne is at his side, clad in a white chiffon gown. Peter has already forgotten that in the real world he’s not the 294-year-old dwarf Bogoroth but a 40-year-old engineer who works for a major automotive supplier. “Hail, Bogoroth and Alwyne,” calls the magician Eogarth as the two of them step Harry Strasser, Chief Innova- tion Officer at Siemens Com. Strasser now finds it easier to read, write and send e-mails when he’s on the move — thanks to the new Siemens SK65 cell phone. The phone’s complete keyboard appears when its housing is turned. A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y T R E NDS Group ICM have merged to become Siemens Communications in October 2004. The new Group has nearly 60,000 employees who generate annual sales of about 17 billion eu- ros, offering infrastructure and terminals from a single source. A main activity area at the division involves the LifeWorks concept, which Siemens is using to bring together separate networks such as company LANs, mobile communications networks and fixed- line networks into a single platform (see p. 14). Telecommunication companies are al- ready using the Internet Protocol (IP) for long- distance phone calls, where data is transmit- ted as separate packets rather than via a reserved line. The advantage here is that much more data can be transmitted when pauses in conversation are used to transfer additional data. The UMTS mobile communi- cations standard also utilizes this “packet switched” system. And it is already possible to route calls made via cordless phones through the Internet (Voice over IP, or VoIP). “In the future, a communications device will have perhaps only one external IP interface but have different modems working inside, with each utilizing a different standard,” says Dr. Jürgen Schindler, who works on Access Technologies at Siemens Com. When Worlds Converge. This convergence trend involves two currently separate worlds. Standardization committees in partnership projects for third-generation mobile commu- nications (3GPP) are working on unifying the mobile communications networks, which in- clude UMTS and HSDPA. These networks let users roam freely, since data is forwarded from one mobile radio cell to the next. On the other hand, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is working on standards for transmission techniques that originated on the Web: WLAN and, for greater distances, WiMAX. Central radio servers used in conjunction with these tech- nologies make users independent of wires. But users can’t leave the transmission radius of a hot spot without the risk of losing the connection. Experts refer to this as a “no- madic” system, as opposed to true mobile radio. “The worlds of 3GPP and IEEE are ap- T he Internet will soon be as omnipresent as the electricity that comes out of your socket. One current trend in telecommunica- tions is to be “always on” (online). “For me, that means being available and able to com- municate when I want to and how I want to,” says Harry Strasser, Chief Innovation Officer at Siemens Communications (Com). Actually most of us are already more or less always available. Just about everyone has a cell phone, a fixed-line connection, e-mail and In- ternet access. But no one is really always on yet. That’s because availability is often diffi- cult due to the number of devices involved in communication. Moreover, accessing the In- ternet and writing e-mails on a cell phone isn’t much fun, and downloading music, im- ages and documents requires much higher data transfer rates than are currently the norm. The telecommunications industry has developed many new processes for broad- band communications — on both a mobile and fixed-line basis. “We’re approaching a point of fragmentation in terms of data transmission technology,” says Strasser. An important goal in this regard is the seamless transfer between different technologies. Users shouldn’t notice which transmission standard their laptop, cell phone or PDA is us- ing — whether it’s WLAN or WiMAX, UMTS or HSDPA (see box on p. 13). Several different standards will co-exist over the next few years, but fixed-line net- works, mobile networks and the Internet will ultimately merge. Siemens has responded to this trend with one of its biggest restructur- ing programs in recent years. The fixed-line Group ICN and the mobile communications A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y S C E NAR I O 2015 into a clearing. Beside the blue-robed magi- cian stands a tall man — Grimbergen, the archer. Eogarth is the leader of their team, which meets at irregular intervals in the vir- tual world of the game. The four of them have known each other for about two years, but they know very little about each other’s true identities. Peter suspects that Alwyne is a journalist. Eogarth seems to be a teacher or a professor. And Grimbergen’s prowess as an archer suggests that he might be a police- man or a soldier. “Here in the forest lie the hidden fragments of an amulet. Each of us must look for a fragment. A floating sphere will show you the direction in which you must search,” says Eogarth, explaining the task before them. “Bring your fragment back to the meeting place. Once we put the amulet together, we will progress to a higher level of the game,” he adds. “If you are pre- pared for the challenge, the time has come to go forth.” Peter checks his weapons and his supply of food before plunging into the forest in pursuit of the hovering sphere. Soon, the dwarf has lost sight of his com- rades. The forest is dark and deep... Two hours later, Peter finds himself in a cave. He has had to do battle with a troll and a huge snake. By means of a display, he has also been able to track the adventures of his companions, who have made good progress. Alwyne is on the way back with her amulet fragment, and Eogarth is engaged in a swordfight. Peter is standing in a treasure chamber and has just solved the riddle that will open a wooden chest that contains the amulet. Suddenly, the ringing of his mobile phone jerks him out of his fantasy world and an urgent message appears on his 3-D dis- play. “Oh no, this can’t be happening!” Peter exclaims. The call can mean only one thing: Something’s gone wrong at the plant. It’s his day off, and he made sure he’d be inaccessi- ble. Only the crisis center of his company re- ceived the authorization to be put through to him in case of an emergency. An engineer once again, Peter puts the game on hold and answers the phone: “What’s happening?” In a flash, the treasure chamber disappears and the display is trans- formed into a computer screen. “The sorting machine for the compressed-air cartridges has crashed,” a technician informs him. “We can’t get it going again. In a few minutes the production line will come to a standstill.” “OK, I’m logging on,” says Peter. He dials into the company network, receives authorization and gains access to all the data he needs on his large home monitor — just as though he were sitting at his workstation. The company he works for produces airbags — around the clock. New software for industrial Ethernet was installed two days ago, and maybe some part of it is incompatible with the machine’s control system. Peter’s an expert when it comes to production, but his suspicion can be confirmed only by his colleague Mark, who understands the software installed at the company better than anyone else. “Could you please set up a video conference with Mark for me?” asks Peter. Mark is in India at the moment, setting up new contracts with Indian software developers. Seconds later, Mark’s image appears on the monitor. “What could be so important that you need to interrupt my dinner?” he asks jokingly. It doesn’t take him long to fig- ure out what’s going on. “It’s definitely a compatibility problem,” he says. “Can you get me the documentation just before the sys- tem went down?” he asks his colleagues at the company. Lines of codes promptly glide across the display. Peter can see no pattern in the flood of letters and figures — but Mark obviously can, because he soon says: “An up- date of the control program should take care of things. Peter, you’ll find the modules in my file.” “OK, Mark, thanks! If that doesn’t do it, we’ll get back in touch,” Peter replies. He finds the module and immediately starts the installation of the update. “Integrate the sort- ing machine into the network again,” he says to the technician in the control center. “OK, it’s working again. Please send me an e-mail documenting the event,” he says before sign- ing off. He then immediately clicks on the Glendalough icon, which has been pulsating the whole time to indicate that it’s in the standby mode. Once again, he becomes the dwarf Bogoroth. He lifts the amulet fragment out of the wooden chest and hastens back to the meeting place.Norbert Aschenbrenner In the “always on” society of the future, we’ll be able to continuously keep in touch with the whole world, if we choose — regardless of which terminals we use and without having to think about how the data is transmitted. Siemens is creating devices and networks to meet just these challenges. Always Online 10 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 11 MA N Y R OA D S L E A D T O T H E MOB I L E I N T E R N E T Key technologies:(see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2002, p. 11 for more information): UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System): Standard for third-generation mobile communications (3G); operates in specially licensed frequency bands in the two- gigahertz (GHz) range.Its theoretical maximum data transfer rate is two megabits per second (Mbit/s). But there are two limits to any type of mobile radio technology: First, all users of a given cell share the available capacity. Secondly, the maximum data transfer rate decreases when the user’s speed of movement increases. In practice, UMTS achieves a rate of 384 kilobits per second (kbit/s) when downloading data (downlink). HSDPA(High Speed Downlink Packet Access): A further UMTS software development, with a maximum downlink data transfer rate of 14.4 Mbit/s. The base station’s capacity can be increased by 50 percent by optimizing the modulation and coding algorithms and by making distribution of the data load at the base stations more efficient. Siemens net- work technology already supports the HSDPA protocol; so the only thing still needed for implementation is a software update. Siemens also plans to introduce an HSDPA card for laptops at the end of 2005. Thereafter, cell phones will also support the HSDPA standard. WLAN(Wireless Local Area Network): A locally limited radio network operating in fre- quencies not subject to licenses. Inside a hot spot with a range of ten to 50 meters, a WLAN achieves maximum data transfer rates of 11 Mbit/s (Standard IEEE 802.11b at 2.4 GHz) and 54 Mbit/s (IEEE 802.11a at five GHz; or IEEE 802.11g at 2.4 GHz). WiMAX(Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access): An expansion of WLAN. Like WLAN, WiMAX transmits data packets (small packets, like on the Internet) at frequencies of between two and 11 GHz; the data transfer rate can reach 75 Mbit/s. Depending on the standard (IEEE 802.16a, b, d, e, g), a range of several hundred meters to several kilometers is possible. Here too, all users share the data transfer capacity. Unlike with UMTS, WLAN and WiMAX users’ speed of movement is restricted — to a maximum of walking speed. Siemens is developing a solution for WiMAX networks that’s scheduled for market launch in the summer of 2005. Along with a base station, the package will consist of integration sup- port and other services. Intel plans to begin installing WiMAX chips in notebooks in 2006. GSM, GPRS and EDGE:Standards for second generation mobile communications. DECT:Standard for cordless telephones. Bluetooth:Standard for wireless communication between devices in a limited area. 4G:Requirements for fourth-generation mobile communications. SDR Project Manager at Siemens Com. “We’ll proceed gradually and first incorporate sev- eral standards, like UMTS, GSM and WLAN.” Product development can begin in mid-2006, says Landenberger, who adds that Siemens would enjoy cost benefits from manufactur- ing cell phones with SDR. For example, with the new software it would be possible to de- cide which transmission standard and regional market to equip the unit for after assembly. Gbit/s with your cell phone? Siemens is also lead partner in the EU-sponsored WINNER re- search project. The project’s 40 partners plan to develop a universal radio technology to supplement current standards after 2010. One goal is to achieve data transfer rates of up to one gigabit per second (Gbit/s) at dis- tances under 100 meters, and approximately 100 Mbit/s for a broader radius. In the labora- tory, Siemens developers have already achieved data transfer rates of 360 Mbit/s with a carrier frequency of five gigahertz and a bandwidth of 100 megahertz, divided into 256 subfrequencies using Orthogonal Fre- quency Division Multiplexing (OFDM). This reduces the effect of echoes, which often occur at such a high carrier frequency due to reflections from buildings, for example. The researchers are also using wireless “multihop stations” — a combination of base station, repeater and router. Thanks to such stations, signals can be redirected around obstacles and amplified. During a recent field study in Munich, these multihop stations significantly increased the range of such radio systems. Researchers are also working on a combin- ation of several antennae (MIMO) to raise the transmission rate to one Gbit/s. So at least data transfer rates would no longer pose a problem for realizing the always-on society. But one limit will always exist: U.S. math- ematician Claude Shannon, who invented the concept of the bit and founded informa- tion theory, calculated 50 years ago that, de- pending on transmission bandwidth and am- bient noise, there is a theoretical limit to data transfer speeds. A cell phone could receive a maximum of 100 to 1,000 Gbit/s — if such a super cell phone doesn’t start smoking from all that data.Norbert Aschenbrenner High-speed train Mobility Data transfer rate (Mbit/s) Driving in the country Driving in the city Walking Shifting locations (nomadic behavior) In buildings Personal sphere 0.1 1 10 100 Stationary In motion In vehicle 12 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 13 A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y T R E NDS proaching each other,” says Schindler. “UMTS is increasing data transfer rates and the WiMAX standards 802.16e,g will improve mobility in the future.” Mobile network oper- ators and UMTS users place great store in the stability and quality of their telephone conversations. “With WiMAX, though, the connection can suddenly be cut off, which is a problem when dealing with encrypted, secure data — as with online banking, for example,” Schindler says. an e-mail feature from the U.S. company RIM that was previously only available in the rather quirky BlackBerry devices.A special server automatically sends e-mails to the user’s cell phone and office PC. The calendar and address book can be synchronized and company data accessed. The SK65 also offers a new form of com- munication: Push to Talk over Cellular (PoC) — which Siemens calls “Push and Talk” — a type of walkie-talkie for cell phones (see p. But to be always online, seamless switch- ing must be feasible. Siemens developers have built a demonstrator that makes it pos- sible to change networks during a call. The caller uses a data card in a laptop or PDA to call via either the company network (Ether- net), a WLAN or the UMTS network. If the user leaves the office during the call, the Ether- net connection is cut off. The VoIP data pack- ets then automatically take the most efficient route depending on the availability of other networks. The unit also allows the UMTS net- work and WLANs to be simultaneously used to increase the transfer rate if large amounts of data need to be sent. The system won’t be ready for market launch until at least 2005. UMTS, WLAN, WiMAX— tomorrow’s cell phones will need to handle them all. “Standards are a key success factor for al- ways on,” says Thomas Geitner, board mem- ber and Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone (see p. 19). As an example, Geitner points to the GSM standard, which made a decisive contribution to a rapid drop in prices for everyone. “True always on won’t be achieved until fees are lowered and new rate models are introduced,” says Thomas Künstner, who is responsible for new media at the consult- ing firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Always on will surely change our lives. Critics already warn of the stress from being constantly available, but sociologists claim this won’t be a problem when individuals can decide for themselves how available they want to be (see p. 31). In our free time, we’ll communicate more rapidly, in a more tar- geted manner and more frequently than to- day, whether playing online games or ex- changing messages via cell phones in walkie-talkie mode. E-mail has already chang- ed the workplace; always on will simply add a new dimension (see p. 14). “Productivity will again increase significantly,” says Strasser. “It will soon be routine to use e-mails via cell phones or UMTS-enabled laptops as an inte- gral element of communications.” Cell phones become walkie-talkies. One of the first cell phones to accommodate mobile mailing is the new Siemens SK65, which was introduced in August 2004. The device has 26). And Siemens has developed a picture- chat system that functions in a similar man- ner. Tests conducted in cooperation with the mobile network operator TeliaSonera during a World Rally Championship in Finland were successful. Users were able to see on their SX1 cell phones who was online at any given moment. They then simply pushed a button to send pictures taken with the phone’s cam- era to the other users. Siemens developers combined both services at the wireless trade show in Cannes in early 2004, enabling users to operate PoC and the picture-chat system simultaneously. Next year, Siemens will introduce a UMTS cell phone with an integrated WLAN. This requires a unit equipped with two chips. And Siemens Com developers are even work- ing on integrating different transmission standards on a single chip, with the Software Defined Radio (SDR) system. With SDR, a hard-wired chip architecture will no longer decide the frequency a terminal can transmit or receive in. Software installed in the unit will decide, so one cell phone can function in all networks. “I can imagine a market launch for such a comprehensive solution at the end of the decade,” says Holger Landenberger, High-bandwidth videoconferencing will soon be possible on the move as well. GSM GPRS DECT Bluetooth EDGE 3G / UMTS HSDPA WLAN (IEEE 802.11a,g) Beyond 3G (requirements for 4G) WiMax (IEEE 802.16a,d) WiMax (IEEE 802.16e) possible WiMax- expansion HiPath OpenScape is easy to use, as all applications are administered via a uniform PC interface developed in cooperation with Microsoft. The system is now only usable with Windows, but it will be adapted for Linux as well in the future. Users define when and through which terminal they can be contacted, allowing them to remain inac- cessible if necessary. The system also comes with a VIP function that gives preferential treatment to certain callers. If the person to be contacted is inaccessible, the system de- termines to whom or through what medium contact attempts should be forwarded. The system’s biggest advantage is that users can be accessible at all times at a single number, wherever they are. What’s more, the system always selects the least expensive route. Virtual cell phone secretary.HiPath Open- Scape is already being used by the Greek ho- tel chain Grecotel, the German Military Col- lege near Munich and a German furniture manufacturer. Now developers are working to integrate mobile communications into the their TV cables to make phone calls thanks to Softswitch. Telephone companies Bellsouth and SBC have also begun to introduce the Siemens system. “LifeWorks enables network operators to offer new, innovative services,” says Eve Aretakis, head of SNC. “That sets them apart from their competitors and allows them to tap new sources of income.” The first marketable LifeWorks product is HiPath OpenScape. “In addition to three soft- ware components for presence, collaboration and communication, the system consists of terminals and a gateway that creates a bridge Thanks to a virtual cell phone secretary, users will one day be able to employ profiles to deter- mine which calls are forwarded. in address books or schedules. And access to corporate data is just as important, regard- less of what kind of terminal or infrastructure is being used or if employees are on the go. Broadband applications for all types of multi- media data transmission are therefore needed. Siemens has now developed the first solutions to make life easier for the mo- bile “office workers” of the future. “Until recently, it was often difficult to es- tablish immediate contact with colleagues on normal workdays, as many of them were on the road or in meetings. You’d end up leaving one or more messages on the answering ma- chine and sending an e-mail. The person you tried to reach had to listen to all the mes- sages and then delete them,” says Schinke, who is responsible for the product definition of multimedia applications in the Enterprise Systems business area at Siemens Com. “I just demonstrated our solution to this problem. Called LifeWorks, our concept combines pre- viously separate networks such as company LANs, mobile communication systems and fixed-line networks into one system that en- ables uninterrupted communication.” The key component of LifeWorks is a software-based switching station known as Softswitch. It functions as a cross-network control and connection interface that directs and forwards incoming signals. The media- independent Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) plays a key role here, as it’s the world’s first protocol that can be used in all communica- tion environments (fixed line, Internet and mobile wireless). According to experts from Siemens, SIP will become the dominant pro- tocol for multimedia communications in the future. Because all SIP user access data is centrally stored on a single server, it’s pos- sible to determine at all times if and how anyone can be contacted, irrespective of the time, network, location or device. Voice, Data and New Customers.Developed by start-up company Siemens Network Convergence (SNC) in Chelmsford, Massa- chusetts, Softswitch has helped Siemens gain new customers. One of these is the New York-based company Cablevision, whose 100,000 subscribers can now use OpenScape usersare reachable world- wide, all the time and at a single number. between telephone and IP networks,” ex- plains Rudolf Bitzinger, head of technology, Enterprise Systems, at Siemens Com. HiPath OpenScape brings together telephone and e- mail communication, voice-controlled ser- vices, text messaging, calendar functions and instant messaging — a service that lets users chat and exchange data in real time. Further- more,it is possible to conduct network-inde- pendent video conferences with several par- ticipants, and for several individuals to jointly work on documents and files of all types. This is a particularly important aspect, since it substantially reduces the number of business trips required. The system’s core architecture was designed by Com employee Randy Wuerfel in San José, California, who was named Inventor of the Year at Siemens in 2003 in recognition of his patent registrations. system. “We want to have all the features available on mobile devices as well,” says Dr. Thomas Werner from the Mobile Networks division at Siemens Com, who coordinates Siemens-wide activities in the Mobile Enterprise segment as part of the top + Inno- vation program. “That would make it possible to transmit voice messages or e-mails to a smartphone without needing to call them up separately,” he adds. Researchers synchronized the Outlook content by using the Sync ML open standard. This enables data synchronization, ensuring that cell phones, PDAs, laptops and PCs are always up to date, even across great dis- tances. Siemens has integrated SyncML into its cell phones, making it possible for cell phones to receive e-mail. As a result, in the near future, mobile network operators will be The use of different terminals and separate networks makes accessing office data difficult when on the go. But help is on the way. Siemens has developed solutions for ensuring unimpeded, user-friendly communications. The Mobile Office 14 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 15 J ohann-Heinrich Schinke is sitting in front of his laptop in Munich. The screen dis- plays a list of his contacts’ addresses. Schinke decides to call his colleague Michael Maier in San Diego. Behind Maier’s name are several icons that stand for various types of commu- nication Schinke can select. He skips over the symbols for e-mail and instant messaging Siemens manager Dr. Johann- Heinrich Schinke needs to make only a few clicks to reach col- leagues around the world. The right communications channel is chosen by HiPath OpenScape. A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y L I F E AT WOR K and opts for the highlighted voice icon. “It means Michael is currently accessible by phone,” says Schinke while putting on his headset and clicking on the telephone icon. Soon Schinke has a connection to Maier, even though he doesn’t know if he’s reaching his colleague on the latter’s cell phone, fixed- line phone or PDA. “Hello Michael, please don’t hang up,” says Schinke, “I’m going to get Werner Schmid hooked up as well.” Schinke then looks for Schmid’s name, clicks on the icon and Schmid’s phone begins ring- ing in Florida. As soon as Schmid picks up the receiver, a three-way conference call can be- gin. Schinke then calls up a document onto his screen in order to discuss it with his col- leagues. “In 2010, 65 percent of the work at com- panies will be performed by teams separated in terms of space, time or in some cases both. In 2000, this figure was only 45 per- cent,” says Dr. Stephan Scholz, head of Car- rier Development at Siemens Communica- tions (Com). In the future, employees in project teams will therefore be even more dependent on having access to up-to-date personal information, such as that contained If you’re always online, you are always a potential target for hackers. Businesses, in particular, need solid, multi- layered protective mechanisms as their employees access corporate data networks from the outside. Moving Target P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 17 only caused the word “Cabir” to be displayed on the cell phones, there’s simply no way we can predict the potential damage from mo- bile phone viruses. They could cause the dis- play to freeze, for instance, trigger calls to ex- pensive pay-per-minute numbers or unleash SMS mass mailings. Avoiding Nightmares. “Hackers have to have a great deal of information about the cell phones or smartphones they want to at- tack,” notes Otmar Knoller of Siemens Com- munications. What kind of software is in- stalled? Which protocols are supported? When a user connects a mobile terminal to a PC to synchronize data, for instance, this creates a new, potentially unprotected con- nection to the internal data network that by- passes the firewall. At that very moment, it would be possible for a hacker to obtain unauthorized access to the Intranet, or a worm could enter the Intranet from the cell phone. That’s a nightmarish thought for compa- nies, but it remains purely hypothetical for the time being, according to Lechner. “Hack- ers would not only need a wealth of techni- cal information; they’d also need to know ex- actly the time when the data was synchronized with the PC, which person was doing the synchronizing and which data that person could access via the Intranet,” ex- plains Lechner. This scenario also assumes that no security mechanisms exist at the time the synchronization takes place. The technological cognoscenti actually know about many worst-case scenarios like these. But a technical solution already exists for most of them. Today, few manufacturers are supplying firewalls for mobile terminals. But when cell phones with high-speed Inter- net access come into widespread use a few years from now, users will be able to choose from among many security solutions for their quently because those potential targets are all using the same operating system, inva- sions like this will cause much less damage in mobile terminals. “That’s because, unlike in the PC world, there isn’t a uniform platform for mobile terminals,” explains Dr. Stephan Lechner, who is responsible for the security of information technology at Siemens Corpo- rate Technology. Experts predict that, even after the ex- pected market consolidation for mobile com- munications systems, there will be at least three to five different manufacturers. But their operating systems — for example Win- dows CE, Palm and Symbian — are very well- known to hackers. In theory, that means a virus attack could affect some 20 to 25 per- cent of all mobile phones. Until now, viruses have been able to suc- cessfully attack mobile phones only by ex- Viruses on a cell phone? With so many different mobile operating systems, hackers have to work hard to get in. A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y S E C UR I T Y F irst the bad news: All the problems we’ve already experienced on the Internet — viruses, worms, Trojan horses, denial-of-ser- vice attacks and more — we’ll also experi- ence on our mobile terminals in the future, regardless of whether they’re ordinary cell phones or smartphones. The good news is that we already know most of the security problems the always-on society will have to contend with. We know them from the Inter- net. So mobile communications aren’t sub- ject to any totally unknown risks. On the contrary: While mass attacks of viruses paralyze entire corporations and mil- lions of private PCs more and more fre- ploiting particular, model-specific weak spots. The Cabir cell-phone virus for instance, which was rampant in early summer 2004, exploited a weak spot in the Bluetooth wire- less technology. Only four mobile phone models of one manufacturer were affected, and then only if the Bluetooth function had also been activated. And though that virus Hackers need a lot of information to attack — like which softwareis installed, and which protocols the phone uses. 16 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y L I F E AT WOR K able to transmit new cell phone software via their networks, which will simplify service. In August 2004, Siemens unveiled its SK65 cell phone — a first step toward the mobile office. The phone is equipped with a BlackBerry function for forwarding e-mails to mobile phones (see p. 12). Another step is the virtual secretary for mobile devices, which allows users to select profiles such as “Conference” or “Vacation” to determine for which individuals or services (such as text messages or MMS) they will be reachable. Callers who also have the Presence Service Virtual Secretary installed in their phones can immediately see in their address books which profile the intended recipient has activated. When callers click on the name, they are told when the recipient is scheduled to be done with a meeting and if he or she currently ac- cepts text messages or might still take urgent calls. Siemens Com is now checking how this intelligent filter function might be integrated into the next generation of cell phones. Werner’s team has also developed a sys- tem that’s already being used by more than 50,000 people in Norway and Sweden, most of whom work for companies with large numbers of mobile employees. Called mobile Private Branch Exchange (PBX), this solution serves as a cell phone network switching sta- tion. “It lets people conduct conference calls and address groups via their cell phones,” says Werner. “This is particularly convenient in the service sector, where teams of mainte- nance technicians form so-called hunting groups. If the first person on the list is not reachable, the call is forwarded on down un- til somebody accepts the commission.” But it’s not just the mobile communica- tions sector that’s changing:Fixed-line net- works are now also being transformed. Voice Next-generationtelephone networks will transmit voice over the Internet. INTERNET ACCESS IN AIRCRAFT AND HIGH - SPEED TRAINS Starting in 2006, passengers in the new wide-bodied Airbus A380 jet will be able to make phone calls and surf the Inter- net with their own equipment, provided the equipment uses- the WLAN, Bluetooth or GSM standards. Organizations taking part in this Wireless Cabin project include Airbus, the German Aerospace Center DLR, and the Program and System Engi- neering (PSE) unit of Siemens Austria. The system’s core component is a specially designed mobile communication facility that combines various transmission technologies. An antenna extending along the length of the aircraft’s roof per- mits communication by phone or PC at every seat. WLAN will allow passengers to access websites or e-mail accounts, while the GSM antenna will enable them to make phone calls. Con- ceivably, Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as printers or Fujitsu- Siemens Pocket Loox PDAs, could also be used. Here, a central mobile communications system would transmit the data via an external antenna to a satellite, which forwards it to ground stations. In September 2004, the consortium tested the technology during a demonstration flight in an Airbus A340. With WLAN, the Internet can also be accessed from high-speed trains with an enter- tainment server, in which films and games can also be stored. The data is transmitted outside the train by a broadband multilink combiner box, based on UMTS systems devel- oped by Siemens. Transmission is unimpaired even when the train travels through tun- nels or at top speed. and data communication are being com- bined, and the next generation of telephone networks will transmit voice communication via Internet Protocol (IP). To do so, the net- works cut the voice signals into small pack- ages that are transmitted individually before being recombined at their destination. This approach is a sensible alternative for compa- nies, as most of them already have an IP in- frastructure. “Voice-over-IP (VoIP) will play a key role in the future because it costs less to transmit voice signals through data chan- nels,” says Dr. Tilo Messer, who is responsible for innovations strategy at Siemens Com’s Chief Technology Office. In addition, the price of the corresponding terminals is becoming in- creasingly attractive, and voice transmission quality has recently improved considerably . But even VoIP keeps users tied to wires. It would be more convenient, however, if em- ployees were reachable when moving about at the company. To achieve this goal, the method of choice is clearly wireless LAN (See graphic, p. 13). And with the help of VoWLAN (Voice-over WLAN), WLAN infra- structures could also be used for voice com- munication and services in the future. “A VoWLAN handset would allow employees to use their phones at other workstations or while attending a meeting,” says Messer. Wireless Broadband Internet.But there’s still room for improvement when it comes to bandwidth and transmission range. Siemens has teamed up with Intel and the WiMAX Fo- rum (an industry organization) to standardize new broadband radio technologies. Siemens Com will probably launch the first WiMAX components on the market next year (see p.13). “WiMAX is an addition to systems such as DSL and UMTS,” says Werner. “It has ad- vantages in areas where cables can’t be laid, and can be used to connect whole regions to the Internet.” Evdoxia Tsakiridou attempted to sell data services using buzz- words like WAP or GPRS, but there weren’t many takers. We’ve chosen a different ap- proach. Just a few clicks from snapping a picture to sending the MMS, and just one click to get on the Internet. That’s new. Is the concept working? Geitner: Sure. We’ve been marketing it for a couple of years. This summer we had about three million active Vodafone live! users worldwide. That’s far more than we expected when we started. And increased usage also brings down prices: In Germany we now charge 39 euro cents for an MMS. That’s less than half of what it used to cost. What else can we look forward to, when UMTS becomes widely used? Geitner: With Vodafone live! and Vodafone office we’ve created the marketing platforms for mobile data services. First we gained ex- perience in this market by using GPRS, and we learned which services and what content the customer really needs and wants. In 3G, we’re continuing to put that experience to good use. We’re expanding our applications and we’re making our portals faster, more colorful and richer in content. Moreover, videotelephony is adding a new dimension. And of course we’ve been accumulating ex- perience for quite some time with a UMTS card for laptops and PDAs. In that area too we’ll have more to offer in the future. Have you found the killer application for UMTS yet? Geitner: The killer application for mobile communications is voice. When it comes to data there are many services, and you can’t single out any one of them. The market will be more segmented than in the GSM era. Your customers won’t have more money to spend than they do now. What enticement will you use to boost sales? Geitner: Enticement is not what’s needed. We’ll offer our customers solutions to solve their problems, to make their lives simpler and more enjoyable. Private individuals in Germany presently spend 3.5 percent of their budgets on mobile communications. That figure is already higher in other European countries. Mobile communications wasn’t a mass market at all twelve years ago. And there’s absolutely no reason to assume that expenditures for mobile communications are going to level off. Which data services are successful now? Geitner: Downloads of ringtones are grow- ing by 50 percent annually. If we’d predicted four years ago that this sector would amount to ten percent of the global music market by 2003, everyone would have laughed at us. But that’s what happened last year, and every multimedia cell phone that’s added boosts the number of music playback devices. Another surprise was the mush- rooming growth in download of games. Five years from now, no one will question that the mobile phone is a device customers use on a large scale for consumption of media. What’s the role of WLAN or WiMAX in Vodafone’s strategy? Geitner: Most of our investments in new networks involve UMTS. Of course WLAN and WiMAX are technologies that work well, but only in hot spots, not over large areas. If that becomes relevant to our customers, they can also access WLAN now or WiMAX later on their Vodafone account. But UMTS is the most widely usable, and it’s also simple to operate. Will there be a UMTS-WLAN-WiMAX cell phone someday? Geitner: The day will come when the cus- tomer won’t want to be bothered anymore with having to think about access technolo- gies. Instead, they’re simply going to insist: Wherever I am, I’ll want to use whatever is fastest, simplest and cheapest. The number of transmission technologies is almost endless. How important are standards? Geitner: Standards are the key. Here in Eu- rope we’ve got an advantage with the GSM standard — both with respect to the avail- ability of networks and of terminals. A single company never could have achieved cost reductions the way the GSM industry as a whole has been able to do. So standards are a much faster route to mass market solutions. That’s another reason why we’ve built Voda- fone live! on the basis of WAP, because we believe our customers like the open standard. Thanks to standards, suppliers of content can amortize their costs across a larger num- ber of terminals. Customers benefit because they, in turn, are offered more content more rapidly than would otherwise be the case. We’re still a long way from approaching the end of standardization. Interview: Norbert Aschenbrenner Why Cell Phones Have a Multimedia Future Thomas Geitner (49) has been a member of the Board of Vodafone Group Plc. since May 2000. As Group Technology Officer, he’s in charge of technological development, the expansion of UMTS and business integration for the entire Vodafone Group. Prior to joining Vodafone, he was a member of the Board of the RWE Group with responsibility for telecommunications. Are you already always on? Geitner: Of course. On the Internet, with my mobile phone and with the BlackBerry. To me, always on means that I can always communicate, even when my partner at the other end isn’t available online at the time — and that I have access to the information I need, anytime. But sometimes it also means I have to exert the self-discipline to turn it off. Does constant accessibility have a greater impact on the professional environment or in the private sphere? Geitner: Always on impacts our business life more profoundly than our private life. But I haven’t met anyone yet who uses e-mail for business and doesn’t take advantage of it at home. I think they go together. What else needs to be done to develop always on to its full potential? Geitner: In my view, technology isn’t the bottleneck. The greatest challenge is making things easier to operate. And that’s a multi- faceted challenge. How user-friendly are the devices? How readily is information available in portals? What services are being offered to the customer? What’s more, manufactur- ers of terminals are improving security and working to increase battery life. That sounds trivial, but it’s a major problem. Vodafone uses the slogan “Vodafone live!” What’s that about? Geitner: Vodafone live! isn’t a slogan. It’s a product and marketing concept that encom- passes different services we’ve developed from the customer’s point of view. Early on, the mobile communications industry phones — as with PCs today. Mobile personal firewalls will shield the terminal. Companies will establish a centralized profile that de- fines which users are authorized to access which applications. But it’s possible that pri- vate users, on the other hand, might lack the know-how required to set up a complex se- curity profile. They’ll be able to get standard- ized profiles. Secure Tunnels. And virtual private networks (VPNs) will also be technically feasible. With this technology, data transfer, for example data sent from a cell phone to a corporate server, takes place via a secure “tunnel” over the Internet. Along with precise authentica- tion, this technology is the ideal way today of providing security in mobile Internet commu- nications. And regardless of whether the con- nection is made from outside to the Intranet or using Voice-over-IP telephony, VPNs can transmit sensitive data securely. A virtual con- tions in a key. Before the software could find the right combination, the key would in most cases have already been changed. Automated Security. At present, though, pri- vate users of open WLANs probably run no greater risk than having someone read their private e-mail. In truly sensitive transactions such as online banking, customers are pro- tected anyway by end-to-end encryption and secure authentication by means of PIN and TAN codes. Data entered and encrypted in the terminal are decrypted only in the bank’s com- puter center. The browser automatically acti- vates these safety provisions when it opens the banking site. The same kind of automatic features will also protect the users of mobile multimedia devices. “Siemens is guided by the principle that security must originate in the product and not depend on the customers’ awareness,” Lechner points out. Experience has shown Security must originate in the products— not in the mind of the customer. nection is established between a company’s special security server and the mobile termi- nal. All of the security transactions are trans- mitted through this connection, as is the en- crypted user data. The security awareness of mobile users is quite limited at present. Anyone who surfs the Internet using public WLAN access in hotels, airports or cafes without activating the recom- mended security features is easy to spy on. This is because today’s wireless networks fre- quently provide standard encryption of data packets with a key length of only 40 bits. The longer a key is, the more secure it is. That’s be- cause the number of possible keys doubles with every additional bit. The standard for high security is a key length of at least 128 bits. With key lengths like this, it would take a hacker using special software too long to test all possible combina- that private users as well as many smaller companies hardly bother with consistently up- dating the protection of their Internet access to the latest status — both mobile and in the home. One solution would be updates of al- ready purchased software that are transmitted automatically and securely. This approach could also be used to protect smartphones against virus attacks. Absolute security, however, will still be technically and organizationally impossible to achieve. “Just imagine you’re aboard a flight. You’re using your notebook to communicate via a VPN Internet connection with your mar- keting chief, and it’s about a highly confiden- tial marketing strategy. Sure, you’d have a se- cure communications link, but the person behind you could easily spy on anything that’s happening on your screen,” Lechner cautions. Katrin Nikolaus A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y S E C UR I T Y P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 19 18 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y I NT E R V I E WS WI T H E XP E R T S P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 21 gies needed for this when it comes to Real- Time Enterprise.” The market potential is huge, as is clear from the example of the real-time informa- tion portal XHQ, a development of the Cali- fornia-based Siemens company IndX Soft- ware Corporation. One XHQ user, the El Segundo Refinery of ChevronTexaco, expects a return on investment of more than 300 percent over five years. Other users report that they have achieved an eight-percent reduction in operating costs, a ten-percent increase in the quality of their output, or an 8.5 percent increase in the utilization rate of their plants. With their recently introduced “Real-Time Operations Intelligence,” solution, Siemens and SAP are playing a groundbreaking role in bringing together the previously separate worlds of production process and business process data in the oil and gas industry. The Real-time-capable solutions allow digital control of plants. solution is based on XHQ and SAP’s NetWeaver integration and application plat- form. Siemens has developed software that seamlessly integrates SAP’s business man- agement data into its plant and product-spe- cific world. The software uses the data to generate user-customized overviews, called Management Dashboards. The dashboards are loaded with indicators such as plant uti- lization, availability of raw materials, addi- tives, and product quality. Users can compare actual plant performance with business man- agement targets at any time. This end-to-end linkup of production, sales and management is made possible by many and diverse breakthroughs in informa- tion and communications technology. “Com- panies profit from real-time-capable solutions at all stages of the value chain — from end- to-end computer simulations of whole pro- duction lines and digital control and monitor- ing of plants, to computer-based user training,” says Dr. Carl-Udo Maier, who heads day’s factory halls are usually full of isolated solutions. Through the use of protocols es- tablished in the Ethernet world (TCP/UDP and IP), the automation level can be integrated into other networks too. This increases trans- parency, because data can then flow freely from the level of production equipment and production control to the office software used for business administration. This elimi- nates complex translation processes, and the costs of maintenance and employee training drop considerably. The condition of compo- nents is reported directly to a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) program that orga- nizes and monitors follow-up actions — like maintenance, upgrades or replacements. And that’s just the beginning. “We want to optimize and correct processes remotely. There will be a huge increase in these ‘teleop- erations’ that provide a range of technical support for equipment extending practically to the point of remote-controlled operation,” says Prof. Engelbert Westkämper (see Pictures the “Picture of the Future Automation & Con- trol” project at Siemens Corporate Technol- ogy. Internet in the Factory. Years ago, PC tech- nology spurred a wave of innovation in pro- duction. Today, Internet technologies are making their way into the world of automa- tion. Whether in Web servers, browsers, pro- tocols and Internet languages (TCP/IP, XML) or transmission technologies such as Indus- trial Ethernet and Industrial WLAN — stan- dards are now being developed for operation and monitoring as well as for the attachment of intelligent sensors and actuators and for data exchange. One important trend is the effort to es- tablish the Ethernet bus system — which ma- tured in the office setting — in the produc- tion environment as well (see box p. 22). That’s because from the IT point of view, to- of the Future, Fall 2002, p. 27). With the help of virtual reality, specialists create a depiction of what is actually taking place, and they can simulate their plans in real time with power- ful computers. It then becomes easy to change processes and control production equipment parameters later on, even from re- motely, thanks to the Internet and the Web- capability of the machines. In addition, equipping goods with RFID labels (See p. 58 and Pictures of the Future, Fall 2003, p. 16) and processing logistics data in real time are measures that create new opportunities in their own right. Being able to uniquely identify merchandise makes it possible to report the level of sales to a company’s production centers at any time so they can adjust accordingly. “We want a very close integration of the processes in the real world and their depiction in the digital world. To a much greater extent than today, that will Manufacturers need to react to new market conditions faster and faster. That means closing the information gap between business management, produc- tion and control systems, so that meaningful data can be obtained in realtime. The foun- dation for this is provided by Internet technology, real-time- capable Ethernet, intelligent sensors and end-to-end digitization of processes. Real-Time Value The XHQ information portal provides meaningful indicators in realtime, allowing decisions to be made more quickly, and with a higher probability of being on target. M anagers often need steady nerves, experience and plenty of common sense. They must be quick to draw the right conclusions from an abundance of informa- tion regarding plant utilization, raw materi- als costs and energy use. Companies like Siemens want to simplify and improve this decision process. “In the future, managers will have meaningful operating figures avail- able to them in real time, without the burden of superfluous details. They will be able to react more quickly to changes in production and in the market,” says Dr. Thomas Moser, head of strategy department at Industrial Solutions and Services (I&S). “For the first time, this will give us a lever for increasing 20 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y I NDUS T R Y productivity that includes the entire value chain.” This is called the “real-time enterprise” model. It actually has less to do with real time than with the immediate compaction, trans- formation and organization of data from vari- ous sources in a professional and appropriate manner. In this context, real time means that the information is at the right place at the right time. To offer such solutions, Siemens created the Real-Time Enterprise project in the framework of the company-wide program top + Innovation. This project brings together the strengths of units like I&S, Siemens Busi- ness Services (SBS) and Automation and Dri- ves (A&D). “The management of value-added chains will turn into the management of value creation networks across companies and industries,” explains Rudi Reinhard, head of the center of competence for production at SBS. “At Siemens we have all the technolo- Online everywhere and all the time — broadband connections and new mobile communica- tion technologies are changing the way we watch television, make phone calls and run our homes. And Siemens is devel- oping all the technologies that are needed. In the future, TVs will have a feedback channel so viewers can participate in broadcasts, while cell phones will be able to receive TV signals and send texts and images in chat mode. Two-Way Street A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y HOME AND L E I S UR E P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 23 W e’re in a sparsely furnished office with cardboard boxes on the floor, right next to a densely populated open-plan office. No one would suspect this is where visions for a global corporation are born. The first vi- sion is scribbled on a piece of paper by Stefan Jenzowsky, head of a small strategy team that’s exploring new business areas for Siemens Communications (Com). It’s a circle intersected by two lines. “Imagine a video recorder with neither a hard drive nor a DVD burner,” says Jenzowsky, pointing at the mys- terious diagram. But in the digital home of the future, where would the films be stored? A third line leading out of the circle answers this question: Internet service providers re- ceive the videos from the households via a DSL connection and store them in gigantic storage cabinets. “That’s much cheaper, be- cause users pay only for the storage space they actually use,” Jenzowsky adds. It sounds visionary, but it’s already been created in a demonstration room in a south- ern suburb of Munich (see picture above). Here, visitors can try out the streamlined box with its glowing orange screen as they sit comfortably on a leather sofa. It’s a good way to get an impression of where the much- heralded convergence of communications technology and consumer electronics is lead- ing us — and how it feels to be always on- line. In addition to a key for the network video recorder, the remote control’s features include a phone button that can be used to create a video phone connection. The flat box which is called “Surpass Home Entertainment Solution” is online around the clock. Communications scientist Heidi Anders, who is also on Jenzowsky’s team, is convinced that always-on devices like this one are going to change our lives: “Surveys indicate that this is what customers want.” The boom in broadband Internet ac- cess (see p. 26) is smoothing the way for this development, she adds. According to Bitkom, a communications sector association, 15 percent of German households already have a DSL connection, and in two years that fig- ure will be 21 percent, making Germany one of the world leaders in this regard. DSL al- ready enables users to watch videos online if the data is transmitted in a compressed form. The largest Belgian telephone company, Belgacom, will be launching a pilot project in Online around the clock. Siemens’ Surpass Home Entertainment Solution offers videos via broad- band Internet, interactive TV, online games and e-shopping. 22 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y I NDUS T R Y WLAN AND ETHERNET : OFFICE TECHNOLOGIES FOR INDUSTRIAL SETTINGS Ethernet, the office standard for data transfer, takes hold in production environments too, allowing companies to achieve a uniform communications infrastructure ranging from production to office software. In the past, businesses have used two distinct tech- nologies whose integration has required considerable readjustment: Ethernet in the of- fice and the field bus systems used in automation with items such as sensors, actuators and PLCs. However, for Ethernet to be used in the factory, it must be made “realtime-ca- pable.” In Ethernet networks, the attached stations compete on equal terms for access to the data network, so it’s not possible to achieve the sometimes extremely high, sub- millisecond clock speeds or sub-microsecond jitter accuracies (time variation in the trans- mission of cyclical data) required by industry. To devise a solution, Siemens and the organization of Profibus users are relying on Profinet technology, which combines the realtime advantages of the field bus with the high data throughput of Internet technology. One initial step has been taken with the development of Profinet IO, in which a channel implemented in software regulates the transmission of time-critical data — with perfor- mance levels matching those of previous field bus systems. The Siemens group Automa- tion and Drives (A&D) is also developing an “isochronous realtime Ethernet.” For the first time, this will allow precision-timed synchronous operation of more than 100 driving axes on one bus with a variance of less than one microsecond, and without impeding standard Ethernet functions like high data throughput or Internet access. Another innovation in the industrial setting is the use of the wireless technology WLAN, which can partially eliminate the need for ex- pensive rewiring and allow specialists to oper- ate the machines via mobile terminals. In Feb- ruary 2002, Siemens installed WLAN in a plant in Amberg, Germany, where A&D manufactures Simatic controls, among other products. In this case, the wireless technology is used to record process and maintenance data online at the machine itself (picture at left), and the incom- ing goods inspection takes place right at the pallet. In other words, the employee can now process data right at the spot where it’s needed, with complete freedom of move- ment. A product line that goes even further is IWLAN (Industrial WLAN), which Siemens presented at this year’s Hanover Trade Fair. “For the first time, this gives industry world- wide a secure, robust and reliable platform for wireless data transfer,” says Ewald Kuk, head of Simatic NET product marketing at A&D. The most important feature: IWLAN can reserve fixed transmission bandwidths, for example for control commands, which has so far not been possible with normal WLAN. In WLAN, high volumes of data traffic mean the devices have to “wait their turn.” “That’s intolerable in an industrial setting,” says Kuk. “Imagine a driverless forklift that’s supposed to halt at a certain point — but doesn’t get this information in time. Or a robot that’s machining a workpiece, and re- ceives an important control command too late.” With IWLAN, Siemens is a year-and-a- half ahead of the competition, Kuk says. The components operate even at -20 degrees Celsius and in wet conditions, so they are also suited for use at train stations or container transshipment centers. Encryption guarantees access protection and data security; redundant antennas ensure a stable wireless link. Inside buildings, the range is about 30 meters; outdoors it is 100 meters. mean the automation of data entry, the inte- gration of system components via Web ser- vices and the networking of business processes,” says Dr. Joachim Schaper of SAP Research, who oversees strategic research programs in North America. SAP is striving to develop “smart items” — in other words, intelligent merchandise. Containers would monitor their contents themselves, register changes, such as in tem- perature or location, and sound an alarm when necessary. “Today, this data is fed into business administration software manually. But that doesn’t always allow you to deter- mine, for instance, whether merchandise was spoiled by excessive temperatures dur- ing transport or whether it was already de- fective at the outset. To put it differently: In the future, the business logic of the software systems will migrate forward into the mer- chandise,” says Schaper. Tailor Made yet Inexpensive. “Real-Time En- terprise is primarily concerned with innova- tion and integration,” says Reinhard. The idea is to evaluate innovations of all kinds — from RFID to real-time-capable Ethernet — on the basis of their capacity to accelerate the flow of information, and also their capacity for in- tegration into modern software systems. The potential of end-to-end digitization and transparent integration of all production, lo- gistics and management processes is far from exhausted. The objective is the digital factory, in which products are developed and tested with customers and partners on com- puters under true-to-life conditions (see Pic- tures of the Future, Fall 2002, p. 6-29). At the same time, automation in production and lo- gistics is being fueled by advances in sensor technology, and by intelligent on-site systems that facilitate autonomous adaptation to given situations. And thanks to Real-Time Enterprise, the head office is always kept abreast of company performance and market activity. Maier is convinced that “the interaction of all these developments presents us with the unique opportunity to manufacture cus- tomer-specific products tailored to individual requests and to do this at the cost level of mass-market items.” Achim Born Household appliances and enter- tainment systems can be net- worked and accessed via a single device. Push-and-Talk will give cell phones a chat function. Services such as entertainment, security or energy management could be offered for a monthly fee. But customers won’t be confi- dent that all of the networked components are completely compatible unless interna- tional standards are put in place. That’s why the members of the Digital Living Network Al- liance include all of the major manufacturers from the IT and PC sectors as well as the con- sumer electronics and household appliances industries. Standards being developed in the UPnP Forum and the WLAN Forum will make it possible for consumers to integrate new de- vices into their smart networks without hav- ing to lay any new cables or hire specialists to do the job. At Siemens as well, a project in the corporate program top + Innovation ensures that all of Siemens’ products can be combined with one another and are easy to install. A “Siemens Smart Home” label is being devel- oped for these products. A central role in Gärtner’s vision is played by a residential gateway that connects the home network with the outside world, in par- ticular with the Internet. Jenzowsky’s set-top box is also in principle only a DSL router that has been adapted for TV entertainment sys- tems — integrating a household manage- ment system would be the next step. Market researchers at ABI Research expect that in 2008 a total of 20 million such devices will be sold in the U.S. alone, although these will be adjusted to be compatible with local TV cable networks. According to Gärtner, the increas- ing number of broadband connections and the growing popularity of the Internet is fruit- ful ground for the growth of customer de- mand for comfort, security, time savings and cost-effectiveness in the private sphere. “Our aim now is to spur this demand by offering customer-oriented solutions that are easy to use,” he says. TV on a Cell Phone.Martin Gebler of Siemens Com has all kinds of new business models up his sleeve — and all of them in- volve cell phones. In the future, we’ll even be able to watch TV on a mobile phone. And be- cause every mobile phone has a built-in feed- back channel, mobile TV will be interactive from the very start. But first, the technology for mobile TV has to be developed. Gebler sees tremendous opportunities ahead for DVB-H (digital video broadcasting for hand- helds). This spinoff from terrestrial digital TV (DVB-T) is specially adapted for handy “smart phones,” which are expected to come on the market in 2005. But it will take several more years for DVB to be universally accessible. Nor is it yet clear how many channels, if any, will then be available for DVB-H. But that doesn’t make Gebler any less op- timistic. The first services will be offered to certain communities in connection with the 2006 World Cup in Germany. One such com- munity could be spectators in the soccer sta- diums, who would be able to watch replays of particularly exciting scenes on their cell phones during the game, in real time or slow motion. Sports reporters would be continu- ously supplied with game statistics. “There will be several channels, and you’ll be able to switch back and forth,” Gebler promises. De- velopers are also thinking about the possibil- ity of personalizing broadcasting services. For example, shops in pedestrian zones could in- form passersby about special offers through small advertising videos that would be re- ceived only by the nearby owners of UMTS smart phones. That would benefit TV broadcasters as well as mobile phone providers who offer a feedback channel via GSM or UMTS. A large share of added value would be created by companies generating new content for mo- bile infotainment from pre-existing material. Berlin already has “What’s up” — a subscriber service that provides tips from trend scouts on the hottest upcoming events via texts and images. There’s no lack of ideas to pursue, says Gebler: Music stations could use DVB-H to broadcast the Top 20 around the clock, for example, and listeners could choose their fa- vorite video to influence the song sequence. Or users could participate in eBay auctions of fan items while they’re out and about. Standards will ensure that all networked devices are compatible. 24 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 25 around 1,000 households in November of 2004. In addition to a digital video recorder, Belgacom will be offering an electronic pro- gram guide, video-on-demand, games, e-shopping and surfing on the Internet. A similar program will be started in the Fall in 600 German households by telephone giant Deutsche Telekom. This Siemens devel- opment gives network operators the oppor- tunity to more fully use the capacity of their DSL networks and open up new business ar- eas, for example by renting out storage space in the network or making one feedback channel available for interactive television. This means that TV is no longer a one-way street. The viewer now has a direct line to broadcasters around the clock. Jenzowsky’s think tank is even working to develop appro- priate broadcasting formats, such as a new game show similar to the legendary quiz show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” In this show, however, the candidates won’t be sweating in the studio chair — they’ll be at home in front of their own TVs. Video tele- phony will connect them with the studio and put them on the viewers’ TV screens. Fully Networked Digital Homes. The Sur- pass Home Entertainment Solution is only one small element in the mix of devices that will be connected around the clock with the Internet and with one another. The man who can explain all the details of this scenario is Walter Reithmayer. In the Group Strategy de- partment of Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, he clicks through images of the digital home of the future on his monitor. We first see a PC, then an LCD TV with a digital video recording station, followed by a music center, game consoles, a telephone, household appliances and much more — all on a single network. These items aren’t merely a pipe dream for Reithmayer, who uses a range of unusual devices at home. “I have to admit my wife isn’t crazy about my 25 remote controls,” he smiles. “One for each of us would be enough.” For Reithmayer, the digital home will have many connections. These include a con- stant connection with the Internet (prefer- ably DSL), and a link with a cable or a satellite dish. Inside the home, music and videos are brought to every room via wireless LAN or fast Ethernet cables. In the future, even the TV signal may be transmitted via WLAN to a A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y HOME AND L E I S UR E TV in the living room or a notebook in the study, by means of a TV feeder. According to Reithmayer, no decision has yet been made about when to launch the magic box on the market. His scenario doesn’t include an all- purpose device that combines a TV and stereo system with a PC, one that ideally would also make coffee. “In the future we will continue to have many different termi- nals in our homes,” says Paul O’Donovan of the Gartner market research institute. How- ever, they may be completely digital and net- worked — for example, via the UPnP (Univer- sal Plug & Play) standard (see p. 49). The boom in digital consumer electronics is also inspiring the manufacturers of PC hard- ware and software. In early 2004, Microsoft presented the Media Center Extender — a box that wirelessly networks a PC with a TV and a stereo system. The PC stores large vol- umes of digital music and video files originat- ing from many sources, including the Inter- net. “The PC could even manage the entire house,” says Andreas Schönberger, a product manager for WindowsXP. Lutz Gärtner from MY - AY — WE B C A M A N D WAT C H D OG I N ON E What is it? It’s a cell phone, but without a keypad or display. That’s right, it’s the My-Ay! This stylish egg-shaped object is a baby phone, alarm system, webcam and lots more in one. What’s more, it stays in touch with other cell phones via a built-in mobile radio module. It’s a classic always-on device. For example, if a certain sound level is reached, or if something moves in front of its lens, the My-Ay sends a warning SMS or an MMS with a photo. “Left in a car, it informs the owner if something unforeseen hap- pens,” explains Dr. Karl Bitzer of Siemens Com, father of the My-Ay. The My-Ay uses sensors to measure temperature, brightness, sound and movement. It even knows its own lo- cation. This watertight watchdog is programmed via SMS, a website or a WAP-enabled cell phone. It’s expected to be on the market in summer, 2005. TV viewers will have a direct link with broadcasters around the clock. Siemens Com also believes such a scenario is completely realistic. He’s the head of an inter- disciplinary team that has developed an archi- tecture for the smart home of the future, where an integrated and unified user inter- face is wholly responsible for managing everything from entertainment, telephony and lighting to household appliances and building security. The owner can access this web-based user interface via several devices, including the TV, a portable tablet PC, a Per- sonal Digital Assistant (PDA) or a cordless phone (see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2004, p. 31). Gärtner has noted a recent quickening of the market. Telecommunications firms and home construction companies are increas- ingly becoming interested in services that are made possible by networking in the home. I NDUSTRI AL ETHERNET I S BOOMI NG Companies are also seeing an increasing number of advantages in the always-on soci- ety. For example, production data can now be evaluated in real time, and that makes it possible to reduce stock inventories and track orders more effectively. Data exchange also enables applications including remote main- tenance of plants and machines. Ethernet, the IT standard for offices, is gaining in im- portance as a transmission medium. And the Industrial Ethernet variant, which has been modified to meet the needs of industrial companies, is being increasingly used in pro- duction instead of proprietary solutions. Among other things, this makes it easier to transmit data between production sites and administrative offices. Most Ethernet versions support the TCP/IP Internet protocol, so production plants can also be accessed via the Internet. “In a factory that’s networked using Ethernet, nearly every worker can observe all the machines operat- ing in a production line,” explains Harry Forbes, an analyst at the ARC Advisory Group, which is based in Massachusetts. Al- though reality still hasn’t quite caught up with this scenario, ARC predicts that by 2007 about 6.06 million Industrial Ethernet nodes will be in use, compared to only 287,000 in 2002. Siemens alone has installed about 550,000 Industrial Ethernet nodes in its au- tomation systems, says Günter Baumann, Marketing Services Manager in the Automa- tion and Drives Group at Siemens. Number of installations (in millions) Source: ARC Advisory Group, 2003 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 But Ethernet still isn’t adequate for time- critical tasks. One example is motion control applications, where integration of a machine’s different drives is controlled with software (see p. 22). Here, the drives must exchange data rapidly and at precisely defined time in- tervals. For this task, industrial Ethernet must display “deterministic behavior.” But Ethernet- based reaction times are still 20 to 50 times slower than motion control requires — and they’re not deterministic, says Baumann. In the future, additional protocols like Isoch- ronous Real-time Ethernet (IRT) will make In- dustrial Ethernet real-time-capable. Siemens is planning to introduce the first IRT products in late 2004. Mary Lisbeth D’Amico HIGHER DATA TRANSMISSION RATES EXPAND APPLICATIONS 26 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 27 A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y FAC T S AND F OR E C AS T S Boom in Broadband Technologies N ew technologies open up new perspec- tives. In the future, people will be able to work at home with all the amenities they have at the office, for example, and man- agers will be able to monitor robots on production lines from their desks. And those are only two examples from the always-on society. These applications require broad- band connections — in other words, trans- mission capacities of more than 200 kilobits Source: The Yankee Group, 2003 TV with several channels Video streaming (DVD quality) Video streaming (close to DVD quality) Non-compressed audio streaming (close to DVD quality) Video streaming (VHS quality) Very fast surfing, video streaming (close to VHS quality), software and audio downloads Fast surfing, video streaming (below VHS quality), soft- ware and audio downloads, multi-player games MP3 audio streaming, software downloads, online computer games IP telephony, slow Internet surfing, e-mail, e-commerce, audio streaming (medium quality) 10.00 8.00 4.00 1.50 1.20 1.00 0.51 0.26 0.13 Required data transmission rate (downstream) Megabits per second ber of DSL users is expected to rise to 86.5 million, increasing to 156.7 million by 2007. Second place is occupied by the cable mo- dem, which has many users in the U.S., Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands; though only in the U.S. do modem users out- number DSL customers. In Japan there were already 1.14 million high-speed fiber-to-the- home connections in March 2004 — double the number for 2003. Increasingly, complex data services can also be used on the move. Although Third Generation (3G) networks are establishing themselves more slowly than expected, tech- nologies such as General Packet Radio Ser- vice (GPRS) are on the increase. Forrester Re- search expects that GPRS will be standard for per second, as are offered by the Digital Sub- scriber Line (DSL), cable modems or satellite links. The number of broadband users world- wide has risen from 100,000 in 1996 to 98.8 million at the end of 2003, and this trend is set to continue. In a report entitled Broad- band Worldwide 2004 , market researchers at the New York-based company eMarketer Inc. predict that about 246 million private and commercial customers will be using broad- band access by 2007. The U.S. and Japan are the largest broadband markets today, with 27.6 million and 12.1 million customers re- spectively (Status:August 2003). DSL is the global leader: By the end of 2004 the num- The concept of “always online” will be- come a reality for phone callers too. Private customers can now use their cordless phones to make calls via the Internet — with the Siemens Gigaset M34 USB. The tiny USB plug uses the tried-and-tested DECT radio stan- dard. It enables the user to make calls as usual via the phone network or to call via the Inter- net using a radio adapter, with a PC acting as the gateway. Thanks to DSL,Internet telephony is inex- pensive, and even for conference calls involv- ing as many as five people. The Skype soft- ware program is based on the same technology as the Kazaa music file sharing service. “In the future, phone calls and data communication will take place directly via a PC by means of a residential gateway,” says Marco Bambach, who is involved in Web tele- phony business at Com. In the future, the classic cordless DECT phones will be supple- mented by WLAN phones that can be used to communicate at home via the WLAN router or at a public hotspot via the Internet. Thanks to higher computing power and larger dis- plays, these devices will also make video tele- phony possible. Picture Chat for Flirting. Germany’s mobile phone users will soon be enjoying a service that’s already become very popular in the United States; Push to Talk over Cellular (PoC). As with a walkie-talkie, the caller pushes a button to set up a connection with one or more friends. The technology doesn’t set up a fixed one-to-one connection, as is the case with a normal phone call; instead, a session is set up via GPRS using an Internet server. The sessions can be active as long as the callers wish, and they pay only for the time period when data is actually being transmitted. It’s similar to an Internet chat room, where you can play games or invite other people in. Mirko Naumann, a technology developer at Siemens Com, has already developed a pos- sible extension called Picture Chat, which makes it possible for callers to send images and texts back and forth between mobile phones in a mobile chat room. According to Naumann, “It’s the ideal way to flirt.” Bernd Müller cell phones in Europe as early as 2005 and will be used by about 72 percent of cell phone owners. By 2008, 60 percent of all cell phone users are expected to be using mobile Internet services regularly. “From a technical viewpoint, the future looks rosy. But the operators have to ask themselves which services work best via cell phone,” says Michelle de Lussanet, a Senior Analyst at Forrester in Amsterdam. “Consumer be- havior is not changing as fast as the range of possible applications.” She expects that by 2008 about 28 percent of all mobile devices will correspond to the 3G standard and smooth the way for services such as video via cell phone. Source: eMarketer, March 2004 WORLDWI DE GROWTH OF BROADBAND CONNECTI ONS * * Includes all residential and commercial connections without WLAN, Bluetooth or UMTS (in millions) 1996 0,1 0,6 1,6 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2006 2007 4,2 13,1 35,3 63,0 98,8 209,6 245,5 UMTS I S GAI NI NG GROUND Transmission technologies available in cell phones Percentage of cell phones in use in Western Europe Source: Forrester Research, Inc., 2004 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 UMTS 0% 1% 4% 8% 16% 28% 40% GPRS 28% 54% 72% 79% 77% 69% 58% GSM-only 72% 45% 25% 12% 6% 3% 2% at year end P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 29 Currently, Samsung Electronics is equip- ping apartments in Seoul with broadband connections, networked household appli- ances and security systems that can in some cases be controlled via a cell phone too (see interview). According to the road map of the Korean Ministry for Information and Commu- nication, about 500,000 homes will be fully digitalized by the end of 2004. At first they’ll have video-on-demand and monitoring ser- vices — in which a cell phone is used to see who’s at the front door, for instance. By 2007, ten million dwellings should have home networks, according to the “IT-8-3-9 Strategy” (eight favored services based on three broadband networks that will boost nine growth fields). The government intends to spend 175 billion euros by 2007 to achieve this goal. However, Kevin Morrow, head of the Digital Solution Center at Sam- sung, says, “the way things are going now, there will be about 1.4 million of those homes by 2007,” far fewer than the govern- ment wants, but still an impressive number. At Home with Internet Telephony.Korea is introducing Internet telephony (VoIP) — each week about 3,000 users subscribe to this ser- vice at Hanaro, Korea’s second largest broad- band provider. Furthermore, video telephony is in the testing stage. Increasingly, fiber- optic cables are extending all the way to the living room — fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) — and replacing copper cables. One reason is that parallel applications — like downloading a movie and playing games at the same time over the network — require bandwidths of 25 Mbits/s and more. At this time, Japan has a big head start when it comes to FTTH. At the Broadband World Forum, Yuji Inoue, Se- nior Vice President at Japan’s largest telecom- munications company, NTT, said that over a million of the 15 million broadband users in Japan already access the high-speed network via FTTH. Fiber-to-the-home technology al- lows speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s and cur- rently costs less than 50 euros per household per month. Inoue expects there to be about five million subscribers by 2005. By 2008, FTTH will have surpassed even ADSL with about 30 million users. MOBI L E T E L E COMMUNI C AT I ONS BOOMI NG I N CHI NA China boasts spectacular economic growth, but its communications infrastructure can’t yet compete with those in Japan and South Korea.In much of the country, fixed-line and cell radio networks are only now being built. Almost 80 million Chinese surf the Internet, two-thirds from home, the rest at Internet cafes. At 6.2 percent of the population, Internet penetration is thus still relatively low. However, according to the market researchers of the Gartner Group, the number of broadband connections in China rose by 7.6 million to 11 million in 2003, and the Chinese cell phone market is one of the fastest growing in the world. One out of five Chinese has a cell phone, and every month there are four to five million new customers. According to the Ministry of the Information Industry (MII), there were 272 million cell phone customers and 263 million fixed-network customers at the end of 2003. Experts estimate that there will be 320 million cell phone users by the end of 2004 and 550 million by 2009.But the government will probably not begin awarding licenses for broadband mobile radio networks before 2005. Alongside international standards, separate Chinese standards like TD-SCDMA are being developed — also in collaboration with Siemens. Since 2001, Siemens has been working with Chinese and German universities in the “FuTURE” project (Future Technologies for Universal Radio Environment) as part of the Chinese Research Initiative 863. The goal is to achieve data speeds ten times higher than those possible with UMTS. Can South Koreans already use a cell phone to fill the bathtub while they’re on the way home? Morrow:That probably happens mostly in advertising spots. It would likely be more useful if people could control their air-conditioning or secu- rity cameras from the office or from a cell phone. That’s just what you can do with a home network, which can be accessed through any Web browser. Do you yourself live in a digital home? Morrow: No, but I have VDSL broad- band access. Cyber apartments or digi- tal homes are still pretty new, even in Korea. They’re found mainly in expen- sive new high-rise buildings with up to 1,000 apartments. So far, most cus- tomers haven’t paid much attention to the added value a home network can offer, like comfort and greater security — that may take another five years. Kevin Morrow, 39, manages Samsung Electronics’ Digital Solution Center in Seoul, South Korea. Here, 250 engineers work on solutions for “homevita,” the Samsung term for the networked home. What sort of added value does one of these cyber apartments have? Morrow: Right now the most com- monly used features are the control of home equipment with touchscreen or Webpad, community portals on the In- ternet, and the remote monitoring of the house or of children’s play areas. In the future, WLAN will become increas- ingly important for distributing data, audio and video inside the apartment. We’re currently developing solutions that require only the push of a button when you get home to make every- thing happen automatically: The light goes on; the air-conditioning starts; the blinds open; and your favorite mu- sic plays. In the kitchen, you can go to one of the culinary pages on the Inter- net and download a video that shows how to prepare a certain meal. And the instructions can be transmitted on- ward to the stove or the microwave. Interview by Nikola Wohllaib. Cyber Apartment Solutions In terms of broadband Internet access, South Korea and Japan are world leaders. It is nothing unusual for users in these countries to be able to download videos and games, have access to telelearning, conduct online banking by cell phone, or keep an eye on play areas remotely. Broadband Mecca T hey do their shopping or bank transac- tions via cell phone and play against one another over ultra-fast broadband networks — at PC Bang, as the Internet cafes are called, or at home in high-tech living rooms. Welcome to South Korea, the current mecca of broadband technology. About 75 percent of South Korea’s 14 million households can surf at high speed. In Japan, it is one out of three, in the U.S. one out of four, and in Ger- many only one out of seven households. In this respect, South Korea is the world leader. Since 1998, the Korean government has spent 132 billion euros to expand access to broad- band for its 48 million people. As part of the “e-Korea Vision 2006,” nearly 95 percent of companies and private households are to have super-fast Internet access by the end of 2005. At home, most South Koreans use ADSL, which provides them with speeds between 640 kilobits per second (kbit/s) and eight megabits per second (Mbit/s). At the Broad- band World Forum in May 2004 in Seoul, ex- perts estimated that a fourth of Korean broadband users already have very high data rate digital subscriber lines (VDSL) offering speeds of 13 Mbit/s. One of the main suppli- ers of VDSL technology for Korea Telecom, Korea’s largest broadband provider, is the net- work outfitter Dasan. Siemens owns a nearly 50-percent stake in Dasan. “That means we’re involved in this VDSL rollout, and we’re gain- ing valuable experience for our own network strategy and product planning,” says Bern- hard Neef, Senior Vice President of Siemens Com, who is based at the central office for southeast Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In addition to TV series, movies and en- tertainment, including the games that are so popular in Korea, educational content is also A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y FAR E AS T 28 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 being brought into the living room. “Koreans spend more money on their children’s educa- tion than they do on rent and food,” Neef says. Quite a few private tutors are already helping students with their studies via broad- band networks. Currently, Korea Telecom is promoting a video-on-demand service to pro- vide movies at data speeds of 0.5 to 1 Mbit/s. Initially, home computers will receive the data streams in VHS quality, later in DVD quality. And then they will send them to the TV through a wireless connection. “Right now products are being developed with a wireless interface,” says Neef. Given the pace of innovation in Korea, they will soon be ready to market, he adds. “In the final stage, there will be a box supplying all the terminals in the home with broadband access via WLAN; the telephone will be linked up over DECT and the TV through a set-top box.” For many South Koreans, Internet cafes are just as indispensable as mobile Internet and the broadband connections they have at home. “Always on” is changing our society. The value of privacy is growing, but people are also communicating faster and more often about more trivial matters. At work we’re becom- ing more flexible than ever. And we are unconsciously de- veloping new norms of com- munication — like the ones that govern the distinction between work and leisure. Heading for the Lonely Crowd? A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y S OC I E T Y M odern man rushes through the tech- nologically advanced city, dominated by products of every kind, always accessible, yet somehow absent. Oppressed by the rapid transformations of his external and internal impressions, he seeks his salvation in ner- vous superficiality.” This could be a contemporary scene, but in fact it’s an account of life in Berlin in the year 1900, as seen by the German philoso- pher Georg Simmel. In Simmel’s vision of the future, the urbanite becomes a dandy — cyn- ical and emotionless, but also very lonely, be- cause the only way to master the constant flow of stimuli is by deadening his feelings. So far, Simmel’s prophecy hasn’t come true. On the contrary, more than a century af- ter his observations, there seem to be fewer of the isolated urban neurotics he described, even though modern technology has vastly increased the flow of information and sen- sory impressions to which we are subjected. And this trend has been continued by the boom in cell phone and Internet use since the 1990s. According to a study commissioned by AOL, the Internet is already young Americans’ primary means of communication. And mar- ket research firm Gartner Group estimates that by 2007 some 75 percent of Europeans will be spending 80 percent of their leisure time in close proximity to mobile electronic communication devices that are continually online. In other words, tomorrow’s society will be “always on“ — accessible anywhere, any- time. It’s not a trend everyone likes, because in the face of rapid progress many questions remain unanswered — including questions about the social effects of being always on. Privacy Has Priority. “Our concern about the influence of technology is exaggerated.” That’s the reassuring conclusion of Prof. Heinz Bude, an expert on contemporary soci- ety who teaches at the University of Kassel. “The future will be much less dramatic than people often claim. Paradoxically, being acces- sible everywhere and at all times makes pri- vacy all the more valuable. Being inaccessible by choice will therefore be a much more sought-after alternative.” According to the sociologist, this trend also offers new oppor- tunities — for example, to develop solutions that satisfy the increased need for privacy. This means that face-to-face communica- tion will play a more exclusive role in the lives of the always-on generation. “The one-on- one conversation may become rarer, and thus more valuable,” says Bude. And he points out that people already assign different values to different forms of communication. For exam- ple, today people write letters only on impor- tant or formal occasions; in their e-mails they deal with more everyday matters. In the fu- ture, according to Dr. Nadia Kutscher of the Competence Center for Informal Education at the University of Bielefeld, the level of banal- Online games, fast text messages, sending snapshots — keeping in touch is the credo of the always-on society. 30 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y FAR E AS T DI GI TAL FAMI L I E S I N T HE L AND OF T HE MORNI NG C AL M “Daddy, I want you to bring me home a nice notebook from work today,” says the not entirely serious SMS text message that Sang-Il Lee receives on his cell phone from his eight- year-old daughter, Hae-Yin, who already has several e-mail addresses and is now trying to set up her own Web site as well. She often sends her father short messages — even during school recess. When it comes to the use of new communications technologies, Sang-Il Lee’s family is typical for South Korea. The 43-year-old father of two children works as the political editor at the newspaper JoongAng in Seoul, one of the large dailies. Korea ranks 12th in the world in terms of economic output, but it is the world leader in IT. More than ten million families in the country have access to broadband Internet connections, usually DSL, which means that some 30 million of the almost 48 million people who live in South Korea can surf the Web at high speed and download music files, among other things. In addition, 35 mil- lion people have cell phone services. Korea can safely be called the first “always-on” society. For Sang-Il, the Internet is an important tool for work, just as it is for every other jour- nalist. He searches through online documents for his research and develops contacts through e-mail. Among other things, his PC serves as the file administrator for his valuable sources. Sang-Il frequently takes part in background dis- cussions and attends social events, both of which can net him important tips. “I was re- cently out at a karaoke bar and ended up send- ing information back to the editorial office via my laptop and cell phone,” he says. Sang-Il’s wife, Mi-Young Kim, also works at the paper and also loves the Internet. “I like online banking,” she says, “because it allows me to manage the family account, as most Korean women do.” She even manages the account while on the bus, using a cell phone. Hae- Moon, their 14-year-old son, has his own interests when it comes to the Internet. He doesn’t like to go to the movies because he finds it more comfortable to download videos from the Web via DSL and watch them on his PC. He recently had problems with his mother after he downloaded a huge number of pictures of stars onto his mobile MP3 player via an expensive service. Hae-Moon has never written a letter by hand. His favorite form of communication is instant messaging — chatting with friends who happen to be online at that time. Communication in the family runs along similar lines: Both Sang-Il and Mi-Young say that e-mail, messaging and cell phone conversations give them the feeling that despite the long working day, the members of the family are somehow always together. “We even talk to our parents more often now than we did as kids!” says Sang-Il with a smile. Sehee Hwang Inoue is promising faster connections for cell phone service too, starting in spring 2005. At that point, data will zip into cell phones at up to three Mbit/s. Japan launched its first mobile broadband network back in October 2001 (see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2002, p. 17). Freedom of Mobile Ac- cess — FOMA, the Japanese counterpart to UMTS — already had over two million sub- scribers by early 2004. Japan is currently also the leader in the development of fourth-gen- eration (4G) mobile telecommunications ser- vices, which will provide even higher speeds. The Japanese network operator NTT DoCoMo is testing systems with downlink speeds of 100 Mbit/s and uplink speeds of 20 to 40 Mbit/s — even in a slowly moving car, accord- ing to the magazine Nikkei Electronics Asia. 4G in Korea.“Korea wants to play the leading role in Asia in the development of 4G,” says Dr. Werner Mohr, who coordinates strategic research alliances for Siemens Com. The Ko- rean EV-DO network, which was launched two years ago, provides download speeds of up to two Mbit/s and has some five million subscribers, it was reported at the Broadband World Forum. “Korea may leapfrog the third generation of mobile radio services and work with the more advanced solution WIBRO — wireless broadband — an intermediate stage on the way to 4G,” says Mohr. According to Dae-Je Chin, the South Ko- rean Minister for Communication and Infor- mation, this new cellular network will be complete by the end of 2005. It will combine the benefits of fixed-line networks, mobile telecommunications and WLAN on the basis of the WiMAX standard (see p. 13). In the first stage, WIBRO should give users within one kilometer of a base station a data transfer rate of three Mbit/s. Though the definition of the WiMAX stan- dard has not yet been finalized internation- ally, Korea does not want to wait. The govern- ment has already reserved the necessary frequency spectrum. Deviations from the international standard will simply have to be revised later, said many Korean experts at the Broadband World Forum. Nikola Wohllaib P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 31 in the long run than grudgingly adjusting sometimes to the new circumstances.” To ensure people aren’t shortchanged in the always-on society, Kutscher advocates more incentives and support for learning about new technologies. “Studies show that people with higher levels of education are more likely to use new technologies than people with lower levels of education,” Kutscher says. “The world is becoming a global village, but that is generally happen- ing only at the level of the information elite. Educational institutions should try to close this gap.” If they don’t, she warns, a division be- tween social groups will be the result. (To find out more about the “Digital Divide,” see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2002, p. 51). Modern Nomadism. Flexibility is a buzzword of tomorrow. That’s because more and more things can be done simultaneously with mod- ern communications. According to Jäckel, this trend is also affecting how we spend our leisure time. “To take just one example, many people don’t want to commit to spending their evening at a given event, restaurant or party,” he says. “We’re seeing the develop- ment of a modern nomadism that’s influ- enced by cell phone networks.” Already, we often see people using short phone calls or SMS to change schedules and meeting points again and again because it’s so easy to reach one another. The new walkie-talkie functions of future cell phones, which make it possible to send a message to many recipients simul- taneously (see p. 26) will intensify this trend. The future face of the “always-on society” may seem strange to us now, but there’s one point on which the scientists agree: Human beings are born into their environment, but they are selective — they choose the things that appeal to them — and, above all, they are adaptable. In other words, Simmel’s urban neurotic will be no more typical of tomor- row’s world than the individual who has avoided technology altogether. “The human beings of the future,” says Bude, “will gladly benefit from the opportunities offered by technology, but according to their own rules. Individuals will decide how accessible they want to be.” Florian Martini Always on(line) means that, in the future, we will constantly be connect- ed to the Internet and always reach- able by phone, e-mail, text messaging or video messaging. However, this calls for higher bandwidths, particu- larly in mobile communications. Data for always onis now increasingly being sent in packets — as on the Internet — even in the case of voice (VoIP). Over the next few years, VoIP will also be- come available for home users. (p.11) Various broadband transmission methods are being created for fixed- line and mobile networks. HSDPA, for example, will expand UMTS to even higher data transfer rates, while the WiMAX standard builds on the wireless system WLAN. Siemens is working on ways to create a seamless transition between these techniques. (p.11) According to experts, mobile com- munications systems and fixed-line networks will one day converge. The trend toward uniform platforms also affects computers, TV sets and other devices, for which home networks are being set up with Internet gateways as links to the outside world. (p.11, 23) Accessibility must be ensured irre- spective of the technical solution used. At the same, it must be possible to cus- tomize the settings, as this is one of the main preconditions for creating a functioning always-on society. With its LifeWorks concept, Siemens is develop- ing solutions for office environments and for mobile use. (p.14, 23) Industry is boosting its productivity by comprehensively networking its communications systems (which range from manufacturing process control technologies to office software) and making them usable in real-time. The Ethernet standard familiar from offices is now also being introduced into pro- duction environments in the form of In- dustrial Ethernet. In addition, Siemens has enhanced WLAN applications to make them suitable for the greater demands posed by industry. (p.20) Sociologists do not think that people who are always online will risk sensory overload. Instead, we will adapt to new technology and establish new commu- nications standards. Face-to-face con- tact is growing in importance. (p.31) PEOPLE: Innovations in mobile communications: Harry Strasser, Com firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Tilo Messer, Com email@example.com Transmission technology: Dr. Jürgen Schindler, Com firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Werner Mohr, Com email@example.com Dr. Egon Schulz, Com firstname.lastname@example.org Software-defined radio: Holger Landenberger, Com email@example.com HiPath OpenScape: Dr. Johann-Heinrich Schinke, Com firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile enterprise: Dr. Thomas Werner, Com email@example.com Home entertainment: Stefan Jenzowsky, Com firstname.lastname@example.org Walter Reithmayer, Fujitsu-Siemens email@example.com Security: Dr. Stephan Lechner, CT IC 3 firstname.lastname@example.org Realtime in industry: Dr. Thomas Moser, I&S email@example.com Rudi Reinhard, SBS firstname.lastname@example.org Ewald Kuk, A&D email@example.com Strategy Field Automation&Control: Dr. Carl-Udo Maier, CT SM ICA firstname.lastname@example.org Siemens Southeast Asia: Bernhard Neef email@example.com Thomas Geitner, Vodafone Group firstname.lastname@example.org Heinz Bude, University of Kassel email@example.com LINKS: Siemens Mobile: www.siemens-mobile.com LifeWorks concept: www.siemens.com/lifeworks Standards and standardization: www.3gpp.org www.ieee.org LITERATURE: Smythe, Peter, Mobile and Wireless Communications:Key Technologies and Future Applications, 2004 In Brief 32 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 33 ity in our communication may increase even further. “The new technologies encourage social contact, but their users then communi- cate faster and about more trivial subjects,” she says. That’s a trend all of us have already observed — for example, when young peo- ple communicate via cell phone and SMS. Etiquette for the Networked World. The transformation of how we communicate is already becoming visible as we unconsciously develop and internalize a large number of in- formal norms. “For example, cell phone users usually switch off their phones at the movies,” says Dr. Robert Gaßner of the Berlin Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assess- ment. “People cope with technological progress by developing culturally acceptable arrangements.” In the future, the need for norms of this kind will increase considerably. To feel comfortable in the networked fu- ture, people will have to create a host of new conventions, according to Michael Jäckel, a professor of sociology at the University of Trier. “In a world of permanent accessibility, we feel a growing need for a clear division between work and leisure,” Jäckel says, “the division that’s being blurred by the use of new technologies.” In a paradoxical way, our work life may also become more stressful in the future:“We are becoming less and less able to really enjoy being undisturbed. Multi- tasking is becoming a standard activity,” ex- plains the sociologist. “Today, if an hour goes by and we haven’t received any e-mails, we’re likely to wonder if there’s something wrong with our computer.” For the individual, modern communica- tions bring more opportunities and more freedom but they also pose a challenge, A L WAY S - O N S O C I E T Y S OC I E T Y What will tomorrow’s “always on” society look like? Bude:Electronic communication will be- come part of everyday life — after all, an al- ways-on society has no prejudices against technology. But people are again starting to value the personal side of life, what we call the private sphere. In the future,this could give rise to a contradictory situation where people live relatively withdrawn in their small worlds, yet they’ll have a great need to communicate and be part of networks. They’ll accept offers to join in a network only when this makes sense to them, though. How is the constantly increasing flood of information affecting us? Bude:We have to distinguish between infor- mation and knowledge. More and more peo- ple are concluding that the tremendous in- crease of available information doesn’t mean we’re also gaining more knowledge. Conse- quently, systems that not only deliver infor- mation but also evaluate it may become much more important. The key concept here is relevance. People want to be able to sort out the things that are important to them from those that are unimportant. People in the always-on society are gen- erally accessible, even during their leisure time. How is this affecting us? Bude:We’re already seeing a tendency to separate our workplace from our home. Peo- ple will again enjoy being entirely inaccessi- ble during leisure time or on vacation, so they can decide for themselves when they’ll be reached. We’re going to start seeing our- selves as “stayers” — people with a relatively quiet lifestyle — as opposed to the “movers” Why Inaccessibility Is Attractive Heinz Bude (50) is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kassel. His research fo- cuses on the macrosociological analysis of modern societies. Bude is also the director of “The Society of the Federal Republic of Germany” research unit at the Hamburg In- stitute for Social Research. of the 1990s. Today we tend to think of the “movers” as nervous individuals. In the future, people will retreat into the personal worlds where they live while enjoying the advan- tages of communications systems that reach far beyond their own individual spheres. What will happen to the people who reject the always-on lifestyle? Bude:For many people, a paradoxical effect may arise. The spread of accessibility means that inaccessibility will be connected with an enhanced status. In other words, the more inaccessible you become, the more impor- tant you are. This development can already be seen today. For example, I don’t believe you’ll ever be able to reach former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt via your cell phone — and for many people, that makes him seem very interesting.Interview:Florian Martini Returning to the private sphere — a response to a networked future which is especially true for people who refuse to keep up with the rapid pace of de- velopment.“We’re caught up in a world where nothing works any more without tech- nology,” says Jäckel. “Trying to operate out- side these structures may be more exhausting Siemens and the Feitoza foundation in Manaus, Brazil, are creating applications for cell phones that merge reality and the virtual world in real time. 34 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Good Connections PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE R E S E AR C H COOP E R AT I ON P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 35 The six-hour time difference between Germany and Brazil hasn’t been a problem; instead, it actually promotes efficiency. “It lengthens working hours,” says Geisberger. While developing the software for the SX1 cell phone, the team in Munich sent its most recent version of the mobile phone manager to Feitoza in the evening. When the develop- ers in Munich arrived at work the next morn- ing the latest latest version from Manaus was already on their computers. “Thanks to our partnership with Siemens, we have improved our knowledge I t may soon be the big hit among cell phone games: cartoon panda bears and similar creatures that crawl around in living rooms or on the street — but only virtually on a cell phone display. Dr. Alexandra Musto, head of a Multimedia Applications team at Siemens Com, describes the game which has initially been called “Cuddly Combat” as fol- lows: “The 3D figures are set into the back- ground in such a way that it appears as if they were walking around on the real table, for example. Players can zoom in on their mascots, turn them around and view them from above or below. The real backgrounds are recorded by the cell phone camera. Two players can play the game using a Bluetooth connection.” This combination of real and artificial worlds, which is known as augmented real- ity, is difficult to achieve even on a powerful PC. Implementing it in a cell phone, however, which has a relatively limited computing ca- pacity by comparison, represented a major challenge. Nevertheless, the Feitoza founda- tion and Siemens managed to pull it off by working closely together. Specialists at Siemens designed the game’s concept and a catalog of image processing algorithms re- quired for augmented reality applications. In order to merge the real world with artificial elements, the software has to learn to recog- nize the movements the telephone makes. The Multimedia Applications group has been working for years in this area. Among other things, it developed the algorithms for move- Six hours time difference is no handicap— in fact, both partners gain in efficiency. in software development and also learned to work in global, multicultural teams,” says Lopez. “Feitoza also gained experience and expertise in new areas of software develop- ment for the mobile communications sector and has become one of the leading software development companies in the rapidly changing cell phone market in Brazil.” According to Geisberger, development activities in Manaus focus on user interfaces for cell phones and PC software. Siemens has provided additional funding to further ex- pand Java development activities in Manaus. It also searched for and found new partner companies, such as the Genius Institute, Fu- capi and DBA. Genius, a non-profit research center in Manaus, specializes in voice recog- nition software and digital TV. Fucapi, which is also non-profit, analyzes hardware. DBA, a large, Rio de Janeiro-based software com- pany, has some 1,500 employees and a branch office in Manaus. At the moment, in- novative developments in the area of user in- terface design for next generation cell phones are being pursued in cooperation with a company called Quality. In addition, all partners are involved in setting up special ed- ucation programs in cooperation with the University of Amazonas. It is thus clear that Manaus is gradually developing into a core location for research cooperation between Siemens and Brazilian institutions and com- panies. Barbara Stumpp ment estimation that form the basis of the game known as “Mozzies” (mosquito hunt), which comes with the Siemens SX1 cell phone. This work also resulted in several im- portant patents for such applications. The Feitoza foundation created and optimized procedures for compressing data as well as algorithms that ensure the game runs smoothly. The interesting aspect of this coop- erative effort was that the Siemens experts did their work in Munich, while Feitoza made its contribution from Manaus, Brazil. When asked why Siemens chose a com- pany in Manaus as a partner, Bernhard Geis- berger, director of PC Software at Siemens Com and head of R&D in Manaus, talks about the huge economic potential that exists in Latin American countries. “Only those who invest directly here can expect to participate in the region’s growth,” he says. “All of this started with the establishment of a Global Support Center for the Java and Symbian community in 2002. Because that went so well, we decided to set up many other PC software partnerships, and then opened our R&D Center in Manaus in November 2003. We chose Manaus because there are a lot of highly motivated developers here and be- cause the region offers financial benefits.” The designers of the new augmented re- ality game wanted it to be so real that players would not notice any difference between their real environment and its virtual supple- ment. To do this, the development teams had to combine methods from linear algebra, animation, rendering technologies and artifi- cial intelligence and then depict them on the target platform — the Symbian operating system. Renato Lopez, director of Feitoza, says his organization not only had its team members take courses in fuzzy logic, neural networks and computer mathematics, but also had them conduct research into move- ment and collision detection and pattern recognition. All work has now been com- pleted and the game is scheduled to become available soon in the SX1 cell phone and as a download version. Some 160 of Feitoza's 200 employees work in R&D, most of them in projects involv- ing Siemens. The foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting social development in the region through research projects. It supports 12 computer program- ming schools in the region and also develops devices for physically handicapped people. One of these devices is a special mouse. Here users control the cursor through eye move- ments and blink when they want to click on an object. The eye movements are detected by sensors attached to the user’s temples. One aim of the cooperative activities be- tween Siemens Com and Feitoza is to de- velop a globally valid platform for a cell phone manager. Such a system can synchro- nize contacts, e-mails, text messages and similar applications between a PC and a cell phone. The partners are also looking at soft- ware such as a processing program for im- ages recorded with the cell phone camera. 8:00 a.m. in Munich 2:00 p.m.6:00 p.m.12:00 midnight Working hours in Munich Working hours in Manaus As developers in Munich are having lunch, their colleagues in Manaus are starting the day’s work. A few hours are available for joint conferences, then the Brazilians continue where Munich leaves off. The result: a work- day with 16 productive hours. Cuddly Combat is a new virtual reality game available on Siemens SX1 cell phones. It was created by developers in Mu- nich in close cooperation with the Feitoza foundation — 9,000 kilometers away in Manaus, in the Brazilian rain forest. 36 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 37 Living Memory Armed with haptic gloves, 3D headsets and their own personal navigation devices, visitors to the Center for Living Memory will be able to interact with “exhibits” in ways never before dreamed. Software that already exists could make it a reality. S C E NAR I O 2015 S O F T W A R E O ctober 2015. This place – you’ve got to see it to believe it. It’s big enough to get lost in without navigation. And it covers everything – literally – because it’s organized like an encyclopedia, except that it’s one you can walk through, talk to, touch, download and more. They call it the Center for Living Memory, and Efficiency Revolution Whether in the car or the home, the use of common standards holds the key to cheaper and bet- ter software. Developing Software in the Global Village Software development is becom- ing international. Experts explain how they managed two of Sie- mens’ biggest, most geographi- cally dispersed projects. Simplifying Software Software management expert Michael Cusumano says it will be a long time before computers and software are easy to use. Software for the Digital Aura Products equipped with a digital aura will communicate indepen- dently with other devices in their vicinity, cooperate with one an- other, and bring people with the same interests together. Creating Tomorrow’s Codes Software is being “embedded” in products ranging from cell phones to cars and washing machines -- and giving them in- creasingly sophisticated capabili- ties. Researchers are striving to make software cheaper, better, and faster to produce. Page 53 Page 55 Page 39 Page 49 Page 51 2015 The “Center for Living Memory” is a futuristic cross between a museum and vetted data bases. Prof. Carna- dine, Director of the Center (right), and his Chief Programmer, use “digital auras” to open a dialogue with Queen Nefertari of Egypt. Using their head- sets and navigation devices, they can see a highly realistic, real-time simulation of the queen. What’s more, they can talk with Nefertari, hear her voice and even touch her. there are wings that cover “The Universe,” “Life on Earth,” “Man and Science,” and of course Prof. Carnadine’s pet, “History and Culture.” Carnadine is the boss, and I think he’s a little edgy these days because the Center is due to open soon. My crew’s been doing all the pro- gramming. In fact, even before the auto- mated bulldozers broke ground, we had simulated the main exhibits. Standard- ized software tools, open systems and an online library of modules helped de- velopment and testing to move even faster than our project optimization plan had predicted. And much of the software – such as the programs that make the SOFT WARE HIGHLIGHTS S O F T W A R E T R E NDS Although software consists of bare lines of code, entire factories can be controlled by mathematical formulae (left), an intelligently designed soft- ware architecture, and power- ful computers. Background: an automated transport system used in the automotive industry. D eep down, there’s a program behind everything. Somewhere in your brain there is a program that tells you how to lift your eyelids. And buried in every cell of every plant and creature on earth is a program that tells it how to manufacture the proteins and enzymes that keep it alive and allow it to re- produce. The brilliant patterns on a butter- fly’s wings are the outward expression of a program — as are the dots on the page you’re reading. In one universe, a few lines of code express the texture of a fruit fly’s ab- domen, in another they say “welcome” when a cell phone is switched on. Even decades after the introduction of computers, laymen are still marveling that the physical world can be altered by merely writing or editing code — the underlying pat- terns of ones and zeros that are combined to produce programs. And when married to an operating system — a kind of traffic cop that intermediates between user commands and the distribution of physical resources, such as a device’s memory and power — programs can perform a virtually limitless variety of dif- ferent functions. “In fact, to an ever-increasing extent, the functionality of our products is being defined by the software we develop,” says Reinhold Achatz, who heads the Software & Engineer- ing division at Siemens Corporate Technology, as well as the company’s Software Initiative, which is part of its Global Competitiveness Program. Indeed, with some 30,000 people involved in this crucial area — about as many as Microsoft — and over three billion euros per year invested in software research and development, Siemens’ businesses are driven by software. Embedded Software. What’s driving the explo- sive shift away from hardware and toward software as the engine of innovation? Pro- bably the most fundamental factor is the nose-diving cost of computing power. In 1976, a Cray computer capable of 100 mil- lion floating point operations per second cost the equivalent of about 13 million euros. To- day, you can find the same computing power under the hood of an average car, and the price tag will be a modest 13 euros. In 1994, one megabit (one million bits) of memory cost the equivalent of about 3.26 dollars. By 2003 it had dropped to approximately two cents. This trend means that devices ranging from cell phones to automotive infotainment systems and set-top boxes can have enough computing capacity to accommodate an op- erating system and a spectrum of application software (see p. 48). Indeed, these so-called “embedded” systems now account for a ma- jor part of the $185 billion world software market. “Some embedded systems use con- trollers that can be as advanced as a PC. That makes it possible to process more and more signals and manage growing levels of com- plexity, which in turn means new services ranging from networking to diagnostics for users,” says Dr. Lothar Borrmann, head of the S O F T W A R E S C E NAR I O 2015 walk-through, interactive environments possible – actually wrote itself based on demonstrations recorded by industrial robots using 3D-x vision. But, as I say, History and Culture is Carnadine’s baby, and as soon as his scheduling program surmised that we were getting close to completing our work, he wanted to experience that sec- tion. Agreeing to make believe we were just visitors, we picked up haptic gloves and a couple of standard head mounted display (HMD) units from a lobby dis- penser, gave each other a thumbs up as all systems chirped confirmation of be- ing networked with our personal com- municators and the Center’s database, and followed a bright yellow augmented reality carpet displayed in the HMDs to Carnadine’s favorite section – 19th Dynasty Ancient Egypt. As we entered the most magnificent of all the burial chambers, I was delighted to see through my HMD that it now ap- peared to be populated with period arti- facts ranging from ointment bowls to sculptures of Horus and Anubis and beauti- fully painted hieroglyphs on the walls . But besides a likely reproduction of the tomb and mummy of Queen Nefertari – Ram- ses II’s principal wife circa 1290 BC – I knew that there were actually very few physical objects in the chamber. "You can touch these objects, pick them up and look inside them using the haps and your HMD. Your movements, the position of your head – everything is, as you can see, seamlessly networked,” I explained. "I see,” said Carnadine, gin- gerly picking up a priceless virtual vase and peering inside it. "Remarkable! Even the viscera appear to be intact! How far can you take this…” "First let me show you something even more exciting,” I interjected, indi- cating that we should focus our commu- nicators on the mummy. An image of the sarcophagus appeared in their dis- plays with the question: Open Dialogue? The communicators signaled that they were now in contact with each other and could share mutually interesting in- formation. Both of us said "Yes” into the HMDs’ microphones. And an instant later, the mummy, now in the form of a lovely young woman, stood before us. "Wow!” exclaimed Carnadine. "And I suppose it – I mean, she – is interactive?” "She is indeed,” I answered. "What we’re looking at is a real-time simulated em- bodiment of all digitally available infor- mation about her. It’s simply a question of translating the semantic information in vetted databases into corresponding visual, audio and haptic elements, and projecting those elements into the HMDs so that it overlaps the physical environ- ment with extreme spatial accuracy.” "You mean I could… touch her?” in- quired Carnadine. "Absolutely, the haps will let you feel her clothing, or you could even perform a virtual examina- tion – whatever. It’s very realistic. You’ll note,” I went on, "that the menus on our communicators now suggest a number of possible interactions, including multi- media downloads. We’ll even be able to hold a conference call with her from other locations. It’s as if she had given us her private number.” "Can I address her normally?” Carna- dine asked. "Of course,” I said, noting that he had not taken his eyes off of her since she had appeared. "Nefertari? Nofretiri?Which is your proper name?” he asked her. "I amNefertari, beloved of the goddess Mut, Great King’s Wife, Hereditary Princess of the Two Lands, Most Beautiful of Them,” she responded in a delicate and enticing voice through the HMDs’ speakers. "Professor, are you all right?” I asked, somewhat concerned by a look of ap- parent disorientation that had spread across his face. "Oh, I guess so,” he said, reluctantly removing the HMD. "It’s just that she looked and sounded exactly like an old flame – someone I knew a long, long time ago,” he said. "It seems ‘The Center for Living Memory’ will be a very appropriate name for this place.” Arthur F. Pease Creating Tomorrow’s Codes With over three billion euros a year invested in software R&D, Siemens is not only exploring the evolution of this crucial field — it’s driving it. Experts explain why software is becoming pervasive, networked, self-optimizing and responsive to our needs. 38 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 39 trace chemicals left by ants to find the short- est paths to a food supply. Interestingly, the concept can apply to industrial pick-and-place machines. Here, tiny software programs have been developed that mimic the pheromone- based decision-making of ants and can work together to collectively optimize the path of the 12-nozzle revolver head on a machine to the components to be picked and placed on printed circuit boards. “The question is: Which components should be placed in which sequence to maximize throughput, and when?,” says Nierwetberg. “A few percentage points of improvement can make a significant productivity differ- ence, because under optimal circumstances the machine can place as many as 60,000 components per hour.” The technology could offer solutions for applications as varied as robot movements in a warehouse to choos- ing the best place to order a pizza. Toward Software That Writes Itself.Consi- dering the immense and steadily growing de- mand for software (see p. 45), it’s not sur- prising that researchers are exploring methodologies that will accelerate software development itself. In addition to a variety of highly promi- sing standardization (see p. 53) and process improvement scenarios (see p. 46), one of their software. These points allow future modules to be plugged into a program. Faster and more accurate assembly is one thing. But what about automating the process of writing software itself? According to software architect Borrmann, mo- dularization could be the first step in that di- rection. Research that’s currently being con- ducted in cooperation with Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, for in- stance, indicates that “in principle, a model interpreter — basically a software tool — can identify the modules that are needed for a so-called “model-driven” software (see p. 42). The idea here is to sharply reduce the time needed for software development by simply drawing a formal model of a program. A spe- cial program then translates the model into code. “We are clearly moving in the direction of faster, more efficient development, and that means model-driven development,” says Siegfried Zopf, an expert in software devel- opment methodology and quality mana- gement at PSE. Meanwhile, in cooperation with Tecno- matix, an Israel-based company that spe- cializes in simulations of industrial processes, Siemens researchers have developed a tech- nology that generates code directly from au- tomotive part descriptions and production simulations. “Admittedly, this is a narrow en- vironment. But it is my expectation that this solution will widen to embrace more indus- try segments,” reports Software & Engineer- ing head Achatz. Taken together, the trends that are shap- ing the development and application of the most invisible technology on earth are likely to have the profoundest implications for the way we live. “The software that will drive our world in coming years will be pervasive, net- worked, self-optimizing and responsive to our needs,” says Achatz. As in the natural uni- verse, it will become a truism that, deep down, there will be a program behind every- thing. Arthur F. Pease Tomorrow’s software will be pervasive , networked, self-optimizingand highly responsive to our needs. the quickest and best ways to accelerate soft- ware development is modularization. Once they have been optimized and outfitted with a standardized interface, modules can be snapped together to form programs almost as easily as squeezing Lego blocks together — and with just as little room for error. Work- ing along these lines, researchers are now us- ing aspect-oriented programming, a promis- ing new concept that makes it possible for developers to leave so-called “join points” in program, and locate and interconnect them to build a functional system,” says Borrmann. “Naturally, if we could get this to work, it would mean a significant reduction in the amount of time needed to produce software systems,” he explains. With this in mind, researchers in Borr- mann’s department in Munich, at Vanderbilt University and at Siemens’ giant PSE software subsidiary in Vienna, Austria, are working on Sightseeing with a cell phone. Information about a city’s sights can be read from electronic Post-It notes. S OF T WAR E T R E NDS AND T OOL S Object-Oriented Programming (OOP):Program and data form a single unit (an object) that communicates with the outside world via interfaces. The interfaces define the be- havior of the objects toward one another. The events within the object remain private. Objects are defined in a general way, so that they can be used in varying contexts. A car is a good analogy — the same parts can be used in different models, all of which are functional automobiles. Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP):Provides the means by which specific sections of programs (aspect code) can be reused many times. For example, security functions for account inquiries are also active during online funds transfers. Model-Driven Development (MDD):Based on graphical modeling languages that represent real tasks and “map” the processes in the system that’s to be developed. Development tools then create outline code that is tailored to the specific application by programming. Programming Languages:There are languages close to machine level (Assembler), higher-level languages (ADA, Cobol, Fortran, Pascal, PL/1, C) and object-oriented lan- guages such as C++, Java, Delphi or Smalltalk. Application-specific, script, modeling and page description languages are also important. Manufacturers offer their own collections of tools and methods (frameworks). Andreas Beuthner 40 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 41 DI GI TAL GR AF F I T I : A ME DI UM WI T H A ME S S AGE Researchers at Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich have developed a unique software platform and prototype cell phone that let users post messages on buildings, doors and — if they’re working on road crews — even on pot- holes. Unlike an SMS, these messages cause the target person’s phone to ring only when and where it makes sense to do so. Known as “Digital Graffiti,” the technology will make it possible for maintenance personnel to digitally mark the locations of potholes on runways, for instance, by simply positioning a phone above them and clicking. Using a built-in gyroscope, GPS transmitter and magnetic sensor, such a phone can send a geo- graphically postmarked message to a server — with a spatial accuracy of up to 30 centimeters. Later, when the person to be contacted, in this case a repairman, enters a radius that can be a mile or more in diameter from the pothole, the server transmits the message to his phone. When the phone’s camera is panned across the tarmac, arrows will appear on the images in the phone’s display, showing exactly where the potholes can be found. According to project development director Dieter Kolb, the technology could also be used for posting and reading personalized messages at “Info Points” in airports, or as a navigational and information guide for tourists or museum visitors. “Eventually, users will be able to simply ask their cell phone where the Renoir paintings are, and the phone will display a path to them. By pointing the phone at an individual painting, the user will be able to access a fountain of informa- tion about it,” says Kolb. S O F T W A R E T R E NDS Software Architecture department at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT). “Software is entering the smallest items, even parts of motors,” adds Dr. Ulrich Löwen, head of CT’s Systems Engineering depart- ment, “and that makes the overview of a sys- tem extremely complex — but also more ex- act.” Nowhere is this trend more evident than in the automotive industry, where software delivers enhanced comfort, convenience and security without adding weight. “Premium cars today have up to 70 electronic control units that use software to govern everything from motor management to braking,” says Hans-Georg Frischkorn, head of system archi- tecture and integration at BMW. In the near future (see p. 53) these embedded systems will be increasingly networked. “For in- stance,” says Borrmann, “The navigation sys- tem will know that a hill is coming up around the next bend and will prepare the engine and brakes accordingly.” As more and more embedded software systems take over increasingly safety-critical functions, the need for software quality and associated testing is growing. In the power distribution area, for example, CT's Software Development Techniques department has developed software that can simulate whether the time it takes to detect, analyze and transfer information on a dangerous short circuit to the next highest node in a network of protection devices is sufficient to stem the problem. This avoids a potential cascade of events leading to power outages, explains department head Klaus Beetz. Software embedded in circuit breakers for power-distribution systems and countless other safety-critical areas is not only increa- singly being designed to share information on a networked basis, thus reducing real- time risks. It is also playing an increasingly valuable role in terms of archiving data, diag- nosing errors and helping to improve system efficiency. “That’s important,” says Beetz, “be- cause more and more things are happening simultaneously.” He points out, for instance, that the latest medical magnetic resonance systems have as many as 60 separate pro- grams in operation simultaneously. From Ants to Robots.With a veritable ex- plosion in the number of systems interacting with one another on a real-time basis — or very close to it — optimization of the routes taken by signals and moving objects has be- come a booming area of software research. “The age-old question of ‘What's the shortest route between a number of locations in a transport network?’ now has enormous eco- nomic relevance,” explains Dr. Johannes Nier- wetberg, who heads CT's Software Optimiza- tion department. A physicist, Nierwetberg points out that the answer could be “digital pheromones” — a concept based on the In the early days, programmers tended to work in assembler languages, which describe each instruction in detail. Soon afterward, procedural languages became popular. In these languages, a program is broken up into smaller subtasks called “procedures” that are later linked together into an overall system. This approach is geared to making source code reusable and to achieving a high degree of clarity in regard to overall program struc- ture. “Researchers and developers have learned very quickly,” says programming ex- pert Douglas C. Schmidt of Vanderbilt Univer- sity in Nashville, Tennessee. “The level of ab- straction of programming routines has been increased from year to year, increasing the degree to which they can be automated.” Encapsulated and Reusable.Improvements in existing languages and techniques (see p. 41) as well as fundamental changes in the way developers approach and think about software have gone a long way toward ex- panding what software architects can do. Ob- ject-oriented development caused a sensation 20 years ago; but today it is firmly estab- lished. Its most important hallmark: Rules, commands and functions are prefabricated and “encapsulated” in building blocks that have been pre-tested for quality. These blocks contain clearly defined interfaces that are used to link them with other compo- nents, and they have instructions governing their interaction with other program ele- ments. “The trend is toward the development of reusable code,” summarizes Borrmann col- league Christa Schwanninger. What this means is that, even when de- veloping unusual applications, software engi- neers are increasingly using program libraries that contain large numbers of prefabricated templates and prototypes. An alternative is to design objects using graphic modeling languages — what experts call Model Driven Development (MDD). “In MDD, we describe the real world we want to automate using symbols and then model the corresponding procedures in a data-process- ing system,” explains Zopf. The conversion customer satisfaction at lower costs,” says Schwanninger. The new architectures make possible a high degree of modification and extension, and they don’t adhere to a rigid development model as before. As a result of better project management with shorter re- lease cycles and planning that’s based on de- fined objectives, working program parts are available to the user at a very early stage in the process. That means users are able to pass on requests to the appropriate teams, even as the development process moves for- ward, and immediately receive modified ver- sions. Software Machines. Schmidt expects that model-based programming languages that automatically generate the appropriate ma- chine code will soon be part of the standard repertoire of many development depart- ments. A German-Spanish company known as CARE Technologies already offers a ma- Users will be able to request modifications while development is still under way. into working program code is done in part automatically by the development tools. The model-based approach reduces the amount of work required for individual pieces of software, particularly the amount of programming. Even complicated functions are portrayed by manageable symbols in a di- agram. A structure is created, and is then in- creasingly adapted to the requirements of the particular application in subsequent phases of the development process. The un- derlying model is composed of encapsulated, reusable system components that can be linked like Lego blocks to form various appli- cations (system families). Experts anticipate that model driven de- velopment has a bright future. Already, “gen- erative” and “aspect-oriented” development tools are emerging, and these new ap- proaches promise even better, more reliable and more secure software. “We expect these agile software processes to produce more chine that writes software fully automatically and faster than any human programmer. The secret: prefabricated data flowcharts that de- fine the processes involved. The user de- scribes task with graphic symbols and links them to the diagrams. A software generator then provides working source code assem- bled from existing building blocks. In spite of such advances, code at the push of a button and self-organizing soft- ware aren’t likely to be common for a while. Still missing is an adequate technical and sci- entific basis for versatile software compo- nents. CARE’s software generator, for in- stance, can only manage rudimentary tasks. Large software systems with parts that have to meet high reliability and security standards will continue to be planned by teams of spe- cialists — although at a highly abstract level. “It still takes the knowledge and cooperation of many experts to get a system up and run- ning,” says Borrmann. Andreas Beuthner Siemens programmer Kai Tödter assembles the software that drives a new avatar. Java- based modular techniques and a program that simulates the functions of a real phone accel- erate the development process. Software has become the heart of every complex system. The re- sult: exploding demand for faster, more accurate and economical programming technologies. The goal: adaptable software architec- tures made of optimally matched, reusable components. Taming Complex Systems I t was a long road from the abacus of an- cient times to the first programmable cal- culating machines, which were built in the 1930s and ‘40s in Germany, the U.S. and Great Britain. A s a discipline in its own right, computer science has only been around for a few decades. Initially an academic tool, soft- ware has rapidly evolved to become an im- portant part of the economy. As a result, de- mand for improved software development productivity is steadily increasing. All of this may have a downside, how- ever. According to Dr. Lothar Borrmann, head of the Software Architecture depart- ment at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Munich, “Our methods and tools are get- ting better and better, but the demands on software architects and project manage- ment are growing by leaps and bounds as well. It’s no longer possible for any one per- son to program today’s complex software systems.” 42 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 43 New methods have taken the place of the machine-level programming of earlier years, which has been pushed to the back burner. Today, it is not even possible to create the desktop of a modern personal computer with simple programming techniques. And there’s enough “intelligence” in any laptop on the market to make the mainframe comput- ers of the founding years look like bumbling museum pieces. Program code is found in every circuit — in everything from cars to mobile phones to power plants. At Siemens alone, software en- gineers produce several billion lines of code each year. Initially, the lines of a programwere laboriously written out by hand. Today, pre- fabricated software components and “design S O F T W A R E P R OGR AMMI NG patterns” (templates) provide the basic struc- tural framework. “There are already program- ming environments that generate powerful operations with just a few instructions,” says Siegfried Zopf of Program and Systems Engi- neering (PSE) in Vienna, Austria. A Siemens- owned software and electronics company with branches in several countries and more than 5,000 employees, PSE works almost ex- clusively for the Siemens Groups. A glance at the variegated world of de- velopment environments makes it clear that writing software entails a daunting number of choices. There are over 200 programming languages. Some professionals swear by Perl, Basic, Eiffel or Smalltalk, while others work with Delphi, C/C++, Java or Ada. Even the “ve- terans” among the programming languages, like Cobol and Assembler, are still in service, with no prospect of being retired any time soon. At Siemens, there is no prescribed pro- gramming language in use throughout the company. Usually, though, Siemens opts for solutions based on established techniques. “It makes no sense to program with unusual languages for two years and then be left at the end of the day with an isolated solution,” explains Borrmann. As a rule, Siemens ex- perts work with mainstream languages like C/C++ and Java or platforms like J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) or Microsoft’s .Net. “But every approach has its strengths and weak- nesses; each is suitable for different pur- poses,” says Zopf. 45 Falling Prices and Exploding Complexity T he world software market is growing steadily. U.S. market re- searchers at IDC report that worldwide spending on packaged soft- ware alone was $185 billion in 2003 and is expected to reach some $260 billion by 2008. The overall software market is, of course, much larger, because it includes software that companies write themselves. Siemens spends over three billion euros on software development an- nually. In contrast to the market for PC-based software, where growth is slowing, analysts expect explosive growth in embedded software — software used where most people don’t see it, as part of anything from a cell phone to an industrial control system. The main factor driving this trend is rapidly falling memory prices. In the past decade, for example, the dollar price per megabit of DRAM (dynamic random access memory) fell from $3.50 in 1995 to about 2 cents in 2004, reports California-based semiconductor research house iSuppli, which predicts DRAM prices will fall to 0.4 cent per megabit by 2008. Today’s automobiles tell the story. Embedded functions are mi- grating from hardware to software as microprocessors take over func- tions from electromechanical devices. In 2000, car manufacturers and suppliers spent about 25 billion euros on development and production of software designed for automobiles, according to Mercer Manage- ment Consulting. Mercer predicts spending will quadruple by 2010. By then, 35 percent of the value of the average car will come from elec- tronics and software (with 13 percent being software). Some day soon, car owners will go to their local dealers for software upgrades, S O F T W A R E FAC T S AND F OR E C AS T S ded software. “The analytical methods com- monly used are sometimes unable to answer important questions,” he explains. With fault tree analysis, for instance, it is impossible to decide whether data is being processed at sufficient speed. “Fault trees link cause and effect, for example when system compo- nents fail, but they don’t take time into ac- count.” Liggesmeyer’s research group devel- ops tools for problems like these. “This new approach involves greater effort at the begin- ning of a project, because a great deal of en- ergy goes into producing clean descriptions,” he explains. “Later on, though, you don’t have to go back and iron out errors.” Further- more, a model that has been carefully devel- oped and tested can be reused much more easily. One stipulation, however, is that the model’s compatibility with new components — unlike the case of Ariane 5 — has been properly resolved. Bernd Schöne says Jan Dannenberg, who heads Mercer’s automotive analysis group. For example, they could download a program that supports safer brak- ing on snow and ice. Of course, embedded software is in more than just cars. Daya Nadamuni, principal analyst with Gartner Dataquest, says the greatest potential for embedded software is where there is a human interface. Examples include cell phones, information points, patient monitoring systems and industrial control systems. Massachu- setts-based research firm VDC also predicts that the automotive, con- sumer electronics and military and aerospace industries will lead the way in developing new embedded software applications. A typical embedded application has grown from 100,000 to one million lines of code over the past two years, according to Wind River, a U.S.-based maker of embedded software operating systems. This com- plexity will grow as devices are increasingly networked. According to Watts Humphrey of Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, the size and complexity of systems and applications grows exponentially, increasing by a factor of ten every five years. In order to master this complexity, more and more software com- ponents are being encapsulated in standardized modules. Reinhold Achatz, head of the Software & Engineering division at Siemens Corpo- rate Technology, sums up the advantages: “Once the content of such a module is shown to be error-free, its size is no longer a factor. Only its interface counts. As long as the interface is simple enough, we can handle it.” Mary Lisbeth d’Amico Hardware 100 bil Software 25 bil Software 126 bil Source: Mercer Management Consulting (2003) Source: iSuppli Corporation (2004) Basic soft- ware 5 bil Operating system 20 bil Applications software 75 bil Hardware 190 bil 8% p.a. 3% p.a. 80% E125 bil E270 bil 20% 2000 2010 2015 62% 2% 8% 28% 60% 40% E316 bil Hardware 170 bil ... MORE S OF T WARE I S HI T T I NG T HE ROAD AS ME MOR Y C HI P S B E C OME C HE AP E R ... The value of the software and electronics in automobiles is set to grow by around eight percent a year to 270 billion euros by 2010 — on average, 35 percent of total vehicle value. $1.00 $0.50 $2.00 $3.00 $4.00 $5.00 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 Dollars per megabit 2004 2003 2005 2006 2007 2008 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 2.5 Cents per megabit Office computers regularly re- ceive software updates. Indus- trial processes, however, must function properly from the word go. Siemens has taken on this challenge and is now re- searching methods to develop secure and reliable software. Faultless Future? 44 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 45 I n 1996, when the first Ariane 5 rocket ex- ploded only 37 seconds after lifting off from the mangrove swamps of French Guiana, software was at fault. The problem — investigators found — was that engineers had adopted a module from Ariane 4 without testing it. The purpose of the software was to convert the rocket’s speed from a long float- ing point number into a shorter data format. This was no problem for Ariane 4, because it was impossible for the number to exceed the upper limit of the abbreviated format. But with the more powerful Ariane 5, this oc- curred within half a minute, and the com- puter went down. The resulting loss wiped out more than half a billion euros. Ariane 5’s unfortunate fate illustrates the extent to which software has become safety- critical — and the dramatic need for flawless quality. “In the old days, you would do what was known as a ‘walk-through,’ accompanied by an experienced colleague,” explains Rein- hold Achatz, who heads the Software & Engi- neering division at Siemens Corporate Tech- nology (CT). “Given the complexity of today’s systems, we have to find alternatives, other- wise software wouldn’t be ready until years after the hardware.” With this in mind, software engineers de- termine whether the rules of the language used — that is, the software’s syntax — have S O F T W A R E S E C UR I T Y Achatz explains. Experts are therefore exam- ining how to accelerate this process. In the past, expensive capital goods such as aircraft and power plants would always feature redundancy on critical control sys- tems, with the result that codes had to be de- veloped for two or three independent hard- ware platforms. This meant, however, that several development teams were required, and there still was no guarantee that errors wouldn’t be carried through from the design stage to the program itself. Engineers would much prefer the kind of exact implementa- tion offered by programming in specific model languages. A Dictionary for Every Problem. Model Dri- ven Development (MDD) may help to solve this problem by bringing technology and software closer together (see p. 42). A com- pany-wide platform coordinates the project (www.omg.org). “Regardless of whether it was a car radio or a railroad switching sys- tem, programmers in the past had to get by with one and the same programming lan- guage. MDD provides a kind of dictionary for each and every technical problem,” explains Andrey Nechypurenko from Siemens CT. In other words, a model language is developed for each task. The symbols in the flow dia- gram are task-specific. “Engineers don’t talk MDD, we completed a 40-month project in 21 months, and the number of errors fell by a factor of 17.” Worldwide, only a few major software projects have as yet been completed with MDD, because the decision in favor of a new process always means a long-term commit- ment. “Our initial experience with real pro- jects has been very encouraging,” says Mar- tin Rothfelder from CT. “The technology will be ready for use in one to two years.” Using similar semiautomatic tools, secu- rity specialists also analyze the code for po- tential weaknesses. And they’re not only looking for the classic bug, which can crash the computer; they’re also hunting for design faults, which present a hidden risk and may well have been introduced during the design stage. For example, banking software from Siemens must be capable of administering dozens of different encrypted communica- tions channels — without giving a potential eavesdropper a chance to decode the confi- dential content. One of the scientists with whom Siemens works most closely in the field of se- curity and reliability technologies is Prof. Pe- ter Liggesmeyer, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineer- ing in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Liggesmeyer is primarily involved in the security of embed- been respected. For safety-relevant applica- tions, a formal verification of the program se- quence’s logic is conducted. The problem with this is that testing takes up a large share of any software project. “Tests and unsched- uled debugging can consume up to 80 per- cent of a major project’s time budget,” in terms of loops and calls, they have their own language to open valves or run motors up to speed,” explains Nechypurenko. The ac- tual programming is undertaken by software agents. “This reduces the number of errors, since less code has to be written by hand,” says Rainer Hochecker from IBM. “Using Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 47 Code inspector — an analytical tool— sniffs out bugs in source codeand warns of errors. Pomberger’s spiral model of software development. Prototypes are repeatedly im- proved and expanded in feedback loops. Risk analysis Selection Risk analysis Risk analysis Prototype 1 Prototype 2 Prototype 3-n Evaluation Evaluation Evaluation System design Archi- tecture design Validation of system concept Development and validation of the next-level product Planning of next activities Specification of objec- tives, secondary require- ments and constraints Development and evaluation of proposed solutions, recognition and elimination of risks Milestone plan Development plan Data takeover, integration and test plan Acceptance test Training Integration & integration test Compo- nent test Implemen- tation Refined design Validation and verification of the design Installation Data takeover Bid document To reach level 4 or higher, which is advisable in safety-critical applications, one must in- crease the use of metrics. These are measur- ing methods that define the quality of the program code — a parameter of error den- sity. Another level 4 requirement is the mod- ularity and reusability capability of the soft- ware, which reduces both cost and complexity. Modules Assure Quality. One Group that has embraced software modularity is Siemens Medical Solutions. Instead of devel- oping new software for each product, devel- opers at Med now rely on the syngo software platform for CT, MRI and other medical imag- ing systems. This “platform strategy” reduces the chances of errors. Engineers at Med rely on a proven development methodology that moves from defining specifications, to de- sign, implementation and testing in succes- sive but overlapping stages designed to mini- mize development time. Still more advanced, though not yet widely used, are incremental methods, in which the entire development process is sub- divided into a succession of mini-waterfalls with predefined interfaces. Gustav Pomberger, Professor of Software Engineer- ing at the University of Linz, Austria, is ex- ploring such processes in collaboration with Siemens. Pomberger is an advocate of proto- typing. In this strategy, developers create testable prototypes of their software at an early stage. The prototypes are designed to give the client a foretaste of a program’s ulti- mate suitability for an application. If changes are needed the prototype is modified and perfected in feedback loops. Pomberger has refined the concept of prototyping for certain decision processes in a spiral process model (see diagram above). In a pattern resembling a snail shell, software engineers work in suc- cessive loops from the center (awarding of the project) outward through prototypes, evaluations, concepts and tests. Yet another approach to software devel- opment can be found at Regensburg, Ger- many-based automotive supplier Siemens VDO. There, Stefan Hohrein, who heads VDO’s System and Software Initiative, is com- mitted to close coordination of software de- velopment with systems engineering, hard- ware and mechanical development. This approach can serve as a model throughout Siemens, since most of the company’s soft- ware is created for embedded systems, in which software is very closely linked with hardware, as is the case in cell phones and automotive infotainment systems. In auto- mobiles, hardware is increasingly being re- placed by software, because it is more flexi- ble. According to a study by the Mercer Group, software will account for 13 percent of the value of a typical car by 2010, com- pared to four percent in 2000. Systems and software development at Siemens VDO follow well-defined processes, but testing is determined by customer re- quirements. When a program is complete, individual program sections are first tested separately. The next phase is an integration test, which ensures that individual functions interact smoothly. The final hurdle is a system test on the complete device under realistic environmental conditions. To keep complexity to a minimum, automakers are developing a type of operating system with uniform interfaces that allows proven pro- gram modules to be ‘docked’ and reused (see p. 53). The intent is to reduce the num- ber of control devices in premium cars from the present 70 to about 20. Programs that Test Programs. Automated tests during an early phase of development are gaining in importance. Basic syntax errors in code are detected upfront by compilers, which translate a program into machine lan- guage. New test methods are designed to ensure smooth interaction between all pro- gram sections. To meet this objective, the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Architec- ture and Software Engineering in Berlin and its sister institute for Experimental Soft- ware Engineering in Kaiserslautern, have developed Quasar, a software tool that tests The processes involved in software development can hide a multitude of ineffi- ciencies. Analyzing these processes with the help of objective, standardized models can sharply reduce development costs and significantly improve quality. Model Process 46 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 S O F T W A R E QUAL I T Y G erman comedy star Dieter Nuhr is hav- ing a hard time. With women. With his mother. But most of all with computers. Just the other day, he says, he experienced an es- pecially interesting computer crash. “Unex- pected fault,” was the message on the dis- play. “It’s reassuring to know,” sighs Nuhr, “that all the other faults met expectations.” The audience loves it. It’s nice to know that you’re not the only one having prob- lems. Everyone knows about the tribulations common in office software, and sometimes a sense of humor makes them seem more bearable. It would be a lot less funny, how- ever, if the software running cars, trains, fac- tories, medical equipment and power plants experienced similar faults to those all of us are familiar with when on our PCs. As software assumes ever more func- tions that used to be performed by hardware, fears of such failures are increasing. In cell phones, for instance, software accounts for 70 percent of the devices’ value. Lines of code have quintupled between the launches of Siemens’ S25 and S65 cell phones. And that adds up to more code than controlled NASA’s rockets of the early 1960s. “Software is becoming ever more complex,” concedes Dr. Frances Paulisch who directs the Software Initiative, a program established at Siemens in 1996. But complexity doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about error rates. Indeed, eliminating errors from program code is not the principal purpose of the Inititive. Instead, the Initiative is designed to support the 30,000 software developers at Siemens by establishing optimized processes. Scrutinizing Software Quality. With this in mind, the Software & Engineering/Processes department at Siemens Corporate Technol- ogy (CT) — an internationally renowned as- sessment center for software processes — uses a catalog of 250 standardized questions to interview key project development peo- ple. The questions are designed to sort out the strengths and weaknesses of an organi- zation’s software development processes. Questions cover topics such as the compe- tencies project manager must have, and the value of quality assurance measures. Based on the responses, a maturity profile is formu- lated with a maturity level ranging from 1 to 5. The international Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is used as a yard- stick. In the CMMI, a maturity level of 1 is as- signed to disorganized processes, while a 5 is awarded to software whose development is continually improved, based on specified metrics. By 2005, the Software Initiative aims to achieve a maturity level of 3 for R&D pro- jects at Siemens, which corresponds to inter- national targets. In several groups, this goal has already been reached or even surpassed. Following evaluation, project participants are provided with feedback and, if necessary, with training. Such training includes review techniques in which a software engineer must present programming results to team members. While there may be some grum- bling at the beginning, participants invariably come to appreciate their colleagues’ advice. “It’s 20 percent technology and 80 percent psychology,” confides department head Ludger Meyer. His 36 employees conduct worldwide assessments for all software units throughout Siemens. A high CMMI level, however, is no guar- antee that software will be flawless. Still, there’s a measurable correlation between CMMI levels on the one hand and software quality and costs on the other. “When the processes are OK, it’s easier to estimate the costs and the time required,” notes Paulisch. Software should never look like a multitude of interconnected blocks — a nightmare for developers. Source: Pomberger, University of Linz Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 49 them, as it were, with a digital cloak. When- ever two such auras come into contact, infor- mation flows.” In other words, coded prefer- ence profiles are exchanged and compared. For example, if your profile authorizes this, an electronic movie poster might transmit the trailer of the latest box office hit to your PDA; or your cell phone might inform you that the woman sitting at the next table in the cafe wants to sell her car. The technology is already available. The Linz researchers have fitted various objects with so-called RFID tags — small chips that store relevant data. Communication takes place via the Bluetooth wireless radio stan- dard. Initial demonstrations already exist in the fields of healthcare, the home, and traffic management. “The major challenges now are to write universally applicable digital auras for a huge number of people and things, to ensure that these auras can change over time, to transfer and compare them wirelessly, and, finally, to use washable microchips that can be integrated into cloth- ing,” explains Ferscha. For the last three years, his institute has been working closely on the digital aura project with Dr. Lothar Borrmann and others at Siemens Corporate Technology’s Software Architecture depart- ment, a part of the Siemens Software & Engi- neering division. No Keyboard, No Mouse.Pervasive Com- puting (PvC) — also known as Ubiquitous Computing (see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2002, p. 44) — will usher in a new era. In- stead of do-it-all computers, we will see the advent of simple, task-specific, miniaturized and intuitively operable processors that will be invisibly integrated in everyday objects. Similarly, traditional input devices such as keyboards and mice will not be required. In- stead, the processors will be controlled by electronic, optical, acoustic or chemical sen- sors, and they will output via actuators such motors or other control units. In order to reach that point, however, re- searchers need to develop new software that is capable of the following: ➔Self-configuration, that is, automatic adap- tation to changing environments T HE F UL LY NE T WOR K E D HOME I S J US T A C L I C K AWAY A hot candidate for networking household hardware is the Universal Plug & Play stan- dard (see p. 53). This covers hardware with network interfaces that support IP commu- nications — for example, Ethernet, wireless (Bluetooth, WLAN) and FireWire. The first generation of products featuring Internet gateways, WLAN access points and digital media adapters with UPnP is already available. Further applications have been exhibited by Fokus, the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems, at the eHome trade fair in September 2004 in Berlin. A team led by Thomas Luckenbach has developed a PC media server that enables a computer, TV, video recorder and other household appliances to recognize each another automatically. Users can therefore combine hardware from dif- ferent manufacturers within a home network and access data from various sources. For example, the set-top box in the living room can get photos from the PC in the study, which in turn accesses videos from the set-top box. Meanwhile, MP3 music files are transferred back and forth between the kids’ bedrooms. And since home networks can communicate with one another, relatives in another country can receive vacation snaps. Access to other home networks enables remote diagnosis and maintenance — assuming you have an appropriate “key.” The industry is also sold on UpnP. “It seems clear that companies such as Philips, Sony, Microsoft, Samsung, HP, Intel and Siemens will build on this platform,” says Markus Wischy from the Siemens CT Competence Center for Software & Engineering. ➔ Self-optimization, including continual monitoring and analysis of its own perfor- mance and the use of available resources ac- cording to specific processes ➔Self-organization and the implementation of decisions across the system as a whole ➔ Self-protection, meaning identification and control of unauthorized access and virus activity ➔ Self-repair, for example, discovering and resolving problems ➔ Self-teaching, that is, recognition of be- havioral patterns and their incorporation in internal management mechanisms Of particular importance here is sensitiv- ity to context. In other words, the system must not only be capable of recognizing ob- jects and persons, but it must also be able to prepare for future situations. Although sci- ence and industry are still at the start of this project, two things are already evident: Clas- sic programs that process only one predeter- mined task are outdated; by contrast, the PvC environment requires global platforms and software that integrate individual systems such as mobile devices, sensor networks and applications in vehicles or intelligent homes. “When building a house, it’s not so im- portant whether you use brick, stone or wood. Similarly, the important thing here is not a specific programming language but rather the right software architecture,” ex- plains Ferscha. For this reason, his team has developed a new architecture that consists of three levels. The top level is where sensor data such as temperature, humidity,and pulse frequency are received from the imme- diate environment. The middle level is where data for the specific application are process- ed and converted into a form that can be un- derstood by the various embedded systems. The preferred language is XML (Extensible Markup Language) — a universal and exten- sible data-description language that is inde- pendent of any specific platform or operating system. In fact, this is why the Linz team has The shirt tells the washing machinethe temperatureat which it has to be washed. Researchers have long dreamt of pervasive computing, which enables everyday objects to recognize our needs and react to them in an intelligent man- ner. The requisite hardware is already available. What’s needed now is new software and global standards. Developing a Digital Aura 48 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 S O F T W A R E P E R VAS I V E COMP UT I NG S igns that show the way to the nearest cinema; cars that automatically locate the next parking space; shirts that tell the washing machine what temperature they should be washed — in the future, according to Prof. Alois Ferscha, objects and people will be enveloped in their very own “digital auras.” This might sound esoteric, but Ferscha, who is the Director of the Institute of Pervasive Computing at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria has some very concrete ideas of what it might entail. “We create an artifi- cial aura for people and objects by fitting As computing becomes perva- sive, objects such as bulletin boards will be able to exhange information with mobile devices such as PDAs and phones . functions in automobiles before components are produced. Quasar’s first test object was a car door with integrated pushbuttons for seat adjust- ments. To begin with, Quasar was used to represent the manufacturer’s — Daimler- Chrysler — requirements in lucid diagrams. For example, seat adjustments had to be lim- ited to very low driving speeds, which re- quired a link with the speedometer. As the next step, several hundred combinations of functions were then simulated and tested for consistency. Only then was the seat adjust- ment software engineered. Quasar also comes in handy in later stages. It simulates sensors and automatically activates all micro- controller functions. Safety-critical functions such as the electronic steering systems of the future can’t even be developed without such test tools. “Manufacturers will need to prove that steer-by-wire is just as reliable as me- chanical steering,” says Prof. Holger Schlin- gloff, Quasar project manager. Code Inspector. Across the Atlantic, at Siemens Corporate Research in Princeton, New Jersey software engineers are develop- ing “code inspector,” an analytical tool that sniffs out bugs in the source code of the most important programming languages, in- cluding C (20% share at Siemens), C++ (30%) and Java (12%). This sniffer has already proven its value in several sectors and saved time and money by providing early fault indi- cations. Code inspector also provides specific key figures that customers request. The German Federal Railroad Administration, for example, uses a catalog of quality criteria for software written in C++. Code inspector enabled Siemens Transportation Systems to generate the documentation at half the expected cost. The next logical development would be to endow code inspector with the ability to automatically correct errors in code. “That’s already feasible for some quality criteria,” as- serts Jean Hartmann, who helped create code inspector in Princeton. “But as a former software developer I wouldn’t appreciate having a machine messing around with my code.” Bernd Müller Two software projects — one to streamline processes in hospitals, the other to transform cell phones into multimedia platforms — illustrate the complexities of global software development. Software in the Global Village Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 51 S O F T W A R E I NT E R NAT I ONAL DE VE L OP ME NT N ext year, your teenager may be able to call all his buddies and talk to them at once by pressing a single button on a cell phone. In a few months, a hospital near you may cut the time it takes to generate a diag- nostic report from 48 hours to 15 minutes. Nurses may soon have as much as 50 per- cent more time for their patients. What these technologies have in com- mon is that they are the progeny of two vast software development projects that have been structured to harvest the know-how of specialized groups in a worldwide organiza- tion. Soarian, a comprehensive healthcare in- formation system for hospitals that has al- ready entered service, is a software tour-de-force built on some 3,500 man-years of research and development in the United States, Sweden, India, and Germany. IMS, on the other hand, which stands for IP — (Internet Protocol) Based Multimedia Subsystem, is a visionary software system developed in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovenija, Croatia, India, France, Finland, Britain, Belgium and Greece that could soon transform every communication terminal into a multimedia platform. The largest software development pro- ject ever conducted by Siemens Medical So- lutions, Soarian captures and tracks a pa- tient’s clinical and financial data from hospital admission to release while making it available throughout the enterprise to all au- thorized personnel. The very first Web-based enterprise health care information system available anywhere, Soarian has a potential market “in the range of four to five billion dollars,” says Dr. Siegfried Bocionek, Chief Operating Officer, Siemens Health Services, and Group Vice President of the Soarian Enterprise business unit. Soarian is now be- ing tested at some 20 healthcare centers in the U.S. and Germany. Mobile Media Center. IMS, a project involv- ing years of work by as many as 250 soft- ware developers, is now being tested by ma- jor communication service providers around the world and is slated for commercial intro- duction in 2005 when the first IMS/SIP-en- abled cell phones hit the market. (SIP, or Ses- sion Initiation Protocol, is a de facto standard that defines how Internet communications are initiated and terminated.) Basically a service control infrastructure for all forms of communication, “IMS will es- tablish Internet technology in the wired and wireless network environment” says Dr. Ed- ward Scheiterer, head of IMS business line management at Siemens Communication (Com). He adds that IMS will also introduce “the concept of a session broker to mix and manipulate all types of media.” Adds Jo- hannes Schinko, Vice President, Core Net- works, at Program and System Engineering (PSE), a Siemens software house based in Vi- enna, Austria, “IMS will make mobile com- munication as multifaceted as natural com- munication.” IMS and Soarian are outstanding exam- ples of how software mega projects have come to be organized and managed. “Divid- ing a project like IMS is always a challenge,” says PSE’s Schinko. “Of course, it would be easier to have everyone at one location — The Soarian hospital information system: Developers in both the U.S. and in India work on the project. 50 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P HONE C ONT R OL Equipped witha Bluetooth extension, a cell phone can interact with a vehi- cle’s navigation system, whereby the phone’s display is shown on the sys- tem’s screen. Using this wireless on- board communication system from Siemens, the latest traffic news, to- gether with relevant road maps can be fed directly into a car’s navigation system from a cell phone. In addition, Siemens offers a hands-free automo- tive communications system that al- lows the user’s cell phone to be placed anywhere in the vehicle. All of the phone’s relevant functions are auto- matically transferred via Bluetooth to an easy-to-use accessory device. used it to code the personal profile contained in a digital aura. Such a profile features not only a personal description including name and address but also changeable data such as favorite music and, above all, personal preferences and intended courses of action. In turn, it is crucial that these are evaluated according to context, since a person’s favorite music may differ between morning and evening. Similarly, readiness to engage in small talk is probably higher when relaxing in a bar than at work in the office. MOPS Lay the Ground Rules. Finally, certain rules control how the mini-processors and networks should behave. “This is the lowest level of the architecture,” says Ferscha. By helping to control motors, displays and even complete networks, such rules — also known as “policies” — enable the system to operate autonomously. “These rules are required to control complexity. They center on a compo- nent’s subject, target object, event, condition and action. You can store them in a database or decentrally,” says Christoph Niedermeier of CT’s Software & Engineering Architecture department. MOPS (Mobility cOmmunication & Pol- icy-based Systems) is the name of the project have to be defined for every conceivable situ- ation. “Security is a major challenge,” says Ferscha. How, for example, can we establish if data has been transferred from A to B, and if it has been transferred completely? How do we know that a person is who he or she claims to be? How can errors be identified and resolved during, for example, data trans- fer? How can users be sure that they are safe from eavesdroppers? How can they protect their privacy? And how can they deactivate their digital auras? In the light of such questions, it is evi- dent that PvC will be implemented only in certain spheres (see boxes) for the foresee- able future. Nevertheless, common stan- dards must be adopted. To date, however, in- dustry has failed to agree on appropriate wireless protocols or language and software architectures for this area. “The subject is simply too complex, and companies are still orientating themselves. Many approaches are being tried out at present,” says Dr. Michael Berger from the Intelligent Auto- nomous Systems department at CT’s Infor- mation & Communications Group. The depart- ment develops PvC solutions for Siemens Com and Siemens VDO. Why Standards Are Needed. The need for standards is especially evident in the net- working area. Although an infrastructure has existed for quite some time here, uncertainty still remains as to which wireless standards will prevail (see p. 11). According to the au- thors of a study at TA-Swiss, the Center for Technology Assessment in Bern, Switzerland, “Many devices will probably support the IPv6 Internet protocol. For network applications, however, additional protocols for dispersed architectures will be required. While there are numerous systems for this purpose, these are still proprietary and not interoperable. The development of manufacturer-independent standards is overdue and hinders the break- through of appropriate systems.” Nevertheless, Alois Ferscha is confident that PvC will become a reality. “The develop- ment of network capability was the first step. The next step will be to create ubiquitous networked computer systems that can recog- nize situations and people’s intentions, and support them in the best possible way,” he says.Evdoxia Tsakiridou S O F T W A R E DI GI TAL AUR A that Niedermeier is running in cooperation with scientists from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. The project’s objective is to develop management policies for fourth generation mobile radio networks. An addi- tional MOPS feature will be that software problems will be treated remotely and up- dates downloaded from the network. By mid- 2005 Niedermeier’s team expects to produce a demonstration that simulates the policy- based control of software downloads to a large number of terminals. PvC Researchers have their work cut out for them, since such behavioral rules will Auras in the office. Cell phones, lap- tops and PDAs automatically commu- nicate with one another and exchange data in line with user profiles. Home care / telemedicine Audio / video / PC networks Switches / sockets / controllers Home server White goods Telephones / communications From cars to communications, standards are the key to radically cutting the cost of software development — and ushering in a new world of efficiency in which consumers benefit from a widening spectrum of new, affordable functions and services. Efficiency Revolution Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 53 S O F T W A R E S TANDAR DI Z AT I ON I magine running a production line without standardized parts — or a railroad with dif- ferent gauges of track, or cooking with recipes that mixed up teaspoons and milli- liters. For traditional manufacturing indus- tries, such problems are ancient history — with one very major exception: software. The global software industry may be a relative upstart, but its youthfulness is giving way to a growing level of maturity and dependability — a process driven largely by the industry’s common interest in a range of standards. “Standards make software cheaper,” says Reinhold Achatz, head of Siemens Corporate Technology’s Software & Engineering division and Vice President of the OPC Foundation, a non-profit international standards organization that promotes open software standards in the automation industry. “I’m not talking about ten or 20 percent. I’m talking about a factor ten to 100 in savings over the long run, not to men- tion improvements in development speed, competitiveness, quality and efficiency.” tecture and integration at BMW, “Around 35 to 40 percent of the added value of our cars is determined by electronics and software.” (See graphic on p. 45) He explains that the most important factors affecting automotive software development costs are standardiza- tion, open systems architecture and reusability of software application system components. With a view to cutting costs in these in- terrelated areas, the key players in the auto- motive and electronics industries are devel- oping AUTOSAR (Automotive Open System Architecture) — a standardized software plat- form architecture that will make it easy to add and reuse software components. Typically, when new hardware, such as a mi- crocontroller, is added to a model group, ex- isting software has to be updated to accom- modate it. “That one software modification can cost millions of euros,” explains Dr. Michael Golm, a member of Siemens’ part of the AUTOSAR partnership. “The new stan- dard could obviate that.” He explains that a combination of increas- ingly standardized development tools, grow- ing libraries of software components, stan- dardized application interfaces and much more are making it easier to produce increas- ingly complex software packages of higher quality at greater speeds. “Just look at the cost of software development ten or 20 years ago. We have certainly cut costs by a factor of between ten and 100 — otherwise it would be impossible to implement a new cell phone generation with the speed we have today,” says Achatz. Cars: Accelerated Innovation. Since software is becoming one of the dominant cost factors in all areas of industry, the cost of its devel- opment can change the economics of entire industries while offering consumers higher quality, more convenience and more services at less cost. That’s becoming increasingly true for the automotive sector. According to Hans-Georg Frischkorn, head of system archi- In Siemens’ vision of tomor- row’s e-home, all types of household appliances and systems will be able to com- municate with one another and the user — thanks to a common language and stan- dardized interfaces. 52 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 and cheaper to have everyone in India or China. But at the end of the day, the division of work depends on system architecture and the level of experience that different sites bring to the table. Those are the determining factors.” Schinko points out, for instance, that a key part of IMS — something called the Media Gateway Control Function — was con- ceptualized jointly by two Munich-based Siemens Groups, ICM and ICN. “But,” he ex- plains, “the know-how for this component was primarily available at a Siemens site in Greece, and it was therefore reasonable to develop much of the software there.” Another Siemens location, Romsey, Eng- land-based Roke Manor Research, was tapped for its specialized knowledge in ad- dressing and compressing messages for the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Only one part of the giant project — development of functionalities specific to Symbian, an oper- ating system for cell phones — was turned over to an outside company. “That work was performed by Digia of Finland,” says Schinko. “They had specialized knowledge in that area. But,” he emphasizes, “for strategic rea- sons, key technologies are never given to outside companies for development.” Unlike IMS, which benefited from many existing communication standards and proto- cols, thus simplifying development of its soft- awake.” Naturally, coordinating so many peo- ple in different cultures was also a challenge. “People need to take the time to understand their counterparts in another culture,” says Bocionek. “That means that team leaders need to develop strong personal relation- ships and be good at imparting complex ideas to their people.” He cautions that size itself can become an obstacle. “It’s crucial that the individual R&D groups don’t become too large. I would avoid having more than 150 people at one location because anything more than that requires an added layer of management, which slows things down.” For the IMS project’s Scheiterer, architec- ture, processes and project management are the cornerstones of successful software de- velopment projects. “However,” he adds, S O F T W A R E I NT E R NAT I ONAL DE VE L OP ME NT The division of work depends on system architecture and experienceat each site. ware applications, most of Soarian was developed from scratch. Manpower require- ments ranged from approximately 900 Siemens developers in the U.S. to 350 people in India and 50 in Sweden. “We had experi- ence in Bangalore with developing the syngo diagnostic imaging platform,” says Bocionek, who headed that project as well. “And in some specialized areas where Siemens Med- ical Solutions did not have experience at the time, we tapped (what was then known as) Siemens Nixdorf in Sweden.” Technology and Psychology.With most of its people in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and Ban- galore, India, Soarian development struggled with basic technical problems. “We were of- ten confronted with breakdowns in line car- The IMS multimedia platform for cell phones was developed by software engineers at 13 locations in 11 countries in Europe and Asia. “good communication and clear responsibili- ties for all participants are a precondition for all of these. At the end of the day, a shared vision and common goals are the key.” But the flip side of that is that without good architecture, even the best teams would fail. So what is good architecture? “In the context of an international development project,” says Schinko, “it is architecture that, when possible, separates functional blocks, allowing them to be developed indepen- dently of one another. That helps to avoid misunderstandings, and sets the stage for good motivation.” Adds Scheiterer, “Good ar- chitecture minimizes overlap while improv- ing end-to-end functionality and quality.” However, no project, no matter who the architect is, is flawless. “The step from logical structure to technical solution can be a big one,” says Bocionek, pointing out that over- lap has a way of creeping in. “There are parts of almost any project that are not self-con- tained and need to be used in other places. It is the nature of the beast. After all, good ar- chitecture should describe the real world — but that is never perfect.” Arthur F. Pease Salzgitter Berlin Helsinki Munich Zagreb Athens Kranj Romsey Lannion Herentals Brno Vienna Bangalore rying capacity when we transmitted code overnight from India to the U.S.,” recalls Bo- cionek. “And management reviews were hampered by time zone differences. One group would be worn out after a day’s work, while the other group would not yet be fully Michael Cusumano (50) is the Sloan Management Review Distin- guished Professor at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A world- renowned expert on software management, he is the author of books such as Microsoft Secrets, Competing on Internet Timeand The Business of Software. Looking for an Automatic Transmission S O F T W A R E I NT E R V I E WS WI T H E XP E R T S Are users overwhelmed by the increasing number of PC functions? Cusumano: Well, we're talking about com- puters, not toasters. If you want to download a video or log into a LAN, you simply need more functions. But it’s true that when graph- ical user interfaces were introduced ten years ago user-friendliness had a higher priority than it does today. Developers should take note. What should software firms be doing? Cusumano: Software developers are special users with lots of technical expertise. Com- panies need to set up usability labs where teams that include ordinary people try to imagine what goes on in normal users’ heads. In the North American market, the automatic transmission made cars accessible to the masses. We need something like that in the software industry. Devices like cell phones and MP3 players contain more and more software. Don’t their developers need new concepts? Cusumano: Most of these devices have no keyboard and small memories, so they have to function autonomously. But we don’t really need new concepts for this embedded software. Take speech recogni- tion. Some cell phones recognize spoken language. But speech recognition pro- grams were ultimately developed for PCs. When do you think we’ll have really intel- ligent computers? Cusumano: I think we'll need a century to develop a computer that is even half as intelligent as the human brain. None of the intelligent software I've seen so far has impressed me. You still need a tremendous amount of memory and computing power to recognize even sim- ple patterns, and neural networks also need large databases. A century is per- haps too long an estimate, but on the other hand, some of my colleagues be- lieve we’ll never create a computer that imitates the human brain. What about autonomous programs that write themselves? Cusumano: The only thing that’s really impressed me recently is a self-diagnosis program that finds out why a computer has crashed. There are also intelligent agents based on autonomous software — but nothing really revolutionary. Do we need revolutions? Cusumano: We recently had one — the Internet. And some people still call wire- less technology or peer-to-peer comput- ing revolutionary. Swap shops could also trigger a small revolution. In your book The Business of Software, you wrote: “The driving force behind soft- ware development is not so much tech- nology as business.” What’s your view of the evolution of the Microsoft monopoly? Cusumano: Don’t forget that this monop- oly has made PCs cheaper and accessible to millions. But a monopoly is usually only the second-best solution. Nonethe- less, we're dependent on Microsoft be- cause of the many applications it offers. You've said that software is regarded as a science in Europe, a production process in Japan and a business in the U.S. Cusumano: In the U.S. we have an enor- mous market driving developments. But software development is a global busi- ness today and will continue to be one. You only have to design software as modules and synchronize the develop- ment worldwide. IBM developed an op- erating system in eight different loca- tions all over the world as early as the 1960s. Back then, you had to transport copies of tapes by plane. Today, the In- ternet is making exchange much easier. One of the main reasons for the malfunc- tion of the electronic toll collection sys- tem in Germany was the involvement of so many different software companies. Combining the modules simply became too complicated. Cusumano: That could have been due to synchronization or architectural problems. Of course, a system developed at different locations is never as good as one developed by a single team. Development is always a trade-off between costs and manpower, or quality and speed. Interview conducted by Jeanne Rubner. In addition, AUTOSAR, which is expected to be implemented in 2008, will make it pos- sible for automotive manufacturers to cut costs by mixing and matching software from different suppliers. And the new open system environment will open the door to acceler- ated introduction of innovations, better diag- nostics and lower maintenance costs. At Home: Device Ecosystems. About the same time AUTOSAR hits the market, a simi- larly comprehensive new technology called Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) could begin to radically change our homes (see p. 49). “If you’ve ever plugged a memory stick into the back of a PC and watched its icon automati- cally appear on the screen, you can imagine how UPnP technology works — except that that will happen on a networked basis,” says Markus A. Wischy, a software architect who represents Siemens on the UPnP Forum’s Steering Committee. The UPnP Forum con- sists of over 680 corporate members. Install electric blinds, a security system or a networked stereo system based on UPnP technology and these systems will automati- cally be recognized by your favorite interface device — a TV, phone or tablet PC. All you’ll need is home automation software in a set- top box or other “Internet Gateway Device.” threats,” says Thomas Eitzenberger, head of a center of competence for mobile appli- cations at PSE. He points out that as applica- tions become increasingly networked — and thus subject to attack — more and more customers are requesting Linux-based solu- tions. Spurred by the explosive increase in net- worked applications and the related need to allow applications from different companies to “talk to each other,” software developers are increasingly turning to Java as a standard programming language and platform. Like a skilled diplomat, Java can smooth over the difference between parties. “If you write an application for Windows, it can only run on Windows,” explains Marquart C. Franz, who has played an important role in guiding de- velopment of the standard, as the Siemens representative on the Java Executive Com- mittee. “But,” he adds, “if you write an appli- cation for Java, it can run on a Windows sys- tem, a Linux system or just about any other platform. The user will not see a difference. But for developers, the choice is simple.” Obviously, for a company like Siemens, with some 30,000 software developers, broad-based implementation of Java could translate into enormous improvements in productivity. Add in a hefty dash of Linux, several heaping spoonfuls of AUTOSAR and UPnP, prepare with a gleaming set of stan- dardized tools, and the company — not to mention the world economy — could have a recipe for an efficiency revolution. Arthur F. Pease Your TV will automatically recognize any UPnP device. And devices will recognize each other. ized architecture and device access protocol, it will allow appliances to communicate with one another. That can have significant impli- cations for energy use. With some countries switching to variable electricity rates, a heat- ing system could, for instance, wait for a washing machine to complete its cycle be- fore switching on in order to avoid triggering a higher rate. But software stadnardization goes well beyond the home and automotive environ- ments. In fact, it goes right to the heart of how software is produced. Major efforts are underway to harmonize the “tools” — pro- grams that govern processes such as error detection, diagnostics, editing and testing — that researchers use to develop and main- tain software. “Harmonization in this area is helping to accelerate development, improve accuracy and share the burden of licensing costs,” says Rainer Ersch, a Siemens software engineer with special responsibility for com- pany-wide software tool harmonization, as well as tool coordination with IBM Rational. His words are echoed by Oliver Fendt, a software architect in charge of Siemens’ Linux Corporate Competence Center. Fendt says that “New features such as networking and built-in security are being developed so quickly that adding them to proprietary oper- This will automatically establish a seamless network, allowing the gateway device to read standardized identification signals from every UPnP device in the home. The signals will be transmitted wirelessly or over the home’s electric lines — so-called powerline communication — meaning that no extra wiring or programming will be necessary. Switch on your TV or access your home re- motely, and you’ll have an overview of the status of every electronic device. But the new technology will usher in much more than just an advanced remote control scenario. Thanks to UPnP’s standard- ating systems costs too much and is far too slow. But with the Linux kernel, which is available under the open source General Pur- pose License (GPL) and offers a full range of state-of-the-art features, we can save millions in licensing for embedded software and can develop valuable synergies by sharing newly developed code that runs on a common em- bedded operating system platform.” The so-called “open source” discussion is also in full swing at Siemens’ giant PSE soft- ware subsidiary in Vienna, Austria. “Major companies see established operating sys- tems as being too slow to react to security Standardization will turn cell phones into universal remote control units. S O F T W A R E S TANDAR DI Z AT I ON Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 55 54 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 “They simply set down in writing what has al- ready been legal practice for the past 20 years.” Patented Business Models? On the other hand, patent experts at Siemens do not con- sider it necessary and useful for Europe to adopt the farther-reaching patentability of software from the U.S. At the height of the Internet boom in the late 1990s, U.S. courts declared that new Web-based business mod- els and processes were eligible for patent protections independent of their relationship to a technology. This, however, presents the threat that inventions requiring little intellec- tual input can enjoy patent protection. Siemens rejects the idea of such “trivial patents,” believing a certain measure of in- ventiveness to be necessary. “The systematic optimization of our patent portfolio makes for higher-quality patents,” says Büttner. “In this way, we do our best to improve useful- ness for customers, while strengthening our lead in trend-setting technologies.” But often, says Büttner, software developers aren’t aware of the value of their inventions and their need for protection. “We still find it diffi- cult to describe the functionality represented by a piece of software in such a way as to clearly define its patentability,” adds Achatz. This is why the patent department meets regularly with representatives of Siemens Groups, to review the eligibility of individual inventions for patenting. Using business strategy as a guide, it is determined which patents should be submitted by individual Groups in the course of the following year. To avoid trivial patents, each invention is assessed for its potential value, strategic importance, added value for the customer and attractiveness to competitors. Patent applications are only submitted for highly ranked inventions. Despite the legal differences in various countries, Siemens intends to increase the overall number and quality of software patents worldwide. Why? Because patents not only protect its technological advantage, but also serve as a barometer of innovation resulting from the capital invested in R&D. They are thus extremely valuable, both strategically and financially.Günter Heismann Over 30,000 software developers work for Siemens. Annual R&D soft- ware expenditures total more than three billion euros. Software — usu- ally invisibly “embedded” — is a part of a wide range of products, from cell phones to industrial control systems. This trend is set to continue as a re- sult of the decreasing cost of com- puting power and memory. The com- plexity of software grows with the performance and new functions it can deliver, such as networking, real- time capability, error diagnoses and security. (p. 39, 44, 45) New programming methods accel- erate software development. The trend is toward highly adaptable soft- ware architectures with optimally matched, reusable components. It is already possible to automate some programming tasks. (p. 41, 42) Software development is simulta- neously becoming more international — which means that the distribution of tasks in global teams is over- whelmingly determined by system architecture and respective levels of know-how. (p.51) In order to improve the quality of software, researchers are working — at Siemens in the Software Initiative and at an internationally recognized assessment center — on optimizing development and test processes. For automatic tests, Siemens has devel- oped the “Code Inspector.” (p. 46) Standardization makes software more cost-efficient, easier to develop and more user-friendly, e.g. with a new platform architecture for future vehicles or at home with the Univer- sal Plug and Play standard. This sim- plifies installation and data exchange between devices. Thanks to open- source software like Linux, companies can develop software platforms and save on licensing fees. (p. 53) P ervasive computing will lead to everyday intelligent devices capable of recognizing our needs and reacting to specific situations. Most of the necessary hardware is available today — but the corre- sponding autonomous software and universal standards are still needed. (p.49) PEOPLE: Software & Engineering at Corporate Technology: Reinhold Achatz, CT SE firstname.lastname@example.org Software development technologies: Klaus Beetz, CT SE 1 email@example.com Siegfried Zopf, PSE firstname.lastname@example.org Software architecture: Dr. Lothar Borrmann, CT SE 2 email@example.com Software processes: Ludger Meyer, CT SE 3 firstname.lastname@example.org Software engineering: Dr. Ulrich Löwen, CT SE 5 email@example.com Software Initiative: Dr. Frances Paulisch, CT SWI firstname.lastname@example.org Discrete optimization: Dr. Johannes Nierwetberg, CT SE 6 email@example.com Digital graffiti: Dieter Kolb, CT SE 1 firstname.lastname@example.org Software standards (UPnP): Markus A. Wischy, CT SE 2 email@example.com Pervasive computing: Dr. Michael Berger, CT IC 6 firstname.lastname@example.org Patent protection for software: Dr. Kai Brandt, CT IP A&D email@example.com International development projects: Dr. Siegfried Bocionek, SMS, USA firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Edward Scheiterer, PSE, Austria email@example.com Prof. Alois Ferscha, Institute for Per- vasive Computing, University of Linz, firstname.lastname@example.org Prof. Dr. Gustav Pomberger email@example.com LINKS: Siemens Software & Engineering Department: w4.siemens.de/ct/en/ technologies/se/index.html Program and System Engineering (PSE):www.pse.siemens.at How Software Works:computer.how stuffworks.com/software-channel.htm LITERATURE: Cusumano, Michael A., The Business of Software, Free Press, 2004 In Brief 56 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Pi ct ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 57 S O F T W A R E PAT E NT S Protecting Innovations Software can only be patented in Europe if it is deemed a technological invention. Defining what this means is sometimes difficult. Three examples illustrate when a software product sat- isfies the required “contribution to state-of-the-art technology”: 1.The software solves a technical problem. In this case, the developers are required to work with concepts that clearly require expert knowledge. Example: a computer-supported process to monitor the correct functioning of a microchip. 2.The software produces a technical effect. This would be the case when an x-ray machine is controlled by a computer in order to achieve better imaging. 3.The software measures, analyzes or influences physical quantities. Example: a speech-recognition program that associates acoustical measurements with a series of sounds. The new algorithm requires very little memory. As an abstract formula, the algorithm alone is not patentable. Its use for the processing of the acoustical data, however, can be deemed a technical process for the analysis of a physical quantity in accordance with patent law. WHEN I S SOFTWARE A TECHNOLOGI CAL I NVENTI ON ? T he new Siemens Somatom Sensation 64 computer tomograph is a tough act to follow. It is not only the industry’s fastest CT; it also has the highest resolution (see p. 68). Here, a key role is played by the Somatom’s software, which pieces together a myriad of values in seconds to create an image of inter- nal body structures. The same holds true in many other areas. Whether we’re talking about navigation systems or cell phones — almost all recent cutting-edge inventions would have been impossible without innova- tive software. A key to market success thus involves protecting technologically meaning- ful software with patents in the same way that hardware innovations are safeguarded. “Patenting is becoming more important to our innovation strategy,” says Dr. Winfried Büttner, Head of the Corporate Intellectual Today, software inventions are every bit as important as innova- tions in hardware. Yet there are major differences between U.S. and European law when it comes to software patents. Property department. “Siemens posts 75 per- cent of its sales from products that are less than five years old. That’s why our patents must also be renewed every five to six years. The most significant value creation today is in software.” Some 60 percent of the around five billion euros spent annually on R&D at Sie- mens, along with most of the roughly 7,000 inventions registered for patents by Siemens each year, are associated with software. What’s more, the dividing line between software and hardware is becoming less dis- tinct — for instance, in automotive electronic suspension systems. “Certain characteristics that used to require hardware, such as stabil- ity and rigidity, can now be achieved through software regulation,” says Reinhold Achatz, Head of the Software & Engineering division at Siemens Corporate Technology. Copyright or Patent Protection? Although software is generally covered by copyright law, these protections are easily circum- vented. Often, all it takes is for a programmer to make slight modifications to code. Simply put, copyrights protect only the outward charcteristics of the software — in other words, the code. Considerably more effective are patents, which can be used to safeguard the general idea and the functionality behind a computer program. In Europe, however, strict conditions must be met in order to make software eligi- ble for a patent. In particular, the software must display the characteristics of a techno- logical invention according to the prevailing legal definition (see box). Computer programs commonly used by the general public fre- quently do not satisfy this criterion, whether they’re word processing programs or systems used for Internet trading forums. This legal pattern, which has been devel- oped by courts over the past decades, is now to be permanently established by the Com- petitiveness Council of the European Union (EU) in a directive on the “Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions.” How- ever, the European Parliament made changes in the fall of 2003 that would have had the effect of completely negating patent protec- tions. Had the changes stood, nothing relat- ing to computers or even to a programmable chip would have been left patentable in Europe. Now, however, the EU Council has adopted a version of the directive that ad- dresses the interests of all parties involved. “We support the new rules,” says Büttner. Start-up company PolyIC has an ambitious goal. It plans to replace today’s ubiquitous barcodes on merchandise with electronic chips made of plastic. 58 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 The Chip Printers PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE P OLY ME R C HI P S P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 59 PolyIC is taking advantage of the expertise of Leonhard Kurz GmbH & Co. KG. Together with Siemens Automation & Drives, Kurz, a leading manufacturer of stamping foils, established PolyIC in November 2003. “Basically, we have to invent a plastic- based silicon semiconductor technology,” says Mildner. But this is doable, as Dr. Wolf- gang Clemens, head of Applications, demon- strated with several successes. Even back when he was a project manager at Siemens Corporate Technology, for example, Clemens and his team had already built key microelec- tronics components — transistors and recti- fiers — from polymers (see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2002, p. 20). Today, PolyIC has about a dozen developers and is much fur- ther along with the technology. “We’ve used W olfgang Mildner places a plastic yogurt container on his desk and points to the barcode. “We’re going to replace these with plastic chips,” he says. Mildner is the Managing Director of PolyIC, a start-up lo- cated in Erlangen, Germany. Barcodes are on all products today, but the only significant data they contain is price. To identify prod- ucts individually (for example, by expiration date or other information) what’s needed are so-called intelligent labels that use RFID (ra- dio frequency identification) technology. These radio chips, which are affixed to prod- ucts, are opening up new possibilities in de- livery, inventory management and labeling, especially because they can be read from a distance. In theory, this means a company could identify all the products it has in stock at the push of a button — and determine their exact location. Another conceivable ap- plication for this technology is the automatic check-out line, where customers would sim- ply move their shopping carts past a radio scanner that automatically registers every- thing in the wagon. Major retailers such as WalMart, Tesco and Metro are currently testing RFID systems that use conventional silicon chips, which cost one euro or more each. “That’s so ex- pensive that they’re only suitable for use with expensive merchandise,” Mildner says. Even with great effort, a silicon-based RFID chip will never cost less than five to ten cents per unit, even over the long term. Silicon does offer advantages, though. The chips feature very high performance and are also fast. “In this respect, we’re not even competing with silicon by using plastic,” says Mildner. A study by the German market research firm Soreon forecasts that total market vol- ume for RFID systems in Europe alone will in- crease from 400 million euros this year to 2.5 billion euros in 2008. “This market will be open for plastic chips too because we’re sharply cutting costs,” says Mildner. “Over the long term, we’ll get them down to one cent per unit — or even less.” To do this, the start- up company is relying on revolutionary pro- duction technology. The idea is to print cir- cuits made of organic polymers onto foils — like a newspaper is printed on paper. For this, different printing techniques to create very stable circuits that conduct logical opera- tions,” says Clemens. No other research group has done this using printing tech- niques. One polymer chip, for example, ran continuously for more than ten months. The chips also function after two days stored at a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius and at 100 percent humidity, and they’ll work in a heat chamber until temperatures exceed the 120 degrees Celsius mark. PolyIC also holds the world record for the highest frequency for a polymer circuit: One of the company’s plastic ring oscillators achieved 200,000 cy- cles per second. That’s more than enough for processing data in an RFID chip. But it’s not The first product that PolyIC plans to launch on the market in two years will be a simple RFID polymer chip with a few hundred transistors, for use in applications such as forgery-proof labeling. “The next step will be a 32-bit chip that will usher in the first appli- cations for such units in the logistics sector,” says Mildner. This chip type will enable com- panies to establish internal standards for their inventory management systems. Then, in five years, it might be possible to introduce the electronic product code containing several thousand transistors onto the market. The storage capacity of these chips will range from 64 to 128 bits, which means they have the potential to replace barcodes, which usually stores only 44 bits of data. “We’re working on printing chips directly onto packaging, the way barcodes are printed today,” says Mildner. “In- expensive chips could also serve as logic circuits for electronic advertisements, to be placed in areas never considered before.” Mildner is re- ferring to displays that could be mounted on packaging to show different types of product information, or small digital display units for blood, urine, and pregnancy test kits. But even 128 bits sounds modest when you consider the gigabit storage capacities of silicon. So will we ever see computer chips made of plastic? “From today’s perspective, that seems a bit utopian,” says Mildner. “But then again, never say never…” Norbert Aschenbrenner so easy to achieve the standard carrier fre- quency for radio communication — around 13 megahertz — using organic components. Developers must solve several problems before polymer chips can be printed on foils like newspaper is printed on paper (see box). And silicon-chip designs can’t just be applied to polymer chips; silicon has entirely differ- ent material properties that are the basis for optimizing production processes. “That’s why we develop special simulation models to create new circuit layouts compatible with printing procedures,” says Walter Fix, head of Chip Design. “But compared with silicon technology, we can implement new chip generations more rapidly.” In fact, it only takes a few days to set up the layout on the computer, produce the masks and then make the chip. B I L L I ONS OF P OLY ME R C HI P S P E R Y E AR The plastic chips contain at least four layers placed on a foil substrate made of a special type of polyester.The electrodes in the prototypes are made of gold, and plans call for them to later consist of conductive polymers. Above them is a semiconductive layer, typi- cally made from poly-3 alkylthiophene, followed by an insulating polymer layer and a counter-electrode. The chip is only a few square centimeters in area and has a thickness of one micrometer, while the electrodes and the semiconductor layer only account for a few hundred nanometers of the total. The distance between the two conductors is less than 50 micrometers — about the thickness of a human hair. Located at the edge of the chips are antennas that transmit and receive radio signals and convey the energy re- quired to operate the unit. The signals are sent at frequencies of either 125 kilohertz or 13.56 megahertz. The prototypes are coated by means a spin-coating-procedure, where a fluid is distributed in a very even manner over the supporting structure by means of ro- tation. In the lab printing process, the researchers use stamps to print the conductors. They then coat the foil with the semiconductor and insulator using a type of squeegee technology that’s common in the textile-printing industry. PolyIC has its own testing facil- ity for continuous printing, and the foil experts at Kurz have even larger printing presses. If all goes well, PolyIC will soon be printing several billion polymer chips per year. It’s a long road from polymer starting material to finished foil chip (far right). Developers at PolyIC test possibilities for future mass production of plastic chips on a print- ing machine in a lab in Erlangen (left). Electronic Eagle Eyes Optical sensors will identify errors at the nanometer level and make possible virtual 3D flights through industrial components. Labs the Size of a Credit Card New biosensors will quickly help identify dangerous illnesses in rapid and easily performed tests. Digital Bloodhounds Gas sensors will sniff out fires, could serve as millimeter-sized alcohol testers in cell phones, and warn of gas leaks. Tough Sensors Sensors located in the fiery heart of a gas turbine will monitor the rotating blades — at 1,500 de- grees Celsius. Page 77 Page 81 Autonomous Workers Sensors are now being devel- oped that autonomously link to- gether to form networks, ex- change data and monitor buildings. Page 72 Pages 65, 70 Page 67 Page 74 2015 In the future, sensors will be just about everywhere — as engineer Maria-Laura and technology buff-winegrower Pedro discover while tasting one of Pedro’s fine wines at his vineyard in the Argentinean countryside. As they drink and walk, a huge number of the most diverse types of sensors are busy at work — hidden between the vines, concealed within tires, integrated in a cell phone and even mixed in with the wall paint in the wine cellar. Mini-sensors in a cell phone measure alcohol and NO x levels in the user’s breath. A vineyard sensor network monitors temperature, soil nutrient content and humidity. Tiny sensors in wall paint en- sure optimal conditions in the wine cellar. Sensors in automobile tires monitor pressure, profile and road grip. 60 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 61 SCENARI O 2015 S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY Sensing the Best Wine Argentina, 2015. Maria-Laura, a sensor expert from Buenos Aires, takes a little vacation at a remote vine- yard. Yet even in this quiet area, she still finds herself surrounded by sensors. M aria-Laura takes a deep breath. It’s been a long time since she’s breathed air this clear and clean. That’s not surprising, since the young engineer comes from Buenos Aires, a metropolitan area with a population of many millions. Maria-Laura has come here to the wine-growing region in Mendoza province, at the foot of the Andes, in order to get away from the big city hustle and bustle for a couple of days. For the past half hour, she’s been happily walking through the vineyard where she’s staying. She hasn’t run into anybody yet — only a couple of harvester robots interrupt the tran- quility with their monotonous rattling. Suddenly somebody yells “Hola!” from somewhere behind the grapevines. A tanned man appears, carrying a high-tech PDA on his belt. A pair of old garden shears is hanging around his neck. “I’m Pedro,” he says. “This is my vineyard,” he continues with a trace of pride and a grin. “If you want, I can show you the secret of my excellent wines.” “Si, claro,” says Maria-Laura, who appreciates a fine glass of wine. The two walk into the vineyard and climb up the hill. Suddenly Pedro’s PDA MEMS: Masters of Diversity Micro-electro-mechanical sensors will be concealed in tires and even painted on the walls of building. begins playing the Beatles’ “Yellow Subma- rine.” “Hmm, these vines here are too dry,” he says, after taking a quick look at his PDA. “There must be a leak in the irrigation sys- tem.” “How do you know that?” Maria-Laura asks in surprise, touching a grape as if this might give her the answer. “Look, over there, see?” Pedro points to a yellow device about the size of a matchbox that is stuck into the ground next to the vines. “That’s a sensor. It’s part of an exten- sive radio network that runs through my vineyard. These little bloodhounds organize SENSOR TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTS P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 63 A s any child who has ever touched the burner on a stove knows only too well, our fingers are pretty poor temperature sen- sors. High speeds, too, can pose problems for our senses. Above a certain velocity, the hu- man eye is incapable of recognizing even the closest of friends in a train rushing by. Not to Superhuman Senses mention our sense of smell. We can’t even detect the odor of many of the gases that are dangerous to us. By contrast, highly developed artificial sense organs are able to feel, see and smell as much as 1,000 times more precisely than any human. What’s more, they can do so in wear and tear in the wires at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour and in complete dark- ness (see p. 78). ➔X-ray sensors scan tiny computer chips for defects and enable a virtual 3D flight through the layers of the component, even detecting flaws on the nanometer scale (see p. 79). the most adverse conditions. Today, sensors are an integral part of our everyday life. A modern car, for example, is equipped with around 100 of these tiny components. Of in- creasing importance here are so-called MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems), sensors which combine microelectronics with micromechanics and other technologies to form new systems. Sensors also play an important role in manufacturing, quality as- surance, environmental technology and healthcare. Today, the companies gathered in the German trade association for sensor technology market 100 different types of sensor systems, and the industry is booming. In fact, the world market for civilian sensor systems is forecast to grow to a volume of around $50 billion a year by 2008 (see p. 80). Operating at around 1,500 Degrees Celsius. Siemens has also placed a high priority on sensor technology as a field that cuts across many areas at Corporate Technology (CT). In- deed, Siemens has pioneered the develop- ment of sensor systems, and today the tiny devices are entering areas into which no hu- man could ever venture. For example: ➔A new type of sensor is now being used to analyze gas concentrations in combustion chambers and dusty factory chimneys — at temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees Celsius (see p. 81). ➔Sensors inside industrial gas turbines mon- itor the huge turbine blades as they rotate at 3,600 r.p.m. (see p. 67). ➔Sensors inspect the overhead lines of rail vehicles and are able to detect tiny traces of S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY T R E NDS 62 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY S C E NAR I O 2015 themselves. They measure temperature and water and nutrient levels in the soil, and then they send the data to my PDA.” He pets the sensor as if it were a puppy. “Thanks to this tiny little helper I always have an overview of the condition of my vines. I also hardly need any fertilizer, and I know exactly when to har- vest the grapes.” Pedro pushes a button on his PDA. “Now I’m sending the data to my as- sistant, José. He’ll then know exactly where the irrigation system is leaking, and he’ll be able to repair it immediately. Of course, that’s assuming he’s turned on his cell phone for a change.” The two continue walking and soon arrive at a dusty road. “My car’s over there,” Pedro says. He goes to the car and takes out two glasses and a bottle of red wine. “This is a truly fine Malbec — try it,” he says, and hands her a glass expectantly. Maria-Laura takes a sip — and then can’t help blurting out: “Hey, did you know there are around 150 sensors in your car?” Pedro takes a gulp of wine and looks up in surprise. “That many? But why? What for?” The young engineer smiles. “Well, for one thing, they make sure that your car sticks to the strict emission limits required by law. The sensors for that are only a few millimeters long and are installed in the glow plugs right in the middle of the engine — at tempera- tures of more than 1,000 degrees Celsius. They optimize the combustion process, which is how they help reduce fuel consump- tion and pollutant emissions.” Pedro’s mouth begins to form a big “O,” into which he pours another gulp of wine. “Or take your tires,” Maria-Laura continues. “They’ve also got tiny sensors whose probes can identify defects in the tire and measure profiles, road grip and air pressure.” Maria-Laura smacks her lips apprecia- tively. “Your wine is fantastic, but I would think that’s due more to experience than to technology,” she says. “Yes and no,” says Pe- dro, obviously flattered. “You see that build- ing at the end of the road? That’s my wine cellar. When you look at it from the outside, it just seems like a traditional old building, but actually it’s got a lot of concealed high- tech equipment in it.” “And what kind of equipment might that be?” Maria-Laura asks. “My cellar is filled with tiny radio sensors measuring only a few millimeters,” Pedro replies. “I had them sent over from the Uni- ted States. These things are so small that I was able to mix them in with the paint for the walls. They measure humidity and tem- perature and in that way ensure the best conditions for the wine to mature in. I’ll bet you’ve never heard of anything like that,” Pe- dro concludes with a look of satisfaction, and then gives himself a reward in the form of another gulp of wine. Maria-Laura is not impressed, however. Without batting an eye, she says: “That’s fas- cinating, but actually I’ve got something here fresh out of our lab in Buenos Aires that I don’t believe you’ve ever seen before.” She grabs her cell phone and holds it under Pe- dro’s nose, which by now has turned some- what red. “This phone contains several inte- grated chemo-sensors,” she says. “You simply speak into the phone and the sensors deter- mine within seconds the nitrogen-oxide con- tent in your breath.” “And what’s so good about that?” asks Pedro “I suffer from asthma,” Maria-Laura replies. “Around two days before an attack comes, the concentra- tion of nitrogen oxide in my breath begins to increase. I can use the sensor cell phone to check the values quickly and then take my medication long before an attack even oc- curs. But it can do even more,” she says with a smile. Then she pushes a button and hands the phone to Pedro: “Say something,” she says. Pedro gives her a look of surprise, but then takes the phone and says: “In vino veritas.” Maria-Laura glances at the display and laughs. “You’re right, amigo,” she says. “Take a look for yourself.” “Madre de dios!” Pedro gasps as he sees that the color display is now showing the alcohol content of his breath. “Your wine’s not only good, it’s also effec- tive,” Maria-Laura laughs. Pedro looks at her a little guiltily. “Would you like to go get something to eat?” he asks somewhat shyly. “I can drive you back in my car.” “Muchas gra- cias,” Maria-Laura replies charmingly — and then takes the keys out of his hand. “But I’m driving.” Florian Martini Siemens researcher Dr. Maxi- milian Fleischer presents a new gas sensor that measures the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. CO 2 , which is used in today’s air-conditioning systems, is an odorless gas that can cause unconsciousness and even death when present in excessive concentrations. Sensors can detect a vast range of microscopic parti- cles and identify odorless gases. Destined to become smaller and smarter, they will one day even be able to recognize one another and form networks. tive fibers touch each other. The result is a stronger electrical current. This technology could be used, for example, to produce “smart” toys. A doll with a built-in foldable sensor could burp when patted on the back, cry if it is hugged too strongly or laugh when it is tickled. However, the foldable sensors can not only detect pres- sure, but also humidity. As they are washable and very robust, they would be ideally suited for the healthcare sector, where they could, for example, determine if an incontinent patient needed new bed linen or if a patient has left his or her bed. Car seats that adapt themselves to accommodate differ- ent drivers’ backs are another possible application. One of the main strengths of ElekSen’s textile sensors is their versatility. But this versatility also presents a challenge. “The wide range of potential uses is forcing us to focus on certain areas,” says Dr. Uwe Albrecht, Head of Corporate Funding at Siemens Venture Capital GmbH, an important investor in ElekSen. A further development — individual sensor fibers that can be woven into textiles — may well also contribute to market success. Sangster is hop- ing for big opportunities, especially since development of the sensors has al- ready taken four years. “ElekSen is now working together with 82 different companies,” says Sangster. “To raise that figure, we’ll have to make people aware of potential new applications.” Examples of such applications include flexible keypads for mobile phones and automotive controls that are inte- grated into car seats. In fact, the only limit to their application is imagination. Stefanie Hense D efective tires are a common cause of serious road accidents. A frequent problem is insuffi- cient tire pressure. In extreme cases, the resulting deformation to the tire makes it heat up so much that it melts and bursts. Regular — or, ideally, con- tinuous — monitoring of tire pressure is the only way to avoid this. Indeed, millions of vehicles are already equipped with pressure sensors designed to warn drivers that tires are dangerously short of air. In the U.S., there are even moves to make such sensors compulsory from 2006 onward. The bat- tery-powered sensors are mounted on the valve, inside the wheel rim. Once the vehicle has traveled a certain distance, they start to register tire pres- sure and temperature, and transmit this data to a central receiver unit. Unfortunately, such sensors are complicated to install. Moreover, if the brakes significantly heat up, this can cause the wheel rims to become hot, thereby falsifying the temperature reading. To- gether with Goodyear, Siemens VDO has now un- veiled a new generation of tire-pressure sensors that really deserves to be called a diagnostic sys- tem. The electronics, which are the size of a finger- nail, are mounted on a sturdy, heat-resistant ce- ramic base and consist essentially of so-called bare dies — in other words semiconductors without the standard black plastic packaging — only a few square millimeters in size. Using this type of con- struction, Siemens engineers were able to inte- A new sensor measures tire pressure and temperature. Although minuscule, it could make a big contribution to road safety. grate pressure and temperature sensors, along with evaluation electronics and a memory, in a very small space. The memory, which also marks a new advance, records pressure and temperature data, tire operating life and changes to tire pres- sure over time. In addition, it communicates with the onboard electronics, providing the systems re- sponsible for vehicle stability (ABS, ESP, ASR) with up-to-date information on tire condition. The complete sensor system is mounted on a rubber ring, which runs around the whole tire and also incorporates the antenna. The ring, which is not heavy enough to affect the running properties of the tire, is joined inseparably to one of the side walls. As a result, the electronics no longer have to be mounted to the wheel rim in addition to the tire and then transferred to another wheel whenever a tire is changed. Similarly, the new system automat- Continual Tire Monitoring ically communicates all the details of the type of tire, thereby obviating the need to reset the on- board electronic systems following a tire change. A transmitter-receiver unit mounted in each wheel arch receives data from the sensor, provides it with control pulses and feeds it with energy. As both data and energy transmission take place induc- tively via coils in the chip and the wheel arch, a battery is no longer required. What’s more, the sensor registers the tire pressure — or a flat — as soon as the driver turns the ignition key, and not, as in the past, only after the vehicle has traveled a certain distance. Dieter Wagner, Project Manager at Siemens VDO, says that this is only the first step toward the truly intelligent tire. “Before long, sen- sors will be able to detect defects in tires. They’ll be able to measure tread depth, slip on wet roads and the forces inside the tire.” Bernhard Gerl Researchers have developed a sensor that constantly monitors tire pressures and temperature. The sensor and its associated electronics are so compact that they can be built into tires. Sensor data is transmitted to receivers in the wheel arches. Sensor & Actuator Center at the University of California in Berkeley. “This could radically change the face of healthcare.” The Swiss sci- entist and his team have already developed a biosensor that is capable of accurately identi- fying one condition — dengue fever, a seri- ous viral disease found in the tropics, which strikes 100 million people every year. The test for dengue fever merely involves putting a drop of blood on a sensor chip one square millimeter in size and inserting the latter into a laptop — a simple, flexible procedure that could conceivably, at some later date, be used by anyone. In the long term, Boser ex- plains, “people who suspect they have the flu, for instance, should be able to buy a test, just like a pregnancy testing kit, and then go to a physician if it proves positive.” Dr. Walter Gumbrecht from Siemens CT has developed a similar biosensor. Quicklab, a mini-laboratory in check card format, ex- amines a person’s drop of blood within the space of an hour for traces of pathogens. Using quicklab, physicians would be able to diagnose an infection on the spot and there- fore prescribe the right medication much more rapidly than today (see p. 74). However, while high-tech sensors are of- ten much more powerful than the human senses, our eyes, ears, noses and hands do have one advantage over technology: They are connected with a brain and can thus ben- efit from a unique source of know-how. For S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY T R E NDS 64 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 65 Destined to become smaller, more versa- tile and more accurate, tomorrow’s sensors will be able to take on even more complex tasks. The drive toward smaller and cheaper components is one of the major trends in sensor development, as manufacturers move toward miniaturization in order to simplify production and reduce costs. At the same time, smaller dimensions generate new ap- plications in the sensor market. Potential ex- amples here include a healthcare diagnostics system the size of a check card (see p. 74) and minuscule sensors which, when mixed with paint and applied to interior walls, will monitor the climate in buildings (see p. 70). Closer to market launch is an astonishing development from the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology in Itzehoe, Germany. A disposable sensor in the form of a pill en- ables athletes to determine lactic acid levels, thus helping them to determine their current fitness. “The athlete puts the pill in his or her mouth and then starts the training program,” explains Institute Director Prof. Anton Heuberger. “During the training session, the sensor continuously measures lactic acid lev- els and transmits the data via Bluetooth to a reader unit.” This saves on blood tests and provides continual monitoring. The pill sen- sor is due to come on the market in 2006. Electronic Doctor. According to Heuberger, however, there are limits to miniaturization: “Sensors of a few millimeters in length are re- alistic,” explains the Professor of Microsys- tems Technology. “Anything much smaller is certainly technically feasible but still illusory from a financial aspect.” Ultimately, he em- phasizes, to be successful, technology must be affordable. “A sensor component that is extremely small but still costs over ten euros is just too expensive.” A further trend is to integrate a number of sensors in one system, which can then measure a number of variables at the same time. Such applications could have a big fu- ture in the field of healthcare. “Our vision is to combine a number of chips in one pack- age, which will be able to provide rapid and early diagnosis of a whole range of diseases,” says Prof. Bernhard Boser, a Director at the A ccording to Ray Sangster, CEO of Britain’s ElekSen, digging around in your bag to find that ringing cell phone or to skip a track on your MP3 player might soon be a thing or the past. “One of the most promising appli- cations for our technology is clothing that can be used to operate electronic devices,” says Sangster, pointing out that ElekSen has developed textile sen- sors that can be integrated into all types of “soft” materials and could enable users to operate cell phones, PDAs and MP3 players by simply touching their sleeves. These sensors possess a sandwich structure in which the external layers consist of conductive nylon sheets that are glued together with an adhesive. A layer located between the external layers contains individual conductive fibers, which are incorporated into an insulating material. The system works as follows: A low measuring-circuit voltage is applied to the layers by the device (for ex- ample, an MP3 player) or by a battery. If the sensor is touched, the pressure es- tablishes a connection between the con- ductive layers, making it possible to measure where the sensor is being touched. The strength with which the sensor is pressed can also be de- termined. As the pres- sure increases, more conduc- Sensitive Textiles Technology from ElekSen makes it possible to manufacture flexible sensors and switches that can be integrated into everyday objects such as cell phones, toys and car seats. F or most people, the word “turbine” proba- bly brings to mind images of jet engines. Yet the propulsion unit of a jumbo jet is tiny in com- parison to the turbines used to generate electricity in a power plant. In a gas turbine, for example, the rotor alone can weigh anything up to 75 tons — as much as a diesel locomotive. Mounted onto the rotor is an arrangement of rims with increas- ingly smaller blades that suck in and compress air before forcing it into the combustion chamber, where the energy of the fuel is converted into heat. As it expands in the downstream turbine, the hot exhaust gas drives the rotor, which is also connected up to the generator used to produce electricity. Powered by a stream of exhaust gas heated to a temperature of up to 1,500 degrees Celsius, the turbine blades rotate at a speed of around 3,600 r.p.m. Only high-tensile alloys which are cooled and covered with a protective ceramic coating are able to handle such stresses. Power- plant turbines are therefore expensive acquisi- tions. In fact, a single turbine blade costs as much as a family car. For the power plant manager, monitoring of these parts is enormously impor- tant — and difficult. On the one hand, the gap be- tween the blades and housing must be as small as possible in order to achieve a high energy yield; on the other, any contact must be avoided as this reduces efficiency and damages the blades. Siemens Power Generation (PG) in Berlin has now developed a sensor system that measures the so-called radial gap — the distance between the blade tips and the turbine wall. A sensor mounted directly in the turbine housing determines the dis- tance to the rotating turbine blades on the basis of changes in electrical capacitance between itself and the blade tips speeding past. A hydraulic sys- Defying the Inferno Siemens engineers have devel- oped sensors that can monitor events inside a gas turbine during normal operation — at speeds of 3,600 r.p.m. and temperatures as high as 1,500 degrees Celsius. As a result, damage can be recognized in good time or in some cases completely prevented. tem is then used to move the rotor into an optimal position. “We’re talking here about rotors of be- tween two and three meters in diameter,” says Olaf König, Manager of the Berlin Test Center, “and a radial gap of only a few millimeters.” The sensor must therefore be able to determine the position of the huge rotor to a 10th of a millimeter — and do so at extremely high temperatures. Online diagnosis via camera.The extreme tem- peratures within a turbine are one of the greatest impediments to the use of complex measurement technology. In a project led by Dr. Hans-Gerd Brummel, development engineers at Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation in Orlando, Flo- rida, have equipped their sensor unit — a high- and damaging downtimes. By contrast, the new system opens up a whole new dimension of on- line diagnosis. Previously, temperature and pres- sure measurements were the only means of draw- ing imprecise conclusions as to events inside the turbine, since the speed of the blade tips (approx- imately 1,400 kilometers per hour) plus the ex- treme temperature and high pressure prevented any direct access. Thanks to a package of high-tech compo- nents such as the infrared camera, which was originally developed for military aircraft, it is now possible to record infrared images of the turbine blades operating at full load. “With exposure times of less than a millionth of a second in combina- tion with tailor-made optics and a complex control speed infrared camera plus a flange-mounted op- tical probe — with a refined cooling system. This is because the camera is directly exposed to the immense heat of the turbine blades, the heat-pro- tective coating of which can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Celsius. The aim is to continu- ously monitor the condition of the blades during turbine operation, as the ceramic coating has a tendency to flake with use, which naturally short- ens their service life. In order to preempt blade failure and the enormous damage potential that this entails, power-plant operators generally re- place blades after a certain number of operating hours — a procedure associated with high costs and image-analysis system, it is now possible to produce sharp images of each of the 72 most in- tensely stressed blades of a 200-megawatt gas turbine under full load,” says Brummel. “As a re- sult, we can clearly identify any damage to the heat-protective coating.” In other words, the actual condition of the blades can be monitored, thereby obviating the need for a merely prophylactic and possibly unnecessary replacement. Thanks to this monitoring of the gas turbine, operating lifetimes can be lengthened, which, in turn, cuts costs sig- nificantly. Preparations are now being made to in- stall the sensor system in a commercially operated plant in the U.S. Tim Schröder A sensor system inspects gas turbines. Using an optical probe, an infrared camera records images of red-hot turbine blades. S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY T R E NDS 66 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 67 example, some sensors have problems distin- guishing certain things. “For a long time, nat- ural gas sensors would react not only to car- bon monoxide but also to the vapor of any naphtha cleaning agent in the air,” explains Dr. Udo Weimar, a specialist for biosensors and chemosensors at the University of Tübin- gen. “We therefore need to come up with sensors that are highly selective — in other words, sensors that react to only one sub- stance.” (see p. 84) Sensor Networks. Moreover, as Michael Staudt from Siemens Automation and Drives explains, the intelligent sensors of the future will be able not only to transmit signals but also to interpret events. In fact, this is exactly what CS10, an optical sensor developed by Staudt, does when it reads complex color patterns (see p. 79 and picture below). The sensor is designed for use in environments such as filling plants, where it can monitor colored labels on bottles every 30 milli- seconds and sound the alarm in the event of an error. A further trend is the attempt to make sensors work independently in a similar fash- T he more precisely the combustion processes in an engine can be monitored, the better the engine can be managed by adjustment of the amounts of fuel injected and the ignition points. This in turn can reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, as well as lowering noise levels, according to Gérard Troy and Dr. Bernd Last, who are responsible for Business De- velopment and Pre-Development Activities at Siemens VDO in Toulouse, France. Current monitoring methods use measurements from the engine’s periphery, such as coolant temperature, amount of manifold air, or engine r.p.m. It would be more effective, how- ever, to measure pressure changes directly in cylinder, since they are closely related to the ther- modynamics of the combustion process. “This kind of information is important because it will help us meet new emission limits for diesel engines — such as Euro V — that will go into effect in the next few years,” says Troy. “But it’s also useful for gasoline direct injection.” The best way to measure combustion pressure is to use a sensor installed directly on or in the combustion chamber. However, the space available for such a sensor is very limited in modern engines, with their multi-valve technology. It is often necessary to bore additional holes for the sensors. With this in mind, Siemens VDO in Toulouse developed a sensor that can be directly in- stalled in a diesel engine glow plug. “What we’re doing is using a combustion chamber access point that’s already there, which means it’s very easy to equip existing engines with the sensor,” Last explains. The glow plug facilitates cold starts in diesel engines, where air is sucked in and compressed so strongly in the combustion chamber that it heats up to 900 degrees Celsius. The diesel fuel that is then injected immediately ignites when it makes contact with the hot air. Because it’s integrated into the glow plug, the sensor membrane is not directly exposed to the heat and pressure that develop in the combustion chamber. The sensor therefore lasts longer and its measurements are more precise. The innovative sensor element is made of a heat-resistant ceramic and functions using the piezoelectric effect. Under pressure, the ceramic material changes its atomic structure within a few milliseconds, displacing electric charges in the material itself. The sensor thus emits electric signals that the control electronics use to mon- itor pressure changes in the cylinder. “Mass production of the glow plug sensor is scheduled to begin in 2006,” says Troy. “ We have already established a partnership with Federal Mogul to jointly develop and market glow plug sensors”. Sylvia Trage Cutting Fuel Consumption, Emissions and Noise A piezo sensor developed by Siemens VDO can be inte- grated into a glow plug to directly monitor combustion in diesel engine cylinders. The sensor could be ready by 2006. Histogram produced by an optical sensor which is capable of interpreting highly complex color patterns in milliseconds. ion to highly complex biological systems such as the human brain or immune system. The aim is that sensors should become au- tonomous and self-organizing, and that they should be able to independently determine their precise location, communicate with one another via radio, and establish and maintain a network without any outside support (see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2003, p. 48). Dr. Rudolf Sollacher from Siemens CT is working on just such a project. For example, his sensor network would be able to guide a fire crew to the source of the blaze inside a building and also provide information on the ambient temperature (see p. 72). “Self-orga- nizing sensor networks are already techni- cally feasible,” says Sollacher. He identifies further applications in agriculture or in areas at risk from forest fires or avalanches, where sensor networks could provide early warning of an impending catastrophe. Here, sensors located throughout the risk area would inde- pendently gather all the data required. “But that’s still some way off,” admits Sollacher. Florian Martini P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 69 In Siemens’ latest computed tomography system, the X-ray tube and detector rotate around the patient three times every second, creating images with a previously unheard-of resolution of 0.4 millimeters (below). This innovation was made possible by the ceramic material used in the detector (the upper row of images depict the manufacturing process; the ceramic components are shown on the far right). X-rays into light signals, which are then trans- formed into electrical pulses by photodiodes. The more effectively the detector trans- forms the X-rays, the smaller the dosage re- quired for an examination. Detector materials therefore need to be very good at absorbing X-ray quanta. This requirement is met by the ceramic developed by Siemens Medical Solu- ing process results in a substance with ex- tremely pure, precise crystalline structures — one of the preconditions for high luminous efficiency,” says Berger. The end product is a hard, yellow substance that weighs about as much as gold and is just about as valuable. The recipe for producing the ceramic remains a secret. “It’s the same with Coca-Cola,” says tween tissue and bone, the afterglow must be minimized. Just as the radiation reaching the detector is reduced abruptly at the transition from soft tissue to bone, the afterglow of the detector material should also cease immedi- ately. In other words, the shorter the after- glow, the sharper the image. Although the new ceramic has been used in Siemens CT posite the X-ray tube in a ring measuring 1.5 meters in diameter. This ring, which is known as the gantry, rotates quickly around the pa- tient. By doing so, it creates individual im- ages that are combined to create a 3D pic- ture. In the detector, the ceramic converts tions (Med) in Forchheim, Germany, and Sie- mens Corporate Technology in Munich. In addition, the material works extremely quick- ly, taking only a fraction of a second to react to changes in radiation intensity. This is par- ticularly important in cases where the X-ray beam first penetrates soft tissue and then bone. Since soft tissue allows more radiation to pass through than bone does, this transi- tion is visible in the CT image as a light-dark contrast. The sharpness of the image is de- pendent on the material used for the detec- tor, because each substance has some after- glow, which means it emits fluorescent light longer than desired. For sharp contrast be- systems since 1996, it achieves its full poten- tial only at the extremely fast rotation times found in the Somatom Sensation 64, where the gantry circles the patient in 0.33 seconds. Secret Recipe. ”The afterglow of our special ceramic decays about 400 times faster than is the case with yttrium-gadolinium oxide, which has been used for some time by other manufacturers,” says Frank Berger, head of Ceramic Manufacturing at Med. “That’s why we dubbed the material UFC — or Ultra- FastCeramic.” In addition to the rare earth ele- ment gadolinium, this ceramic contains sulfur, oxygen and other additives. “Our manufactur- 68 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 C omputed tomography (CT) has become an indispensable tool for visualizing anatomic structures in the human body. CT generates three-dimensional images of inter- nal organs in seconds, giving physicians pre- cise information regarding disease conditions. A few years ago, Siemens introduced the first CT scanner capable of generating images of the beating heart (see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2003,p. 61). This feat will be even easier to achieve with the launch of the new Somatom Sensation 64 this year, as the de- vice is even faster than its predecessor and its images have a higher resolution. As a conse- quence, it will be able to visualize even tiny deposits in heart vessels. Alongside sophisti- cated electronics, one of the main reasons for the new device’s high image quality is an inconspicuous ceramic. This component forms part of the detector, which is located op- The capabilities of the new Somatom Sensation 64 CT system are largely dependent on the unit’s detector, which contains a high-speed ceramic that efficiently transforms X-rays into light quanta without delay. This makes it possible to create extremely sharp images of the beating heart as well as fast scans of any part of the body. S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY C E R AMI C DE T E C T OR S Fast Ceramic in X-Ray Light P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 71 can also be used to transmit information from fire alarms or even images taken by tiny MEMS cameras. They are also less suscepti- ble to faults. The result is cost-effective, intel- ligent building automation. “Such tiny sen- sors could form the backbone of next generation of building systems,” says Ahmed. However, alongside easily installable sensors, a new breed of even more powerful comput- ers will be required to process and convert the volume of data from the large number of sensors. “Thanks to the wide range of its ac- tivities, and the work of Corporate Technol- ogy (CT) — in microsystems, for instance — Siemens has fulfilled all of the requirements for offering the best solutions,” says Ahmed. Monolithic MEMS. One of the goals MEMS researchers are currently pursuing is to create a so-called monolithic MEMS chip that is made from a single piece of silicon instead of using the established practice of transplant- ing different components onto a silicon sub- strate. Such systems would have a great advantage — they could be produced rela- tively inexpensively by using standard semi- conductor methods. Researchers hope that these silicon components will function just as reliably as conventional microprocessors. Using exposure and etching techniques, for example, it would be possible to etch tiny arms capable of detecting airflows in the monolithic MEMS, which also contain a micro- processor. The microprocessor would register the vibration signals as a change in voltage. Such a chip could sense and process environ- mental stimuli, take on control functions and pass on the information. Here, according to Ahmed, the biggest challenge faced by MEMS engineers is the packaging of the various technical compon- ents. The difficulty lies also in protecting the electronics against damage while ensuring that the sensors remain in contact with their surroundings. Because standard miniature housings do not yet exist, Siemens Building Technologies is actively tracking professional organizations such as Memsnet (www.mems- net.org), a forum that brings developers and users together. The forum’s aim is to develop solutions that would make further miniatur- ization and new applications possible. Ex- perts at Memsnet expect that the first mono- lithic MEMS will reach maturity in about five years. In five to ten years the sensors could be ready for use on walls. However, no one can predict the practical value of this devel- opment. But no monolithic silicon MEMS chip is available today that provides all the function- ality SBT is looking for. Nevertheless, the al- ternative to a single MEMS chip that can do it all is no less exciting. It consists of a micro- system platform that integrates a MEMS chip, a wireless module, a microprocessor and an efficient power management system. The advantage of the microsystem is that it can also be produced by using standard semicon- ductor methods that are matured, stable, underlying aim is actually quite serious,” re- ports Ahmed. Scientists conducting experi- ments with mice want to make sure the ani- mals’ reactions really are caused by a certain medication or treatment, and are not due to changes in temperature or muggy air. The MEMS measure airborne carbon dioxide and ammonia levels. High levels indicate a risk of suffocation and the need for changing the straw. These MEMS consist of a silicon substrate with integrated components such as gas sen- sors or heating elements that measure air- flows. Weak electric currents flow through these elements to heat them. When air flows past, it cools them. The researchers plan to further miniaturize the unit and increase its user friendliness before its market launch. Atom DNA Virus Cell Diameter of a hair Drop of water Person µm: Millionth of a meter nm: Billionth of a meter Chemistry, nanotech- nology, molecular biology Precision mechanics.... traditional mechanics MEMS Thin films Thickness of a solar cell Optical lithography Integrated circuit Silicon wafer 1Å 1nm 1µm 1mm 1m Sensors just one centimeter square monitor very small homes — mouse cages. and extremely cost-effective. SBT is currently using one-centimeter-square, multiple-com- ponent MEMS from Siemens Corporate Tech- nology in a cooperative project with the Uni- versity of Florida. The sensors will be used to monitor relatively small houses — mouse cages — rather than buildings. Testing of the prototypes will begin in the university’s labs at the end of the year. “Although this applica- tion may raise a few eyebrows at first, the They expect to be able to significantly reduce the price of their MEMS unit through suitable packaging and adding wireless data commu- nications. Following a preliminary market as- sessment, SBT estimates that in the U.S. alone there are about 4–5 million cages. The success of the project could thus give the company a head start in the development of further building management systems in microchip format.Tim Schröder Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) could monitor and even control buildings. S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY B UI L DI NG T E C HNOL OGI E S 70 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Buildings that Think and Act In the future, tiny sensors could be used to control sys- tems in buildings. They will measure temperatures, light levels, communicate with one another, and decide what has to be done — intelligently. S oon, people will no longer have to worry about getting cold feet when inside a building. Just like living organisms, buildings will be equipped with innumerable sensory cells capable of detecting a draft on the floor or determining if workers’ fingers are getting numb from the cold. Thousands of these tiny sensors will be distributed throughout build- ings. Hidden in the carpets or in the paint on the walls, these speck-sized sensors will mea- sure temperatures, airflow or the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, and subsequently transmit their data to a control system. In the even more distant future, these high-tech specks, using micro and nanotechnologies, will even be able to take action — for exam- ple, by opening tiny warm-air valves in table- tops or by using miniature photovoltaic cells to harness solar energy for a building. What might sound like science fiction is already an everyday reality for Dr. Osman Ahmed, Senior Principal Engineer with the Building Automation unit (BAU) of Siemens Building Technologies (SBT) in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. His department studies the practical- ity of such ideas. At the core of these systems is MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technology — tiny silicon building blocks which can ideally serve as sensors, proces- sors and actuators all in one, and also have radio modules for communication with other devices. As a result, these systems can not only measure environmental conditions and process signals; they can even take action on their own. The first MEMS sensors already ex- ist, carrying out tasks such as measuring the pressure in car tires and transmitting this in- formation via radio to the vehicle (see p. 65). Ahmed is convinced that MEMS sensors’ wireless communication is their greatest ad- vantage. Today’s systems measure the condi- tions inside a building using sensors and de- vices mounted on the walls, he says. “All of these devices have two things in common: They need wires to supply them with electric- ity and wires to transmit signals to a central control unit.” But that drives up costs be- cause installation and any fault-finding required are immensely time-consuming. MEMS sensors, on the other hand, do not re- quire wiring and can transmit their signals via radio. Besides reporting climate data, they Dr. Thomas von der Haar, Head of CT Detector Development. “The ingredients are known, but aside from the manufacturer, nobody knows the full recipe.” Since the new material has a significant effect on CT system charac- teristics, it creates considerable competitive advantages for Siemens — one of the reasons for the in-house UFC development. A Heart in Nine Seconds.Furthermore, UFC has additional advantages: It can be easily cut with tools from the silicon industry into rough- ly one-millimeter-thick, stamp-sized plates — approximately the size of a detector element. In the Somatom Sensation 64, 42 detector el- ements are arranged next to each other over a distance of approximately one meter. This is wide enough to image a patient from shoul- der to shoulder. Each detector element is divided into a precise pattern of millimeter- wide rows and columns of tiny pixels. Until a few years ago, CT scanners were equipped with only one detector line, which meant that only a single slice could be acquired per revo- lution of the gantry. These devices were followed by multi-slice systems, which feature several detector lines located next to each other.During one rota- tion, several adjoining slices are acquired. As a result, a wider body region can be imaged within the same time period. Each of the de- tector elements in the Somatom Sensation 64 has 40 pixel rows as well as 16 pixel columns set at right angles. Since the focus of the X- ray tube shifts in a fraction of a second, 64 slices can be measured during each rotation. As a result, the system has about 43,000 pixels altogether, which means it can achieve an unparalleled resolution of 0.4 millimeter. Thanks to this development, physicians can study many structures in detail that were pre- viously impossible to see. When the gantry rotates, electronics pro- cess 2.5 billion signals every second. Due to the fast rotation, examinations can now be performed more quickly;in fact, the new CT can depict the heart in just nine seconds. “The ultra-fast ceramic can handle this chal- lenge with relative ease,” says Berger. “There’s still a long way to go before we reach the limits of its potential.” Tim Schröder Source: Osman Ahmed, SBT How small are MEMS? EXAMPLES OF SENSOR NETWORK PROJECTS WORLDWI DE The Free University of Berlin has devel- oped a miniature Internet in which data from individual sensors is collected and sent out over a sensor network. Dubbed “Scatterweb,” the sensor network was made public at this year’s Hanover Fair. Any Web browser can be used to provide access to Scatterweb. The network is very flexible and freely programmable even when in operation. A variety of sen- sor nodes were developed. An embedded sensor board (ESB) is pictured above. ESBs are small devices whose surfaces measure 4 x 5 centimeters and contain numerous sensors for parameters such as brightness, noise levels, vibrations and motion. A microphone, speaker and infrared transmitter/receiver are also integrated into the units. An ESB “at rest” only requires eight microamperes of power, while an active one consumes between eight and 12 milliamperes. When used with a conventional AAA battery, an ESB will last between five and 17 years, assuming it sends 25 bytes of data every 20 seconds. (www.scatterweb.net) The EU projects “Eyes” and “Bison”: The “Eyes” project (2002 – 2005) focuses on energy efficiency. “Bison” (2003 – 2005) deals with biologically modeled sensor networks. Here, the focus is on robustness, self-organization and self-repair. Great Duck Island: On this island off the coast of Maine, the College of the Atlantic (COA), Intel and the University of California at Berkeley are using a sensor network to observe a rare type of storm swallow. The sensors measure temperature, humidity and air pressure in the nests and surroundings. A sensor base station driven by batteries that last up to a year is con- nected to the Internet. The second network generation, containing 105 nodes, was installed in summer 2003, then again 60 hatching nest sensors and 25 weather sensors were added. Sensor networks at UC Berkeley: Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley are striving to pack digital circuits, laser-based wireless communications and MEMS (micro-electro- mechanical systems) into one tiny system. Plans call for a complete sensor node — consisting of a microcontroller, storage unit, sensor, radio transceiver and power supply — to be inte- grated into a volume of one or two cubic millimeters (mm 3 ). Whereas the old Flashy Dust Mote model was 138 mm 3 , the new type of Golem Dust Mote is 11 mm 3 and five millimeters long. Sensors can guide firefighters to a blaze. A fireman is linked to a sensor network, thereby receiving data on temperature and gas distribution. depths. A so-called multi-hop technique is used to conserve the energy needed for transmission. Here, the signals are routed from buoy to buoy until they reach land. Whereas the Scatterweb project is primar- ily designed to provide a development plat- form, Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) is focusing on self-organization solutions that enable sensor nodes to set up communica- tion networks on their own. Using special lo- cal positioning radar technology, each sensor would measure the distance to its neighbors and thus determine its own position. The sen- sors also need to be able to find out for them- selves where they can send their data. They must also organize data processing opera- tions autonomously and be able to interpo- late so as to forecast data in the future. “It’s al- ready possible for them to make a spatial forecast,” says Dr. Rudolf Sollacher, head of Neural Data Processing at CT and an expert on self-organizing sensor networks. For ex- ample, a sensor node in a building can also estimate a temperature profile for those areas where no sensors are located. Fireman in a Sensor Network.Siemens re- searchers plan to present largely self-organiz- ing sensor networks in November 2004. In this particular scenario (see illustration above) a fireman with a display inside his helmet and a portable PC enters a burning house. The PC is equipped with an integrated sensor node with an Internet interface. Numerous sensors located in the building transmit data via radio over distances of 30 to 100 meters. The sen- sor network displays the temperature in his immediate area and guides him to the fire step by step. The display on the helmet could later be replaced by 3D headsets that display information about smoke concentration or the presence of toxic gases, for example. Today, sensors are already registering data on temperature, motion, brightness and noise in buildings. Siemens Building Tech- nologies recently launched the world’s first security system with bi-directional radio com- munication on the market. In addition to smoke detectors, it consists of devices that recognize when glass has been broken, mo- tion detectors, door contacts and a module for controlling lights, shades and other equip- ment. The SiRoute radio units can also inde- pendently find a way to get their data to the central control office via other components in the event of a radio disturbance, sabotage or if distances are too great. Because inactive el- ements are automatically put into an energy- saving “rest mode,” the batteries last up to four years. The entire system is operated by a remote control unit the size of a credit card. Plans call for similar sensor networks to au- tonomously register tension and cracks in the materials of buildings and tunnels, and report this information to maintenance teams. Sensor networks might also be able to fa- cilitate the monitoring of patients. Intel and the Alzheimer’s Association plan to develop a wireless sensor network that observes the be- havior of Alzheimer patients and sounds an Alarm sent to head- quarters Fire Sensor nodes Calling up data on the immediate environment Information on the location of the fire and how to get there 72 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 73 I magine a network that links itself together autonomously, reacts to its environment and transfers information at lightning speed. What sounds like something out of a science fiction novel actually exists. Specifically, it is a self-organizing sensor network, consisting of sensor components called nodes that can in- dependently determine their location, com- municate wirelessly and create a network without any outside support. To accomplish this, each node is equipped with modules for location positioning, communication, data- processing and power supply units. The first such sensor networks are still rel- atively simple. They measure parameters such as gas concentration, acoustic signals, tem- perature, brightness, humidity and accelera- tion. Using these measurements, it is possible to detect forest fires, the damage caused by an earthquake or the amount of dangerous chemicals present at a production facility (see Pictures of the Future,Spring 2003, p. 48). The miniaturization of electronic components and communication devices has enabled sensor net- works to organize themselves using radio signals. Applications of such networks include the control of industrial plants, building technology and medicine. The first prototypes are already in operation. S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY Siemens researcher Dr. Rudolf Sollacher (right) holds a node that can register up to eight measurement parameters. Such sensors can also autonomously find the shortest route through the radio network (display, left). S E NS OR NE T WOR K S Smart Grains of Sand Five years ago, scientists at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in the U.S. began the Smart Dust project. The objec- tive was to enable thousands of miniature sen- sor units to observe enemy troop movements without being detected. Acoustic, magnetic and seismographic sensors would enable the units to register troop and vehicle movements. The sensors would then filter the raw data and only forward relevant information. With this in mind, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have developed sensor nodes measuring just a few cubic millimeters (see box p. 73). These nodes have to commu- nicate via targeted laser beams because the components for radio communications are still too large and use too much energy for such an application. In contrast, in the Scatterweb project the sensor nodes, although larger, can already communicate wirelessly and configure them- selves independently for the most part. “Our Scatterweb can be used for a range of appli- cations, as the nodes can register light, vibra- tions, temperature, air pressure, motion and other parameters,” says Jochen Schiller, Pro- fessor of Technical Computer Science at the Free University of Berlin. “Today’s sensor net- works display great differences in terms of their ability to network themselves au- tonomously, integrate into systems such as the Internet or Ethernet and achieve the nec- essary level of flexibility should reprogram- ming be required.” Scatterweb sensors have different ranges depending on the data they are transmitting: Neighboring nodes can be recognized via ra- dio up to a distance of four kilometers; move- ments can be registered up to ten meters away. Marine biologists at the University of Umeå in northern Sweden are using Scatter- web technology to monitor the Baltic Sea. The sensor nodes, which are installed in buoys, measure temperatures at different THE CATCHER I N THE CHI P tests in their own offices. It’s suitable for both genetic material (DNA) and proteins — a fea- ture that makes it ideal for a broad range of applications. It can be used to track down pathogens that cause infectious diseases and to detect allergies, hereditary diseases and incompatibilities when medicine is pre- scribed or transplants are performed. In the future, there will be quick tests for every medical requirement. The foundation for quicklab was laid in the years 2000 to 2003 by the German Fed- eral Ministry of Research’s SiBAnaT project (Silicon Chip System for Biochemical Analysis Technology). SiBAnaT involved the coopera- tion of Siemens, the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT), Infineon Technolo- gies AG, november AG and Eppendorf Instru- mente GmbH. The high value of the above mentioned innovations was also recognized by the jury for the German President’s Award in the field of technology and innovation:For the “Lab on a Chip — Electric Biochip Technology,” ISIT, Siemens and Infineon were nominated for the German Future Prize 2004. One Card. At the heart of quicklab, which was developed by Siemens, is a miniature laboratory the size of a credit card that auto- matically extracts DNA or proteins from a drop of blood or other bodily fluid and emits the diagnostic information as an electrical signal. “In the last six months, we’ve pressed forward with the development of the DNA analysis in particular,” says Gumbrecht. As economically efficient,” says Birkle. The non- reusable cards will cost only a fraction of a laboratory test. And for the same reason, researchers are relying on existing technologies wherever possible. For instance, they are using the gold contacts of a conventional chip card as electrodes, because gold is the ideal base for the “receptors” — synthetically produced bio- molecules that pick out specific DNA se- quences or proteins from a sample. The bind- ing of enzymes and the decomposition of a If the DNA sequence tested for is contained in the sample, it binds with the receptor on the gold electrode. The DNA marked with biotin (B) acts as a docking point for the enzyme alkaline phosphatase (Str/E), which releases a molecule (P) from the sub- strate (S). P releases two electrons at the positive electrode. After that, it migrates to the negative electrode, receives two electrons again and shuttles back to the positive elec- trode. Because of P’s migration, an electric current flows between the electrodes — this is the actual proof that a matching DNA sequence was found. Otherwise, there is no pairing of the DNA with the receptor; no substrate molecule P and no elec- trons are released, and therefore no current is measured. DNA tests could soon be conducted on handheld devices based on Siemens’ quicklab. A prototype with its channels and reaction chambers is shown in the large image. The small pic- ture at right illustrates a vision of a future quick test. part of this effort, his working group designed a microfluidic system composed of channels, chambers and pumps. Capillary forces draw a microliter of an injected drop of blood into a channel. Water is pumped in to dissolve chemicals present there, which break down the cells in minutes. Water is pumped in again to rinse the constituents through a chamber in which the DNA is extracted and held. There, the tiny initial quantity of DNA is reproduced on a large level and marked with biotin molecules. Afterward, the DNA reaches a chamber that contains the biosensor. “We’ve combined existing technologies into an innovative platform,” says Dr. Siegfried Birkle, head of the Power & Sensor Transducer Systems unit. For example, the researchers succeeded in placing dry forms of all of the enzymes and reagents on the in- ner walls of the reaction spaces. The quicklab cards must have a shelf life of at least six months at room temperature to ensure that the general practitioner can always keep them in stock. “The system is designed to be Drop of blood 74 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 75 R unny nose, a cough, a worn-out feeling and fever: Is it dangerous influenza or just a cold? Often only a laboratory test can provide the answer — but once the sample is transported to the lab, it takes an average of two days for a doctor to get the results. That delays treatment, which can have a serious impact in the case of viral infections. “Our quicklab system performs a test in just under an hour,” says Dr. Walter Gum- brecht, an expert in the Power & Sensor Sys- tems department at Siemens Corporate Tech- nology (CT) in Erlangen, Germany. “And we’ll be able to make it even faster than that.” The new quicklab molecular diagnostic system will allow family doctors to do rapid The Pocket Laboratory Molecular diagnostics is becoming increasingly important in the identifica- tion of illnesses. The latest biosensors and a new technology platform known as quicklab are expected to make many medical tests faster, sim- pler and less expensive. S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY B I OS E NS OR S alarm should anything unusual happen. The network will be able to register the patient’s location and remind him or her to take their medicine. Sensors distributed throughout hospital rooms and on the body could also be used to monitor pulse and temperature. No one knows whether sensor networks will also be placed inside human bodies in the foreseeable future. Sensors that can be swal- lowed do in fact exist today. These are used to measure temperature or provide color images of the digestive tract. The biggest technical problem here, according to Sollacher, is not miniaturization but involves communication between the sensors, since they need an au- tarkic energy supply, especially if the sensor network is to remain in the body for a long time. Sollacher can imagine using “passive el- ements that obtain the energy they need from outside sources or from the body itself.” If self-organizing sensor networks are to be employed on a massive scale, the costs of the nodes, their energy requirements and size will have to be reduced. A Scatterweb node today costs around 50 euros, for example. “What we need are sensors the size of a matchbox that cost 20 euros,” says Schiller. Such a reduction in price presupposes produc- tion in large lots, he says. Mass production would cut costs even more. As far as power is concerned, the sensors of the future will have to use ambient energy, since a battery change will be impossible. “Solar cells are one option,” says Schiller, “but the nodes could also exploit temperature differences or vibra- tions.” The main thing is that only those sen- sor nodes that have enough energy transmit data — for example, only those that are ex- posed to sunshine at a given moment. “Communication should be minimized as much as possible, and computers’ built-in in- telligence has to be increased, since both measures decrease the energy requirement,” says Sollacher, who is convinced that the biggest gains in energy efficiency can be achieved with the data processing unit. Ex- perts are also expecting smaller nodes to ap- pear. Nevertheless, grains of sand that emit radio signals, as envisioned by the Smart Dust concept, will remain science fiction — at least for the time being.Sylvia Trage C T C C G T A G C Red B STR E S S P P P P Ox Siemens’ 3D SISCAN scan- ner system examines sili- con chip surfaces for pro- duction errors with a high-relief resolution of approximately one hun- dred nanometers. The human eye is hard to beat. To equal its power, about 125 million photo sensors would have to be concentrated in a few square millimeters, and that’s without considering image processing. Although today’s sensors still can’t match that, when it comes to some things — like resolution and speed — they are already superior to the human eye. Electronic Eagle Eyes and nano structures. Dr. Günter Doemens, head of the Sensor Solutions Center at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Mu- nich, describes one of the key trends here: “The development of optical sensors is cur- rently moving from the second into the third dimension — in other words, toward three- dimensional vision, because recognition pro- cesses are more robust in 3D.” Measuring Height on a Nanometer Scale. Dr. Anton Schick, head of Development at Siemens Logistics and Assembly Systems in Munich, and his team developed and launched the SISCAN sensors for 3D analyses a few years ago. On SISCAN’s screen, Schick can view large-scale, relief images of mi- crometer-size components or tiny laser welds. SISCAN precisely measures surfaces (for example wafers) in nanometers and ex- amines them for flaws. The system works by the confocal microscope principle: Laser light is beamed vertically onto the object to be measured, and a detector captures the re- flected light. To measure height and depth profiles to within 100 nanometers, the fo- cused laser beam oscillates 4,000 times per second back and forth in the direction of the beam. The detector receives the strongest signal precisely when the beam focus hits the surface. The associated height value is calcu- lated in real time. Schick also splits the laser beam in his sensor into 64 parallel beams that measure more than half a million pixels (height val- ues) per second. To get a 3D surface image from this, the measured object is simultane- ously shifted horizontally at a speed of 80 millimeters per second. Researchers are aim- ing to reduce the size of the sensor head, which weighs four kilos, so it can easily be guided by a robot arm. The beam from the semiconductor laser also isn’t the ideal light source: Its cross-section is generally both el- liptical and astigmatic, which creates un- wanted signal spread. A glass fiber-optical device would be the ideal solution. Schick’s team recently developed such a sensor. With a scanning rate of 8,000 pixels per second, it’s considered the world’s fastest single- channel, fiber-optical measurement sensor. S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY T he human eye is getting some competi- tion from sensors: Automotive industry engineers are developing optical assistance systems that can recognize road signs and other traffic. And the systems may be able to guide drivers automatically through traffic in the future. Intelligent cameras monitor high- ways and tunnels and control access to vari- ous locations through biometric procedures (see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2002, p.33, and Spring 2003, p. 44). Modern med- icine would be unthinkable without imaging technology (see p. 68), while optical measur- ing technology also helps monitor pollutant emissions. And high-tech eyes in industrial production and quality assurance scan micro OP T I C AL S E NS OR S S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY B I OS E NS OR S Researchers are working on a sensor that is compatible with the quicklab system and is likewise capable of electric read-outs — the micro-balance sensor, which is being developed by Dr. Rein- hard Gabl of the Materials & Microsystems department at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Munich. In contrast to the electro-chemical sensor, here the conversion into an electrical signal does not take place via a linked enzymatic reaction. That means the molecule being detected doesn’t have to be specially marked either, which makes the sensor even more economical. The receptor rests on a vibrating base, which is the actual sensor element. When a DNA or protein sample binds to the sensor, the frequency of this oscillator changes. “In a sense, we use this to reg- ister the change in weight due to the bound molecule,” says Gabl. The sensor is constructed of several layers (graphic below). The fundamental oscillation is produced in a piezo-ceramic with the help of an alternating current. The surface is coated with a very thin layer of gold, “because for gold there is an established coupling chemistry,” says Dr. Hans-Dieter Feucht of the Erlangen, Ger- many CT labs. Feucht ensures that the receptors bind onto the surface of the sensor with pinpoint precision. That requires a few tricks, because the molecules are in a solution. To make sure they don’t disperse at the sensor, Feucht had plastic rings ten micrometers high mounted on its sur- face. Into these rings, a pipetting robot injects a few billionths of a liter of the receptor solution — aided by cameras with automatic image processing. Thanks to its high operating frequency, the micro-balance system is more sensitive than conventional piezo oscillators. The sensor therefore functions with very small measuring areas, which makes it cheaper. “In three years, at the earliest, it will enter product development,” Gabl estimates. Before then, he still has to develop a transverse oscillator. Currently, the sensor simply oscillates up and down, which results in a significant damp- ening of the signal when measurements are made in liquids. “The future transverse oscillator, on the other hand, shakes like a pudding,” says Gabl. “That reduces the dampening.” WEI GHI NG DNA — VI BRATI ONS REVEAL I LLNESSES substrate ultimately give rise to an electric current that the researchers can record with a read-out device (see box p. 75). The system is so sensitive that even the smallest deviations in genes can be detected. In a DNA test, the DNA sample and the recep- tors fit together like a lock and key. “When we slowly raise the temperature, the precisely matching molecules remain bound longer than those which differ in some constituent,” says Gumbrecht. In the past, analysis of indi- vidual mutations of this kind, which play a key role in many illnesses, was possible only with expensive laboratory equipment. Expensive Lenses Not Needed. In large part, it is the electric detection which is re- sponsible for the compact and inexpensive design. This makes it possible for the re- searchers to forgo the light sources, lenses and filters of a conventional optical detection system, in which the biomolecules are marked with fluorescent dyes. “In about a year we’ll have a prototype,” says Gumbrecht. In the meantime, he wants to make the sys- tem more user-friendly, simplify the process of acquiring the sample and make further progress with miniaturization. In the long run, there may be no need for the card reader at all, because it could be replaced by a highly integrated microchip — with an electronic evaluation unit, sensors for various questions and organic LEDs that display the result directly on the card. Gum- brecht’s vision is as follows: Just as diabetics now measure their indicators at home, pa- tients could one day use rapid tests to check the course of treatment for their illnesses. Pressing one’s thumb on a fine pin on the card would be enough to start an analysis of the drop of blood. Dr. Mohammad Naraghi, who oversees business development at Siemens Medical Solutions, is already looking into the first po- tential applications. He has great confidence in the system. “A drop goes in and informa- tion comes out,” says Naraghi. “So far no one has successfully implemented such a com- prehensive integrated approach — but that’s the vision we’re all pursuing.” Michael Lang Principle of the micro-balance sensor.An electrical voltage causes the resonator — the piezo layer — to oscillate. When a target molecule binds with a receptor according to the lock-and-key principle, it changes the frequency of resonance because of its weight. This change is then translated into an electrical signal and processed further. A micropipette (left) deposits a nano-liter of a biomolecular solution on a test sensor array. A sputter system for the piezo layer of the sensor (right). 76 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 77 Electrodes Piezo layer Target molecule receptor Acoustic reflector Silicon base P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 79 recognizes within 30 milliseconds if packages are lying properly on a production line or if bottle labels are correctly affixed. In a bot- tling plant, a conveyor belt moves bottles past a color sensor in a matter of millisec- onds. In this short time, four white-light LEDs flash on the passing labels. A camera chip, similar to the CMOS chip in a photo cell phone, records the images. The image pro- cessing system in the sensor is only inter- ested in the number of color pixels and how they are distributed (see p. 66). The software compares this color pattern with a stored sample and emits a warning signal if there is a deviation in the color values. “This color sensor makes Siemens the leader in this field,” says Staudt. “And to ensure this re- mains the case, I want to build as small and compact a sensor as possible in the future. step, we want to reduce the size of the sen- sor and pack the components into a single device,” says Lüthe. The team has already ac- complished much in terms of sensor perfor- mance. Until recently, the data matrix sensor could perform five evaluations per second, but now it‘s capable of reading the codes of 20 parts in just one second. Such high scan- ning speed is very useful in applications such as letter-sorting. The technology behind it in- volves an LED lamp that illuminates the ob- ject to be examined — whether a letter or a gray cast-iron housing. The image is then recorded by a CCD camera and analyzed by a digital signal processor. The real expertise here is contained in the image-processing al- gorithm, which must first find the code in the picture before it can evaluate it, under extremely difficult conditions in some cases. For example, the codes are lased, stamped or printed, and the surfaces can be smooth, rough, dirty or reflective. “But our sensor can handle it,” says Lüthe with pride. 3D Flight through a Hearing Aid.Imaging sensors can do even more, like looking di- rectly into a component — something the human eye will never be able to do. Jürgen Stephan, who is responsible for X-ray Tech- nology at CT’s Sensor Solutions Center, uses a computer tomograph to peek into computer chips, inner-ear hearing aids and cell phones. The image-processing system then merges up to 2,000 individual X-ray images into a single 3D picture. Stephan can even fly through the component on his screen in a manner similar to a virtual endoscopy in the medical sector. This allows him to detect hidden cracks or other material flaws at the micrometer scale, without damaging the component. To do this, he uses microfocus and nanofocus X- ray tubes with focal points measuring around 600 nanometers — much smaller than those of the X-ray tubes used for medical applica- tions and capable of much higher resolution. The largest flat detector measures 24 x 24 centimeters and achieves a resolution of one-thousandth of a millimeter. “Today’s mi- crosystem technology is taking us to the lim- its of all components,” Stephan says. He ex- plains that he could move the detector to the left and right to achieve a virtual detection width of 6,000 pixels, which would yield a three-fold improvement in resolution. How- ever, this would also result in a data volume of 100 gigabytes. With that amount of data, Stephan points out, no standard commercial computer today could create a 3D image that you could virtually travel through. But per- haps in the future… Rolf Sterbak “Optical sensorsare developing from the second into the third dimension.” searchers’ goal is to be able to conduct the tests at higher speeds, which would let them check more routes in a given period of time. To do this, though, they will have to increase the camera’s shutter speed and improve the image processing system. “We’re developing a sensor system that will allow the measur- ing train to travel at up to 120 kilometers per hour,” says Dr. Richard Schneider from CT. The human eye is getting some competi- tion from the CS10 sensor, says developer Michael Staudt from the New Sensor Tech- nologies unit at Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D) in Amberg, Germany. By ob- serving color distribution, the CS10 sensor The camera chip and image processor, which are still separate, should someday be in- stalled together on one chip.” Such a design should also make it possible to cut the recog- nition time from 30 to ten milliseconds. Ernst Lüthe’s team from the A&D Factory Automation Sensors development depart- ment is facing similar challenges. Their high- tech eye can read data matrix codes, a sort of pixel image printed on production parts that provide graphically encrypted information on product type or serial number, much like a bar code. The sensor currently consists of three components: the sensor head, the illu- mination unit and the controller. “In the next Examples of sensors that see in 3D. Left: A CT image of a hearing-aid component only a few millimeters long. Center: The shape of a vehicle occupant as seen by an extremely fast CMOS sensor. Right: A laser scanner as it scans a surface’s nanometer-scale defects. S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY OP T I C AL S E NS OR S 78 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Another scanner that Siemens developed for detecting defects at nanometer scales (the smallest particles on what should be an ultra-precise surface, for example) also works with a laser beam. “It’s as if you were moving along a mirrored surface the size of a soccer field at a speed of 100 kilometers per hour looking for a grain of dust,” says Dieter Spriegel, Project Manager at CT’s Sensor So- lutions Center. The laser beam simply scans the object line by line. The beam is focused on just a few micrometers, and if it hits a de- fect, it gets scattered. A special set of optics guides the scattered light to the system’s highly sensitive detectors. The developers can currently spot particles measuring ap- proximately 80 nanometers using the sys- tem. “But that’s not small enough for us,” says Spriegel. In a project sponsored by the German Ministry of Education and Research, he and his team are therefore looking to spot particles of 60 nanometers in an initial phase and then those measuring 30 nanometers beginning in 2007. Such detection power would be suitable for ensuring defect-free lithography masks in microchip production. But it will require the laser beam to be more sharply focused. The problem here is that the smaller the scanning beam, the faster the signal recognition and processing systems have to be for the application to be economi- cally feasible: Three detectors have to register 8,000 scan lines of 3,000 pixels each per sec- ond and then process them at a speed of ap- proximately one gigabit per second. To ex- amine an area of approximately 15 x 15 centimeters with the desired sensitivity of 60 nanometers, the system would need to process 2,400 gigabits, which would take nearly 30 minutes with three high-perfor- mance computers — just about acceptable for semiconductor production. A sensitivity of 30 nanometers would increase the data volume fourfold, presenting a Herculean challenge for developers. Laser Flash for 3D Cameras.Dr. Peter Men- gel, Project Manager at CT’s Sensor Solutions Center, and his team are developing a CMOS sensor that can register three-dimensional objects by using laser flashes. Plans call for the unit to be used to register 3D profiles of persons in entryways, for automatic baggage check-in at airports and to recognize unusual positions of vehicle drivers and passengers, to ensure airbags inflate properly (see Pic- tures of the Future, Fall 2003, p. 80). The unit’s sensor sends laser pulses (each less than 30 nanoseconds) to the object to be measured, and a semiconductor array, typi- cally containing some 1,000 pixels, analyzes the reflected light impulses. A high-speed electronic shutter ensures the light intensity a pixel is exposed to is dependent on the dis- tance to the associated point on the object. The software uses this data to calculate and process the 3D image. A reference measure- ment, taken by leaving the shutter open somewhat longer, compensates for possible differences in object surface brightness. Researchers are also using laser light to inspect overhead power lines for rail systems. The faster the trains travel, the sooner the overhead lines and their supports wear out. If the damage isn’t detected in time, the over- head traction line can tear, blocking the route and causing substantial delays. To detect such wear and tear, developers in a joint pro- ject by CT and Siemens Transportation Sys- tems have installed diode line cameras with infrared lasers onto the roof of a measuring rail vehicle that travels at up to 80 kilometers per hour, even at night. These diode lasers il- luminate the overhead traction line and its suspension in any light conditions. They record 22,000 image lines per second, which when laid together result in an “infinitely” long picture. At a resolution of 0.2 to two millimeters, the image processing system recognizes in real time how severely the line has been worn by the pantograph. The re- A sensor recognizes the shape of up to 20 parts per second. Faulty items are removed, while the correct ones are picked up by a robot. Robot Sensor head (camera) Illumination Ejector Good part Faulty part Conveyor belt Trigger Evaluation unit Controller Profibus S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY GAS S E NS OR S D riving and alcohol don’t mix. But relying on electronic blood-alcohol test devices to determine whether you can get behind the wheel is not the solution. Not one of these devices measures actual blood- alcohol level precisely, according to a test conducted by the German automobile associ- ation ADAC early in 2004. There are also very few methods today for measuring concentrations of other gases quickly and efficiently. “The devices are either too expensive and complicated to operate or, if they’re simple and cheap, they don’t yield reliable results,” says U.S. scientist Allan Chen from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. This will soon change if Dr. Maximilian Fleischer from Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Mu- nich achieves his goals. Here, in the labora- tory of the Power and Sensor Systems Center at CT, a new generation of gas sensors is be- ing developed. Fleischer, who heads the pro- ject, has electronic bloodhounds for the most diverse applications: He’s got miniature sen- sors that fit into a cell phone, sensors that re- quire hardly any electricity and powerful opti- cal sensors for industrial applications. Demand for small and inexpensive gas sensors is huge. Methane sensors could trig- ger an alarm when gas seeps into a house due to defective pipes, for example, while oxygen sensors could be used to optimize combustion in heating units, engines and power plants. Sensors that detect carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) could be used in air-condi- tioned buildings or vehicle interiors. Joggers could use ozone sensors to determine whether they should postpone their run. Fi- nally, certain illnesses can be detected on the basis of trace gases on a person’s breath. However, detecting what are invisible and often odorless and volatile gas mole- cules is not easy. Although sophisticated methods of analysis, such as gaschromatog- raphy or mass spectrometry, can reliably identify even complicated molecules, such procedures are less suitable for rapid, mobile utilization, which requires small electronic components that immediately emit a signal as soon as the presence of a specific gas is detected. All currently known sensors for gases are based on changes in physical para- meters that can be measured when mole- cules of a particular gas that are present in Digital Bloodhounds The latest gas sensors are making our lives safer, industrial plants more efficient, and driving less risky. Reli- able, fast and small, they range from methane sensors that can spot defects in gas pipes to an alcohol tester in a cell phone. Testing a prototype methane gas sensor. Smaller and less expensive than anything available today, such elec- tronic bloodhounds will examine gas pipes for leaks. 80 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 81 Toward Intelligent and Networked Sensors T he market for sensors will grow steadily in the coming years, according to a study conducted by INTECHNO Consulting in Basel, Switzerland. In 2008, a total of approxi- mately $50 billion will be spent worldwide on sensors for the civilian sector, meaning primarily for use in industry and in products for private households. That’s nearly $18 bil- lion more than was spent in 1998. Western Europe, Japan and the U.S. will remain the major markets for such sensors, accounting for some 83 percent of market volume in 2008. The driving forces behind this growth are sensors with built-in intelligence and sensors with integrated network interfaces. The for- mer include micro-electro-mechanical sys- tems (MEMS), which have the sensor, me- chanical parts and electronics all on one chip. S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY FAC T S AND F OR E C AS T S The automotive sector is one of several branches of industry that will be employing more and more sensors in their products in the coming years. For the next three or four years, high growth rates are also forecast in the processing industry and the consumer electronics and building technology sectors. A study by the Freedonia Group market research company reaches similar conclu- sions about developments in the U.S. Accord- ing to that study, the U.S. will remain the world’s leading market for sensors in the next ten years. Freedonia estimates that market volume in the U.S. will nearly double be- tween 2003 and 2013, from approximately $9.5 billion to $18.3 billion. The automotive industry is a big growth sector in the U.S. as well and will expand its share of the sensor market in the next ten years from 26 percent to 28 percent. The second-most important sector for sensors — industrial applications — will primarily require sensors for measur- ing process parameters, such as distance or position recognition. It will also require light- sensitive CMOS sensors that can be used for image recognition. All sensors, including those used in in- dustry, are becoming increasingly small and intelligent. Sensors without a communica- tion interface will practically disappear from the market by 2010, to be replaced by sys- tems with integrated electronics and connec- tions to communication networks such as field bus and Ethernet. Profibus and field bus- enabled sensors are already posting growth rates of 30 percent per year, for example. At the same time, sensors are becoming smaller and smaller, as demonstrated by the Coriolis flow sensor. Devices with a rated diameter of 40 millimeters are currently state of the art; in 2010, that figure will have been reduced to just 0.1 millimeters. The automotive industry is definitely the trendsetter in the consumer goods sector. To- day, there are already up to 100 sensors in every vehicle. These support the vehicle elec- tronics by providing information on speed, acceleration, engine speed and other data — and the number of such sensors is clearly on the increase. Chip manufacturer Infineon expects the share of electronic systems in vehicles to in- crease from the current 20 percent to 30 – 40 percent over the next ten to 15 years. Frost & Sullivan, a consulting firm, predicts that the market for vehicle sensors will grow from $1.56 billion in 2002 to $2.55 billion in 2009 in Europe alone. According to the Zen- tralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikin- dustrie e.V. (Electrical and Electronics Indus- try Association — ZVEI), this will also generate a significant market growth for micro-mechanical sensors, which are used primarily in the automotive sector in applica- tions such as airbag inflation. Sales of such systems increased by 12 percent last year. Kerstin Purucker 0 Plant and production technology Processing industry Vehicles Aircraft and ships Building technology Consumer and office electronics Other industries Billions of dollars 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 1998 2008 ... AND THE I NDUSTRI ES THAT ARE USI NG THEM U.S. 31.0% Rest of Western Europe 20.8% Japan 19.4% Germany 10.9% Rest of Asia/Pacific 8.8% Rest of America 6.1% Rest of World 3.0% U.S. 29.0% Rest of Western Europe 21.0% Japan 19.5% Germany 11.3% Rest of Asia/Pacific 9.8% Rest of America 6.5% Rest of World 2.9% GLOBAL MARKET FOR SENSORS ... Source: INTECHNO Consulting, 1999 Source: INTECHNO Consulting (1999), Freedonia (2003) Regional distribution of the global sensor market in 1998 (left) and 2008 (right) MAJ OR C AT E GOR I E S OF GAS S E NS OR S Sensor type Conductometric gas sensors Amperometric gas sensors Potentiometric gas sensors Optical gas sensors FET gas sensors How it works Gas causes a change in the conduc- tivity of a semiconductor Gas causes a change in the conduc- tivity of a polymer Gas takes electrons from one elec- trode and passes them to the other. The current flow is a measure of the gas concentration. Electrical charge on an ion-conduct- ing membrane Gas absorbs light Gas alters the transmission of light through a polymer layer Gas is adsorbed on the surface, a voltage is generated Example Metal oxide semiconductor Conductive polymers Electrochemical cells Lambda sensors Laser diode spectrometer Optode Applications Broad area of application for nearly all gases, e.g. blood-alcohol, volatile organic molecules, food testing, use in arrays as an “elec- tronic nose” Applications: For example, monitor- ing the presence of toxic gases at the workplace, measurement of numer- ous inorganic and organic molecules Measurement of oxygen content in vehicle exhaust or in metallurgical processes Simple gases such as O 2 , CO 2 , CH 4 , HCl, HF Fire detector Still under development Advantages/disadvantages + Robust, long life, versatile, miniaturizable – Low selectivity, high power consumption + Broad selectivity, high sensitivity, operation at ambient temperature – Humidity interferes with the measurements, sensor could be “poisoned” + Versatile – Average level of selectivity, low lifespan, sensitive to high humidity and extreme temperatures + Functions at high temperatures + Very precise, selective – Gases require sharp absorption lines in the near IR, unsuitable for complex molecules + Miniaturizable, low power consumption + Inexpensive, partially miniaturizable, rapid reaction, sensitive, selective cle’s interior could be dangerous, since CO 2 inhalation causes fatigue. Drivers can lose consciousness if the gas exceeds a certain concentration. “CO 2 sensors would also be very useful for building-technology applica- tions — for example, to regulate ventilation in conference rooms,” Fleischer points out. Simon and Fleischer believe that FET sensors also have potential medical uses. Those who suffer from asthma, for example, could use such a sensor to check the nitrogen-oxide content of their exhaled air to identify a possible infection of lung tissue early on. This is crucial because the nitrogen-oxide level in exhaled air increases three to fivefold a few days before an asthma attack. At the mo- ment, pulmonary clinics are only equipped with expensive and bulky stationary nitro- gen-oxide measuring units. When technically fully developed, the sensor from Siemens might be able to fit into a handbag. Remote Measurements. The third type of gas sensor from Siemens works with laser light, which takes measurements without making physical contact and can be guided to difficult-to-reach locations with glass fibers. Such sensors are thus very suitable for industrial applications. They function as fol- lows: Most gases allow visible light to pass through but absorb certain light wavelengths in the infrared range. Conventional diode lasers, such as those used in communications technology, can be used to pinpoint individ- ual absorption lines. If the gas in question is present, less light reaches the detector, and this information can be used to calculate gas concentration. Because each gas has its own absorption lines, there is no danger of the detector being confused by other gases or dust particles. Until now, it has been possible to use such sensors to measure oxygen, am- monia, water vapor, CO 2 , methane and hy- drogen sulfide. New laser technologies could enable the detection of other gases that ab- sorb light in the mid-infrared region. The main area of application for laser spectrometry is industry. The Swedish com- pany AltOptronic developed this sensor tech- nique for flue gas denitrogenization units at the end of the 1980s. Siemens acquired the Siemens researcher Fleischer with sensors from his lab. A tiny metallic-oxide sensor measur- ing a few square millimeters detects alcohol on a person’s breath — simulated here with dry ice (left). A FET sensor mea- sures carbon dioxide (right). S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY GAS S E NS OR S 82 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 83 Where there’s smoke is there also fire? Not always: Detecting a fire automatically is no easy feat. Many fire detectors can be set off by steam from the shower or kitchen, or by cigarette smoke. But not the Sinteso from Siemens Building Technologies (SBT). “Some of our customers think our fire detector doesn’t really work right,” says Enzo Peduzzi, head of Systems & Solutions at the Fire Safety unit in Männedorf, near Zurich. “Customers were used to three or four false alarms per week, so they were surprised when Sinteso never went off.” The detect- ing abilities of the Sinteso fire alarm, which will be gradually launched in Europe in 2004, are even better than those of the predecessor model. At the core of the system is a sophisticated measuring chamber containing two optical sensors and two temperature sen- sors. The combination of the two optical sensors makes it possible to reliably differentiate between harmless particles, such as water droplets, and dangerous smoke. But the truly amazing part of the fire detector is its signal processing system. The unit more or less “knows” in what type of surroundings it is located and what types of signals to expect when something is burning. “What’s more, the detector automatically increases its own sensitivity when it receives the first indications that a fire might have started,” says Peduzzi. Sinteso is so foolproof that Siemens has pledged in many European countries to assume the costs if the fire department is forced to go into action due to a false alarm. The scientists in Männe- dorf are currently examining whether fires can be detected more rapidly with the help of additional gas sensors, since gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides are released even before temperatures rise and smoke begins to form. FET sensors from Siemens are most suitable for fire detection systems, as they require very little electrical power. “We’re now conducting tests to see if they can be combined with our fire detectors,” says Peduzzi. E L I MI NAT I NG F AL S E AL AR MS the air have bonded to a surface or reacted with other substances (see table). Fleischer believes that three types of sensors hold par- ticular promise: those that function with me- tal oxides, field-effect transistors and lasers. Hot Coating with Molecule Filters.Siemens researchers have succeeded in improving the type of sensor used for measuring blood-al- cohol content. At the core of these so-called metal oxide semiconductor sensors is a tiny chip heated up to several 100 degrees Cel- sius, which also contains a thin layer of a semiconducting metal oxide. When a specific gas is present, the electric conductivity of the semiconducter is altered. There have been two problems with such sensors up until now: The first is that the metal oxide reacts to several different gases — for example, methane sensors also sound an alarm when alcohol is present. Such natural-gas warning units thus often set off false alarms when ethanol vapor (for instance, from cleaning agents) is present. The second problem be- came apparent when the ADAC tests of blood-alcohol measuring devices revealed that the devices only supplied stable results after a warm-up phase of an hour or more. Siemens researchers have overcome both problems, however. Their sensors work with different materials and at higher tem- peratures than older models, which means they react much more quickly. Fleischer’s team has also developed filters that keep un- wanted gases away from the sensor surface. For example, their hydrogen sensor is sealed with a glass-like coating of silicon dioxide, through which only tiny hydrogen molecules can penetrate. The researchers also wrapped a porous layer around a methane sensor probe that breaks down any ethanol mole- cules present. “A particular advantage of the metal oxide sensors is that they’re easy to miniaturize,” says Fleischer. Because the sen- sor surface is only about as large as a grain of sand, it doesn’t emit much heat, despite the high operating temperatures. This means that metal oxide sensors can be installed in portable devices such as cell phones and then used to measure alcohol on a person’s breath or ozone in the air. The high tempera- tures even offer advantages in other applica- tions, such as exhaust gas measurement for heating units or car engines. Cool Sensing. Fleischer is especially proud of his second group of sensors. Unlike the metal oxide sensors, these bloodhounds do not need to be heated up, which means they require less power to run. These devices are known by the name of field-effect transistor — or FET — gas sensors. Like the metal oxide sensors, they consist of a small plate with a chemically active layer whose surface adsorbs gases. This generates a voltage that is measured by the electric component — the FET. “What’s great about these sensors,” says Fleischer, „is that they work at room temeprature. That ex- tends the range of applicable stable materi- als, thereby increasing the chances of finding the right material for each gas.“ The re- searchers use metals, salts, polymers, and even dyes for the sensitive coating. “These sensors have a tremendous future, but devel- opment is still in its infancy,” says Fleischer. However, Siemens researchers have used this technology to develop the first solid- state carbon-dioxide sensor. “There are a lot of applications for this type of sensor,” says Fleischer’s colleague Dr. Elfriede Simon. Ac- cording to planned guidelines, new cars in the EU will have to use CO 2 as a coolant be- ginning in 2012. However, a leak in a vehi- ation, temperature or pressure. That’s a much more manageable number. The chal- lenge here primarily involves the engineer- ing — in other words, coming up with the ideal design for each application and making sure that it’s both robust and sensitive. In ad- dition, customers are demanding that such sensors become smaller and less expensive. Developers of chemical sensors, on the other hand, are confronted with problems such as cross-sensitivity — in other words, the fact that one sensor can detect more than one substance. For example, natural gas sensors don’t just react to methane;they also often sound an alarm when vapor from a naphtha cleaning agent fills the air. We therefore need to develop sensors that are very selective — in other words, react to only one substance. We can now more or less accomplish this with sensor arrays, whereby sensors of differing affinities and sensitivities are linked together. A mathe- matical comparison is then used to deter- mine which substance is actually present in the air. What do you think are the prospects for bio-sensors — can they be used to com- bat disease, for example? Weimar: In my opinion, you won’t soon be seeing sensors that travel through the body’s circulation system and radio their diagnosis to the outside. One of the reasons for this is that blood is a rather unfavorable medium, since it can easily clot. At the same time, sensors that measure blood sugar outside the body have been standard for quite some time. Much more exciting and promising, in my opinion, is the possibility of detecting diseases through odor. It is said that the al- chemists of old and practitioners of tradi- tional Chinese medicine were able to diag- nose illnesses on the basis of body odors. For example, respiratory infections have a typical odor. It’s therefore conceivable that sensors will be used in the future to conduct odor diagnoses. Initially, however, we have to clarify the old question: What exactly causes a typical odor? And which molecules are actually responsible for it? Interview by Tim Schröder Today, sensors are an integral part of our lives — a car, for exam- ple, contains around 100 of them. They also perform key functions in industrial production, environmen- tal and building systems and medi- cine. In 2008, the world market for civilian sensor systems will amount to about $50 billion — some $18 billion more than in 1998. Future trends: Sensors are be- coming smaller, cheaper and more powerful. They are being inte- grated into networks and gaining intelligence to act on their own and pre-process measured data (p. 63). Tiny wireless micro-electro-me- chanical systems sensors could some day be used in building technology to measure air tem- perature or CO 2 content. (p. 70) Researchers have developed the first s ensors that can independently communicate with one another and organize themselves into a net- work. Siemens has developed a sensor network that guides fire- fighters to the source of the fire in burning buildings. (p. 72) Biosensors can help detect dis- eases quickly. Although the DNA and protein diagnostic system quicklab from Siemens is only the size of a credit card, it can supply test results completely automati- cally in about an hour. (p. 74) Optical sensors are increasingly using 3D images, as recognition al- gorithms are more effective in 3D than in 2D. Siemens has developed sensors that can spot defects mea- suring only a few nanometers. Hid- den defects can be discovered by making a virtual 3D flight through the component. (p. 77) Siemens develops gas sensors for industrial facilities and build- ing technology systems and for detecting leaks in gas pipelines. In the future, they will be able to de- termine the amount of alcohol or nitrogen oxides in a person’s breath. The latter can warn of an impending asthma attack. The unit will be small enough to fit into a cell phone. (p. 81) PEOPLE: Optical sensors: Dr. Günter Doemens, CT PS 9 firstname.lastname@example.org Ernst Lüthe, A&D email@example.com Dr. Peter Mengel, CT PS 9 firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Anton Schick, L&A email@example.com Michael Staudt, A&D firstname.lastname@example.org Jürgen Stephan, CT PS 9 email@example.com Gas sensors: Dr. Maximilian Fleischer, CT PS 8 firstname.lastname@example.org Stefan Lundqvist, Siemens Laser Ana- lytics, email@example.com MEMS sensors: Dr. Osman Ahmed, SBT, USA firstname.lastname@example.org Biosensors: Dr. Walter Gumbrecht, CT PS 6 email@example.com Dr. Reinhard Gabl, CT MM 2 firstname.lastname@example.org Sensor networks: Dr. Rudolf Sollacher, CT IC 4 email@example.com Turbine sensors: Dr. Hans-Gerd Brummel, PG USA firstname.lastname@example.org Olaf König, PG email@example.com Automobile sensors: Gérard Troy, Siemens VDO firstname.lastname@example.org Dieter Wagner, Siemens VDO email@example.com Somatom, ultra-fast ceramics: Frank Berger, Med firstname.lastname@example.org Prof. Bernhard Boser email@example.com Prof. Anton Heuberger firstname.lastname@example.org Ray Sangster, email@example.com Prof. Jochen Schiller firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Udo Weimar email@example.com LINKS: Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center: www-bsac.eecs. berkeley.edu Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology:www.isit.fhg.de Forum for MEMS sensors: www.memsnet.org In Brief Sniffing out Illnesses by their Odors S E NS OR T E C HNOL OGY I NT E R V I E WS WI T H E XP E R T S Dr. Udo Weimar (41) is a lecturer and specialist in bio- logical and chemical sensors at the Physical Chemistry depart- ment of the University of Tuebingen. He believes the biggest challenge facing de- tector developers is how to come up with sensor probes capable of detecting odors on a selective basis. Sensors are currently used for measuring things like acceleration, gas concentra- tion and tire pressure. What will they be able to do in the future? Weimar:Tomorrow’s sensors will be able to detect chemicals and molecules much more easily and clearly than those of today. This represents a major challenge, since even rough estimates say that about a billion different chemical substances exist. Ultimately, you would have to develop a sensor for each of them. Do we really need to be able to identify all of these substances? Weimar:No, of course not. The problem is that we often don’t know what it is we should be looking for. Coffee, for instance, contains around 1,500 substances that influence aroma. But to date, we are only familiar with a portion of those molecules that are decisive for giving it that spicy taste. The real question is: What causes aroma and taste to be perceived by the brain? It’s as if developers of chemical sensors are searching for the right chemi- cals in a smashed-up pharmacy. How do you build the appropriate sen- sors? Weimar:The important thing is to come up with a sensitive layer that displays a high level of affinity with the substance you’re targeting. This greatly facilitates detection. For example, aromatic compounds or bio- logical molecules can bind on and in open- pored organic surfaces, such as polymers. The result is a change in the weight of the surface layer that can be detected by a unit made of sensitive oscillating quartz. However, the substance you’re trying to detect can’t be allowed to bind too solidly to the sensor, since it has to drop off from the sensor as soon as its concentration in the surrounding environment begins to decrease. As this is not very easy to achieve, it’s often necessary to wash off the biological molecules. Sen- sors used for measuring physical parameters are significantly less affected by these prob- lems than are biological or chemical sensors. Does that mean it’s easier to develop physical sensors? Weimar:Well, the fact is there are only about 100 physical parameters, like acceler- 84 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 85 company in 2001. The Swedish team then got together with Siemens Automation and Drives in Karlsruhe, Germany, to rework their measuring device. The new version, present- ed as LDS 6 at the Hanover Trade Fair in 2004, is completely digital. It rapidly and accurately analyzes gas concentrations in smokestacks, combustion chambers and pipes at tempera- tures of up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. The sys- tem consists of a sensor and an analysis unit, which are linked to a glass fiber cable and can be separated by up to one kilometer. LDS 6 can assist in the automatic control of combustion processes in power plants and other industrial facilities. “You can practically look into the combustion chamber and get results within seconds,” says Stefan Lundqvist from Siemens Laser Analytics in Solna, Swe- den. If the oxygen level is too high, the air in- flow is automatically reduced, for example. “Up until now, many facilities have extracted the gas and then analyzed it — but that’s too long if you want to control a facility effi- ciently,” says Lundqvist. The LDS 6 is also used in petrochemical facilities to reduce the risk of explosion, and the spectrometer can also be found at engine test stands, where it supports catalytic converter research. Other conceivable areas of application include the medical sector and the food industry. Multiple Sensitivity. The future, says Flei- scher, lies in the combination of several sen- sors to create a type of “electronic nose.” “At present, everyone is using a separate device for each application,” he says. “But the goal must be to bring together the various mea- suring principles and integrate them into a single device.” However, much development work still needs to be done before several sensor probes can be combined on one chip. Controlling them and processing their data represent further major challenges. If the sci- entists succeed, however, the measurement signal could not only be checked directly on the chip but also freed from interfering sig- nals. Fleischer describes his vision as follows: “Future sensors should know what kind of device and environment they are in. And they’ll be intelligent enough to do more than just take measurements.” Ute Kehse Siemens founder Werner von Siemens built a telephone amplifier for the hard-of-hearing way back in 1878. Over the past 125 years, these devices have evolved into high-tech mini-marvels that can handle even extreme acoustic challenges. 86 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 Electronic Ears P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 87 In the future, hearing aids will use radio to communicatewith each other and even serve as headsets for cell phones. It’s been a long road from the first hearing instruments to today’s tiny models.In this 1922 ad, Siemens’ Phonophor was packaged in an elegant handbag. In today’s laboratories, hearing aids are manu- factured under a microscope. Right: cross-secton of a Triano 3. C US T OMI Z E D HE AR I NG AI DS — S C UL P T E D BY L AS E R S Today’s hearing aids can be concealed within the ear, thanks to ever smaller electronic components. The shell is now customized to fit the patient, designed in a computer, and sculpted to perfection by a laser. “The advantage of this new process is a better fit and improved patient comfort,” explains Gerhard Hillig, president of “Forum besseres Hören” (Improved Hearing Forum), established by 14 hearing aid companies active in the Ger- man market. If the device can be made just a millimeter smaller than in the past, due to more precise dimensions, it can be concealed several millimeters deeper within the audi- tory canal. Siemens and its partners have perfected a new manufacturing method for this process. First the audiologist or acoustician makes a cast of the patient’s auditory canal. Then this cast is precisely measured by a laser, and the data are entered into a CAD pro- gram. This initial design is then perfected by a technician, who can observe the model while rotating it about any axis on a display screen, to ensure that it will fit precisely within the virtual canal. In addition, the position of the chips must be established and the course of the ventilation channels optimized. Then a powerful laser comes into play, which slowly sinters a nylon powder to precisely create the shape of the hollow housing. This process takes four hours but can produce 200 housings simultaneously. W henever a hearing aid is sold any- where in the world, the odds are good that it’s from Siemens. For a century now, Siemens Audiologische Technik (S.A.T.) in Er- langen, Germany, has been the number one address for good hearing. About one in every three hearing aids sold anywhere in the world was designed here. But this level of success has taken a lot of hard work, because a good reputation and a far-flung dealer net- work don’t necessary result in high sales. “In many countries, dealers are required to pro- vide the hard-of-hearing with a choice of de- vices by different manufacturers,” explains Dr. Gerhard Röhrlein, in charge of research and development at S.A.T.. After several days of hearing tests, the customer chooses the product that provides the greatest hearing improvement and feels best. Telephone with Amplification.Siemens founder Werner von Siemens himself took an interest in helping people with hearing prob- lems. In 1878, he built a telephone handset with powerful amplification for the hard-of- hearing. Since 1910, Siemens has been mak- ing “real” hearing aids that amplify ambient sound too — initially only for Siemens em- ployees and their families. In 1913, an im- proved model named “Phonophor” was intro- duced to the market. It consisted of a battery, microphone and receiver — plus a handbag or carrying case (see poster, above). Starting PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE HE AR I NG AI DS in 1914, Siemens marketed Phonophor mod- els with a proprietary miniature receiver. This insert receiver was not only less conspicuous but also located closer to the eardrum, so that the sound waves could produce greater effect. This “Ear-Speaker” was one of the first Siemens inventions specifically for hearing aids. In 1924, a carbon microphone amplifier boosted sound by up to 46 dB. The abbrevia- tion dB stands for decibel, a logarithmic unit of measure that’s useful in technology but can be somewhat misleading. An increase of 3 dB corresponds to a doubling of the sound pressure. By way of comparison: The hand behind the ear amplifies by about 10 dB, the ear trumpet Beethoven had to rely on, by 25 dB. “Modern hearing aids can amplify sound intensity by up to 80 db,” Röhrlein notes about the state of technology. “That’s enough to help virtually deaf people live ac- tively again.” Hearing aid manufacturers are con- stantly striving to exploit new technologies. In the late 1920s it was tube amplifiers with better sound — and a hefty weight. Not until the 1950s did miniature tubes allow devices to shrink to something hardly larger than a pack of cards. Next came transistor technol- ogy, and hearing aids shrank to the size of a pillbox. These Siemens devices were still sold under the name Phonophor. Electronics in the Ear. Since the 1960s, elec- tronics have migrated into the immediate vicinity of the ear. First in the form of the eye- glass hearing aid. But then Siemens devel- oped behind-the-ear hearing aids that con- tained all the electronics and fitted snugly behind the ear. Today’s in-the-ear hearing in- struments can actually be contained entirely within the auditory canal. “They’re virtually invisible in actual use — and that’s an import- ant selling point,” notes Röhrlein. Both be- hind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing instru- ments have their proponents. Only subjects with the most severe degrees of hearing loss may still encounter certain limitations with in-the-ear devices. Since the microphone and the sound transducer are separated by mere millimeters, there is a risk of feedback when the amplification is too great. prove sound quality. And there will be fur- ther advances in ease-of-use. Users of dual hearing aids, for instance, have always had to manually adjust the volume or the pro- grams of both devices when a change was necessary. Yet physicians and acousticians believe that dual devices are a necessity:The brain can only relearn how to hear correctly in stereo. In the future, dual hearing aids should therefore be able to communicate easily with each other through wireless signals. This con- vergence of hearing aid and wireless technol- ogy presents a new challenge, because engineers have to cram the antenna and the wireless electronics into the same space with all the other components. But there’s the promise of a dual pay-off too, because wireless communications can be used to connect hearing aids to other devices. As a result, the hearing aid could become the headset of a cell phone, and perhaps shift its image away from healthcare and toward lifestyle. Perhaps people would then be less likely to put off dealing with hearing prob- lems.Because unlike glasses or contact lenses, hearing aids continue to have a negative image. “Today it takes ten to 15 years on average,” says Röhrlein, “before someone with hearing problems decides to take a professional hearing test.” Bernd Schöne For nearly three decades, engineers had to be satisfied with relatively minor improve- ments, because they couldn’t fit more than four transistors plus a few coils and capaci- tors into these instruments. A new era began in 1996, when the first all-digital hearing in- strument arrived in the market. A digital hearing aid not only amplifies sound, it re- computes it. “In most cases a person with hearing loss can no longer perceive the high notes,” explains Röhrlein. “Speech and music therefore sound muted, and as hearing loss progresses, they become unintelligible.” A digital hearing aid amplifies the af- fected frequency bands quite selectively. In the Triano, Siemens top-of-the-line device, three microphones provide the data input (see illustration above). If necessary, ambient noises can be filtered out mathematically. And thanks to directional microphone tech- nology, a user can pick out what another in- dividual is saying among a cluster of people. The signal processors in these devices have a respectable computing power of several mil- lion operations per second. Digital technology, however, did pose a real challenge for engineers, since the volt- age and capacity of the batteries are limited. Even a brand-new hearing aid battery packs only 1.6 volts, and often puts out as little as 0.9 volt during operation. “But standard com- ponents used to require three to four volts,” explains Röhrlein. “And our chips had to work on a mere 0.9 volt. Very few companies were able to make such silicon wafers.” But pa- tients were ecstatic. Much like the equalizer in a stereo system, the amplification of the hearing instrument can be adapted by the acoustician to the entire tonal spectrum of the individual patient’s hearing deficiency. When Hearing Aids Go Wireless. Still more advances are in the works. In the foresee- able future, microphones will no longer be separate components but will be integrated into the chip. That will save space and im- Microphones Pushbutton Battery compartment Receiver 88 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 89 Early, Accurate Diagnosis T o provide earlier and more accurate diagnoses, Siemens has combined two imaging processes into one instrument. The True Point SPECT . CT technology combines nuclear medicine-based SPECT (Single Photon Emission CT) diagnostics with computer tomogra- phy. The x-ray images from computer tomography are used to obtain high-resolution 3D images of the inside of the body. SPECT, however, is based on the detection of small quan- tities of radioactive substance that accumulate in certain organs. The emitted gamma radiation is recorded by a special camera. SPECT not only lets physicians and doctors draw inferences on body and cell functions;it can iden- tify pathological changes at a very early stage. However, compared to computer tomography, SPECT images have a lower spatial resolution, so the two methods are combined to reap the benefits of each. As a result, it is possi- ble to improve diagnoses of cancer, heart diseases and nervous disorders. The technology will be launched on the German market beginning in June 2005.na Cell Phone Photo Diary S iemens developers have written software that cell phone users will be able to use to keep a mobile photo diary. When combined with the GPS satellite navigation system, photographs taken by a mobile phone camera can be provided with location data. If the images are then linked to a digital map, the locations where they were taken can be indi- cated in appropriate sections of the map. With a Bluetooth-enabled input device (for exam- ple, a digital pen or mouse) it’s also possible to link handwritten notes or voice messages to the photos and send these too. In the future, the program could also run on a large cell phone dis- play. The monitor shows a section of a map that displays each digital photo as a thumbnail image, and a user clicks on the image to enlarge it. A menu at the bottom of the screen lists the pictures chronologically. By labeling the photos with information on when and where they were taken — during a trip or at a trade fair, for example — experiences and events can be chronologically doc- umented. na Siemens’ SPECT . CT combines the benefits of nuclear medicine and computer tomography. Picture chronicle on a display. Thanks to GPS, software can link cell phone photos with locations. Always 100% informed: Doctors know their patients’ case histories almost from the moment they shake hands. Wristband with RFID I n the future, hospital treatment could become simpler for physicians and more transparent for patients — thanks to a radio wristband from Siemens that contains a 0.5- square-millimeter radio frequency identifica- tion (RFID) chip. To ensure data privacy, instead of storing the patient file, the chip stores the file’s Web address on a central computer that can be dialed up by an autho- rized doctor — even from mobile devices. As part of a pilot project at the Jacobi Medical Center in New York, Siemens Business Ser- vices has provided more than 200 patients with the radio wristbands. Doctors can read out the data with an RFID-enabled PDA, and if a patient is sent to the x-ray station, for instance, the physician there can immediate- ly work with the digital patient file and add data such as diagnoses or x-ray images. Siemens is also developing an innovative RFID watch. With the help of antennas around the hospital grounds, a person wear- ing the watch can be located to within two meters. Patients wear a sensor on their chests that also measures their heartbeat and sends the data to the watch, which then transmits the readings to the doctor. So high-risk patients are always under medical supervision — even in the hospital park, for instance.na Once a year, Siemens honors outstanding employees for their patent registrations by naming them “Inventors of the Year.” The prize-winners (there are usually 12 of them) are selected from among thousands of researchers and developers in all of the Siemens groups. Approximately 600 inven- tions can be attributed to the winners from last year alone. Here we introduce two typical researchers whose developments have made traffic safer — in the air and on the ground. Energy-Saving LEDs Illuminate Runways PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE PAT E NT S & I NNOVAT I ONS PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE I NNOVAT I ON NE WS PATENTS U ntil recently, experts thought only halogen lamps could meet the high safety standards for lighting airport runways during take-offs and landings. The con- sensus was that the luminous efficiency of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) was not up to the task. Unconvinced, Jean-Claude Vandevoorde of Industrial Solutions and Ser- vices in Belgium began intensive research into airport lighting. Equipped with high- performance LEDs, the lighting systems he developed are now in use on runways at airports in Brussels, Vancouver and Cincinnati. These LEDs have several benefits: M any of the inventions created by Dr. Heinz-Bernhard Abel of Siemens VDO in Babenhausen, Germany, are asso- ciated with “head-up displays” for cars. LED runway lights are economical, robust, miniature and maintenance- free. Chin Up in the Car of the Future They have much shorter reaction times and use up to 70 percent less electricity than halogen lamps. They don’t have to be made of heat-proof material and are largely immune to corrosion and the ageing effects of extreme temperatures. And they have a service life of up to 20 years. This eliminates the need for expen- sive runway-maintenance work, which lowers costs and increases safety. In the past eight years, Van- devoorde has registered 21 inven- tions. Louise Christensen These displays use mirror systems to pro- ject important information — such as speed or navigation tips — onto the windshield. To a motorist, the informa- tion appears to be floating above the hood of the car, and that means there’s no need for the driver to con- tinually look away from the road and then refocus on the traffic situation. Not only is this convenient; it also makes a substantial contribution to the safety of all drivers and passen- gers on the road. Abel’s latest invention centers on a technique for controlling how a reading is to be dis- played. It allows displays Displays developed by Heinz-Bernhard Abel will be able to automatically adapt to individual driving situations. to be used in a way that’s suitable for any imaginable situation. The manner in which information is conveyed depends on the driving conditions of the moment or how much strain the driver is being subjected to, for instance. This enhances the driver’s ability to perceive warnings or other safety-related notifications, and that contributes to making streets and highways safer. In the future, the system will automatically identify the situation the car is in and then set the display properties of the appropriate instru- ments. Since the mid-1990s, Abel has come up with 18 inventions, several of which have been patented and imple- mented in products. The inventor also collaborated on the head-up display now used in the new Series 5 BMW. Louise Christensen SERVICES FROM A DISTANCE According to the UN, more than one billion people worldwide have no access to clean drinking water — and the problem is getting worse. The abstrac- tion and treatment of water is thus a key task when it comes to sustaining our resources, as are the management of water supply networks and the treatment of waste water. The avoidance of dangerous materials and the conservation of raw materials are also key goals — and that means addressing everything from product design to recycling and disposal. Using modern communication networks, it will be possible to remotely start up, service and even con- trol power plants and industrial facilities — be they steelworks or sewage treatment plants. Such remote services will be suitable for use with other products too: In addition to providing software updates, it will be possible to conduct remote fault diagnosis on medical equipment, cell phones and vehicles. Thanks to video and augmented reality, technicians will be able to consult experts as though they were in the room. Users will also be able to benefit from these remote services personally, since physicians will be able to make virtual house calls. There’s nothing more personal than a visit to your physician. One day, electronic health cards and digital patient files will be used to store medical records. But personalized services go way beyond the area of health. The Internet will see the arrival of personalized portals for shopping as well as administrative and security applications. Personal user interfaces and electronic helpers will make it easier to operate equipment. What’s more, prod- ucts — up to and including medications — will be tailor-made to suit individual needs. E L E M E N T S O F L I F E P E R S O N A L I Z A T I O N PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE P R E V I E W S P R I NG 2005 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 9190 P i c t ur es of t he Fut ur e | Fal l 2004 I would like to receive a free sample issue of Pictures of the Future I would like to cancel my subscription to Pictures of the Future My address is incorrect Please send the magazine to… Title, first name, last name Company Department Street, number ZIP, city Country Telephone number, fax or e-mail Brochure on the method and results of Pictures of the Future, the strategic visioning and future planning at Siemens (2004 edition) Pictures of the Future, Fall 2001 (German, English) Pictures of the Future, Spring 2002 (sorry, out of stock) Pictures of the Future, Fall 2002 (German, English) Pictures of the Future, Spring 2003 (German, English) Pictures of the Future, Fall 2003 (German, English) Pictures of the Future, Spring 2004 (German, English) FFu ur rt th he er r i in nf fo or rm ma at ti io on n about Siemens’ innovations is also available on the Internet at: www.siemens.com/research-and-development (R&D website) www.siemens.com/innovationnews (weekly media service) www.siemens.com/pof (Pictures of the Future on the Internet with downloads) We would be happy to send you more information. Please check the box alongside the publication and language edition you would like to receive, and send this page by fax to +49 (0)9131 9192-591, by mail to Publicis Publishing – Elke Engelhardt – Postfach 3240, 91050 Erlan- gen, Germany, or send an e-mail to elke.engelhardt @publicis-erlangen.de. Please use “ Pictures of the Future,Fall 2004” as the heading. Would you like to know more about Siemens and our latest developments? PICTURES OF THE FUTURE F E E DB AC K AND S E R V I C E Back issues of Pictures of the Future magazine: Publisher: Siemens AG Corporate Communications (CC) and Corporate Technology (CT) Wittelsbacherplatz 2, 80333 Munich For the Publisher: Dr. Ulrich Eberl (CC), Dr. Dietmar Theis (CT) firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Editorial Office: Dr. Ulrich Eberl (ue) (Editor-in-Chief) Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner (na) (Managing Editor) Arthur F. Pease (afp) (Senior Correspondent, Corporate Technology) Additional Authors in this Issue: Marybeth d’Amico, Andreas Beuthner, Achim Born, Louise Christensen, Bernhard Gerl, Günter Heismann, Dr. Stefanie Hense, Sehee Hwang, Ute Kehse, Dr. Michael Lang, Katrin Nikolaus, Florian Martini, Bernd Müller, Kerstin Purucker, Dr. Jeanne Rubner, Bernd Schöne, Tim Schröder, Rolf Sterbak, Barbara Stumpp, Dr. Sylvia Trage, Dr. Evdoxia Tsakiridou, Nikola Wohllaib Author Support, English Editing: Kerstin Purucker, Christoph Manegold, Publicis Kommunikationsagentur GmbH, Erlangen Picture Editor: Judith Egelhof, Julia Berg, Publicis Kommunikationsagentur GmbH, Munich Photography:Kurt Bauer, Bernd Müller, Volker Steger Internet (www.siemens.com/pof): Volkmar Dimpfl Historical Information:Dr. Frank Wittendorfer, Siemens Archive Address Database:Elke Engelhardt, Anke Kimmling, Publicis Erlangen Layout / Lithography: Rigobert Ratschke, Büro Seufferle, Stuttgart Illustrations:Natascha Römer, Stuttgart Graphics:Jochen Haller, Büro Seufferle, Stuttgart Translations: TransForm GmbH, Cologne Printing: BechtleDruckZentrum, Esslingen For further information: www.siemens.com/pof Picture Credits: Meiré and Meiré (4-7), Zefa / image 100 (16), Vodafone Group Plc. (18), Fujitsu Siemens Computers / Siemens AG (20-21), Siemens Electroge- räte GmbH (25 l.), Nikola Wohllaib (28), private (29, 84), Sehee Hwang (30), images.de (32 b.), laif (34), picture-alliance (35 t. r.), Just Imagine (56), Poly-IC GmbH & Co. KG (58-59), ElekSen Ltd. (66), University of Erlangen (69, lower row), Free University of Berlin (73). Copyright of all other images is held by Siemens AG. © 2004 by Siemens AG. All rights reserved. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Order number:A19100-F-P100-X-7600 ISSN 1618-5498 Pictures of the Future,syngo and other names are registered trademarks of Siemens AG. Other product and company names mentioned in the magazine may be registered trademarks of their respective companies. The editorial content of the reports does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher. This magazine contains forward-looking statements, the accuracy of which Siemens is not able to guarantee in any way. Pictures of the Futureappears twice a year. 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