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Inventors and
Sustainable Cities
Machines See the Light
How Ideas Become Market Successes at Siemens
The Journey from Image Processing to Understanding
Technologies for Reducing Urban Environmental Impact
Pictures of the Future
The Magazine for Research and Innovation | Fall 2006
Pictures of the Future | Contents
Machine Vision
Inventors and Innovators
Sustainable City
06 Scenario 2025 The Green Hope
09 Trends Sustainable Megacities
12 Chongqing Hot Pot City 15 Beijing Countdown to the 2008 Olympics
18 Hong Kong and Macau From Niches to Riches
20 Interview: Prof. Albert Speer
A Renowned Architect and City Planner Discusses Resource Conservation
22 Mumbai / Delhi / Bangalore India’s Megacities Reach a Turning Point
26 Airports Soaring Sales
29 Facts and Forecasts The Urban Millennium
30 Building Automation When Green Means Gold
32 Beverage Industry Technology on Tap
34 Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Perfecting Processes
36 Fossil Fuels Industry
Gas on the Go
38 Steel Industry Metals for the Megacities
40 Emergency Communications Ready for Action
44 Scenario 2020 Innovation Mentors
47 Innovation Culture and Processes
One Step Ahead
50 Interview: Steven Veldhoen
A Top Booz Allen Hamilton Consul-
tant Explains the Value of R&D
52 Innovation@Siemens
Expenditures and Results
56 Innovators at Siemens
Fourteen Innovators Discuss Their Personal Paths to Success
66 Research Cooperation Learning Together
69 University of the Future
Competing for Talent
72 Interview: Dr. Viviane Reding An EU Commissioner and Siemens’ New Head of Corporate Research Discuss their Vision of the Future
74 Generation21 Tomorrow’s Researchers 80 Scenario 2020 The ANS Are Coming
83 Trends Machines See the Light —
An Overview of R&D in Machine Vision at Siemens 86 Video Surveillance
The Digital Watchman: Security and
Intelligent Image Processing
89 Interview: Dr. Norbert Bauer
A Leader in Image Processing
Discusses the Amazing Potential of this Technology
90 3D Object Recognition In-Depth Vision
92 Seeing with Sound New Help for the Blind
93 Facts and Forecasts
Why Image Processing Is Booming
94 Scanning Technologies
Speed Readers: Processing 60,000
Envelopes per Hour
04 In Brief
Roke Manor Celebration / Rail
Record / Steam Power / Airbags
with Ears /Sensor Sees and Feels /
Award for Pictures of the Future
42 Transforming Treatment
An MR Interface Developed at
Johns Hopkins Opens the Door
to Regenerating Cardiac Tissues
78 Siemens Corporate Research
A Holistic Vision of Data
98 Feedback / Preview
ur ability to innovate will determine
our destiny.” Although such state-
ments make regular appearances on talk
shows and in newspaper columns, they
are not trite. In point of fact, global com-
petition has ignited. But the white heat
of combustion is ever more likely to take
place in the oxygen-rich atmosphere of
ideas than in the bright flames and glow-
ing metal of factories and furnaces. This may sound new, but it’s not. Over
20 years ago, then chief of research at
Siemens Karl Heinz Beckurts pointed out
that strength in innovation is the key to
enhanced competitiveness: “Half of all
the products we will sell in five years,” he
Prof. Dr. Hermann Requardt is a member of the Siemens AG Corporate Executive Committee and is head of Corporate Technology.
This issue of Pictures of the Futurepro-
files over a dozen examples of this unique
human species. From piezo technology
to halogen lighting and intuitive user
interfaces, innovators have revolutionized
entire branches of work, introduced new
production processes, opened new mar-
kets, and generated billions in sales.
Breakthrough innovations flourish,
above all, where worlds come together
— where the trajectories of universities,
research centers, start-ups, industry, and
customers intersect. In such a charged
environment, all that may be needed to
ignite an innovation is a quick look over
the horizon or a chance suggestion.
What’s needed — fully in keeping with
the thinking of Sir Karl Popper, a leader
in the philosophy of science — is the
networked structure of an open society.
Find the best and keep them — that’s
the magic formula for companies that
want to compete in the major leagues
of innovation. But to achieve this,
companies have to offer something too:
remuneration that reflects achievement,
international networks, and career oppor-
tunities, be they in management or on an
expert level. The innovator species is pop-
ulated by sensitive creatures — people
who know their value and don’t mince
their words. This calls for their bosses
and personnel departments to retool
their thinking. Innovators, after all,
don’t want to be managed. Instead, they
expect to get involved constructively
and be noticed.
Whether in the Internet, in automation,
in bio- or medical technology — wherever
fundamental change has been ignited —
that’s where we detect the signature of
the new innovator. Unorthodox spirits
preside over established paradigms, pro-
ducing new products, processes, business
models and services. New technologies
germinate that in turn generate new
points of view. Eighty percent of all the
scientists, and quite possibly 95 percent
of all the innovators who have ever lived,
live on our planet today. They find a fasci-
nating palette of things to do and fields
to research. Participating in this intellec-
tual cornucopia is fun. Those who don’t
are missing an extraordinary opportunity
— for themselves and for all of us.
Pictures of the Future | Editorial
Cover:Megacities such as Beijing, Mumbai and Shanghai (back cover) are
absorbing a growing number of people
—and resources. What’s needed are
sustainable infrastructures for water,
wastewater, power, transportation (Incheon Airport, front cover), industry and housing. Siemens offers technolo-
gies and expertise in all of these areas.
said, “have yet to be developed.” Today,
with this percentage at an even higher
level, the driving question has become:
how can a company recast researchers
into innovators?
Innovators think differently from tradi-
tional researchers. Their intellectual com-
bustion processes are not limited by the
narrow confines of an ingot-sized specialty.
Instead, these processes take place in a
wide-open, holistic, interdisciplinary, and
market-oriented environment. Their focus
is on solving the problem; on figuring out
how to do things better — and on how to
better themselves.
Companies characterized by a culture
of innovation learn to think out of the
box and are often skeptical of traditional
methods. Competence, teamwork, and
a problem-solving perspective are their
ideals — the human catalyst that makes
ideas burn bright. Claus Weyrich, my predecessor, liked to
use the quote, “Innovation is one percent
inspiration and 99 percent transpiration.”
In innovative companies, errors are O.K.
— as long as they’re not repeated. The
willingness to take risks and the courage
to learn from — rather than shrink from
— mistakes also fit their personality
profile. In this context, the innovator is
an avowed entrepreneur and the best
salesman of his or her own ideas.
We Have Ignition
2 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 3 Sensor Sees Everything
otion detectors have now been given the
power to see. Eyetec from Siemens is the
world’s only motion detector that combines a
body heat recognition system with image sen-
sor technology. As a result, false alarms are
practically impossible. The optical detection
system uses a CMOS image sensor and fuzzy
logic to determine the size, direction of mo-
tion, and speed of an object. Sophisticated al-
gorithms are then used to evaluate movement
patterns and assess them for plausibility. If an
alarm is triggered, the detector archives all im-
ages so that they can later be used to deter-
mine the cause of the incident. The user can
also freely define specific surveillance zones.
By marking areas on a live image of a moni-
tored room, for example, users can allow peo-
ple to enter these zones without triggering an
alarm. This makes it possible to let museum vis-
itors move among exhibits while keeping them
from getting too close to any of them.
Museum surveillance. Eyetec stores data on specific
areas, and sounds an alarm if they are violated.
Airbags with Ears
new sensor from Siemens
that can recognize vehicle
impacts through sound will
enable airbags to trigger nearly
twice as fast. The Crash Impact
Sound Sensor (CISS) uses the
structure-borne sound waves
created when the body of a ve-
hicle deforms on impact and,
based on their characteristics,
determines the severity of the
crash and whether the airbags
should be deployed. The sen-
sor should be ready for mass
production in 2007. Until now,
different sensors have been
used for detecting crashes and
deploying airbags — pressure sensors and acceleration sensors that determine the severity of
an impact on the basis of vibrations measuring up to 400 hertz. However, the new sensor also
processes frequencies as high as 16 kilohertz along with vibrations in the lower range. This allows
it to detect inaudible oscillations as well, which propagate more quickly than deeper vibrations. It
does this by taking into account the characteristics of plastic deformation. When metal bends,
structure-borne sound is generated as a result of a displacement in its atomic structure. This
sound varies according to the intensity and speed of the deformation. In just 15 milliseconds the
sensor effectively “hears” the intensity of the accident, determines its precise nature with the aid
of acquired acceleration signals, and activates airbags and safety belt tensioners.
Pictures of the Future | In Brief
iemens’ Roke Manor Research (Roke)
celebrated its 50th anniversary with a
high-tech exhibition in May 2006. Roke,
which has approximately 400 staff mem-
bers in the County of Hampshire in south-
east England, is a leader in the develop-
ment of communication technologies,
acoustic systems, image processing sys-
tems and sensor technology. Roke also
played a major role in enabling Siemens
to become the first company to offer the
HSDPA high-speed data system for its UMTS
base stations. HSDPA accelerates the trans-
fer of data in UMTS networks by a factor of
between eight and 16, thus enabling mo-
bile Internet and TV features. Siemens has
already received several orders for the
installation of HSDPA —for example, from
T-Mobile and Vodafone. Roke Manor scien-
tists have also developed the Universal Mi-
crophone, an acoustic system that precisely
localizes the source of noises. The Universal
Microphone can therefore filter out and
record voices while suppressing back-
ground noise. One conceivable application
for the system would be sports broadcasts,
which means that some athletes would
Happy Anniversary
Roke Manor scientists have developed a license plate recognition device (right) and an optical system that
can detect hidden individuals (left).
The Taurus electric locomotive attained a
record-breaking 357 km/h.
have to watch their language. The Univer-
sal Microphone could also be used for
recording orchestras or opera singers. The
system, which works with a series of micro-
phones that record in parallel, can also be
linked to a camera for the automatic track-
ing of fast-moving objects. Roke Manor,
whose administrative offices are housed in
an old English country estate of the same
name, has been part of Siemens for 16
years. Revenues generated by the research
center rose 18 percent in 2005, to 52.4
million euros. In addition to Siemens, Roke’s
customers include Cable & Wireless, Euro-
control, and the European Organisation for
the Safety of Air Navigation.
4 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 5 I
n September 2006, Taurus, an elec-
tric locomotive and a member of
Siemens’ Eurosprinter family, met the
challenge. The locomotive raced
along the Ingolstadt-Nuremberg
route in Germany at 357 kilometers
per hour to set a new rail-speed world
record. The previous record of 331
kilometers per hour was set by a
French locomotive in 1955. The
record-setting locomotive is a produc-
tion model built for the Austrian Fed-
eral Railroad (ÖBB). The only alter-
ations made to it involved equipping
the pantograph and two wheel sets
with special measuring devices for
monitoring the trip. “The new world
record underscores the power, speed
and reliability of this locomotive,”
says Herwig Wiltberger, managing
director of ÖBB-Traktion GmbH. uz
iemens has introduced a new
iron outfitted with an integrated
steam generator. The appliance has
all the advantages of a larger and
more expensive steam ironing sta-
tion, which would typically have a
separate water tank. The innovation
in the slider steam generator, as the
system is known, is a motor inside the
water tank that operates a pump. The
five-watt motor, which isn’t much
larger than a postage stamp, moves a
small piston up and down to produce
the steam. Although the water has to
be refilled more often than in steam
ironing stations, the steam is ready as
soon as the iron heats up. Steam iron-
ing stations, on the other hand, can
take up to eight minutes to generate
the necessary pressure of around two
An integrated motor offers the benefits of a
steam generator in a normal clothing iron.
A new sensor triggers airbags based on chassis-borne sound waves.
Proud Publication P
ictures of the Future has been
awarded the top prize in an
international competition held by
the Society for Technical Commu-
nication (STC). The publication re-
ceived the society’s Distinguished
Award in the magazine category.
With more than 23,000 members,
the STC is the world’s largest asso-
ciation of technical writers. Only
ten magazines from all 50 U.S.
states, Europe and Israel made it
to the final round this year.
The Green Hope
6 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 7
Mumbai in 2025. Architect and urban planner Vijay Mukherjee is showing former fellow students from San Francisco and Shanghai how he and others have transformed the Indian megacity into a world-class metropolis.
ijay, your father built that building there?”
asks Pete Johnson, one of the most famous
urban planners on the West Coast in the U.S. “I
didn’t know that. That was the building that
inspired one of my projects in San Francisco.”
12 China: Investing in the Future
China is expanding its infrastruc-
ture. Chongqing, the world’s
largest city, is starting to compete
with other megacities in eastern
China.Beijing is preparing to host
the 2008 Olympic Games, and
Hong Kong sees itself as a “premi-
um product.” Pages 12,15,18
20 Sustainability Is Possible An interview with architect and
urban planner Prof. Albert Speer
regarding his projects in China
and the future of cities. 22 India: Toward a Turning Point
The Indian economy is booming.
The government plans to invest
billions in improving its trans-
portation, energy and water infra-
structure. Reports from Mumbai,
Bangalore and New Delhi. 26 Airports: Soaring Sales Frost & Sullivan predicts that the
number of air passengers will in-
crease from 1.6 billion to 2.3 bil-
lion by 2010. Large cities in par-
ticular are being forced to
continually reinvent and expand
their airports using state-of-the-
art technology. 34 Industry: Perfecting Processes
Steel, gas, chemical and phar-
maceutical companies are using efficient and environmentally friendly production methods to meet the sustainability challenge. Pages 34,36,38 Highlights
Vijay, a renowned Indian architect, is
showing two former student friends the
new Mumbai. Thanks to 20 years of
investment, the megacity has become one
of the world’s leading cities. The old harbor
has been transformed into a thriving
neighborhood with lots of apartments and
stores. New highways and bridges provide
quick and easy access to the area on the
other side of the bay.
Sustainable City Development | Scenario 2025
“Well, Pete,” Vijay replies, “that was my father’s
first big project in Mumbai — and also the first
one I worked on.” Vijay then uses his broadband
cell phone to call up the old blueprints for the
building on his OLED projector display. “You
can’t imagine the symbolic effect the Green
Hope Building had for the entire city back then,”
he says. Vijay, 45, has invited two former fellow
students from Yale University to India to cele-
brate the 20th anniversary of their graduation.
Sustainable Megacities
egacities are unique and complex,” says
urbanization expert Dr. Willfried Wienholt.
“And effectively addressing the challenges they
face is a Herculean task that requires, among
other things, a great deal of creativity and finan-
cial power.” For the past year or so, Wienholt,
who works at Siemens Corporate Technology
(CT), has been studying megacities and the gen-
eral global trend toward urbanization.
The United Nations has defined a megacity
as an urban development with more than ten
million inhabitants. Wienholt is convinced that
“future urban development strategies must give
greater consideration to the principle of sustain-
ability.” After all, between now and 2030, 90
percent of global population growth will occur
in cities. It is estimated that an additional two
billion inhabitants will move into urban centers
in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East
during this period. This will put a huge strain on
infrastructure and the environment. Consider water, for example. Cities already
consume 60 percent of all drinking water world-
wide, either directly or indirectly as water for
raising food products. With regard to energy, the
state of São Paulo — the largest urban area in
South America — accounts for 60 percent of to-
tal energy consumption in Brazil. In view of this
situation, the UN has formulated a series of goals
related to sustainable development that are de-
signed to improve the quality of life in cities.
These goals include suitable housing and access
to clean drinking water for all, power supplies
and transport systems that are as efficient and
environmentally friendly as possible, and land
use and construction projects that proceed in ac-
cordance with the principle of sustainability. Eco City.Such goals can be — and are — being
put into practice. Dongtan, which will be the
world’s first “eco-city,” is an example. Plans call
for the city to be built in the next few years on a
630 hectare parcel on an island in the Yangtze
estuary near Shanghai. This city will be charac-
terized by minimal water consumption and an
extremely efficient energy supply — including
alternative energy sources — for reducing carbon
dioxide emissions. Parks, lakes and open areas will
also greatly improve quality of life. Dongtan’s
first construction phase is scheduled to be com-
pleted in time for the 2010 World Expo in Shang-
hai, making Dongtan a global model for urban
Megacities in most emerging markets can
only dream about such conditions. “There are
only limited possibilities for sustainability in
many cities,” says renowned urban planner Prof.
Albert Speer (see interview on p. 20). Rapidly
growing cities such as Mumbai in India are suffo-
cating in traffic. Mumbai is also struggling with
drinking water and sewage systems built by the
British back in colonial times. Moreover, the city
has to absorb some 350 new families that move
there every day (see p. 22). Mumbai’s infrastructure is in danger of col-
lapse, and it will be anything but easy for it and
similar cities to achieve the UN’s sustainability
goals. There are no simple solutions — not
because technology is inadequate, but because
of the complexity of the structures in place. A
prerequisite for sustainable development in
cities like Mumbai and São Paulo is good gover-
nance. This must encompass the entire adminis-
trative and economic system of a city, region, or
even an entire country, with all the complex
They’re standing on the roof of the Gandhi
Building and looking down on Mumbai Bay.
Beneath them is Old Harbour, one of the city’s
recently created districts. Elegant bridges
stretch across the water to New Mumbai, where
terrace-shaped apartment houses have been
built into the green hills. “Wasn’t there once a
big slum over there?” asks Jeremy Zhang, a star
architect from Shanghai. “That was a long time
ago,” says Vijay. “Do you remember how you felt
sorry for me after graduation, when I was
returning to Mumbai?” asks Vijay with a laugh,
slapping Jeremy on the shoulder. “I couldn’t tell
you back then, but I had nightmares about it
myself. I mean, you guys in Shanghai were light
years ahead of us.” “That’s history now,” says
Jeremy. “To be honest, I never took you seriously
when you said you were going to turn Mumbai
into a world-class city. How did you ever manage
to do it?”
“The Green Hope Building was sort of the
spark that got things going,” Vijay replies. “We
originally planned it as an apartment house for
rich Bollywood people. But after the first reloca-
tion program for Dharavi began, my father said
he wanted to put the building smack in the mid-
dle of the former slum.” “What’s Dharavi?” Pete
asks. “It was the biggest slum in Asia,” says Vijay.
“A million people lived there 20 years ago, and
the new building really gave them hope for a
better life. It was futuristic, airy, tall and, most of
all, green. We planted a garden on each roof and
made the building into a place where people
could also meet — right in the middle of a slum.
Later, when the new apartments were finished,
the people were still left with a symbolic point of
“Okay, but that alone wasn’t the factor that
made the difference,” Pete says. “Well, adminis-
trative reform started around the same time,”
says Vijay. “You have to understand that Mumbai
didn’t have an elected mayor with real power
until 2010. With his new clout, the mayor was
able to quickly implement plans that had been
talked about for years and then filed away to col-
lect dust. Mayor Patil was less of a politician and
more of an entrepreneur. He brought every
influential person in the city together and told
them rather bluntly what would happen to
Mumbai if action wasn’t taken soon. You proba-
bly can’t imagine this, but we had 6,000 tons of
garbage piling up every day back then. There
were 600 vehicles for every kilometer of road,
and the trains were hopelessly overcrowded.
What’s more, 350 new families were moving
into the city every day. Patil had unbelievable
charisma and a great sense of humor. He told a
different version of his story to suit his audience
at any given moment, which included bureau-
crats, businessmen, investors and people on the
street. And it worked. After just one year, all of
his projects were up and running.”
“I remember that,” says Pete. “I also put in
tenders for some projects back then — but I
always came up short.” “Sorry to hear that, but
you have to understand that the only thing we
needed from the rest of the world was financ-
ing,” Vijay explains. “As it turned out, the cre-
ative potential in India was enormous.” “That’s
true,” says Jeremy. “That was when Chinese
banks began investing heavily in India, and it
even led to a slight slowdown in the construc-
tion boom in Shanghai.” “As soon as the city gov-
ernment started to function smoothly, investors
started showing up practically without anyone
even asking, and this ensured planning securi-
ty,” says Vijay. In many cases, the city didn’t even
need to put up any capital of its own. For exam-
ple, the bridges and city highways were fully
financed by their operators, who are now post-
ing great earnings from tolls.” “Something simi-
lar happened in San Francisco,” says Pete. “It was
a long time ago, and it involved replacing all the
bulbs in traffic lights with LEDs. After the job
was completed, the city never had to pay for
maintaining the lights again. The bulbs were
replaced by a private company that was allowed
to reap a share of the energy cost savings that
“And then,” Vijay continues, “we were given a
tremendous opportunity in the form of Old Har-
bour, which involved planning an entirely new
district. My father was always a fan of environ-
mental building design, and I was able to use the
knowledge I had gained from my studies, since
sustainable urban development was one of the
subjects of my thesis.” Vijay calls up the ground
plan for the district on his color display. He first
shows his friends the old port facility and then
slowly superimposes the plan of the district as it
appears today. “We did our planning using the
highest technical standards,” he says. “Every-
thing is networked — energy and water supply,
IT infrastructure, building systems, traffic guid-
ance systems and so on. There are plenty of
green areas, big parks, and tree-lined boule-
vards like the ones you have in Shanghai, Jere-
my.” Suddenly Vijay’s assistant appears and
hands him a cell phone. “I’m sorry, Dr. Mukher-
jee, but it’s urgent.” As Vijay listens, his face
lights up. “That was Jakarta’s mayor,” he says
after the call is finished. “The Indonesian capital
has been taking a very close look at Mumbai,
and has decided to give us the contract to con-
vert the last big slum there into a residential
area. That’s cause for celebration. Come on, let’s
go get something to eat.” Vijay slings his arms
around his friends’ shoulders and leads them
into the Gandhi Building’s rooftop restaurant.
Norbert Aschenbrenner
Sustainable City Development | Scenario 2025
Boomtown Shanghai. Although the megacity is
growing rapidly, planners are taking sustainability
into account — for example, in the automotive city and in the Dongtan “eco-city.”
Particularly in emerging
markets, megacities face huge challenges
ranging from rampant
growth and stretched
budgets to inefficient
infrastructures. Nevertheless, sustainable development
is achievable. What’s
needed is political leadership, help from private investors, and intelligent technological
8 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 9
| Trends
and more private investors are already providing
funding for infrastructure projects. This develop-
ment is still in its infancy in many countries because
until recently there wasn’t a legislative frame-
work for private investment in public projects.
However, Siemens is increasingly becoming a
partner when it comes to financial solutions. Siemens Financial Services (SFS) is the inter-
national leader in the customized structuring of
project financing solutions. “No other industrial
company and no major bank has such a large
and experienced team in this field,” says
Johannes Schmidt, managing director of SFS.
With its approximately 1,700 employees, 130 of
whom are specifically involved in this area, SFS
is a center of expertise in financing and risk
issues not only for Siemens, but also for external
“Construction didn’t begin until July 2005.”
That’s because planning was delayed by debates
on the proper location for the airport, imple-
mentation of required legislation, and two
changes of government. Persistency paid off, however, as various
Siemens groups are supplying technical equip-
ment for the airport, including systems for han-
dling luggage, transport, communications,
computers, fire protection, air conditioning,
security, runway lighting, control centers and
power supplies (see p. 22 and 27). “When com-
ations, including optimization of all business
and work processes, while the Chinese partner
will ensure that the special requirements of the
local market are appropriately considered. For
example, there are virtually no general practi-
tioners in China; people simply go to a hospital
when they feel ill. This, of course, has led to
large outpatient departments. All information will be collected by SPV,
where Fortströer and his team will then develop
a feasible plan and coordinate the overall con-
cept. “We need information on how many
“Raising capital isn’t the problem; there’s plenty of money out there around the world.”
customers and investors. “Our primary focus is
risk management,” says Schmidt. “That’s be-
cause every investor wants to achieve returns in
line with the risks they take.” The Project & Export Finance team at SFS is
currently developing financing solutions for
some 600 Siemens projects. That amounts to a
project volume of more than 55 billion euros.
For every new project, SFS experts analyze the
market, the legal and political situation, as well
as technical details. They then draw up a financ-
ing plan that includes loans from international
institutions such as the World Bank, credit from
major private banks, and funding from the capi-
tal markets. In some cases, SFS will itself participate by
providing its own capital, as was the case with
India’s first private airport, which is located in
Bangalore. SFS has a 40-percent interest in BIAL,
the airport’s operating company. “We’ve been
involved since planning for the project began in
1999,” says Dr. Wolfgang Bischoff, managing
director of Siemens Project Ventures (SPV),
which is responsible for SFS’ equity business.
pleted in April 2008, Bangalore will be India’s
most modern airport,” says Bischoff. India is
actually a land of airport opportunities, with
some 40 airports scheduled to be privatized and
modernized over the next few years.
Balancing Risks.SFS not only faces the chal-
lenge of coming up with balanced financing; it
must also find a way to equalize the risks of all
those involved in a project. One of its current
projects is the Chinese-German Friendship Hos-
pital, a 500-bed clinic (expandable to 1,000) to
be built in the Shanghai International Medical
Zone by 2010. The project’s partners are SPV, the private
German hospital operating company Asklepios,
and Tongji University in Shanghai. “We’re now
optimizing the business plan and structuring the
financing,” says SPV project developer Andreas
Fortströer. “It’s very important for partners to
focus on the areas where they have the most
expertise.” With this in mind, Asklepios will contribute its
clinics’ knowledge of commercial hospital oper-
patients we can expect, which ailments patients
complain about most, and how we should use
the medical equipment we get from Siemens,”
Fortströer explains. The planning process will be
followed by a detailed risk-profitability analysis
of the hospital, the results of which will form the
basis for the participatory structure.
When the project is concluded, Siemens will
have helped give Shanghai yet another state-of-
the-art hospital that will improve the quality of
life for the nearly 13 million people that live in
the city. Prof. Wan Gang, president of Tongji Uni-
versity, calls it a win-win situation for all the par-
ties involved. For megacity expert Willfried Wienholt, the
Shanghai project is an example of how techno-
logical expertise, intelligent financing and
strategic planning can make a major city a more
pleasant place to live in. Schmidt, for his part,
believes private investment can accomplish a
lot, given the right political and social condi-
tions. “Raising capital isn’t the problem,” he says.
”There’s plenty of money out there around the
Norbert Aschenbrenner
relationships this includes. This in turn requires
the greatest possible efficiency and transparen-
cy, as well as socially oriented policies and,
above all, clear lines of responsibility. Achieving this can take a lot of time in
democracies, where stakeholders must be given
a voice and a range of institutions have to agree
on specific measures. What’s more, the whole
playing field can change completely after the
next election. Despite conventional wisdom,
things aren’t much different in China in this
regard. “Those familiar with the country know
that political decisions are not simply dictated
from above,” says Speer, who has completed
numerous projects in China since the 1990s.
“The individual regions and municipalities also
have a lot to say on many matters.” Efforts to
years exceeded that of its megacity neighbor,
which has 18 million inhabitants.
Three Types of Megacities.Together with his
team at CT and external partners, Wienholt has
developed a study for examining sustainable
urban development using Siemens’ Pictures of
the Future methodology, which analyzes trends
and determines the conditions necessary for
technology development. The study divides
megacities into three categories:
➔those that are experiencing very rapid popu-
lation growth, have outdated or nonexistent
infrastructure, and are located in developing
countries or emerging markets (examples
include Mumbai, Lagos and Jakarta);
➔ those that are experiencing rapid economic
Sustainable City Development | Trends
them. One of these, according to the Institute
for the Future in Palo Alto, California, is “light
infrastructure,” which refers to systems whose
strength is derived from a network of numerous
small parts. One example of such an infrastructure
involves future energy supplies. Here, Siemens
experts from CT predict that distributed power-
generation systems will account for a larger
share of installed output in the years to come.
Wind power generation facilities are booming
worldwide, and Siemens and other manufactur-
ers are developing small high-temperature fuel
cells that can supply electricity and heat to build-
ing complexes. Numerous small, distributed systems reduce
the risk of failure, can be controlled via the Inter-
10 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 11
Traffic chaos in Jakarta and relative calm and order in
New York.Effective infrastructures are crucial to the
economic success of major cities. The higher the level of
infrastructure investment , the better the quality of life.
protect the environment and promote sustain-
ability run into difficulties in many cities because
they are initially viewed as being too expensive. “But investment in the environment and sus-
tainability pays off in many different ways,” says
Wienholt. Such investment not only improves
quality of life; its other effects also strengthen a
city’s economy. For example, reducing traffic
jams in an urban area leads to greater productiv-
ity. “Ultimately, a city with a high quality of life
will attract more investment and be trans-
formed into an engine of economic growth,”
says Wienholt. This explains why economic growth in India
has in many cases shifted from the megacities to
smaller neighboring cities. Often the latter are
more flexible and offer better conditions. One
example is Pune, which has three million inhabi-
tants and is situated less than two hours by car
from Mumbai. Pune’s economic growth has for
growth, establishing an infrastructure or trans-
forming it, already have strong economies, and
are undergoing a transition to a developed city
(examples include Shanghai and Beijing);
➔those that are already developed, and have a
very good infrastructure and a strong economy
(e.g. New York, Tokyo and London).
Each of these categories of megacity faces
different types of challenges. The study found,
for instance, that some cities, such as Tokyo,
urgently need to take action to avoid problems
in the future. For example, the population of the
Japanese capital is aging rapidly, and this can
have a number of consequences. Moreover,
despite its high level of sophistication, Tokyo’s
infrastructure requires continual further invest-
ment. For example, half of the facilities for water
supply are in need of extensive modernization. Despite the differences between megacities,
there are also several trends common to all of
net, and can even network themselves in the
manner of modern communication systems
based on ad-hoc networks (see p. 40). Meanwhile, in the industrial area, an exam-
ple of a light infrastructure is Siprocess. This
miniature chemical plant that Siemens is
launching on the market is an example of a flexi-
ble, efficient and environmentally friendly pro-
duction technology (see p. 34). We can also expect the political importance
of major cities to grow, because they will in
many cases account for a large share of a coun-
try’s gross domestic product (GDP) and generate
a correspondingly large amount of tax revenue.
Tokyo, for example, already accounts for 40 per-
cent of Japan’s GDP, and Buenos Aires generates
45 percent of Argentina’s. Still, budgetary pressures on cities will
remain intense, which is why we can also expect
to see new financial models. For instance, more
Sustainable City Development | Chongqing
Hot Pot Town
12 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 13
Chongqing, the world’s largest city, doesn’t have it easy.
Located deep in China’s interior, it has long been cut off from
the boom that’s swept other regions. Now it’s catching up.
he trademark of the world’s largest city is
the “Chongqing Hot Pot,” a beef broth filled
with red chili peppers and lots of little pepper-
corns. Granted, it may seem a curious mainstay
dish for a city where it gets so hot in the summer
that factories send their workers home for
weeks at a time. Still, residents of Chongqing
love their fondue-like Hot Pot. “Hot on the inside,
hot on the outside — it has a balancing effect,”
they like to say.
Aside from the Hot Pot and high tempera-
tures, however, this city of 31 million was any-
thing but a “hot” attraction until recently. After
all, the centers of the Chinese economic miracle
— namely the Pearl River Delta in Hong Kong’s
hinterland and the Yangtze Delta around Shang-
hai — are 1,000 kilometers away. Although
Chongqing is also on the Yangtze — China’s
largest river — only small ships used to be able
to pass through the narrow and dangerous
Three Gorges to reach it. And aside from the
arms industry, which Mao Zedong set up here
precisely because of the city’s inaccessibility,
Chongqing wasn’t home to any industrial sector. Then, in the mid-1990s, Beijing decided to
use Chongqing as the bridgehead for a large-
scale campaign to develop the country’s back-
ward hinterland. Between 2000 and 2005, the
government invested $75 billion in a “Go West”
program. Part of this plan involved making
Chongqing a kind of “Shanghai of the West,” as
city officials put it. Beijing provided $22 billion in
funding for the effort. That was certainly a lot of
money, but it was a relatively small budget for
putting 30 million people to work; ensuring
enough housing for them; building roads,
schools, and hospitals; and providing electricity,
drinking water and waste disposal services.
What’s more, all of this had to be done over an
area the size of Austria, because only half of
Chongqing residents live in the city itself; the
rest have their homes in the hinterland that was
incorporated into the municipality in 1997. This
inclusion is also the reason why some dispute
Chongqing’s claim of being the world’s largest
city. The situation demands that Chongqing in-
vest in infrastructure solutions that are both rea-
sonably priced and effective.
Siemens Supplies the Infrastructure.That
also explains why Chongqing relies on Siemens
technology for many of its key projects. Just a
few years ago, to cite one example, a rusty sus-
pended tram spanning the river was the city’s
most advanced mode of transport. In 2004,
however, that honor was transferred to the city’s
first commuter rail line, which began operating
With 31 million residents in an area the size of Austria, Chongqing is technically the world’s largest incorporated city. with Siemens control technology, electrical sup-
ply equipment and alarm systems. Six additional
above-ground and underground rail lines are be-
ing planned. Siemens also provided building
systems technology for Chongqing’s new air-
port, trade fair center and numerous new hotels
and office buildings. The company also supplied
control systems and network technology to the
Luohuang coal-fired power plant, one of the
municipality’s major power utilities.
This infrastructure is the foundation for mak-
ing Chongqing a competitive business location.
The story of Chongqing’s largest company, the
Chang’an Automotive Group, which has 43,000
employees, illustrates how this goal can be
achieved. The state-run enterprise, which used
to make military vehicles, was reorganized into
one of the country’s leading manufacturers of
passenger cars and commercial vehicles. In
makes on its own. Chang’an also uses Siemens
components for these vehicles to ensure they
remain competitive. For example, Siemens is
developing the body control module for
Chang’an’s new generation of mini buses. Motorcycle Economics.Although the sales
market for automobiles in China remains largely
concentrated in prosperous eastern China, an-
other product from Chongqing — motorcycles
— is now also doing well in the west. The lead-
ing manufacturers already deliver their products
all over the country and are now determined to
conquer the world market. They plan to do this
by establishing alliances with global leaders in
technology — which is why Siemens subsidiary
Synerject is building an R&D center in
Chongqing. Here, 25 engineers will develop
products for the motorcycle industry. “Siemens
is very committed to providing tailor-made prod-
ucts to its Chinese customers,” says Zhang Xi-
ang, technical director of Jialing, the largest
state-owned motorcycle manufacturer. “The
Siemens development facility is an important
step toward making Chongqing a center for
technology and the export industry, because it
will help local companies build vehicles of high
Shanghai, Changchun, Wuhu (Anhui province)
and Huizhou (Guangdong). “Today, Chongqing
is so well connected via roads, railroads, harbors
and airports that it’s no problem to establish effi-
cient supplier chains,” says Yuan Quan, Siemens
Key Account Manager for Chang’an. “All of this
shows how China is growing into a single huge
market.” Chang’an has meanwhile become the fourth-
largest automaker in China. In 2004 the com-
pany sold 580,000 vehicles, twice as many as in
2002. Its products range from Suzuki compact
cars, Ford midrange models and other cars to
minivans, buses, and small trucks that Chang’an
quality.” Synerject has already received initial or-
ders for the development of its Engine Manage-
ment System (EMS). “The use of Siemens drive
technology is important from an environmental
point of view, as it enables us to build fuel-effi-
cient vehicles,” says Zhang.
Siemens has also entered into other technical
partnerships in Chongqing, such as the one with
the Chongqing Iron & Steel Design Institute
(CISDI), a government research center for the
metalworking industry that is steeped in tradi-
tion, and which is also playing a key role in the
modernization of the Chinese iron and steel sec-
tor. CISDI is a system integrator that’s bringing
Huge infrastructure investments are pumping
new life into Chongqing’s industrial sector.
1993, Chang’an established a joint venture with
Suzuki, followed in 2000 by one with Ford. The
Japanese and American companies originally
wanted to set up on China’s booming east coast,
but the authorities in Beijing enticed them into
the interior with investment incentives. This was
the spark that got things moving for Chongqing,
as Suzuki and Ford brought with them not only
modern technology and new management
methods but also suppliers, whose employees
needed hotels, rented offices, and created jobs
for the local population. Siemens VDO is one of the chief suppliers in
Chongqing. Because the automotive supplier
was already providing components to many
joint venture plants run by Chinese and foreign
partners (most notably Volkswagen facilities in
Shanghai and Changchun), it was able to help
Suzuki and Ford to quickly achieve a high level of
local participation in Chongqing — a decisive
factor for success in China’s hotly contested au-
tomotive market. The two joint ventures pur-
chase a wide range of components from
Siemens, including sensors, air-bag control sys-
tems, door-locking systems, alarms, audio
equipment and instrument clusters. The compo-
nents are produced at Siemens factories in
Beijing is reinventing itself for the 2008 Olympic Games. In addition to building high-
tech sports facilities, the city is modernizing and expanding its transportation and en-
ergy infrastructures, relocating production facilities, and looking even further ahead.
hu Wei always passes a big digital clock on
his way home from school. The red display
runs backwards, subtracting the seconds, min-
utes, hours and days remaining until the great
moment that the 17-year-old Zhu and all of Bei-
jing’s residents are anxiously awaiting: August 8,
2008, at 8:00 p.m. That’s when the Olympic
Games will begin in the Chinese capital. “Eight is
a lucky number that stands for happiness and
wealth,” says Zhu, “and that’s exactly what the
Olympics means for China.” There were still
2,000 days to go when the clock was set up five
years ago. Now there are just hundreds. It’s not just a countdown for the world’s
greatest sports event and party, but also for a
transformation of Beijing. For decades, the im-
perial city, which was originally planned on a
drawing board, has struggled with its develop-
ment. Every day, traffic and smog clog its arter-
ies. What’s more, Beijing’s old cityscape, whose
charms Marco Polo once described, is now dom-
inated by apartment buildings. All of this is set to
change by 2008, when Beijing presents itself as
a modern metropolis with an efficient infra-
structure, clean air, and a cosmopolitan mixture
of ancient heritage and modern architecture.
Billions in Business.To achieve these ambi-
tious goals, the Chinese government has set
aside some $16 billion for infrastructure invest-
ment. Projects include construction of a third
airport terminal, 150 kilometers of new subur-
ban rail and subway track, more than 700 addi-
tional kilometers of urban highways, a dozen
stadiums, museums, convention centers, trade
fair centers and administrative buildings.
There’s also been a much higher level of private
investment in hotels, shopping malls, office
buildings and residential complexes than ever
before. And even critics have to admit that Bei-
jing’s urban planners have learned from past
mistakes. For example, speed used to have prior-
ity over quality, but now officials are making use
of state-of-the-art building concepts and tech-
nologies. Anyone traveling to Beijing in 2008 will enter
a world full of Siemens technology. Siemens is
supplying a baggage transport system more
than 50 kilometers long for Beijing’s new air-
port, a dragon-shaped complex designed by star
architect Norman Foster. It’s also delivering con-
trol, signaling and safety equipment for Beijing’s
subway network, and intelligent road traffic
management systems. High-speed trains based
on the Siemens Velaro platform will ferry pas-
sengers 100 kilometers to Tianjin, which will be
the site of several Olympic events. Siemens is
iron and steel plants throughout the country up
to par with the latest technology — using
Siemens products including control technology,
automation units and drive control systems. The
iron and steel services provider from Chongqing
and the German high-tech company have al-
ready built many iron and steel plants together,
from Xinjiang in the far west of China to the
eastern Chinese port city of Tianjin. They also es-
tablished a strategic partnership in 2005.
Treating Cancer with Ultrasound.Siemens
cooperative projects in China extend into the
medical systems sector as well. Many hospitals
in China, including Southwest Hospital in
Chongqing, use diagnostic equipment from
tropolis to an integrated center of commerce. At
the same time, economic developments in other
parts of China have long been having an impact
on Chongqing. The shortage of workers in the Pearl River
delta has encouraged more and more factories
to move to Chongqing, where wages are much
lower than on the east coast. High real estate
prices in the Shanghai region are also prompting
businesses to relocate to Chongqing, where for-
eign companies invested $2.5 billion between
2000 and 2005.
Still, the biggest impact is due to the Three
Gorges Dam, which is 300 kilometers down river
from the city. Although disputed for its social
and environmental implications, the project has
Sustainable City Development | Chongqing
14 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006
Siemens supplied Chongqing’s Southwest Hospital (left) with numerous diagnostic systems. The city’s international airport is an important link to industrial regions in eastern China.
Siemens. Several months ago, Siemens estab-
lished a partnership with Chongqing Haifu Tech-
nology Co. (Haifu) for the joint development of
magnetic resonance (MR)-guided high-intensity
focused ultrasound treatment systems and their
subsequent market launch. Here, Siemens’ tech-
nological leadership in magnetic resonance
imaging fits perfectly with Haifu’s experience in
ultrasound therapy. The treatment allows doc-
tors to burn tumors with high-intensity ultra-
sound while MR, which depicts organs and tem-
perature variations, shows them exactly where
the heat is being focused. “We’re very pleased
about our cooperation with Siemens,” says
Haifu President Prof. Wang Zhibiao. “This new,
exciting development will enable us to offer the
treatment to patients worldwide.”
Partnerships such as these have been help-
ing to transform Chongqing from a remote me-
many advantages. For example, the 18,200-
megawatt plant located there provides electric-
ity for the entire region. Siemens provided the
plant with large transformers as well as techni-
cal assistance. It has also provided two 420-ton
rotor disks and key generator components from
joint venture company Voith Siemens Hydro. What’s more, by raising the water level, the
Three Gorges Dam will make Chongqing accessi-
ble to large ships. This feat will be possible
thanks to 113-meter-high ship locks — the
world’s tallest — for which Siemens has pro-
vided the lock control systems. In 2009, when
the Three Gorges project will be completed,
Chongqing’s citizens will be able to enjoy a
lovely river promenade and admire the large
ships. And, of course, the patrons of water-
front restaurants will continue to enjoy the
Chongqing Hot Pot. Bernhard Bartsch
Beijing: Countdown to 2008
Huge infrastructure projects are transforming the Chinese capital into a cosmopolitan megacity. A special clock measures the time remaining before the start of the 2008 Olympic games. | Beijing
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 15
“Siemens’ software platforms have enabled us to
manage our
power plants on a new level.”
Lines 1 and 2, which were opened in the early
1990s, were followed in 2004 by Line 13. Lines
4, 5 and 10 are scheduled to be completed by
2008, when a shuttle to Olympic Park and a
rapid rail line to the airport 25 kilometers away
will also enter service. The subway lines corre-
sponding to the missing numbers will be built
after the Olympics. “The more the subway net-
work grows, the more difficult it will be to syn-
chronize the operation of the trains,” says
Siemens project manager Tim Chen. Siemens
control technology, which is being installed in
the new Line 5 subway, not only makes it possi-
ble to optimize train intervals but also to react
flexibly to different network capacity loads. “By expanding the system, we’ll be able to
align train schedules with those of other modes
Siemens is also helping to improve Beijing’s
energy sector. For years, the power grid has
been the Achilles heel of the Chinese infrastruc-
ture system. Power shortages are common, par-
ticularly in summer when many people run their
air conditioners. Insufficient power plant capac-
ity and inadequate tools for managing the grid
are the main reasons for the failures. To improve
things, the Gouhua Electric Power Corporation
(GHEPC), one of China’s leading producers of
electricity and the operator of Beijing’s Electric
Power Plant No. 1, is using Siemens IT Solution
often have to make far-reaching decisions very
quickly,” says He Ru, who is working on a
Siemens “Picture of the Future” for China. “After
all, the country is building enormous infrastruc-
ture. What’s more, things that would take 50
years elsewhere are often done in ten here.”
That’s why the Chinese expect international
technology companies like Siemens to not only
provide them with first-class solutions but also
offer innovative business models. Trustworthy
partners will have the best chance of experienc-
ing the Beijing Olympic Games the way the Chi-
of public transport,” says Chen. Highly sophisti-
cated solutions like the Sitraffic Concert plat-
form could even help to link the public transport
network with intelligent traffic guidance sys-
tems for cars. Sensors embedded in streets and
onboard computers in buses could collect data
on traffic flow, which would be used to regulate
traffic lights in accordance with traffic volumes.
That’s a prime solution that Beijing’s traffic plan-
ners are already getting excited about, but it’s
not yet part of the development agenda.
Quicker Commutes.Nevertheless, the high
level of investment required for such a solution
would be money well spent. After all, some two
million people now drive an hour every day from
the city’s outskirts to the center, where adminis-
trative offices, international companies and
shopping centers are concentrated. If intelligent
traffic guidance systems were used to reduce
the time needed for each trip by five minutes,
the total gain would amount to 300,000 hours
per day. Experience in other large cities, includ-
ing Hong Kong, has shown that driving time
could be cut by 30 to 50 percent in this way.
control technology to link its power plants in a
single platform located in GHEPC´s head office
(see Pictures of the Future,Fall 2005, p. 12).
“All information will be sent to this produc-
tion and management center in Beijing,” says
Wang Baoli, managing director of Siemens
Power Plant Automation Ltd. “From here, GHEPC
will be able to control production and align it
with market demand at any time. In addition to
leading to an efficiency increase over the
medium term, this will create the conditions
GHEPC needs in order to profit from the planned
liberalization of the Chinese electricity market.”
Three plants in the Beijing area have been con-
nected since 2005, and initial experience has
been so positive that GHEPC wants to network
its remaining facilities as quickly as possible.
“The Siemens platforms have enabled us to
manage our power plants on a completely new
level,” says GHEPC president Qing Dingguo. In
May 2006, GHEPC and Siemens signed an agree-
ment to establish a strategic partnership — and
such cooperation agreements represent much
more than a formal expression of mutual trust in
China. “Government agencies and companies
nese government views them: as the initial
spark for the next phase of Chinese economic
development. The government wants Beijing to
serve as a model for other major Chinese cities.
“China is in an unprecedented situation,” says He
Kebin, a professor of Environmental Technology
at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. In his search for
innovative environmental concepts for Beijing,
He has discovered that no other Olympic city has
ever had to deal with problems as complex as
those facing Beijing. “That’s why we’re develop-
ing our own unique solutions,” says He, “and
many Chinese cities are already waiting to try
them out.” Still, there’s much to do in Beijing before that
can happen. When a local radio station recently
asked listeners to name a city location without a
crane, the phone lines went dead. When some-
one finally did call, he suggested that people
look for the location with the most cranes in-
stead. Actually, there are more than 30 cranes in
Olympia Park alone. However, plans call for all
the cranes to disappear from the city by 2008.
The big digital clock is a reminder that time will
soon be running out.
Bernhard Bartsch
also responsible for stadium infrastructure at a
number of sporting venues and for building
technology for hotels. In addition, some of Bei-
jing’s electricity is generated using Siemens
technology, and water is purified by Siemens
water treatment systems. “The Olympics is a
very important project for us,” says Dr. Richard
Hausmann, president of Siemens China. “We’ve
been very successful over the last two years and
we expect to receive several new orders as well.” Beijing’s biggest construction site is located
in the northern part of the city, where the 12-
square-kilometer Olympic Park is being built.
The park will also be the site of the most impor-
tant stadiums and the Olympic Village. After the
games are over, it will probably become the
greenest and most beautiful residential area in
agement infrastructure, and entry control and
crowd guidance systems. “This is a very ambi-
tious project,” says Siemens project director Udo
Wajs. “Our planning documents for the tender
weighed 50 kilograms.”
Rapid Pace.Siemens offered its client, the Bei-
jing State Asset Management Company (BSAM),
an all-around package called the “Fully Inte-
grated Stadium Solution.” As part of the pack-
age, Siemens is planning and installing the so-
called extra low-voltage area (under 50 volts),
which will also have to incorporate systems from
outside companies. “Planning such a complex
facility requires expertise that construction com-
panies generally don’t have,” says Siemens pro-
ject manager Duan Yimin. “It’s easy to make a
Sustainable City Development | Beijing
16 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 17
The results of many of these projects will
never be seen by most of those who visit the
Olympics —and that’s the way it’s supposed to
be. For example, no one is likely to visit the Chi-
nese Taiyuan Iron & Steel Company plant, which
is 300 kilometers from Beijing (see p. 38). For
years, an effort has been under way to disman-
tle all major industrial plants around the capital
and move them to less densely populated areas,
to improve Beijing’s air quality. This transfer has
also been used to modernize facilities. The new
steel plant in Taiyuan, for example, which pro-
vides most of the steel for Beijing construction
sites, now meets the highest environmental
standards — thanks to Siemens control tech-
nologies. The Beixiaohe water treatment plant
will also operate inconspicuously behind the
Beijing. Many apartments have already been
sold. In fact, today’s wealthy Chinese are pre-
pared to pay high prices to later enjoy a view of
what will be a trademark for the country. The
most spectacular structure in architectural
terms, and also the most technically sophisti-
cated, is the National Aquatics Center, which will
house swimming pools, high diving and water
polo competitions. Instead of concrete walls, the
building is supported by a filigree steel frame,
spanned by two layers of transparent mem-
brane. Air will be pumped in between the two
layers, creating the illusion that the structure
consists of transparent bubbles. To ensure that
this spatial impression is properly experienced,
architects at Australia’s PTW wanted the interior
stadium technology to be completely discreet.
Siemens will be making this possible by in-
stalling the alarm, safety, and security equip-
ment, the public address and video transmission
systems, the communication and event man-
mistake, and even one little error can result in
skyrocketing costs and big delays later on.” The
customer awarded Siemens the contract be-
cause the company had already implemented
similar solutions in many stadiums.
“The Fully Integrated Stadium concept opti-
mally combines state-of-the-art technology,
complex installation and the integration of dif-
ferent systems,” says BSAM managing director
Kang Wei. “It’s important that we can rely on a
partner like Siemens, which has so much experi-
ence and can meet all our requirements and
stick to the project’s tight schedule.” And the
timeframe is tight. For example, test operations
are scheduled to begin at the end of 2007 — at a
site still covered by scaffolding and where instal-
lation of wiring and cables has only just begun.
“The schedule is good for us,” says Olympic pro-
jects coordinator Michaela Stolz-Schmitz, who is
backed by a 30-strong team. “We’re convinced
that only the best can maintain such a pace.”
scenes as it supplies Olympic Park with swim-
ming water and processed wastewater. In con-
junction with the Beijing Drainage Group,
Siemens is using state-of-the-art membrane fil-
ter technology to boost the facility’s capacity
from 40,000 cubic meters per day to 100,000
cubic meters, making it the world’s largest water
treatment facility of its kind. It probably won’t
have that distinction for long, however, because
Beijing urban planners and their partners are
looking well beyond 2008. “Many of the things
now being planned for the Olympics only repre-
sent the foundation for Beijing’s further devel-
opment,” says Stolz-Schmitz. “The city’s infra-
structure will be expanded even further in
coming decades.” The suburban rail and subway networks are
among the systems targeted for expansion. This
city of 14 million currently has only three sub-
way lines — although their numbering indicates
just how far ahead planners have been thinking.
Building Beijing’s infrastructure. The National
Aquatics Center (left), expanding the public transport
system (center) for the games, and a new control
center for a power plant network.
major intersections will monitor traffic volume
in order to optimally synchronize traffic lights.
Siemens has already provided a traffic control
and surveillance system for Aberdeen Tunnel,
the major link between the southern part of
Hong Kong Island and the city center as well as
Kowloon on the mainland. It consists of intelli-
gent cameras that not only automatically mea-
sure traffic densities and speeds but also recog-
nize and register events such as accidents or
traffic jams (see p. 86). “By enabling drivers to
receive real-time information inside the tunnel
and on approaching roads, the system will help
prevent jams,” says Charles Cheung, head of
Siemens’ Automation & Control Department.
Power Supply Record.“Siemens is transform-
ing itself from an equipment supplier to a solu-
tions provider,” says Stewart Saunders, COO of
Hong Kong’s leading power supply company,
CLP Power. For example, Siemens has been deal-
ing with one of the company’s biggest prob-
lems: the modernization of the decades-old
power grid. Hundreds of substations have to be
replaced without disturbing city life. Work is
generally conducted at night or on weekends.
Thanks to perfect organization, everything runs
smoothly. In fact, engineers need only eight
hours to remove a substation that serves thou-
sands of customers, install a new one, test it,
and put it into operation. “After we’re finished, nothing will have to be
done for a few decades,” says Humphrey Ling of
Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution in
Hong Kong. That’s because while a conventional
substation has to be shut down and checked
every two years, the new gas-insulated substa-
tions are completely maintenance-free. As a re-
sult, CLP achieved the remarkable power-supply
reliability rating of 99.99 percent for the period
2003 – 2005. Customers only experienced an
average of 5.37 minutes of unplanned power
outages each year during this time, compared to
103 minutes in the United States. CLP expects
this figure to fall further once the entire grid has
been modernized. “Siemens has always meant
Siemens solutions improve the quality of life with security systems in Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Tunnel (bottom left) and building
technologies in Macau’s casinos (right). reliability, quality, safety and consistency,” Saun-
ders says. “And the service that comes with the
top-quality equipment is excellent.”
Siemens technology has also helped in the
realization of other ambitious Hong Kong pro-
jects. For example, Siemens installed the safety
systems for the Disneyland Park that opened in
the city in 2005. And a Siemens baggage system
is in operation at Chek Lap Kok Airport — for
years the most user-friendly, according to sur-
veys. Many of Hong Kong’s largest buildings —
including the city’s universities, its horse race-
tracks and the stock exchange — are equipped
with Siemens building system technologies.
“Siemens has supplied the Science Park with
some great equipment,” reports Carlos Genar-
dini, CEO of the Hong Kong Science & Technol-
ogy Park, which plans to use R&D as an addi-
tional economic base. “Hong Kong is close to
financial markets, customers and production fa-
cilities,” says Genardini. “So there’s no better
place for a company with good ideas.” More
than 100 companies with a total of 4,000 em-
ployees are now using labs in eight futuristic
buildings at the Technology Park, and new con-
struction at the site has already started. The gov-
ernment plans to invest $1.5 billion in the pro-
ject between now and 2011. Gambler’s Paradise.Whereas Hong Kong is
basing its economic growth on technology, its
neighboring city of Macau — just an hour away
by speedboat — is relying on a more irrational
type of investment: gambling. In 2005, 16 million
people traveled to this city of 480,000, and
Macau’s gambling industry earned $5.7 billion
that same year. The estimated annual rate of growth for the
“industry” is 20 percent. Well over half of the visi-
tors are from mainland China — the total was
nine million in 2005, or 70 percent more than in
2004. That’s probably because gambling is illegal
18 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 19
From Niches to Riches
Hong Kong and Macau are discovering new niches where they can benefit from
China’s booming economy. One serves as a revolving door to the Chinese market, the
other as a luxurious retreat for wealthy Chinese visitors. Both need top technology.
bout once a minute a taxi pulls up outside
the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital and
patients get out. Many of the “medical tourists”
come here from mainland China because of the
high-tech equipment, including many Siemens
devices. In fact, this is the first hospital in Hong
Kong to have the latest generation of Siemens
computer tomographs, which use LSO-PET tech-
nology to make the most precise images avail-
able. What’s more, by halving the time required
for a whole-body scan to less than 15 minutes,
they increase patients’ comfort and boost the
hospital’s sales. To cope with increased demand,
the clinic is building several new floors.
New and updated buildings are the rule all
over Hong Kong. The former British Crown
Colony, which was returned to China in 1997,
wants to profit from China’s booming economy
— as does its neighbor, the former Portuguese
colony of Macau, which reverted to China in
1999. For decades, almost all of China’s interna-
tional business was conducted via Hong Kong.
But now that Shanghai, Beijing and other major
Chinese cities have become international trade
centers, Hong Kong has had to redefine itself. Raising the Bar.“We don’t want Hong Kong to
become just another Chinese city,” says John
Rutherford, Associate Director General of In-
vestHK, a government agency that specializes in
attracting international investors to Hong Kong,
even though it has the world’s fourth-highest
cost of living. Thousands of company headquar-
ters or subsidiaries are located here. Last year,
23.4 million tourists, including 12.5 million
mainlanders, visited the city. “Hong Kong is a
premium product,” says Rutherford. “We set the
regional standards, and we want to keep raising
the bar.”
It should therefore come as no surprise that
the government is planning to invest an annual
$3.7 billion in infrastructure expansion over the
next five years. “Siemens is already supplying so-
lutions for many of the biggest challenges to-
day,” says Denis Leung, President and CEO of
Siemens Hong Kong & Macau. “Our technology
plays a major role in enabling the city to manage
its dense traffic, ensuring a reliable supply of en-
ergy for seven million people living in a very
small area, and providing state-of-the-art build-
ing system technology for a city with more sky-
scrapers than any place other than New York.”
Hong Kong’s public transport system carries
7.7 million passengers each day, and some sub-
way and suburban rail lines move more than
70,000 people per hour during peak operations.
However, thanks to state-of-the-art signaling,
control and communications solutions provided
by Siemens, the trains can be operated flexibly.
Siemens is currently installing its SCOOT traffic
guidance system on the streets of the particu-
larly densely populated districts of Tuen Mun
and Yuen Long. Hundreds of sensors placed at
Sustainable City Development | Hong Kong and Macau become the Detroit of China with an
automotive center covering 120 square
kilometers. We were recently awarded the
planning contract for the future city center.
How is life in cities changing? Speer:There’s more “living” in European cities,
where populations are aging and the quality of
life must improve further. Not much will change
in terms of structures, however. In China and
other countries, entire cities are being rebuilt,
which is why ecological considerations must
have priority from the outset. That means
conserving water and energy, and protecting
the environment. We suggested such an
approach for Changchun, and we probably beat
out the competition because we combined the
factories with a residential district for 300,000
people and a central area that will include a
university, exhibition centers and parks.
So sustainable urban development is more
than just a catch phrase? Speer:Well, it’s a fashionable term that’s hard
to apply to Third World urban development,
which is being conducted on a vast scale — and
consuming huge resources. An example of
sustainable development is building a
residential area on a deserted industrial site,
while conserving resources. In a study we did
for a high-tech industrial park in Shanghai, we
networked the complete infrastructure — from
water supply and treatment to waste disposal,
traffic reduction and alternative energies such
as biogas. This creates cycles that consume
fewer resources and produce less pollution and
waste. That’s sustainability: It’s something that’s
technologically possible but not yet achieved.
Why is that? Speer:Because the issue is very complex. For
example, energy conservation includes
transport systems, buildings, equipment,
appliances and even human behavior. That’s a
lot of ground to cover — especially because each
sector attempts to optimize its own operations.
Can you give us an example of urban
development that works? Speer:Yes, the Diplomatic City in Riad, which
was built back in the mid-1980s. It includes a
diplomatic quarter, upscale residential areas
and schools. There’s also an emphasis on
landscaping quality and climatic comfort. Our
Auto City in Shanghai, which has accommoda-
tions for 50,000 people, is also a good example.
It might be small by Chinese standards, but it
boasts the first houses in China to be insulated
according to European standards. The central
heating and air conditioning can be individually
regulated for each room. That alone cut energy
costs in half. Such conservation hasn’t been
important in China historically — but it’s
becoming so. The first 2,000 apartments have
already been completed.
How sustainable can development be in
cities like Mumbai, Mexico City or Jakarta? Speer:It can only work in limited areas. Cities
throughout the Third World will continue in
grow. However, technology can make the
infrastructure for things like public transport
and traffic more efficient. You can also organize
cities so that people can get around on foot or
by bicycle. It’s important to have green areas
that cool down more quickly than building
complexes. They provide cities with fresh air.
Our plans will enable the 3.5 million people in
Changchun to benefit from these features.
Is implementation easier in a country with
government regulation, like China? Speer:I wouldn’t say that applies to China
alone. People familiar with China know that
political decisions are not simply dictated from
above. The individual regions and municipali-
ties also have a lot to say on many matters.
How are projects financed? A lot of cities
have budget problems. Speer:Cities like Shanghai are quite rich, even
by Western standards. All the real estate
belongs to the state, which makes a lot of
money through hereditary leasing agreements.
The government thus finances a large portion
of a project via development companies in
which, for instance, the auto industry has
invested. However, money is a big problem in
poor developing countries. For example, we’re
now involved in a project in Abuja, but funding
is coming from the Nigerian government, which
isn’t exactly poor, thanks to oil revenues. We do
consulting work in other places as well, but we
don’t renovate slum areas. That’s something for
international organizations like the World Bank.
Do you view the future with optimism or
pessimism? Speer:I’m optimistic about China, where
investment is high. But I’m pessimistic about
countries where no money is being invested.
What’s your favorite project? Speer:It’s always the next one — in this case
the automotive center for Changchun.
Interview: N. Aschenbrenner
Siemens’ in their pockets — their digital ID cards.
In 2002, Macau became the first location in the
region to introduce such ID cards. The chip in the
card not only contains biometric data, including
the cardholder’s fingerprints, but can also store
driver’s license and health insurance data.
The lion’s share of investment in Macau is
coming from the private sector and people like
Sheldon Adelson, an American casino mogul. His
first project in Macau — the $240 million Sands
Casino — recouped its construction costs just five
months after opening. Now Adelson is investing
$1.8 billion in the Venetian Macau on the Cotai
Strip. As with many Macau projects, Siemens is
also one of the main suppliers of building system
technology . “Our Siemens One concept has been
very successful here,” says local Siemens General
Manager Alex Chu. “The builders don’t have time
to deal with different suppliers.” But that’s not a
problem with Siemens, which provides every-
thing from a single source. And nothing is more
expensive than a casino that has to temporarily
shut down because the alarm system has a loose
connection. “The people putting together these
big projects know they can rely on us completely,”
says Chu. It’s ironic, because while the customers
take tremendous risks, the management leaves
nothing to chance.
Bernhard Bartsch
20 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 21
An Architecture for Resource Conservation
Prof. Albert Speer, 72,
is one of the world’s
most famous architects
and urban planners. Projects he has worked
on with partners in his
Frankfurt office include
a development plan for
Doha in the Persian Gulf
and a transport concept
for Nigeria. Since the
1990s, Speer has been
awarded several key
contracts, including one for designing
Shanghai’s Auto City. He was also recently
awarded the planning
contract for an automotive center in Changchun that encompasses factories and housing for 300,000 people.
Are you satisfied with the design
opportunities your profession offers you?
Speer:Yes. Urban development is a very
exciting interdisciplinary field that involves
environmental protection, technology, quality
of life, ecology, resource conservation and
mobility. We are consultants, however, not
decision-makers. Planning only amounts to five
percent of the scope of decision-making… That’s very modest...
Speer:Our influence is small — but this doesn’t
mean I’m not proud when something works out
well, like the Allianz Arena in Munich. We served
as consultants on that project and convinced
the city and the soccer clubs that the location
for the new stadium was the right one.
Urbanization is a major global trend. What
will the city of the future look like? Speer:You have to clearly differentiate
between European-type cities and cities in the
Third World. European cities are an enormous
achievement, characterized by multi-utility,
effective mass transit systems and cultural
diversity. In Europe, we need to use political
instruments, such as tax policy , to stop cities
from expanding into their surroundings.
And in other places? Speer:Here you’re talking about places like
China or Saudi Arabia where the urbanization
trend is just starting. The population of Riad, for
example, will increase from 1.5 million to more
than ten million over the next 15 years — and
that’s in the middle of the desert. People all over
the world are pouring into cities because that’s
where they can find work, get a better
education, and experience a better quality of
life. Everyone knows about Shanghai, but other
cities are growing just as fast. Examples include
Chongqing and Changchun, which is set to
on the mainland, where the government doesn’t
want people thinking they can get rich through
luck rather than hard work. However, because
gambling has a long tradition in China, Beijing
made an exception in Macau, where mainland
Chinese can tempt fate with dice and cards.
For many years, the few old casinos built dur-
ing the colonial era were able to accommodate
the players who came here. But with booming de-
mand, the Chinese government has decided to
create the Cotai Strip, a stretch of land 2.2 kilome-
ters long and nearly as wide. This gambler’s oasis
will include luxury hotels, exclusive clubs and
huge shopping malls and trade fair centers. Sustainable City Development | Hong Kong and Macau | Interview
Gambling enclave from above: Many new
hotels and casinos are being built in Macau.
“What’s happening here now is incredible,”
says Jackson Chang, managing director of the
Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute.
“Twenty-one hotels with almost 20,000 rooms
are under construction, and another 28 hotel pro-
jects are awaiting approval.” Siemens is helping
the government to establish the necessary infra-
structure. For example, the company is supplying
substations and control technology for the power
grid, as well as building system technology for key
public buildings, including the airport, the 338-
meter high Macau Tower and the Macau Dome,
which was built for the 2005 East Asian Games.
What’s more, Macau residents have a piece of
Sustainable City Development | Mumbai | Delhi | Bangalore
Toward A Turning Point
22 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 23
New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore — India’s megacities are struggling with chaotic traffic conditions and shortages of energy, water and housing. More public and private investment would help bring about a better future.
he numbers are alarming. Ten million of
Mumbai’s approximately 18 million inhabi-
tants live in slums, and for every kilometer of the
city’s 2,000 kilometers of streets — only 350
kilometers of which are paved —there are 600
honking vehicles. The city’s three suburban rail
lines transport 6.5 million people a day, with up
to 15 people sometimes jostling for one square
meter of train space. In a 2006 quality-of-life
study released by consulting firm Mercer, Mum-
bai was ranked 150th of 218 cities, followed
closely by other big cities like New Delhi and
Chennai (see p. 29).
“Mumbai’s infrastructure is crumbling,” writes
India’s Economic Times, even calling this an
understatement. A McKinsey study published
three years ago came to the same conclusion,
pointing out that Mumbai was falling behind not
only in terms of quality of life, but also in eco-
nomic performance. The city’s economy grew
only 2.4 percent per year between 1998 and
2002, lagging far behind the national econo-
my’s healthy 5.6 percent growth rate. “We
described the situation as it is and explained
what’s been going wrong,” says Dr. Shirish
Sankhe, a partner at McKinsey in Mumbai,
whose offices in the Nariman Point financial
center overlook the city. “We also formulated a
vision that could transform Mumbai into a
world-class city in 15 to 20 years.” Narinder
Nayar, chairman of Bombay First, an entrepre-
neurial lobbying organization, is enthusiastic
about this vision, which he wants “to become
reality.” Billions for Infrastructure. Mumbai has plenty
of company. New Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore
face similar challenges. That’s why the Indian
government plans to spend between $150 and
$200 billion over the next five to seven years on
infrastructure projects for water supply, trans-
portation, energy and building construction. The
lion’s share of the investment will go to the cities.
“This will present us with some great opportuni-
ties,” says Jürgen Schubert, Managing Director of
Siemens Ltd., India. Siemens has been manufac-
turing products in India for 50 years and now
employs over 14,500 people there. Its first pro-
ject — laying a telegraph line from London to Cal-
cutta — was carried out in 1867. “People here
see us as an Indian company with German roots,”
says Schubert. “We’re well-networked and famil-
iar with all aspects of India’s society and culture.”
One of the country’s most prominent cultural
factors is its bureaucracy. Obtaining construction
approval in Mumbai can take three to six months,
for example. “But typically the approval process
Mumbai’s promenade is getting a facelift.
Meanwhile, Bangalore’s new, privately financed
airport, which will be equipped with technology
from Siemens, is taking shape (small pictures).
should not take more than 45 days,” says Sankhe.
McKinsey says Mumbai’s biggest problem is a
lack of governance. “At the beginning of 2006,
they at least set up an agency that coordinates
decisions made by city officials,” Sankhe says. Coordination is needed because the mayor of
Mumbai has no executive powers. The post is
largely ceremonial. Furthermore, over 15 gov-
ernment agencies in the state of Maharashtra,
share responsibility for the city’s administration.
The complex processes for coordinating the
activities of agencies and ministries for road con-
struction, housing, transport, trade, aviation,
ports, railways and police makes it very difficult
to conduct urban development and infrastruc-
ture projects.
Without clear political responsibility, there is
little incentive for investment. “We need a mayor
with real power,” says Nayar. A mayor with clout
could also improve Mumbai’s financial situation.
Residents currently pay some $10 billion in taxes
each year to Maharashtra, but only $250 million
is channeled back into the city. “We actually need
ten times that much,” says Sankhe. “The govern-
ment has realized that it must act and has started
to move ahead with several projects.”
Rails and Roads.One of these involves substan-
tially increasing the capacity of the local rail trans-
port network, and Siemens is helping by deliver-
ing around 400 three-segment trains, complete
with drive systems, electrical equipment, and
control and passenger information systems. The
contract volume is 280 million euros, and some
parts of the energy-efficient drive systems are
being built in India. The systems work in conjunc-
tion with state-of-the-art inverters adapted to
extreme conditions. There are also plans to equip
maintenance workers with voice-operated hand-
held computers in order to optimize maintenance
activities. In addition, Mumbai will get its first
metro in 2008 — a 15-kilometer line that will be
followed by two others with a length of almost 50
kilometers, to be completed by 2011. Total invest-
ment for all three lines will amount to approxi-
mately 2.3 billion euros.
people to live under plastic tarpaulins and tin
roofs; it’s the high rents, which have already
reached levels on a par with New York and Tokyo.
The government is counting on private
investors to finance some of the projects — some-
thing that was impossible up until a few years ago
due to legal restrictions. Such investment will
transform Mumbai’s international airport. Banga-
lore provides a model. Its new airport — India’s
first privately financed one, about 25 kilometers
from the city center — is scheduled to start opera-
tion in April 2008. Siemens is providing all the
technical equipment for the airport, which will
serve 6.7 million passengers a year. Within a few
years, that figure could rise to 11 million (see
p.26). “The old airport is coming apart at the
seams,” says Ravi Shankar, the Siemens manager
responsible for airport systems in India. India’s New Maps.Greater Bangalore, known
as India’s Silicon Valley, is home to nearly ten
million people. Like many other global compa-
nies, Siemens employs thousands of develop-
ment engineers here — professionals who
develop, among other things, software for com-
munications, medical equipment and automo-
tive electronic systems. SISL (Siemens Informa-
What’s more, an elevated highway is now
being built along the coast between the northern
Mumbai district of Bandra and Nariman Point in
the south. Construction will also soon begin on a
25-kilometer bridge that will connect the city cen-
ter with towns on the other side of the Bay of
Mumbai, where plans call for housing to be built
for four million people. In addition, Mumbai’s old
port, which is no longer in operation, offers an
opportunity to establish a completely new district
near the city center. Sufficient affordable housing
will be required to achieve the city’s stated goal of
eliminating all slums by 2025. The problem here
is that it’s not just poverty that forces millions of
tion Systems Ltd.) in Bangalore has developed a
geo-information system that serves as an impor-
tant planning tool for infrastructure projects.
The system, which was designed by V. Venkata
Ramana, reconciles for the first time satellite
images with geographical maps of India. “Most
of the maps are very old,” says Ramana. He
therefore used high-resolution satellite photos
to digitize the maps of the area around Chennai
— formerly known as Madras — which he then
compared with government records. “We found
many inconsistencies,” says Ramana. This is
important for property taxes, as the information
used to calculate them must be precise. He also
For the first time, private investors are financ-
ing major projects such as Bangalore’s airport.
World-class healthcare is coming to India
thanks to private sector investments.
discovered that a river bed had changed its
course since the map had been recorded. “That’s
key information for road and rail planners,” he
says. Some cities, including Bangalore, are
already using the system.
These digital maps can also be combined
with socio-demographic data — such as popula-
tion density, age and income information — to
help plan new districts in urban areas. “We can
also follow what happens to rainwater — most
of which seeps into the ground,” Ramana
explains. He has already accomplished this by
combining satellite data with 3D images of the
area. “We used this technique to identify more
than 50 potential locations for catchment basins
in the state of Chhattisgarh, which has water
supply problems.” Building dams in parched
residents are regularly subjected to power out-
ages that black out entire districts. “In Delhi and
many other cities, installed power output is not
sufficient to ensure uninterrupted supply,” says
Harminder Singh, head of Siemens Power Gener-
ation (PG) in India. The government has ambi-
tious plans to provide enough electricity for the
entire country by 2012. This will involve generat-
ing 100,000 megawatts of additional power,
15,000 of which will come from private compa-
nies. Plans also call for an additional 135,000
MW to be added to the grid by 2020. More than
one third of the total power output in India is
generated using Siemens technology. PG recent-
ly received an order for a 1,100 MW combined
cycle power plant in the state of Gujarat, and
Siemens equipped the Dadri combined cycle
Sustainable City Development | Mumbai / Delhi /Bangalore
24 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 25
meters to be built over ten years, work was com-
pleted in just seven. This impressive speed
should largely be credited to Dr. E. Sreedharan,
the 73-year-old Managing Director of the New
Delhi Metro, who created a lean administration,
involved employees in the project, and ensured
that deadlines were met. The government of New Delhi can’t afford to
do without people like Sreedharan if it hopes to
get the city ready for the 2010 Commonwealth
Games, which will bring 7,500 athletes and offi-
cials from more than 50 countries to the city. “It’s
a perfect opportunity to expand our infrastruc-
ture,” says New Delhi’s Chief Minister, Sheila Dik-
shit. Staging the games will require an invest-
ment of around 1.3 billion euros for road
construction, power plants and water supply —
not to mention hotel rooms. New Delhi currently
has 9,000 one-star rooms; it needs 30,000.
Health Tourism.Visitors may also be coming to
Delhi in the future to stay in hospitals outfitted
with high-tech equipment. The Max Super Spe-
ciality Hospital is one of many examples of
India’s excellent healthcare facilities. The new
hospital has invested nearly 120 million euros
and is targeting its services and state-of-the-art
equipment at wealthy patients from both India
and abroad. “We receive inquires from the West
ner with very high resolution that will soon be
coming to New Delhi. Another is the first order
by an Indian customer for a Somatom Definition
unit, the world’s fastest computer tomograph. It
generates images of the tiniest blood vessels at
speed, allowing sharp images of even irregularly
beating hearts to be created in fractions of a sec-
ond. In addition, four Siemens PET-CT combina-
tion scanners have been installed in India, and
two others will follow shortly. The new devices
often end up in new hospitals, which are spring-
ing up around the country. In Gurgaon, an up-
areas would make it possible to use more rain-
water for irrigation, which would in turn raise
what are now dangerously low groundwater lev-
els. Such a water management system, which
takes terrain structure into account, could also
help the Indian capital, New Delhi, cope with
massive monsoon rains. In July 2006, for exam-
ple, three hours of heavy rain transformed sev-
eral of the city’s streets into rivers. The irony is
that a few months earlier, the city, which has 17
million residents but collects only two percent of
its rain water, was suffering from a drought and
temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius. “Our system
can identify the places where rain water canals
and catchment tanks and basins should be
built,” says Ramana.
Expanding the Power Network.Water isn’t
the only thing that’s in short supply. New Delhi
plant near New Delhi. Most of Mumbai’s electrici-
ty is generated with the help of Siemens technol-
ogy as well. The Trombay plant operated by Tata
Power is equipped with a 500 MW steam turbine
and a 200 MW combined cycle turbine system
from Siemens. “To reduce environmental pollu-
tion caused by burning coal, we use only low-sul-
fur coal imported from Indonesia,” says plant
manager S.D. Deshpande. “We also have the only
flue-gas desulfurization facility in India.”
When the New Delhi electricity market was
privatized four years ago, transmission losses for
Tata were 54 percent. “We’ve since reduced them
to 25 percent,” Deshpande reports. “We installed
new digital meters and explained to people that
electricity has to be paid for. We also told them
how to make payments, for example via the
Internet.” This was necessary because most of
the losses occurred either through people illegal-
practically every day,” says neurosurgeon Dr.
Ajaya Nand Jha. “That’s because we offer top-
quality healthcare at low cost.” Jha’s operating
room is equipped with Asia’s first “Brain Suite
System,” whose Siemens magnetic resonance
tomograph (MR) delivers real-time images of a
patient’s brain during surgery, enabling doctors
to follow the progress of procedures. “The sys-
tem allows me to see if any part of a tumor has
been missed,” explains Jha. The hospital also has a 3D angiography sys-
tem equipped with a flatbed X-ray detector from
Siemens that enables doctors to conduct mini-
mally invasive procedures, such as widening
blood vessels or treating minor aneurysms in the
brain. The 450-bed Max Super Speciality Hospi-
tal has departments for orthopedic medicine,
pediatric medicine, gynecology and nuclear
“The private sector is investing heavily in
state-of-the-art medical technology,” says D.
Ragavan, head of Siemens Medical Solutions in
India. One such investment is a 3-Tesla MR scan-
and-coming satellite metropolis near Delhi, 18
new hospitals are to be built over the next five to
ten years. Mumbai also has a new private health
center — the 376-bed Jaslok Hospital, which has
been outfitted with a range of medical imaging
equipment from Siemens, including magnetic
resonance tomographs, ultrasound devices and
complete X-ray systems. Healthcare is currently the only sector where
Mumbai can keep up with the best cities in the
world, according to the McKinsey study. And
medical technology also clearly illustrates what
the private sector can accomplish if the requisite
legal framework is in place. “With a targeted
planning system and the right kind of invest-
ment, Mumbai will be able to offer a good quali-
ty of life in 15 years,” says Bombay First chair-
man Narinder Nayar. Jürgen Schubert of
Siemens is also optimistic. “India is on the verge
of a major transformation that will be more
rapid in cities than in the countryside. The coun-
try is now ready for takeoff ,” he say.
Norbert Aschenbrenner
Highways are being built in Mumbai (left). New Delhi
is expanding its Metro (right). Buses are running on
environmentally friendly fuels, and the latest imaging
processes are helping in the operating theater.
ly drawing off electricity or not having any way to
pay their bills. Plans call for transmission losses to
be cut to ten to 15 percent over the next three
years through investment in the power grid.
While New Delhi still faces some major obsta-
cles in terms of energy and water supply, much
has been accomplished in the area of transporta-
tion. New overpasses have reduced traffic con-
gestion, and major beltways have been expand-
ed. What’s more, all buses and the typical
three-wheeled Indian taxis run on liquid natural
gas. Three rapid transit lines allow travelers to
get through the city quickly, with parts of the
routes either underground or elevated on con-
crete pillars. Siemens has equipped the longest
line with a rail control system and signaling tech-
nology. The rapid transit network will be extend-
ed to nearly 250 kilometers by 2021. Although
the original schedule called for the first 62 kilo-
Sustainable City Development | Airports
Soaring Sales
26 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 27
Airplanes and airports are two of today’s fastest-growing sectors. With passenger safety
and comfort high on the list of top priorities, Siemens is helping to drive this boom with
tailor-made solutions for major airports worldwide.
usiness is booming in the airline industry.
The world’s carriers now transport 1.6 bil-
lion passengers annually. And experts, including
analysts at Frost & Sullivan, are forecasting that
this figure will rise to 2.3 billion by 2010 — an
increase of more than 40 percent. As a result,
many of the world’s largest air traffic regions are
faced with the need to modernize and expand
their major airports on a practically continuous
And that’s where Siemens comes in. As the
world’s only company with the know-how to
completely equip an airport, Siemens supplies a
host of products and services in this sector, in-
cluding conveyor systems to handle baggage
and freight, security systems for passengers and
their luggage, solutions for automating building
services and energy management, systems for
airfield lighting and road-traffic management,
IT and telecommunications solutions, supervi-
sion of service fleets, and project management
integration of these areas. Services covering
operation and maintenance over an airport’s full
lifecycle complete the portfolio.
Our tour of the world’s airports begins in
Seoul, South Korea, where the gently sweeping,
elegantly futuristic buildings of Incheon Airport
are located on an island in the Yellow Sea. Open since 2001, Incheon is already being
expanded in order to accommodate 44 million
passengers a year. The array of new technology
used in the project will help boost efficiency and
ensure even greater comfort for travelers. For
the first time, Siemens is installing a new type of
baggage-handling system that employs the
“double-tray principle.” This system transports
baggage at high speed along a 900-meter tun-
nel connecting the main building with the new
terminal. Thanks to the trays, which come in a
range of sizes, suitcase-type luggage as well as
bulky items can be transported on the same
conveyor. To ensure that this innovative system
is up to all the challenges involved, the control
technology is currently being subjected to rigor-
ous testing at the Siemens Airport Center in
Fürth, Germany (Pictures of the Future, Fall
2005, p. 84).
Parallel Projects. Only a 90- minute flight from
Incheon, Siemens experts are busy expanding
Beijing Airport, which is now gearing up for the
2008 Summer Olympics. Because Siemens will be able to supply one
of the world’s most modern baggage-handling
systems by the end of 2007, the company was
awarded the contract in the face of very formi-
dable competition. “Incheon and Beijing are two massive pro-
jects that must be completed at the same time,”
says Günter Menden, Corporate Department
Opened in 2001, Seoul’s Incheon Airport is already
being expanded. Siemens is installing a new type
of baggage-handling system. Small photos:
airports in Beijing, Denver and Madrid.
Head of Siemens Airport Logistics. “And we
won’t be getting any extensions. The opening
ceremony of the Games is the deadline we’re all
working toward.” When completed, Terminal 3
will increase Beijing Airport’s annual capacity
from 28 million to 60 million passengers.
China is the world’s largest growth market for
new airports. Yet only 0.1 percent of the coun-
try’s population travels on an international flight
at least once a year. In the U.S., that figure is 13
percent. In order to meet this tremendous pent-
up demand, the Chinese government now
intends to build airports in all of the 127 cities on
its territory that have more than one million
inhabitants. “Most of these airports will be for
domestic flights only,” explains Menden. “We’re
currently working out specifications for this type
of small to medium-sized airport, so that we can
then offer an off-the-peg solution, as it were, at
a fixed price.”
Moving further south to Malaysia, Kuala
Lumpur Airport serves more than 23 million pas-
sengers a year. The country’s Ministry of Trans-
port has asked Siemens Industrial Solutions and
Services (I&S) to supply a baggage-handling sys-
tem that will connect the satellite terminal at
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) with
the express rail-link station in the main terminal.
This will make conveyance up to five times faster
than it is now. Benefitting most from faster and
more efficient service will be passengers travel-
ing to the airport by train from the central sta-
tion. In the future, they will be able to check
their luggage in downtown at Kuala Lumpur.
And matters could be even further simplified by
equipping each piece of luggage with an RFID
tag containing all the requisite information re-
garding the owner, destination and airline. “It’s
technically feasible but still too expensive to be a
viable option,” explains Menden. With such a
system, passengers could even check in their
baggage at a hotel on the morning of departure
and then have it automatically forwarded to the
next hotel that evening.
From Kuala Lumpur, our journey progresses
farther west, via a stopover in India, home to 1.2
hospitals — but we’re confident the new airport
will serve as a model for more public-private
partnerships in India,” he adds. Scheduled to
open in 2008, the airport is designed to handle
6.7 million passengers a year and cost about
$450 million. Financing talks kicked off back in
1999. “It took a lot of patience,” Bischoff admits.
For example, a change of government in India
set the project back. Yet perseverance has paid
off, with I&S and Siemens Ltd. India now con-
tracted to supply all the technical equipment.
Siemens holds a 40 percent equity stake in the
new airport, with another 13 percent belonging
to the national and state governments. The rest
is in the hands of private investors.
Desert Hub. We’re now approaching the
Middle East, where several countries are busy
building enormous hotel and leisure complexes
designed to turn the desert into an attractive
vacation destination. And these resorts can only
be reached by air. That’s why Dubai is expanding
its airport’s annual capacity from 25 million to
70 million passengers. Siemens is supplying a
cargo center with a capacity of 1.2 million metric
tons a year, plus an automatic baggage-han-
billion people. “Indian airports have a lot of
catching up to do from a Western point of view,”
says Menden. Yet the public sector wants to im-
prove infrastructure — and it’s prepared to
adopt new approaches in the process. Banga-
lore, for example, is building a new airport in a
public-private partnership involving the national
government and the state of Karnataka, on the
one hand, and a joint venture between private
investors and Siemens Project Ventures (SPV) as
the major partner, on the other (see p. 22).
“The people of the region have been waiting
a long time for this,” explains Dr. Wolfgang
Bischoff, head of SPV. “It’s our first airport pro-
ject — so far we’ve invested in power plants and
dling system with a total length of 90 kilometers
— the largest in the world. The Department of
Civil Aviation (DCA) in the United Arab Emirates
has been putting its faith in Siemens know-how
for years. Siemens supplied the baggage-
handling system for Terminal 1, for example, as
well as complete facility automation for large
parts of the airport. Forecasts suggest that fairly
soon after its completion, the expansion will be
insufficient to handle the increased passenger
load, so work already started back in 2005 to
build an even bigger airport, 40 kilometers away
in Jebel Ali. Featuring six parallel landing strips,
this gigantic airport and logistics complex will be
unlike anything else in the world.
Only 0.1 percent of Chinese fly abroad at least
once a year. In the U.S., it’s 13 percent.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 29
1 Zurich Switzerland 108.2
2 Geneva Switzerland 108.1
3 Vancouver Canada 107.7
4 Vienna Austria 107.5
5 Auckland New Zealand 107.3
6 Düsseldorf Germany 107.2
7 Frankfurt Germany 107.0
8 Munich Germany 106.8
9 Bern Switzerland 106.5
9 Sydney Australia 106.5
16 Berlin Germany 105.1
28 San Francisco U.S.103.2
33 Paris France 102.7
34 Singapore Singapore 102.5
35 Tokyo Japan 102.3
36 Boston U.S.101.9
39 London UK 101.2
46 New York U.S.100.0
55 Los Angeles U.S.98.3
62 Rome Italy 97.4
68 Hong Kong Hong Kong / China 95.4
78 Buenos Aires Argentina 87.3
81 Santiago Chile 86.5
83 Cape Town South Africa 86.0
85 Dubai United Arab Emirates 85.2
87 Johannesburg South Africa 84.0
89 Seoul South Korea 83.0
103 Shanghai China 80.1
107 Bangkok Thailand 77.7
108 Istanbul Turkey 77.1
108 São Paulo Brazil 77.1
117 Rio de Janeiro Brazil 74.5
122 Beijing China 73.4
128 Mexico City Mexico 71.7
131 Cairo Egypt 71.2
150 Mumbai India 61.0
150 New Delhi India 61.0
160 Chennai India 58.3
171 Karachi Pakistan 54.9
173 Moscow Russia 54.8
199 Lagos Nigeria 41.8
215 Baghdad Iraq 14.5
Rank City Country 2006
Before then, roughly 12,000 athletes will be
heading to Qatar at the end of this year to take
part in the 15th Asia Games. Including officials,
personnel and spectators, the capital city Doha
will have to cope with an onslaught of well over
50,000 people, enough to overload the airport.
Once again, Siemens was able to help because it
is the only company that can supply a complete,
temporary facility — the CapacityPlus terminal.
“It’s something we first did for the 2004 Euro-
pean Soccer Championships in Lisbon,” explains
baggage-handling system in Europe — again
from Siemens. “European airports today are pri-
marily interested in optimizing their baggage
and freight handling,” explains Menden. One
reason is that they want to cut the minimum
connecting time, the time it takes to shift transit
passengers and their luggage to a connecting
flight. This is a key factor in the airlines’ prof-
itability calculations. At the same time, the ma-
jor airports are also gearing up for the arrival of
the new high-capacity Airbus A380. Sustainable City Development | Airports
28 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006
Menden. The facility supplied by I&S consists of
a 100 x 80-meter tent, featuring a traditional
Arabic design with lots of small flags and pen-
nants. Inside are departure and arrival zones, a
check-in desk, a baggage-handling system and
an electronic screening system for passengers.
In addition, Siemens is including a baggage
X-ray system, a flight-information system, air
conditioning, washrooms and an emergency
power supply. “We plan to build the terminal in
six months and operate it for two months,” says
Menden. “It’s ideal not only for mega-events, but
also as an interim solution during renovation
Back in European airspace, all the major air-
port projects have now been completed. At the
start of the year, Madrid Airport opened its
brand-new Terminal 4, which boasts the largest
In the U.S., security remains the key issue.
Siemens is already providing service and main-
tenance for security systems at a total of 430
American airports, as well as equipment for
screening passengers and baggage. What’s
more, to avoid long waits, many airports in the
U.S. are now upgrading their baggage-handling
systems and fitting them with such screening
Siemens is also developing a new energy-
saving program for Detroit Airport. As long ago
as 2002, a similar project yielded millions of
dollars in savings. And now the new air terminal
in Detroit — for which Siemens is the main con-
tractor — is likewise being built according to
strict energy-saving principles. Meanwhile, Indi-
anapolis has gone one step farther and is plan-
ning to become the first airport in the United
could be the first privately financed project of its
kind. The new high-speed tray-type system will
connect the airport terminals, significantly re-
ducing the minimum connecting time.
Our last “airport of call” on this world tour is
Los Angeles, California, which is busy renovat-
ing its nine terminals and building two new in-
ternational terminals, at a cost of $10 billion.
The expansion is in anticipation of the A380 and
to increase passenger comfort. Siemens will be
completely equipping one of the new terminals
with the very latest in wireless technology and
security systems. “We enjoy a very strong, trust-
ing relationship with airport authorities in the
United States,” explains Menden. And from
here, on America’s West Coast, it’s little more
than a short hop back over to Asia, where our
journey began.
Katrin Nikolaus
States to gain LEED certification (Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design), a voluntary
U.S. standard awarded to “Green Buildings” (see
p. 30). The airport is being completely rebuilt
with a terminal featuring 40 gates, a tower and
its own highway link. Siemens is also equipping
one baggage-handling system with a device to
detect explosives.
At Denver Airport, a major tourist gateway to
the nearby Rocky Mountains, Siemens is plan-
ning to build a baggage-handling system that
Airport Country Passengers
Atlanta * U.S.84 million
Chicago O’Hare U.S.76 million
London Heathrow UK 67 million
Tokyo Haneda JAP 62 million
Los Angeles U.S.61 million
Dallas / Fort Worth U.S.59 million
Paris Charles de Gaulle FRA 51 million
Frankfurt GER 51 million
Amsterdam Schiphol NETH 43 million
Denver International U.S.42 million
Las Vegas U.S.41 million
Phoenix Sky Harbor U.S.40 million
Madrid Barajas SPA 39 million
Bangkok Don Muang THA 38 million
New York JFK U.S.38 million
Minneapolis / St. Paul U.S.37 million
Hong Kong International CHN 37 million
Houston U.S.37 million
Detroit U.S.35 million
Beijing CHN 35 million
Study of Worldwide Quality of Life 2006
Top 20 Airports
* All airports on a dark-shaded background use Siemens technology.
Source: Albatross Database, 2005 (figures for 2004)
Proportion of urban population living in slums over 40%
20 – 40%
10 – 20%
under 10%
High-income countries
Source: UN Millennium Project 2005 (UN-Habitat 2003)
Source: Mercer Human Resource Consulting, 2006 (New York = 100)
At Siemens’ Airport Center in Fürth, Germany,
baggage handling system components for Beijing
Airport’s new Terminal 3 are put through their paces.
The Urban Millennium
| Facts and Forecasts
ccording to a new report by UN-Habitat,
the United Nations Human Settlements
Program, 2007 will mark the first time that
more people will be living in cities than in rural
areas. What’s more, the proportion is expected
to rise by two-thirds by 2050, with most of the
increased urbanization predicted for Africa,
Asia and Latin America. One billion of the
world’s urban dwellers already live in the dilap-
idated slum areas of cities such as Nairobi,
Mumbai and Jakarta. In Mumbai, for example,
42 percent of all families occupy no more than
10 square meters of living space, and 95 per-
cent have no running water.
Many of the world’s megacities — in other
words, cities with more than ten million inhab-
itants — are facing the same challenges: popu-
lation explosion, widespread poverty, illegal
housing, bad environmental conditions, and
problems with their public health systems and
administration. Those who are responsible for
remedying these problems often lack the re-
sources, expertise and cash to tackle the job.
One of the major tasks of the 21st century will
therefore be to control urban growth in a sus-
tainable way, making it possible for business to
flourish, environmental objectives to be met,
and social deprivation to be reduced.
These are also the objectives of the Millen-
nium Development Goals (MDGs), which were
formulated in 2000 by a group of representa-
tives from the UN, the World Bank, the OECD
and other organizations. One of the MDG’s
aims is to reduce by half the number of people
living in extreme poverty by 2015, and likewise
the proportion of those without access to
drinking water. The latter objective will require
connecting more than 100 million people to
water supplies annually. The Cities Alliance, a global urban coali-
tion, has been involved with a range of pro-
grams since 1999, including slum-clearance
schemes that help encourage planned growth
and prevent the emergence of new slums.
Benefiting from one such project are 600,000
inhabitants of the Colombian capital Bogotá.
For example, the city has now extended its
drinking-water supply by 78 hectares, thus
connecting more than 5,000 additional house-
holds. Likewise, nearly 3,800 more households
are now connected to the sewage system. In
addition, numerous walkways, squares,
schools, playgrounds, parks and civic centers
have been built. In Bangladesh, too, the pro-
portion of people living in extreme poverty —
an income less than the equivalent of one dol-
lar a day — has fallen by 15 percent since
1995, a period in which the economy has
grown by six percent annually. An important
factor here has been the provision of small
loans for private individuals and business
owners, which has helped them to establish a
secure livelihood.
At the same time, local communities are
being given greater responsibility and opportu-
nities to help shape urban development — a
dialogue that must also involve slum-dwellers.
In December 2005, for example, tens of thou-
sands of people, rich and poor, took part in a
72-hour Internet discussion on the topic of sus-
tainable urban development. “We were looking
for the kind of urban visions needed to recon-
cile social development, economic productivity
and environmental protection,” explains Daniel
Biau, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat.
This global chat forum was staged in the run-
up to the third meeting of the World Urban
Forum in Vancouver in June 2006. The latter
brought together 8,000 representatives from
government, NGOs and business to discuss
how best to improve the quality of life for
slum-dwellers, curb urban criminality, and re-
duce poverty on a permanent basis.
As far as quality of life is concerned, the
current ranking produced by Mercer Human
Resource Consulting once again puts Zurich at
the top of the list, followed by Geneva, Van-
couver and Vienna (see table). Baghdad is the
city with the lowest quality of life. Each city is
rated according to 39 criteria, including politi-
cal, social, economic and environmental fac-
tors as well as personal safety, health, educa-
tion, transport and other public services, such
as power and water supplies.
Sylvia Trage
Sustainable City Development | Building Automation
When Green Means Gold
30 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 31
Technology is making it possible to operate large buildings such as hotels and office
complexes in an environmentally friendly manner. What’s more, intelligent networks
are not only cutting costs, but attracting top customers and improving service. S
ometimes things are really simple. For
instance, to protect our environment we
should use as little energy and water as possible.
And what about buildings? Well, naturally, the
same applies to them. The latest trend with
respect to the planning of hotels, offices, univer-
sities, hospitals and other large structures is
therefore fittingly known as “Green Buildings.”
The concept encompasses the entire scope of a
building’s interaction with its environment,
including its compatibility with its surroundings,
the types of materials used to build it, construc-
tion techniques and, of course, its technology.
Operators who take these factors into account
and ensure optimal networking and controlling
can save a lot of money, while contributing to a
sustainable environment.
Of course it’s not all that simple, since no one
building is exactly like another. Furthermore, as
any hotel manager will tell you, the people who
use buildings can also be very demanding. Still,
different goals such as reducing costs and ensur-
ing customer satisfaction can best be reconciled
through a strategy of sustainability. Siemens
uses its Total Building Solutions concept to link a
building’s system environments, thereby creat-
ing completely new possibilities for using and
managing buildings.
There are several reasons for the popularity
of the sustainability concept. First, many people
are very nature-focused. They want foods con-
taining no pesticides or hormones, clothes
made of natural fibers, and furniture free of
toxic materials. In addition, rising prices make
saving energy attractive. Companies have
responded to this trend by developing increas-
ingly sophisticated systems such as highly effi-
cient heating equipment and new types of
water conservation systems.
It’s a Breeze.The U.S. is experiencing a sustain-
ability boom. “Both the public and private sec-
tors have realized that instead of generating
costs, this concept can actually bring huge
savings,” says Richard Walker, an expert for envi-
ronmentally friendly Siemens solutions in the
U.S. For example, Siemens has developed and
installed a particularly advanced ventilation and
cooling system at the headquarters of the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), an organiza-
tion involved in the protection of the unique
ecosystem of the largest estuary in the U.S. It’s
thus not surprising that the foundation was
determined to use recycled and recyclable mate-
rials to build its headquarters where possible.
For example, rainwater cisterns and composting
toilet systems at the building have reduced
water consumption by 90 percent. Due to these
efforts, CBF, whose offices are among the
“greenest” in the U.S., received the platinum
award for Leadership in Energy and Environ-
mental Design (LEED).
CBF’s ventilation system harnesses the
continual breeze coming from the bay. Devices
that measure humidity and temperature inside
and outside the building send their data to the
system, which automatically shuts down when
artificial heating or cooling is no longer
required. There are also illuminated displays in
the offices that inform employees when to open
their windows. Siemens divided the climate
control areas into individual zones, which
Environmentalists are delighted by the
advantages of the building automation systems
used by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (above)
and Frankfurt’s Mövenpick hotel (below).
means that the lower floors can be heated even
if no heat is being provided to upper floors that
have been warmed by sunlight. The control
system also uses sensors that register when the
conference room doors to a roof garden are
open, in which case it will shut down the air con-
ditioning. This example illustrates the trend
toward building automation. Implementing an
energy savings concept during construction can
significantly reduce investment and energy
costs. For instance, the CBF headquarters build-
ing requires around two thirds less energy than a
comparable conventional office building.
iPod Hotel.Siemens Building Technologies
(SBT) also used a green approach to win the ten-
der for the new Mövenpick Hotel in downtown
Frankfurt. Instead of adhering to the traditional
separation between electrical and building sys-
tem technologies, the solution covered every-
thing from major electrical equipment, switches
and outlets to fire alarm systems, video surveil-
lance, access control, building automation and
even parking space management. The benefits
hotels, which are located in picturesque areas
allows them to blend in with their surroundings.
Bathers cool off in artificial lakes that look quite
natural, instead of chlorinated pools. Water is fil-
tered and reused, or released into neighboring
irrigation systems. Underwater Rooms.A completely opposite
trend involves hotels that offer unique experi-
ences. Such facilities are now sprouting up in
the Middle East and the U.S. Dubai is currently
planning a new facility known as the Flyotel,
which will stretch 200 meters above the sea in
the shape of a wing and eclipse the famous Burj
al Arab. Hotels with a total of 29,000 beds are
now also being built in Dubai’s new Bawadi
district, and 6,500 beds will be available in the
Asia-Asia Hotel, which will be the world’s
largest. In Las Vegas, Siemens is supplying much
of the equipment and systems for an MGM
Mirage group complex that will include a 4,000-
bed hotel, a casino, shopping malls and luxury
apartments (see Pictures of the Future, Spring
Two things are required to achieve these
goals. The first is a remote control device that
guests of any age can use easily. “We’re thinking
here about a design similar to that of BMW’s
iDrive or the iPod from Apple,” Hartmann
explains. The second requirement is a new IT architec-
ture that enables hotels to centrally manage
their numerous control systems for everything
from air conditioning and telephones to all back-
office and monitoring functions. Siemens is
currently developing both. This invisible technology can transform
many new ideas into reality. For example, using
“energy score cards,” hotels could offer guests a
discount for their next visit if they reduce the
energy consumption in their rooms. This could
become a key marketing element, since environ-
mentally conscious guests generally stay at
green hotels. Another current trend is “eco-luxury,” which
involves resorts and lodges that meet the high-
est customer demands — but in an environmen-
tally compatible manner. The design of such
2006, p. 38). Siemens will also be involved in
another spectacular hotel project — the
Hydropolis, which will be located in the Persian
Gulf off the coast of Dubai. Work on the hotel,
which will have 200 rooms and be located 20
meters below sea level, is scheduled to begin
this year. The hotel was planned by Munich
architect Joachim Hauser for the Dubai Develop-
ment and Investment Authority. Such huge projects in the Middle East and the
Unted States would be impossible without the
requisite infrastructure. “You need energy and
water,” says Hartmann. Here, many partners
worldwide rely on Siemens to help build power
plants, distribution networks, water pumps and
recycling facilities. And some hotel operators are now even look-
ing beyond the earth for new ideas. Star archi-
tect Peter Inston, for example, has already
planned a “Lunar Hilton” for the Hilton Group —
a moon hotel that the chain wants to open in
2050. Although that’s still quite far down the
line, you can be sure Siemens will be there when
construction begins.
Katrin Nikolaus
are obvious. Planning services from a single
source saves time and money, cable lines can be
jointly used, and customers need only deal with
one contact person, who also handles the final
acceptance process for the entire system.
But that’s only the beginning. It is also possi-
ble to intelligently link system controls and thus
offer users totally new possibilities. In search of
solutions tailored to their guests’ needs, opera-
tors of high-end hotels are focusing on green
hotels, business hotels and hotels with high
security standards. Guests at such establish-
ments expect perfect service. “Guests don’t
want to be part of a system,” says Michael Hart-
mann, manager of the Siemens’ Hospitality
sector. “They want special attention — particu-
larly those who travel a lot.” When a frequent
guest asks for champagne, the staff should
know what brand that guest prefers. The same
applies to other preferences, such as which flow-
ers. Annoyances such as radio alarms that go off
in the night or telephone displays that remain lit
at night must be eliminated as well.
Sustainable City Development | Beverages
Technology on Tap
32 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 33
Whether its beer with guarana or mineral water with papaya, the ability to create and
perfect new beverages is possible only with perfectly organized systems. Siemens has
standardized key hardware and software components, thus enabling breweries and
soft drink producers to achieve the highest levels of production quality.
n a city the size of Berlin (population 3.4 mil-
lion), two million bottles of beer, 0.6 million
liters of milk, and 1.5 million liters of mineral
water are consumed every day. Stilling this thirst
is a significant challenge. The logistics are com-
plex, and beverage producers must produce in
large quantities. In order to reduce costs, each
company has to keep a sharp eye on its organiza-
tional structures.
With Totally Integrated Automation (TIA),
Siemens offers hardware and software solutions
for automation and drive technology that are
attuned to one another. “Every part of the
system should communicate flawlessly with
every other, not just during start-up and daily
production, but also if alterations and upgrades
are required at a later stage,” explains Rüdiger
Selig of Siemens’ Food & Beverage Competence
Center. “That’s the reason why we fully integrate
all the hardware and software for operating
each facility.” Selig calls this the optimized packaging
plant. The components of such a system work
reliably while producing beverages in large
quantities. They also keep costs for spare parts
storage low and are flexible when it comes to
making adjustments — an important factor
when regulations change. Since the introduc-
tion of the can deposit in Germany, for instance,
sales of beverage cans have plummeted from
7.5 billion (2002) to 500 million (2005).
In addition, quality- and health-conscious
customers are always on the look-out for im-
proved products. As far as the beer sector is con-
cerned, there is a trend toward light drinks. In
addition, young consumers are increasingly
turning to alternative beer with flavorings.
Exotic mixtures include Guarana with and with-
out caffeine, passion fruit and winter orange
kumquat. In alcohol-free drinks, there are fla-
vors such as pomegranate, pineapple-papaya,
apple-guava and peach-lychee.
But new production plants are rarely built in
order to expressly meet evolving tastes. On the
contrary, many beverage producers still rely on
antiquated facilities, and in general, older facili-
ties are upgraded on a machine-by-machine
basis by a range of system suppliers.
In view of this, it is difficult to consider the
production process as a whole and to control it
efficiently so that it is cost-optimized. After all, a
comprehensive process control system that can
access all of a beverage’s production steps —
from delivery of raw materials to the time the
goods leave the plant — requires the use of
standardized data formats and appropriate com-
munication structures. This is precisely why, in the case of TIA,
Siemens has set up a hierarchically designed
hardware and software system that is organized
from the uppermost control level down to each
individual pressure sensor. “Imagine the entire
pyramid, with the field, automation, manufac-
A Siemens Braumat process control system allows computer-supported brewing and fermen-
tation at the Stiegl brewery in Salzburg,Austria,
the alpine nation’s largest private brewery.
turing execution system, and enterprise re-
source planning levels,” says Selig. In other
words, at the very bottom — on the field level —
are pressure or temperature sensors and actua-
tors such as valves. Above this on the automa-
tion level is a system controller like the Braumat
PCS7 process control system. The latter ensures
that the processes in the brewing room and in
the fermentation and storage cellars are error-
free and reproducible. The third level, the MES
(manufacturing execution system), is a produc-
tion control system like Simatic IT. It enables
plant operators to retrieve data onto their PCs
and check whether everything is running ac-
cording to plan. The MES can also transmit data as needed to
the top of the pyramid, the ERP (enterprise re-
source planning). Here, software handles plan-
ning and management tasks — for example, the
purchasing of raw materials, sales or personnel
developed its MES Simatic IT on this basis. The
Simatic IT Production Suite includes all functionali-
ties for visualization, maintenance, production
and storage. With the help of Simatic IT Unilab, a
company can manage all of its quality-related
data. As a result, particular products can be as-
signed measurement and regulation data such as
which beer bottle was filled from which tank and
What’s Brewing in Europe. Siemens has
decades of experience on the automation level.
The Braumat process control system, for instance,
which was developed for breweries, fits seam-
lessly into the TIA concept. Its outstanding prop-
erty is that it can control even the discontinuous,
recipe-controlled processes common in breweries.
Experts can develop recipes for new brands,
change and adjust processes and parameters such
as volumes, temperatures and times, and access
this data time and again. Braumat is used in more than 900 breweries
worldwide, including the Stiegl brewery in
Salzburg. With a market share of 11 percent, it is
Austria’s largest private brewery. Stiegl boasts the
munication technology from Siemens, thus ful-
filling the optimal conditions for a continuous
automation concept. The producer’s associated
packaging machine manufacturers also use
Siemens components.
In such cases, the payoff for the customer can
be considerable. With an investment of $15 mil-
lion in total, the customer can probably save
$300,000 to $400,000 due to lower construction
costs, easier assembly, quick start-up and reduced
need for training. In addition, lower capital and
working costs in conjunction with higher effi-
ciency and availability can result in further savings
of $200,000 to $400,000 per year in operating
costs. There are also possibilities for optimization on
the MES level, such as in quality assurance. In co-
operation with Siemens, international standards
organizations such as the IEC have defined which
functions an MES must fulfill, specified the associ-
ated interfaces, and codified a standard. Siemens
most modern brewing room in Europe — and it is
full of technology from Siemens. “Computer-sup-
ported brewing and fermentation management
helps us to balance out natural fluctuations in raw
materials and achieve as consistent a level of qual-
ity as possible,” explains Master Brewer Ernst
Schreiner. “This allows us to enhance the typical
qualities of our different beers in a consistent way.
Our work has become much easier with the new
brewing room.” In the meantime, the evolution of Totally Inte-
grated Automation continues. “In a few years, the
automation level will be merged with the level of
the production control system,” asserts Selig with
confidence. “When that happens, it will be possi-
ble to simply connect any new system parts to an
Ethernet interface. As a result, it will be possible to
install the parts of a filling system almost as easily
as a new network printer today.” And that’s cer-
tainly good news for thirsty people.
Bernhard Gerl
Bus in the Brewery. For decades, production and
filling systems were regulated mechanically by
operating personnel. But today, machines have
programmable logic controllers. For optimal pro-
duction flow, individual machines must be able to
communicate with one another. Initially, this was achieved with direct lines. But
now, bus systems are used on the automation
level because they are cheaper and require less
maintenance. The production control system level
(MES) uses the same Ethernet — known for its
cost-effectiveness and reliability — that is used for
office communication between system compo-
“One of the challenges in brewing is that differ-
ent system components in the beverage industry
use different automation and communication sys-
tems,” says Selig. “Even with very new systems, we
have to advise producers and machine suppliers
that for the overall production plant, it’s more effi-
cient to use uniform systems.” A renowned inter-
national soft drink producer has already been
reaping the fruits of such an approach. During an
expansion of its filling systems in Montreal and
Moscow, this producer used only control and com-
Sustainable City Development | Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals
Perfecting Processes
34 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 35
Efficiency, safety and flexible production are trends that are crucial to the chemical
and pharmaceutical industries. Siemens helps customers in these fields by offering
new processes, modern facilities and sophisticated automation technology.
BASF around 1920 (below). Where quality control was once a question of the plant
operator’s skills, it is now largely dependent on automation technology (left).
he second half of the 19th century was a pe-
riod when chemistry flourished. Many large
factories were built, and there was no doubt
where they should be located: outside of cities.
The fear that production facilities would pro-
duce noxious odors and polluted waste water
was completely justified. In 1865, a citizens’ committee therefore re-
jected Badische Anilin- und Sodafabrik’s (BASF)
request to allow it to establish itself in Mann-
heim, Germany. The company moved to the
opposite side of the Rhine to Ludwigshafen, still
a small town at the time, which approved con-
struction of a production facility outside the city
limits. Since then, BASF’s factory complex and
the city of Ludwigshafen have grown to form a
single prospering partnership.
Today the chemical industry is focused on
minimizing its resource use and environmental
to the source of raw materials and close to the
processing industries,” says Günther. Short
transportation paths save money and reduce en-
vironmental impact. The larger the facility, the
lower its production costs per ton. “By contrast,
the special chemicals industry favors plants that
can be utilized flexibly, so that they can produce
different products in the same system.” In this
case, decentralized, consumer-oriented produc-
tion makes more sense. Dr. Wolfgang Scheiding, Head of the Pharma-
ceuticals Competence Center at Siemens Auto-
mation and Drives (A&D), paints a similar picture
of his industry: “On the one hand, pharmaceuti-
development of micro-processing systems at
Siemens A&D in Frankfurt. In many cases even explosive mixtures can
be handled much more easily in micro-reactors
than in traditional installations — another step
forward in the direction of plant and process
safety. In addition, substances produced in mi-
cro-channels mix thoroughly and quickly, which
has a positive effect on the yield and therefore
on the purity of the product as well.
With Siprocess, Siemens has developed a
modular micro-processing system in which the
Simatic PCS 7 process control system is also inte-
grated. “This system can be assembled and put
Converting to a new process control system
without stopping production can save millions.
impact. For example, by participating in the world-
wide “Responsible Care” initiative, the industry
has obligated itself to consider the impact of its
activities on society and future generations when
making decisions — a perceptible contribution
to sustainable development, according to the
United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). Progress has been made possible through
new technologies and processes, such as
biotechnical methods, catalytic processes and
membrane technology, new plant planning con-
cepts and, last but not least, through enormous
improvements in automation and control — an
area in which Siemens in particular has made
major contributions. Chemical plants today are managed reliably
and economically with computer-assisted
process control systems. Plant operators man-
age facilities and follow processes on monitors.
“The control center has become a nerve center
— a place where information and process know-
how come together,” says Markus Günther,
Siemens’ Chemical Industry sector manager
“The trend is going in the direction of putting
more and more intelligence into the equipment
and electronics on site — in other words, at the
locations where measuring and controlling are
performed. This, in turn, is opening up opportu-
nities for innovations in process control technol-
ogy, such as asset management for optimizing
the availability and maintenance of plant com-
ponents.” Process control systems can pinpoint distur-
bances in processes and respond to them auto-
matically. And when it comes to monitoring
high risk areas, fail-safe systems can return
equipment to a safe state under all imaginable
circumstances — even if the operating system
has failed. Until recently, such systems had to be
installed together with dedicated hardware and
software — a significant financial and organiza-
tional constraint. That problem has, however,
been solved thanks to the latest generation of
Siemens process control systems. “Our Simatic PCS 7 has an open and flexible
design,” says Günther. “It allows fail-safe func-
tions to be easily integrated. With this develop-
ment, we are the first company to have com-
bined these completely separate systems on a
joint platform.” Migrations, Modernizations and New Plants.
Worldwide, thousands of plants will be modern-
ized over the next few years, with many requir-
ing new process control systems. “Ideally, such
facilities should continue normal operations
during migration to a new system as far as
possible,” says Günther. “A one-day shutdown in
a large facility can represent a loss of over a
million euros.”
For each migration project, Siemens devel-
ops an individual strategy tailored to the facil-
ity’s individual requirements. “Migration cannot
take place without solid, detailed and well
thought-out planning,” says Ulrich Dallmeier,
Head of Electrical, Measurement and Control
Technology at INEOS Phenol, a company that
operates the world’s largest phenol plant.
Located in Gladbeck, Germany, the company
recently switched to Siemens’ PCS 7 process
control system. Completely different challenges emerge dur-
ing the planning of a new plant. Here, chemical
manufacturers have to decide on plant size, lo-
cation, and process to optimize production of a
desired product. In this connection, two major
trends have developed. “Basic chemicals that are
needed in huge quantities are being produced in
increasingly large plants that are located close
cal manufacturers want to develop blockbuster
drugs with annual sales in excess of a billion
euros. On the other hand, the trend is toward
development of more and more specialized
medicines.” Scheiding predicts that “there could eventu-
ally be personalized drugs that are exactly tai-
lored to a the disease profile, weight, size and
habits of the patient. Such a medication could
be issued as needed at a an automated dispens-
ing station based on the data on a patient’s chip
card. The automation and information technol-
ogy to accomplish this is already available at
Mini-Factory Revolution . Tough global com-
petition is placing chemical and pharmaceutical
companies under increasing pressure to bring
new products to market in the shortest possible
time. But new compounds and processes have
to be brought from the research stage to produc-
tion as quickly as possible — something micro-
processing technology is helping to accomplish
while at the same time opening entirely new
opportunities. In a micro-processing-based chemical pro-
duction system, substances that are to react
with each other chemically are placed in hair-
thin channels, mixed and brought to a reaction
point. The original substances flow in through
the front, and the product flows continuously
out through the back. The channels’ measure-
ments lie in the range of a few tenths of a mil-
limeter. “Such fine structures have very large
surfaces in relation to their volume. That makes
heat exchange highly effective. And risks are
drastically reduced because only minimal
amounts of substances are in the system,” says
Dr. Thomas Bayer, who is responsible for the
Sustainable City Development | Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals
36 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 37
Chemicals in Hair-Thin Channels
The Siprocess micro-processing systemcombines micro technology, automation and modularity. The
system consists of compact modules and a control device with a monitor. The modules are inserted into
a rack and joined together. Each module takes on a certain task, such as dosing, mixing and reacting,
regulating pressure or taking samples. Together, the modules cover all functions that are required for a
chemical reaction. Each module contains all the sensors and actuators that it needs for its function. Actu-
ators are systems that translate control signals into actions. In the dosing module (above left without its
cover), for example, there are two high-precision dosage pumps and pump valves that exhibit very little
pulsation when they switch; pressure is measured with pressure sensors. The heart of the system is the
reaction module, where the micro-reactor (photo upper right) is located. This contains the extremely fine
reaction section including thicker channels, with which the section is brought to the right temperature.
Siprocess can convert two or three basic substances into one product. The system is currently being
tested by pilot customers.
Houston: Cutting Emissions by 36%
Houston is suffering from smog.In no other U.S.
city except Los Angeles do ozone values rise to harm-
ful levels more often. And it isn’t just the heavy traffic
that’s at fault. Eleven refineries and the biggest collec-
tion of petrochemical plants in the world are located
in this densely populated urban area, which has more
than five million inhabitants. Nitrogen oxides and
highly reactive volatile organic compounds (HRVOC)
escape from innumerable chimneys, gas flares and cooling towers. They act as catalysts for the creation of
ozone. The Texas environmental protection agency is therefore demanding that the emission of volatile
compounds such as ethene, propylene, butylene and butadiene be monitored. With this in mind, Siemens
has supplied the analytic solution for most of the more than 380 measuring points. Siemens’ Maxum Edi-
tion II gas chromatograph, a low-maintenance measuring system for use in rugged environments, automat-
ically collects samples every 7.5 minutes and transmits the results to a process control system. “Making so
many systems available in a relatively short time was a challenge,” says Ulrich Gokeler, who is in charge of
business development at Siemens Applied Automation in Houston. The system, which has been operating
since April 2006, is expected to help reduce emissions by 36 percent. That’s worthwhile for the customer,
says Gokeler. “Up until now, several cubic meters of volatile substances could escape from a flare per hour
— despite the fact that HRVOCs aren’t waste, but a valuable product,” he says.
Gas on
the Go
Natural gas is steadily
gaining in importance
in the energy mix. But because it often
travels thousands of
miles from production
fields to consumers,
powerful compressors
are needed to keep it moving at the highest
possible speed. T
he city of Erlangen, Germany, is proud of its
new, ultra-modern combined cycle power
plant. Now that Siemens Power Generation (PG)
has modernized the facility, its CO
will be reduced by ten percent, or about 70,000
tons per year. The power plant covers 30 percent
of the city’s energy requirements and supplies
an additional 3,000 households with district
heating. And it’s highly efficient. It utilizes up to
90 percent of the energy contained in the nat-
ural gas. Communities worldwide are increas-
ingly turning to natural gas. The International
Energy Agency estimates that associated invest-
ment requirements will reach $500 billion for
site development and transportation systems by
The most common way of transporting gas,
sometimes over enormous distances, to densely
populated urban centers is the pipeline. The Ja-
mal-Europe Pipeline, for example, is 4,000 kilo-
meters long — extending from the Jamal Penin-
sula in western Siberia to eastern Germany. Gas
needs just under a week for the journey. Com-
pressor stations are installed every 200 kilome-
ters because the gas loses pressure as a result of
friction. The stations compress the gas up to 90
bar — 90 times the pressure of air — so that it
can flow through the pipes quickly. Turbo com-
pressors, in which up to three runners are posi-
tioned one behind the other on a shaft, are used
in pipelines that require particularly high
throughput. They are driven by a gas turbine or
powerful electric motors. Siemens supplied 21
gas turbine compressor lines with 25 megawatts
each for the Jamal Pipeline, which is operated by
the Russian company Gasprom, among others. Another company that has used Siemens
technology is BASF subsidiary Wingas. It
equipped its compressor station in Eischleben,
Germany (completed in 2005) with two
Siemens compressor strings. These are powered
by SGT-700 gas turbines, each with 30
megawatts of mechanical coupling output.
When the gas turbines were ordered, there
weren’t any references yet for this series’ perfor-
mance in practice. “A key reason for deciding in
favor of the SGT-700 was the fact that it bore the
Siemens name,” says Klaus Haußmann of BASF,
project manager for the technical planning of
several Wingas facilities. “The machines have
been running to our full satisfaction from the
start of operations.” The same is true of the con-
trol system, which was also made by Siemens.
Natural gas is often converted to liquefied
natural gas (LNG) close to the source and
shipped by tankers. Here, the trend is toward
bigger facilities. “The larger the amounts pro-
duced, the lower the specific investment costs,”
explains Manfred Ramdohr, who is responsible
for LNG business development at PG. That re-
quires huge, multi-casing compressors. The sin-
gle casings are up to seven meters long, weigh
up to 220 tons, and have an output exceeding
100 megawatts. Beginning in 2007, Siemens
will be able to test up to six of these giant
compressors at full load — including drives —
at the same time in a test center that is being
built in a huge hall in Duisburg. “That way we
can fulfill the customer’s specific requirements
exactly, all the way through to assembly and
test,” says Dr. Peter Langer, head of the compres-
sor business. In addition to gas and steam tur-
bines, Siemens also makes electric motors that
operate as drives. It is thus in tune with the trend
toward fully electric LNG systems. “Due to rou-
tine maintenance, gas turbines are not in opera-
tion 20 to 30 days per year. Electrically driven
compressors, on the other hand, can run 350
days and more per year,” says Ramdohr. The first
into operation within one day. The combination
of micro-processing technology with modularity
and automation facilitates the step from lab to
production,” says Bayer. Today, Siprocess is used overwhelmingly in
process development, but it has such a high
level of performance that it can keep up with a
classic six-cubic-meter stirrer tank. In fact,
Siprocess can handle up to 70 tons of fluids an-
nually, while comfortably fitting under a labora-
tory hood. This means that there is no longer any need
for a time-consuming scale-up procedure — the
proportional increase from small lab apparatus
to a large installation. At the same time, thanks
to is modular design, Siprocess is so flexible that
it can be converted to produce an entirely differ-
ent product in only a matter of hours. “Micro-processing systems are ideal for com-
panies that have to produce their products in rel-
atively small quantities, as is, for example, the
case in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s also
conceivable to produce a substance at several
locations simultaneously to avoid long trans-
portation routes,” explains Bayer. Even the loca-
tion issue can be viewed from a new perspective
because of the low hazard potential. All things
considered, the city of Mannheim would proba-
bly grant a construction permit for a modern
chemical plant today. Who knows, maybe BASF
could get a second chance. Björn Gondesen
The Siprocess mini factory with automation
technology.The system, which is ready to run
within one day, can deliver 70 tons of liquid
products annually, is very flexible, and can be
converted quickly to produce other materials. fully electric LNG facility will enter service in
Hammerfest, Norway, at the end of 2007.
Siemens’ Dynamo plant in Berlin furnished 65-
megawatt electric motors for this project — the
most powerful that have ever been built. Environmentally Friendly Diesel.Synthetic
GTL (gas-to-liquid) fuels represent another
market for natural gas. They are created through
the transformation of methane, the main con-
stituent of natural gas, into diesel, kerosene,
naphtha (raw gasoline), lubricating oils and
paraffins. GTL diesel is considered to be environ-
mentally compatible, as it contains very low
levels of sulfur and aromatic hydrocarbons. The
fuel produced by Shell in Malaysia is already
improving air quality in Bangkok and Athens,
and Shell is planning a 140,000-barrel per day
mega-facility in the Emirate of Qatar. “As Siemens can also supply management
systems, process controls and plants for waste
water treatment and power generation, it can
provide unique solutions for the oil and gas in-
dustry from one source,” says Peter Adam, sec-
tor manager for oil and natural gas. Companies such as Shell are also eyeing un-
tapped natural gas fields under the ocean. But
pumping the gas out is a challenge. Until now,
development has been held back because of a
lack high-performance compressors for mainte-
nance free, deep-sea operations. However, engi-
neers from Siemens PG are working with under-
water specialists from FMC Technologies to
develop a compressor capable of operating at
depths of up to 3,000 meters .
Ute Kehse
Gas pipeline in Siberia. Pipes transport natural gas
thousands of kilometers to consumers in the West.
Spaced at 200-kilometer intervals, compressors
(right) maintain stable pressure throughout.
Sustainable City Development | Steel
Metals for the Megacities
38 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 39
How can millions of tons of steel be produced for booming cities — without severely
polluting the soil, water or atmosphere? Siemens offers extensive solutions, from energy-saving cast rolling facilities to software that can learn production control. B
eijing is getting all dressed up. With its eyes
on the 2008 Olympic Games, China’s capital
plans to move most of its steel industry, com-
plete with smokestacks and blast furnaces, into
the hinterlands (see p. 15). With millions of visi-
tors expected for the games, it’s important to
ensure that guests can breathe clean air. Fur-
thermore, heavy industry no longer fits into
Shanghai’s urban concept. City planners are
therefore focusing on banks, commerce and
high-tech. That’s why China’s largest steel
manufacturer, Bao Steel, is moving into a new
industrial park in Luojing, some 40 kilometers
northwest of the city.
China’s megacities face a dilemma. Every
year they use millions of tons of steel to build
office towers, shopping centers, power plants,
bridges, subways and residential buildings. And
every year millions of people stream into the
cities from rural areas, often moving into rein-
forced concrete apartment buildings. Clearly,
the country needs to update its infrastructure.
But the production of steel, aluminum, copper
and cement puts considerable strain on the
environment. In fact, China’s urban areas are
among the most polluted regions on the planet.
It is therefore crucial that this emerging industri-
al power build production facilities using green
Siemens can help. The company is a leader in
processes for sustainable steel production. In
addition to producing drives, automation tech-
nology and electrical equipment, Siemens —
and its Austrian subsidiary Siemens VAI — sup-
plies the mechanical systems, process expertise,
technical assistance, training and monitoring
services need to build assembly and production
facilities for the steel industry. “We are the only
producer worldwide that offers everything from
one source,” says Sanjeev Sinha, Director of the
Rolling and Processing division at Industrial
Solutions and Services (I&S) in Erlangen. The
following are examples of this concept:
➔ Northeast of Beijing, Shougang Iron & Steel
Co. is building a new smelter for hot-dip
galvanized steel sheet that is scheduled to go
into operation in early 2008. Siemens will equip
the complex, which will have an annual capacity
of 1.7 million tons, with electric and automation
technology. All drives feature three-phase
motors, which use significantly less energy than
DC drives.
➔ Tisco, a specialty stainless steel producer, is
building a plant in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, 300
kilometers from Beijing. Plans call for the plant
to begin operations in mid 2007. With an annual
capacity of 1.5 million tons, the facility will be
the world’s largest production line for stainless
steel. The Siemens VAI branch in the UK is sup-
plying the technology. I&S in Erlangen is equip-
ping the facility with motors, process computers
and measurement and control systems, which
are part of the Siroll PL integrated solution.
➔China’s number one steelmaker, Bao Steel, is
building a new smelter in Luojing, near Shang-
hai, where production is slated to begin in 2008.
The facility will produce steel plate for road and
rail bridges, ships and oil pipelines. Siemens is
supplying the plant’s automation system, which
will combine process computers with neural
networks. Thanks to this software, which is
capable of learning (see Pictures of the Future,
Spring 2006, p. 90), it is possible to achieve
higher productivity while reducing resource
consumption and costs.
From blast furnaces to rolled plate production,
China’s booming steel industry is becoming more
environmentally friendly — for example, at this
plant in Maanshan, southwest of Nanjing. Very significant energy savings can be
achieved with cast rolling facilities — an area
where Siemens is the world market leader. Here,
a step between the liquid phase of steel produc-
tion and the following rolling is eliminated. Nor-
mally, liquid raw steel is poured into bars, which
are cooled and placed into intermediate storage.
These “slabs” are heated again before being
rolled out into bands in a roller mill. But in cast
rolling facilities, extra-thin poured slabs are rolled
out immediately after casting in a hot-rolling
mill. These systems must be monitored and
controlled in real time by sensors and process
computers. The recrystallization of the steel
during regulated cooling after rolling is a tricky
procedure. “This decisively affects the product’s
properties,“ says Sinha.
Dramatic Reduction in Energy Use.Accord-
ing to the trade journal Millennium Steel, thin
slab cast rolling makes it possible to reduce ener-
gy consumption by up to 73 percent compared
to conventional technology. Thus far, some 30
such plants have been built worldwide. Siemens
has equipped 22 cast rolling facilities with elec-
trical equipment, especially with powerful
process computers. Before it was purchased by
Siemens, VAI had also built other plants, includ-
ing the Baotou Iron & Steel Company plant,
which opened in 2001. Thanks to basic improve-
ments in the plant’s operational flow, its produc-
tion has already been increased by 40 percent to
2.8 million tons a year. By mid-2007, another
expansion of the plant’s capacity is planned, and
Siemens will once again be supplying the need-
ed drive and automation technology.
Increasingly, China is becoming a proving
ground for advanced iron and steel technolo-
gies. For instance, Siemens VAI has developed
Corex technology — a particularly environmen-
tally friendly process for pig iron manufacture.
Due to its economical and environmental advan-
tages, Corex technology is gradually taking the
place of traditional blast furnaces. Siemens VAI
is now building the largest Corex facility to date,
for Bao Steel subsidiary Baoshan in Luojing. The
plant, which is designed to produce 1.5 million
tons of pig iron a year, will be “stoked up” in the
fourth quarter of 2007.
In contrast to conventional blast furnaces
facility. Similarly, the sinter facility in which the
iron ore is traditionally prepared before smelt-
ing, is no longer needed. Corex works with lump
ore straight from the mine. This innovative tech-
nology is a two-step smelting reduction process.
First, the iron oxide contained in the ore is
reduced to “sponge iron.” This interim product is
then reduced further in the second step and
fused into pig iron. In both cases, coal provides
the energy.
Slashing Emissions.Corex technology results
in major cost savings. After all, the price of cok-
ing coal has doubled to about $120 per ton due
to the sharp increases in steel production in the
last five years. “Even considering that the price
of steam coal has also increased — albeit less
sharply than coking coal — we can achieve cost
reductions of up to 20 percent with the Corex
process,” says Christian Böhm, project manager
at Siemens VAI. Still more impressive is the
possible reduction of pollutant emissions. Con-
ventional blast furnaces include a cokery and a
sintering facility that produce roughly 1.4 kilo-
grams of sulfur dioxide per ton of pig iron.
According to TÜV Rheinland, Corex cuts these
emissions to a mere 40 grams, and discharges of
dust and nitrogen oxides are cut by more than
90 percent.
In addition, compared with conventional
blast furnaces, Corex cuts discharges of ammo-
nia, phenols and sulfides in waste water. And
the gas created by the Corex process can be sold
that require special coking coal to smelt iron
from ore, a Corex facility can be operated with
normal coal, eliminating the need for a coking
commercially. At the Luojing facility, it will be
used to heat the smelter and power a nearby
combined cycle plant. These advantages have
impressed China’s steel industry. Bao Steel
wants to build a second Corex facility with a
capacity of up to 1.5 million tons of pig iron a
year. And residents of Shanghai will be able to
breathe easier in the future.
Günter Heismann
Aid for China’s Rural Clinics
With a view to devising and implementing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most
pressing challenges, former U.S. President Bill Clinton has founded the Clinton Global Initiative
(CGI). The Initiative brings together a community of global leaders. Siemens, for instance, has
agreed to commit $10 million to the initiative over the next five years. The donation is primar-
ily designed to provide financial support for rural communities in China, where, for instance,
respiratory diseases due to coal mining have increased significantly. Starting in 2007, a range
of Siemens medical equipment — computer tomographs, X-ray equipment and ultrasound
machines — and water purification systems will be delivered to Chinese clinics. Siemens will
also train local healthcare providers so that they can maintain and service the new machines.
As a result, many people in rural provinces will for the first time have access to state-of-the-art
imaging methods for the early detection and examination of a range of illnesses. Additional
information is available at uz
Sustainable City Development | Emergency Communications
Ready for Action
40 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 41
Siemens is developing new solutions that not only improve the security of telephone connections in emergencies, but also make chasing criminals easier.
n the brilliant early morning light of the Arabi-
an Gulf tires can be heard screeching as rob-
bers make their getaway from the scene of a
crime. An alarm sounds in the police control
center, and images of the getaway car appear on
a video wall 12 meters wide. Cameras at each
crossing follow the speeding vehicle until it dis-
appears into an underground parking garage.
The video screen now shows a 3D image of the
building. Points show where the police should
be posted. The first patrol car approaches ...
One of the most modern police control
centers in the world was opened in Dubai on
September 20, 2006. All of its equipment was
delivered by Siemens, including communica-
tions and security systems, information process-
ing and operations control software. To add to
the 115 cameras it already has, the Emirates
police force has installed 732 new ones – many
on the roofs of high-rise buildings. Their resolu-
tion is so high that they can zoom in on people
until the latter fill the screen. Helicopters
equipped with cameras send images to ground
sites using microwaves. The city and its streets
are stored on a computer in 3D, as are hundreds
of buildings. “This comprehensive system
would not have been possible without the
cooperation of several Siemens Groups,” says
Asim Sukhera, project leader at Siemens Com-
munications (Com). The telephone system, with its call distribu-
tion and recording functions, comes from Com-
munications, the hardware and servers with PCs
from Fujitsu-Siemens and the security-related
components are from Building Technologies.
Combating crime and dealing with emergencies
as quickly as possible requires reliable and direct
communication. To provide this, Siemens devel-
oped the HiPath Command Control Center solu-
tion, which allows operations to be coordinated
down to the smallest detail. Monitors display all
the relevant data at all times. Around the world, similar centers are crop-
ping up. For instance, in the Chinese city of Nan-
ning (population more than six million). And all
across Finland, emergency calls are now taken
via new command centers from which police, fire
department and paramedic services operations
are controlled. Jukka Altonen, head of develop-
ment at the administrative office for emergency
call centers in Finland, says the Siemens solution
is unique: “When people need help, it’s unbeat-
able.” When a center receives an emergency call,
the caller’s name and location immediately
appear on the monitor — complete with a road
map. The control system makes operational sug-
gestions and checks to see which vehicle is in
the area. It just takes a click to alert the vehicle. “Determining the exact position via satellite
is crucial,” says Matthias Stump. “Only then can
operations be planned accurately — whether
chasing criminals or coordinating support forces
during floods.” Large operations in particular
often suffer from poor coordination. So it’s
Stump’s job to sit down with customers to work
out where they need new technology. “Existing
systems are often not replaced, but just extend-
ed,” says Stump, emphasizing one of HiPath’s
strengths. It can connect an old analog radio sys-
tem with new “Tetra”digital police system. Vari-
ous radio and communications standards can be
integrated, such as WLAN. Tetra has already
been introduced in several European countries.
Its greatest strength is that calls can be made to
individuals, or a group of people can be connect-
ed with each other. “In the past, one radio call
Dubai’s new police control center is one of the most modern facilities of its kind anywhere. Its geographically-based alarm system means the
authorities can respond rapidly to emergencies. would go out to everyone,” says Stump. But
thanks to Tetra, callers can define exactly who
they want to talk to on the HiPath monitor.
Robust Networks.But even the best commu-
nications solution is of no use if connections or
crucial components fail, for example during
floods. Whole regions can then be cut off from
the outside world. Experts therefore want to
make future telephone and data networks less
vulnerable to disruption. The idea behind this
system is simple: Instead of having fixed net-
works linked solely via central stations, it should
be possible for ad-hoc networks to autonomous-
ly organize themselves in just seconds. Future
mobile radio networks will be flexible enough to
bypass non-functioning stations. That will prob-
ably involve a network that covers up to 50 kilo-
meters and is based on the WLAN or WiMAX
standard. Messages will then hop on to the net-
work via a multihop connection using mobile
phones, laptops or access points.
Among the most effective tools against com-
munication blackout are mesh networks. These
are used to connect various WLAN or WiMAX
islands with one another. In the future they too
will set themselves up through self-organiza-
tion. “In an emergency we could replace broken
network nodes with mobile WiMAX mesh
nodes,” says Dr. Rainer Sauerwein from Siemens
Corporate Technology (CT), who is responsible
for developing wireless mesh networks. Mount-
ed on emergency vehicles, these mobile net-
work nodes could be used to replace destroyed
communication infrastructure. The system’s developers at CT are currently
working on securing mesh networks against
attacks. Communication protocols also need to
be quick and powerful enough to integrate
mobile nodes — transmitters on rescue vehi-
cles, for example — in such a manner that even
high-demand services such as Internet telepho-
ny are possible. Dr. Christian Schwingenschlögl of CT is work-
ing on making the large amount of data these
systems have to process as manageable as possi-
ble. “It’s right at the start, when emergency sup-
port personnel are being directed to their opera-
tions sites, that an enormous amount of
information hits the system,” he say. Schwin-
genschlögl is developing algorithms and proto-
cols to spread the load and allow data to be dis-
tributed accordingly. It will still be some time
before this technology is ready for market. Meanwhile, back in Dubai, communications
are working perfectly. Patrol cars have surround-
ed the criminals. A map in the control center
shows their position and where roadblocks
should be mounted. The robbers don’t have a
Tim Schröder
In Brief
Urban development in megacities — those
with a population of over ten million — pre-
sents huge challenges. But if conditions are
right, sustainable development is possible despite all the difficulties. If political leaders
make clear and quick decisions, the financing
needed to improve infrastructures can usually
be found — even from the private sector.
Given the rate of urban growth around the
world, this can make megacities models of
good practice. (pp. 9, 15, 22)
A Siemens study divides cities into three categories according to their population
growth, infrastructure and financial strength.
The study found that each city is struggling
with its own set of problems. (p. 9)
One trend is toward “light” infrastructure.
This involves the use of distributed systems
with a high degree of networking, such as de-
centralized power generation, communication
via ad-hoc networks, and smaller, more effi-
cient mini-factories for the chemical industry.
(pp. 9, 34, 40)
Siemens is rapidly becoming a total solu-
tions partner for infrastructure projects. The
company provides complex turnkey solutions,
and its in-house experts also offer financing
solutions based on their project experience.
One example is Bangalore Airport, in which
Siemens is a shareholder. (pp. 9, 22, 26)
China and India are booming. Many of their
cities are being transformed as new infrastruc-
tures are being built up. As part of its planning
for the 2008 Olympics, for instance, Beijing
has asked Siemens to provide innovative solu-
tions covering mass transit, traffic manage-
ment, airports, high-speed trains, communica-
tions, security and building systems, as well
as the modernization of its power and water
supply systems. (pp.12, 15, 18, 22) Many examples illustrate how Siemens inno-
vations in the industrial sector are supporting
sustainable development. For example, hotels
are increasingly being built to environmental
standards, and steel plants are producing
lower emissions. (pp. 30, 32, 36, 38)
Sustainable urban development:
Dr. Willfried Wienholt, CT SM
Hartmut Hübner, SFS
Michaela Stolz-Schmitz,
Hong Kong:
Karen Au,
Kavita Ghatge,
Günther Menden, I&S
Michael Hartmann, Com
Food and beverages:
Rüdiger Selig, A&D
Markus Günther, A&D
Siprocess – microprocess systems:
Dr. Thomas Bayer, A&D
Dr .Wolfgang Scheiding, A&D
Oil and gas:
Peter Adam, PG,
Alfred Dümmler, I&S
Emergency communications:
Helmut Wittmann, Com
UN Habitat:
Megacity (International Geographical
Siemens megacity website:
Stephen Wheeler,The Sustainable Urban
Development Reader, Routledge, 2004
Research Cooperation | Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Transforming Treatment
42 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 43
Using interventional magnetic resonance imaging, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Siemens
Corporate Research, and Siemens Medical are developing strategies for curing arrhythmias and regenerating
infarcted hearts . Behind it all is the development of a groundbreaking new interface for all MR treatments. Above: By making it possible to rapidly combine
2D images, Siemens’ new IFE software interface
can generate 3D images of selected areas (tho-
racic aorta / red), thus opening the door to real
time treatment of medical conditions using mag-
netic resonance (MR) imaging. Left: In combina-
tion with a catheter that provides its own MR sig-
nal (green), the new interface makes it possible
to visualize delivery of potentially regenerative
stem cells to the site of an infarction
. the site
of an infarction.
coordinates the Johns Hopkins-Siemens part-
nership in interventional MR development, “We
expect that under MR guidance it will be possi-
ble to cut the time it takes to safely perform this
procedure from the current six to eight hours to
between one and two hours, while seeing a
huge improvement in outcome.”
In principle, MR offers the ideal environment
for visualizing and blocking arrhythmias. It can
provide high resolution, real time images on a
continuous basis without exposing the patient
to radiation. But the technology still has a major
drawback: the lack of an intuitive user interface
for the new world of 3D interventional work.
Such an interface demands a far more dynamic,
interactive environment than is available today.
Furthermore, reflecting MR’s growing attractive-
ness, the interface must be simple enough for
non-radiologists to operate without specialized
training. “The user interface is the single most
important enabling technology that will allow
interventional MR to take off,” says Albert C.
Lardo, PhD, director of Hopkins’ Image Guided
Cardiotherapy Laboratory. “Without it, no inter-
ventional cardiologist will feel comfortable con-
ducting procedures. They want the interface to
fit their training and experience.” M
illions of people suffer from arrhythmias
— irregularities in the heart’s natural
rhythm that can range from minor fluctuations
to life-threatening spasms. One of the most seri-
ous forms of arrhythmia is ventricular tachycar-
dia, a condition in which heart rate increases to
such an extent that cardiac arrest can result. The
condition is triggered by nests of living cells that
form electrical circuits in the scar tissue that
takes the place of muscle after a heart attack.
Two to three million people suffer from this con-
dition in the U.S. alone, and approximately
300,000 of them die each year. Although ventricular tachycardia can be
managed with medications, it can, in some
cases, be cured. The key, however, is a tricky
procedure that involves the introduction of a
catheter into the heart that is capable of ablat-
ing (burning) the living cells in the scar tissue,
and thus eliminating arrhythmia-causing cur-
rents. In addition, the tissue around the infarct is
ablated to create a barrier against electrical
currents that could arise from living cells in the
infarct that may have been missed. But using conventional X-ray-based technol-
ogy to visualize the perimeter of an infarction
while ablating a thin layer of cells around it is so
complex and risky that few cardiologists are will-
ing and able to perform the procedure on those
patients who need it most.
Blocking a River. Magnetic resonance imaging
offers hope for a much quicker, less expensive,
and, above all, much safer procedure. “The prob-
lem with current, X-ray-based, technology is
that you can’t see what you’ve ablated,” says Dr.
Henry Halperin, a professor of medicine and bio-
medical engineering at The Johns Hopkins Hos-
pital. “It’s like trying to build a dam without be-
ing able to check for leaks. That’s important
because an arrhythmia is like a river. To stop it,
you have to block it.” Adds Christine Lorenz, PhD,
from Siemens Corporate Research and Siemens
Medical Solutions in Baltimore, Maryland, who
were able to map the locations of arrhythmias
by distinguishing pockets of live cells (which
consume iron-carrying hemoglobin and there-
fore appear bright in MR), from dead cells in an
infarcted area. “The next step will be to use the
interface in conjunction with ablation,” says
Halperin, who performed the procedure.
Even more ambitious plans are on tap. “We
have perhaps the world’s most advanced
program in stem cell imaging and tracking,” says
Dr. Jonathan S. Lewin, chairman of the Johns
Hopkins Department of Radiology. What Lewin
foresees — and what is being meticulously
researched and tested at Hopkins — is the use of
stem cells to regenerate cardiac tissue following
a heart attack. “What we have done is to tag the
walls of stem cells with iron particles and use MR
to watch the cells over weeks as they migrate
into target tissues and set up shop to begin a
therapeutic process. The ability to guide injec-
tion and observe the migration is something
that has never been done before with any other
imaging modality,” says Lewin. The results have
been encouraging. “Our animal studies have
shown very clearly that cardiac function
strengthens following stem cell injections,” says
Lardo. Adds Halperin, “In five to ten years it may
be possible to offer stem cell therapy to treat
people who have had heart attacks.”
Insulin Factories. Opportunities for expanding
the Johns Hopkins-Siemens partnership abound.
With one Siemens MR scanner delivered and
four more on the way — two of which will be
used exclusively for research — the pace of de-
velopment is set to accelerate. On the agenda is
an expanded research program to investigate
MR-guided injections of pancreatic islet cells —
the body’s microscopic insulin factories. Tagged
with iron oxide and encapsulated in a unique,
porous coating that shields the cells from anti-
bodies while allowing insulin out and nutrients
in, such cells have already been shown to pro-
duce insulin when removed from the pancreas
of a human being and injected under MR guid-
ance into the liver of a test animal. “We are on
the cusp of an interventional cure for type 1 dia-
betes,” says Lewin. “Working with Siemens in
this and other areas, we are finding that the
entire development process is much more rapid
than it ever was before.”
Arthur F. Pease
Sound reasonable? Of course, but consider this:
MR allows users to see much more than any X-
ray fluoroscopy system can. While the later typi-
cally displays 2D static or short cine sequences
after each X-ray exposure, MR offers 3D imaging
with a full range of digital visualization opportu-
nities. “We want to see the heart in three dimen-
sions from any angle. We want to be able to
open the heart virtually and remove parts of it to
get a better view; and we want all of this with
full anatomical and electrophysiological infor-
mation, so that we can see where the catheter is
and be able to guide it in real time,” say Halperin. That adds up to a tall order for any interface.
Nevertheless, remarkable progress has already
been achieved. Says Dara L. Kraitchman, VMD,
PhD, an associate professor of radiology at Johns
not only to diagnose problems, but to solve
them. One of the significant goals of working
with top centers such as Johns Hopkins is to de-
fine new and more efficacious applications for
our many products and solutions.”
Life-Saving Cells. Siemens’ new interface
could be the key that opens the vast capabilities
of magnetic resonance imaging not only to
broader applications in diagnostic medicine, but
to a wide range of new treatments and avenues
of research. Already, for the first time anywhere,
it has made it possible to watch real time 3D im-
ages generated from the tip of a specially-de-
signed catheter made of non-magnetic metals,
while guiding the catheter into a patient’s heart.
Once in the heart, the catheter’s built-in MR coils
Hopkins University, and a specialist in cardiac
function, “Following six months of testing, the
interface is already far better than anything else
around. In fact, there really is nothing else from
any other vendor that begins to compare with
what we now have with Siemens.” Such an inter-
face is important for researchers like Kraitchman
because it allows them to track cells using MR. A
pioneer in cardiac stem cell tracking, Kraitch-
man explains that in order to prepare stem cells
for injection, a tiny payload of paramagnetic iron
oxide can be made to enter each cell’s cytoplasm
by exposing the cells to an agent that coats the
iron oxide and causes the cell membrane to be
“tickled” just enough to accept it.
Known as IFE (Interactive Front End), the
new interface “talks” to syngo, Siemens’ highly
successful, multi-modality (it works with ultra-
sound, MR, CT, PET and nuclear medicine) image
acquisition and processing software platform,
which thousands of physicians are already famil-
iar with. “In spite of MR’s enormous complexity,
IFE has a very simple goal,” explains Siemens’
Lorenz. “Users should not have to stop and re-
think anything.” Adds Jeffrey Bundy, PhD, senior
director, MR R&D, USA, “IFE is one part of the
larger MR picture. A current trend is to use MR
Innovation Mentors
44 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 45
It’s October 2020, and we’re
at the “Best Innovations of
the Year” awards ceremony
in a high-rise building in
Shanghai. The ceremony is a
meeting point for innovators
from all over the world.
nd the winner of our Global Innovation
Award 2020 is... MicroSen Galaxy! This
company was the first to develop microsystems
that perform a multitude of functions. They
measure the carbon dioxide content of the air in
a consultation room, the temperature in a hotel
room, and the air currents in an office — and
thus ensure a pleasant climate within the room.
And, of course, they come complete with sen-
sors and self-organizing radio networks. The
outstanding feature of these microsystems is
that they’re so small they can be added to the
wall paint or concealed in the carpeting. That
opens up a veritable galaxy of new possibilities.”
50 R&D and the Bottom Line
According to Booz Allen Hamil-
ton, huge investments in R&D
don’t guarantee success. On the
other hand, stinginess can harm
the bottom line.
52 Innovation@Siemens Siemens is one of the compa-
nies that invests most in R&D.
For many years it’s also been
one of the leaders when it
comes to patents awarded.
56 Driving Innovation
Fourteen of Siemens’ top inventors and innovators discuss
their personal paths to scientific
66 Learning Together
Siemens has been working
closely with universities around
the world for over 100 years —
and its list of partnerships is still
69 Competing for Talent
In the future, students will in-
creasingly work in networked
worldwide teams. Thanks to
Siemens, that’s already happen-
ing at one university in Berlin. 74 Tomorrow’s Researchers
Siemens promotes up-and-com-
ing talent in the natural sciences
and technical fields — from
kindergarten through the uni-
versity years.
At a ceremony in Shanghai, Karen Sand, head of R&D at MicroSen Galaxy, proudly
displays her Global Innovation Award.
Fittingly, her trophy is a hologram that
projects a small galaxy of sensors. On the
stage, a representative of the Smart&Wear
company is receiving an award for the “Best
Consumer Product of 2020” — and that’s a big success for Robert, a consultant who
optimized the firm’s innovation processes. Inventors & Innovators | Scenario 2020
Innovation culture then and now.A century ago
researchers tested ideas at Siemens’ first central
laboratory in Berlin (center). Today, they meet
with customers in the virtual reality laboratory.
he man was certainly a great inventor, but
he was much more than that. He protected
his ideas with patents and turned them into
highly successful commercial products. He knew
how to motivate his employees and inspire his
customers. He was also one of the first people to
work across international borders and had the
courage to take calculated risks. In short, he was
an innovator par excellence. His name? Werner
von Siemens. Siemens’ inventions not only helped lay the
basis for modern telecommunications, but also
for the entire field of electrical engineering. For
instance, he developed the pointer telegraph,
and his young company was responsible for the
first telegraph cable to join London with Cal-
cutta, some 11,000 kilometers away. In 1866
Siemens discovered the principle behind the
electric dynamo. And by connecting his dynamo
to a steam engine, he created the first practical
method of generating and transmitting large
amounts of electricity economically. Unlike many other scientists, Siemens imme-
diately recognized the enormous commercial
potential of his inventions and secured the nec-
essary protection rights. “Ideas are of little value
in themselves. The value of an invention is in its
practical application,” he said — anticipating
today’s definition of the word “innovation,” as
something that can be translated into a mar-
ketable product. Werner von Siemens also
understood how his dynamo could be exploited
for practical applications. “It has a lot of develop-
ment potential and could pave the way for a new
era in electromagnetism,” he wrote to his broth-
er in London, enthusing about cheap electricity,
light, electrical machines and power plants —
with the benefits to the customer always upper-
most in his mind.
Over the next few years, he did much to
advance the cause of his invention with his own
company. Lighting for factories, for shopping
areas and stations; the first electric railway; the
first electric elevator; the first electric streetcar
— all of these breakthroughs were innovations
from the Siemens company.
Innovation, Investment and Jobs. Werner
von Siemens also established a tradition that is
still adhered to in his company today. The lead-
ing themes of Siemens’ corporate history have
been innovation, early globalization and a
strong focus on customers. “Innovation is in our
genes,” says Siemens President and CEO Dr.
Klaus Kleinfeld. “There’s no profitable growth
without innovation and no innovation without
profitability.” This two-way relationship is a fea-
ture of every successful trend-setting company.
To be a leader in today’s markets, a company
needs to have innovations that offer its cus-
tomers high added value. Market success, in
turn, safeguards jobs and the profitability that
ensures that a company can continue to invest
in the technologies of the future.
Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), a strategy and
technology consulting company, has conducted
a survey of the world’s top 1,000 companies
with a focus on investment in research and
development (see p. 50). According the their
findings, two factors play a key role in determin-
ing whether the innovation process can suc-
ceed: a first-class innovation culture and the
quality of the company’s innovation processes.
Both have long enjoyed a rich tradition at
Siemens. To ensure that its employees have the best
tools to do their jobs, the company set up its top
Business Excellence Program eight years ago.
This was followed three years ago by three fur-
ther company programs: Innovation, Customer
Focus and Global Competitiveness. “Methodolo-
gies to cope with almost all the challenges of
global business were developed here to world-
class standards, and tailor-made for Siemens’
needs,” says Dr. Gisela Fuchs, head of the com-
pany’s Innovation program. More than Technology. Siemens’ innovation
activities are based on the company’s Innovation
Framework, a matrix that defines what makes
innovation successful. Along with technological
know-how and knowledge of customers needs
and market trends, the factors affecting busi-
ness success are specialized sector know-how,
excellent innovation processes and, above all,
highly motivated, highly skilled employees. “We
use this program to help the business units to
become trendsetters in their markets and thus
ensure their success in the long term. Ultimate-
The host at the ceremony is generous with his
praise as he hands Karen Sand the trophy. Karen
heads the Research and Development depart-
ment at MicroSen Galaxy. As she descends from
the stage, she meets an old acquaintance. “Con-
gratulations, Karen! That’s a beautiful trophy —
that little hologram looks great,” he says. “Robert!
I haven’t seen you for so long! What’s new ?”
The two of them first met in a promotional
program for young innovators 14 years ago.
“Look, they’re handing out the ‘Best Consumer
Product 2020’ prize. Guess who’s been advising
the Smart&Wear company about smart clothing
over the past few years,” says Robert. “It couldn’t
possibly be you, could it?” Karen teases him. For
years, Robert has advised firms on how they can
improve their processes and successfully launch
their innovations on the market. “My project at
Smart&Wear was a real challenge. The compa-
ny’s researchers and developers had loads of
good ideas that were just waiting to be put into
practice. But the management was obsessed
with fitness clothing that did things like measur-
ing your pulse and blood pressure, calculating
the calories in the food you ate, monitoring your
blood counts or giving exercise tips.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad,” says Karen.
“Well, yes,” says Robert, “but the managers had
lost sight of the customers and spent too little
time talking to their own marketing specialists. If
they had paid more attention, they would have
identified the trend toward ‘fun features’ much
sooner.” “How did you spot it?” “We used our
whole range of tools: lead customer surveys,
usability tests, online forums, regional market
surveys and so on. We brought together every-
one involved at Smart&Wear, from R&D, produc-
tion, purchasing, sales and marketing — and
after that it didn’t take long for people to devel-
op creative ideas.” Robert smiles and continues: “Have you tried
out this smart clothing yet? It would have been
great to have had it when I was a student.
There’s a roll-out display in the vest pocket and a
fingertip sensor that students can use to log into
a university intranet or the worldwide knowl-
edge network within seconds. Depending on
the confidentiality level, they just need an addi-
tional authentication via a voice-recognition
system, and they’re ready to go.” “Oh, I know,” says Karen. “My daughter Natal-
ie has her heart set on getting the new
Smart&Wear outfit for her outdoor reality role-
plays. She’s turning 17 next month and will soon
be going off to college.” “See what I mean? It’s all
about fun features!” says Robert. “Let me guess:
Natalie wants to study molecular medicine,
doesn’t she?” “No, she’s going for a master’s
degree in space technology. Right now she’s
playing with the idea of applying for the acade-
mic village in Paris. In terms of what you study,
the university you apply to isn’t as important
now as it was in our day. The learning modules
and degree requirements at the European uni-
versities have been standardized for some time.
But the counseling, services and equipment still
vary, and that’s what students are looking at
today. The Paris campus has research clusters
that are operated jointly by the university, indus-
try and the EU — and networked with top
research institutes all over the world.” “And what’s your son Dennis planning to do?”
“He wants to study music, and he’s already tried
out all kinds of instruments — at top volume.
Natalie was different. Even in kindergarten, she
was interested in nature and technology. It was
a good thing that they had those experiment
boxes for kindergartens in those days. And she
was lucky to have high school teachers who
always encouraged their pupils to take part in
promotional programs for kids who were inter-
ested in technology or in competitions like the
Physics Olympics. Natalie’s school also had a
sponsoring company from the industrial sector
that gave pupils an insight early on into the
worlds of work and business.” “I know what you mean. A good education
makes all the difference between success and
failure. Speaking of promotional programs, one
of our former mentors, Professor Blake, is stand-
ing over there. Do you remember how he
drummed the innovation processes into our
heads? Take one step back, get an overview,
analyze the whole picture from different per-
spectives. Where are the markets, is there a need
for the product, where are the opportunities,
where are the weak points? Remember? And his
credo concerning ‘a culture of innovation’...
Discuss your ideas in an open and respectful
way. Even mistakes are valuable, because they
prevent stagnation. People who don’t make any
mistakes lack the courage to take risks! For many
R&D projects, half of the investments will be
wasted — you just have to find out which half!
And so on…”
“Of course I remember. He was great. Espe-
cially when I was about to give up my job for
family reasons, he revived my motivation and
showed me how I could combine my family with
my career. That was about 15 years ago, when
this attitude wasn’t yet a matter of course. Today
I’m a mentor myself, helping my employees deal
with career and family issues. And nowadays an
increasing number of men want to have more
time for their families.” “Well, my consulting
work requires a lot of travel, so it’s hard for me to
find time for my family. My appointment calen-
dar’s always full.” “Robert, that’s a shame! Are
you sure you’ve optimized all your processes?”
asks Karen with a smile. Ulrike Zechbauer
Inventors & Innovators | Scenario 2020
To make money from innovations, a company
must be versatile and
able to motivate its inventors and innovators.
Companies must also
give their creative people
plenty of intellectual elbow room, while nevertheless ensuring
that their efforts are in
line with business strategy and that customers are involved
from the word go.
Siemens' goal is to become the world
leader at this difficult juggling act. 46 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 47
| Innovation Culture and Innovation Processes
Every good innovation process involves the customer from start to finish.
The five main criteria for success in the Siemens Innovation Framework are closely linked.
sensors and new light sources to piezo valves
and turbine coatings. A good example of a suc-
cessful platform strategy was the development
of the syngo user interface that is compatible
with a number of medical technology systems
(see p. 56). Similar platform strategies could be
implemented more frequently in other areas —
for example, in the service sector and in industry
Learning from the Best. Best practice sharing
is also of great importance. “At Siemens CT, for
example, we keep a best practice database,”
says Engelfried. “At the moment, it has a total of
150 entries. What’s more, the database stores
both external and internal examples. This is
another example of how we greatly benefit from
our global networking activities with universi-
ties and companies.” (see p. 66) Fuchs also stresses the importance of seeing
the bigger picture: “In the future, “ she says, “we
will need to identify best practices in a more
targeted way and use the information we gain as
a systematic aid. Here, the most important thing
is timely inclusion of our local companies in
innovation activities.” All these methodologies are important aids
when it comes to developing innovations, says
Dr. Thomas Goldbrunner, principal at Booz Allen
Hamilton. “The best way for companies to out-
strip their competitors is by implementing rapid
and effective innovation processes,” he says.
“The key to success lies in identifying the areas
where optimizing processes will have the great-
est effect.” But there is no sure-fire recipe for
optimum innovation processes. Ultimately it’s the employees who make the
difference, along with a productive innovation
culture that both challenges and supports inven-
tors and innovators. Inventors and innovators are themselves as
diverse as the innovations they produce. There
are visionaries whose ideas turn traditional wis-
dom upside down and transform whole indus-
each year. It also presents the top
Award for exemplary innovations. Employees
are motivated when they see that inventors are
rewarded for outstanding ideas. The Groups also promote idea workshops,
where experts brainstorm creatively to find new
ways of doing things and find solutions to
problems. Innovation managers from all of the
Siemens Groups also meet regularly to
exchange experience in the Community of Prac-
tice Innovation Management. In the Innovation
working group, Chief Technology Officers, R&D
heads from the Groups, and representatives
from the regions discuss current issues related
to innovation, technology and other topics. Siemens’ healthy innovation culture is further
demonstrated by the fact that innovation is taken
very seriously at the management level. In fact,
the chief managers responsible for innovation at
the Groups discuss and decide on innovation
issues at the corporate level in the Innovation
Steering Committee. But managers at lower lev-
els are also required to support the development
of innovations and give employees the space
they need to promote innovation. centralized and regional R&D units, or between
local and global developments, or short and
long-term profit maximization. “The most sensi-
ble solution is never an either-or, but a combina-
tion of the best elements from extremes,” says
Bernd Gombert from Siemens VDO, who
developed the electronic wedge brake and has
set up several companies to market earlier
inventions, addresses the classic dilemma.
“Everyone talks about innovations, but very few
people really want things to change,” he says.
“As a result, innovators need more than just good
ideas. They need enormous determination, a
great deal of persuasiveness, and a talent for
selling their ideas. In addition,” he adds, “promoting innovation
is ultimately a job for top management. Without
support from the very top of the company, the
innovation flower simply can’t flourish. New
plants always start to grow in a niche before
seeding themselves somewhere else. And while
they’re still in the niche they need care, protec-
tion and a great deal of good fertilizer.” Ulrike Zechbauer
products and
Knowledge of customers’ needs and market trends
Sector know-how
Expertise in trendsetting technologies
Qualification and skills
Corporate culture
Patents and
Innovation core process Strategy
Innovators don’t just need ideas. They also need
vision and the determination to stay the course. tries. And there are dedicated plodders who
work steadily and painstakingly on improving
existing products or introducing new production
processes (see examples on pp. 56–65). But all innovators have one thing in common:
a different way of doing things that sheds light
on new approaches and opens up new markets. Focusing on Innovation Culture. The priority
Siemens gives to its innovation culture is clear to
see in many of its initiatives and programs. For
example, Siemens presents the “Inventor of the
Year” award to around 12 outstanding inventors
In addition, in the so-called Executive Circle
Innovation training program, Siemens execu-
tives who are responsible for the business units
discuss how they can best support innovation
and determine which levers they can apply to
achieve their goals.
Management consultant Fons Trompenaars
makes the point that “a significant success factor
in innovation leadership is dilemma reconcilia-
tion.” Trompenaars, who has authored a number
of books on cross-cultural communication, runs
through specific examples with managers in
executive circles — things like conflicts between
Innovations provide key leverage for restructuring,
productivity and growth.
ly, the Siemens businesses that systematically
anticipate innovations are the most profitable,”
says Fuchs. “It’s important to understand that innovation
is not just about technology, but also about
developing new service and business models,”
Fuchs emphasizes. “To bring innovations to the
market successfully it is absolutely necessary to
have a solid knowledge of the specific industry
involved and a clear understanding of the
benefits the innovation can ultimately bring to
This is where the industry know-how that
Siemens experts have across a diverse range of
methodology we analyze our innovation strate-
gies and capabilities in detail,” says Mark Engel-
fried, senior consultant in the Competence Center
for Innovation at Siemens CT. “With our innova-
tion radar we can detect all the success factors
behind the innovation — from strategy and cul-
ture to technology and processes. Of course, in
practice we don’t carry out a full assessment of
every project. Instead, we focus on areas of
potential weakness, such as the innovation port-
folio or innovation processes.” Employees in the Health Services Image Man-
agement Department at Siemens Medical Solu-
tions (Med HS IM) were the first at Med to use
48 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 49
benchmarking is one of the keys that will help us
to make our businesses’ activities No. 1 or No. 2 in
the world — and ensure that they stay on top.” Trendsetter Strategy. In line with Siemens’
strategy of being a trendsetter when it comes to
innovation, the company is striving to occupy a
strong technological position — particularly with
regard to key and pace-setting technologies. Ex-
pertise in these areas will determine which com-
panies will enjoy a competitive advantage in the
future. Furthermore, the company must also be
well-positioned to exploit disruptive technologies
that are capable of revolutionizing the market. Inventors & Innovators | Innovation Culture and Innovation Processes
sectors can help. Regardless of whether it’s steel
production or the pharmaceutical industry,
building technologies or airport lighting, health
services or water purification, power plants or
traffic control — Siemens has experts who know
customers’ needs in each sector. And when it comes to innovations, custom-
ers are involved in the development processes
from an early stage. “Using our Lead Customer
Feedback methodology we can find out not only
which innovation fields are really important for
our customers, but also how we compare with
our competitors. We use this information to plan
our operations,” says Fuchs. Innovation Radar. Innovation benchmarking
is a topic particularly dear to Fuchs’ heart. “It
helps to pinpoint areas where we are lagging
behind our competitors and need to catch up,”
she says. “It also shows us where we have to
implement measures that will improve our per-
formance. We developed this methodology to-
gether with Siemens Corporate Technology (CT).” More than ten employees at CT spend their
time on innovation benchmarking. “Using this
this method to analyze their innovation process in
2004. “With support from CT, we wanted to find
out just how innovative Med HS IM really is,
which trendsetting technologies could be im-
portant for us in the future, and how to improve
our innovation process,” reports Dr. Ernst Bartsch,
Innovation Manager at Siemens Med HS IM. Two years later, the innovation cycle has
been accelerated following the analysis and
implementation of associated recommenda-
tions. “As a result of these changes, we not only
increased the transparency of our innovation
process, but, for the first time, were able to com-
pare various innovations. We also developed
processes that enable us to carry out innovation
management in a systematic rather than an ad
hoc way,” says Bartsch.
In the meantime, benchmarking has been
carried out for activities accounting for 48 per-
cent of Siemens’ business volume. “This method
needs to become as routine as the regular com-
parisons with competitors that every division
carries out,” says Fuchs. “Of course, innovation
benchmarking is a complex process that requires
time, but it’s definitely worthwhile. Innovation
In addition, trendsetters must closely align
their R&D activities with their business strategy
and also be in possession of key patents. A trend-
setter also needs to have a clear vision of the fu-
ture — which is why Siemens developed its unique
“Pictures of the Future” process (see Pictures of
the Future, Fall 2001, p.4). Using this highly
structured methodology, which combines extra-
polation from today’s products and technologies
with “retropolation“ from holistic future scenar-
ios, it is possible to not only sketch a visionary
picture of the future, but also describe a path
that will take the company there. Given Siemens’ diversity, synergies play a key
role throughout the company. Examples of such
synergies include the joint development of mul-
tiple-impact technologies and platform strate-
gies. For instance, it is possible to develop soft-
ware as modules that can be used in diverse
applications, such as security technology, voice
recognition, image processing, and control
technologies suitable for use in industry applica-
tions or in the energy sector. Similar interdiscipli-
nary functions arise in materials research, cover-
ing a spectrum that extends from intelligent
Invention Implementation
within the firm Generating ideas
Identifying customers’
needs Creativity workshops
Selecting ideas
Potential for value creation
Competitive environment
In-house competence
Generating product
Business plan
Product specification
Business strategy
Financial data Support from top management Finance
Project management Production / Logistics
Integration / Testing
Costs Costs
Realigning the product
Optimizing processes
Need to innovate
Reducing product
Design to cost
New products
New applications
New businesses
Starting point
Target (e.g. after five years)
Market segmentation
Alliances and
Finding key
After-sales service
Bringing ideas
to market
Siemens’ innovation radar is an effective tool for identifying a company’s strengths and weaknesses.
The “Global Innovation 1000” study is a ranking of the 1,000 companies around the world with the
highest levels of R&D expenditure. These companies’ combined investment in R&D totaled $384 billion
in 2004. Their level of investment has grown at an average rate of 6.5 percent annually since 1999, and
it shot up by 11 percent per year between 2002 and 2004. The top ten R&D investors include Daimler-
Chrysler (number four) and Siemens (number seven). Nearly 97 percent of the companies studied are
based in the U.S., Europe or Japan. Companies based in emerging markets such as China and India
spend an average of only one percent of sales on R&D (albeit with annual growth rates of over 20 per-
cent); North American companies allot 4.9 percent; European firms, four percent; and Japanese firms,
3.8 percent. The Global Innovation
1000 companies invest an average
of 4.2 percent of sales in R&D —
and this figure has remained rela-
tively stable over the last five years.
The IT and electronics industry ac-
counted for the highest share of total
R&D expenditure in 2004 (25%), fol-
lowed by the health care sector (20%)
and the automotive industry (18%).
50 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 51
R&D Spending: How Much is Enough?
Steven Veldhoen, 42,
has worked for Booz
Allen Hamilton (BAH) in
Europe, the U.S., and
Asia for 18 years as a
business consultant spe-
cializing in the automo-
tive industry. He is cur-
rently based in Tokyo,
where he co-leads BAH
technology and strategy
consulting activities for
Japan and Korea. He also
plays an important role
in BAH’s global Innova-
tion Team, which helps
companies improve their
innovative strength.
Veldhoen studied busi-
ness administration in
the Netherlands and
Spain. Prior to joining
BAH, he worked with
ABN Amro Bank in the
Netherlands and the U.S. What was the goal of your “Global Innova-
tion 1000” study? Veldhoen:We wanted to use hard facts to
demonstrate how important innovation is for
business success. That’s because in our consult-
ing work with customers we noticed that they
have been placing ever greater priority on the
issue of innovation over the last ten years — but
there were hardly any reliable figures to help us
understand the true impact of innovation on
business results. So the first thing we did was to
identify the top 1,000 companies in terms of
their published figures on R&D expenditure.
We then analyzed key figures for sales, costs
and profitability over the last six years and
compared them with R&D expenditure.
What did you find?
Veldhoen:We were shocked by the fact that
there was no correlation between a high level
of R&D expenditure and a company’s success.
In other words, we had to abandon the wide-
spread conviction that “a lot helps a lot” because
the performance of the top ten R&D companies
is not disproportionately better than the mid-
range companies that spend less on R&D.
Nonetheless, the adage that stinginess will be
punished does apply, as the ten percent of the
companies examined that spent the least on
R&D fell far behind their competitors with re-
gard to earnings and return on equity. So spend-
ing too much doesn’t help, but spending too
little can damage a company — that’s what the
results come down to. We also found a connec-
tion between a company’s size and its R&D bud-
get. The bigger the company, the less it needs to
spend on R&D, as the leverage effect of R&D is
stronger at large companies. So a good innova-
tion by a global player will have a more signifi-
cant impact on its sales and earnings than the
same innovation made by a smaller company.
This is valid for nine of the ten industrial sectors
we studied.
How can a company determine what its op-
timal level of R&D expenditure should be? Veldhoen:Our study shows that this is very dif-
ficult. If you look at the data according to indus-
trial sectors or geographical location, you won’t
find anything to give you an optimal level of ex-
penditure. However, you can get closer to such
a determination if you look at companies that
have enjoyed similar results within the same
sector with similar products. Still, even then it’s
hard to come to a firm conclusion. If, for exam-
ple, the optimal figure for R&D investment
proves to be 9.3 percent of sales, you still don’t
know what you should be spending that money
on, or how to manage expenditure in a manner
that yields the highest possible return. How do your results differ from those of
similar studies, such as one conducted by
the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)? Veldhoen:Some studies that have looked at
specific subsets of data have shown somewhat
different results. For example, some years ago
an academic study of companies listed on the
London Stock Exchange showed that for the pe-
riod of time studied a high level of R&D expendi-
ture had guaranteed superior business perfor-
mance. All I can say is that our study, which had
a wider scope, could not confirm these prior re-
sults on a global basis. But our study and BCG’s
do not contradict each other. We both argue
that companies that create effective innovation
environments have a chance to thrive. But our
study specifically cautions that the answer does
not lie in “spending your way out of the prob-
lem.” BMW, for example, has a highly effi-
cient R&D management system. Despite a
large-scale model offensive, the percent-
age of BMW’s sales spent on R&D is only
slightly higher than the automotive indus-
try average — but it posts much higher
business growth and earnings than most
of its competitors. Does a leader in technology always have to
spend more on R&D than its competitors?
Veldhoen:No. Toyota, for example, is only
number three in terms of R&D expenditure,
but it’s still the industry benchmark for many.
Toyota has its process and product strategies so
under control that it’s been able to become the
world market leader in hybrid technology in just
a short period of time. Then there’s Apple,
which is a good example of a company with an
excellent portfolio strategy. Still, it invests rela-
tively little in R&D. After 1996, Steve Jobs began
abandoning a lot of research projects and focus-
ing on three or four products. This was a daring
move — but it led to the creation of the iMac,
the iBook, the iPod and iTunes, which today give
Apple its reputation as one of the world’s most
innovative companies. What can we conclude from such success
stories? Veldhoen:We’ve identified four factors for
achieving success with innovations. First of all,
a company has to align its innovation strategy
with its overall corporate strategy. That’s not as
evident as it seems — in fact, a lot of companies
don’t do it. Second, it must have a stringent
portfolio strategy targeted at the right products
and business areas. Third, such companies man-
age their innovation processes quickly and effi-
ciently — in other words, they have their R&D
pipeline under control. Finally, successful corpo-
rate innovators must have a healthy culture of
innovation throughout their organization. What role does networking between inter-
nal and external experts play here?
Veldhoen:It’s a type of ecosystem for innova-
tion that’s extremely important for a company.
This can range from close ties with universities
to optimal relations with suppliers and cus-
tomers, who need to feel they’re being listened
to. Toyota, Bosch, Siemens and Honda, for ex-
ample, are companies with acknowledged his-
tories of innovation. That’s why they attract the
best engineers in the world.
Inventors & Innovators | Interview
Global Innovation 1000
The World’s Top Ten Companies with Regard to R&D Expenditures
In a result that may surprise some people, the 2005 Booz Allen
Hamilton (BAH) “Global Innovation 1000” study found that increasing a company’s level of investment in research and development does not guarantees business success. Instead, a well-tuned innovation strategy, a stringent portfolio strategy, efficient innovation processes, and a culture of innovation were
found to be the keys to achieving success through innovations. 12.7%
Average: 4.2%
age of
Software & Internet
Computing & Electronics
Aerospace &Defense
Chemicals & Energy
BAH industry sectors based on Bloomberg’s industry designations
How can the quality of employees be as-
sessed in an R&D benchmarking study? Veldhoen:You can look at facts such as your
R&D staff’s level of education, training and ex-
perience. There’s no doubt that a solid develop-
ment team is one of the most important factors
for successful innovations. That’s why many
companies are searching for talented staff and
new ideas around the world and opening devel-
opment centers in places like China and India.
This is only partly due to these countries’ lower
wage levels — it also has to do with many com-
panies’ desire to enter into interesting new mar-
kets and recruit the world’s best developers.
Is it possible to precisely measure “return
on innovation investment?”
Veldhoen:That’s not easy. In fact, it can only
be done in a very rudimentary manner after a
technology has matured and become available
on the market. Profits aren’t the only criteria to
be considered here, however. You also need to
know how important a particular technology is
for your most important customer groups, and
whether or not competitors also have that tech-
nology in their portfolio, or instead will not even
be able to develop it because you hold all the
key patents.
Interview by Nikola Wohllaib.
R&D Expenditures by Industry
Rank Company R&D expend. R&D as
(in billions of percentage dollars, 2004) of sales
1 Microsoft 7.779 21%
2 Pfizer 7.684 15%
3 Ford 7.400 04%
4 DaimlerChrysler 7.032 04%
5 Toyota 7.025 04%
6 General Motors 6.500 03%
7 Siemens 6.159 07%
8 Matsushita Electric 5.726 07%
9 IBM 5.673 06%
10 Johnson & Johnson 5.203 11%
Innovation@Siemens: Expenditures and Results
Inventors & Innovators | Innovation Results
52 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 53
oney spent on research and development (R&D) is
an investment in the company’s future. This princi-
ple applies to every company, but it’s especially true for a
high-tech company like Siemens, which has set itself the
goal of growing twice as rapidly as the worldwide gross
domestic product and occupying leading market positions
in all areas as well as achieving sustainable profitability. In
pursuit of these goals, Siemens is in tune with the mega-
trends of urbanization and demographic change and the
challenges they pose with regard to energy and the
environment, automation and industrial and public infra-
structures and healthcare. For almost 160 years now, inno-
vation has characterized development at Siemens. That’s
why the innovation strategy that is best suited to Siemens’
business strategy and history is that of a trendsetter
(see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2005, p. 90). It involves
achieving technological leadership, global presence and a
comprehensive portfolio of patents that will enable the
company to help define the major trends regarding
products, systems and services, and to offer its customers
important added value.
In fiscal 2005, Siemens invested a total of 5.2 billion
euros in R&D — more than the amount spent annually on
research by the European Union. That puts Siemens at the
top of the global electrical engineering and electronics
industry (see table). In a ranking of the 1,000 companies
with the highest R&D expenditures that was carried out by
business consultants Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) in 2005
(see p. 50), Siemens occupies seventh place. In recent
years, Siemens’ R&D expenditures relative to its sales have
been between 6.7 and 6.9 percent. In the years before
2001, when Siemens still owned an R&D-intensive semi-
conductor business unit, these expenditures were even
higher (today the semiconductor unit is an independent
company called Infineon Technologies AG). With an average of 6.8 percent of sales invested in R&D
and its broad portfolio, Siemens is performing well in the
areas investigated in the BAH study. For example, compa-
nies that manufacture industrial goods spend about 2.3
percent of sales on R&D; for companies in the computer
and electronics industry, that figure is 7.6 percent, and for
software and Internet companies it is 12.7 percent. A direct
comparison with competitors in key business areas (tables
at top right) shows that Siemens’ R&D expenditures gener-
ally occupy a solid midrange position. For their respective
industries, they are neither much too low nor too high —
with either extreme being potentially detrimental, accord-
ing to the BAH study. If a company invests a great deal in
R&D, it risks squandering its money, because high R&D
expenditures are no guarantee of a high return on invest-
ment. On the other hand, a company that skimps on R&D is
limiting its ability to meet the challenges of the future.
In 2005, around 30 percent of Siemens’ R&D expendi-
tures went to Information and Communications (I&C), 21
percent to Transportation, 19 percent to Automation and
Control (A&C), 14 percent to Medical, nine percent to
Power, four percent to Lighting, and the rest to specific
regional activities and Corporate Technology (CT). Corpo-
rate Technology accounts for between four and five per-
cent of Siemens’ total R&D expenditures, with about two
thirds of CT’s R&D budget coming from projects commis-
sioned by the business units. In recent years the relative
percentage of R&D invested in I&C has sunk perceptibly,
primarily because of the spin-offs of Infineon and the
mobile phone business. In the future, a large percentage of
the remaining R&D work at I&C will be conducted by the
joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks. At the same time,
the relative percentage of R&D invested in Medical, Trans-
portation and A&C increased as a result of expansions and
acquisitions in these areas. This development is also reflected in the fluctuations
of the workforce over time (see graphs on p. 54). In 2005
some 47,200 people — over one tenth of all Siemens
employees — worked in R&D around the world. About
30,000 employees work on software development —
more than most of the major software companies. If one
looks at the worldwide distribution of researchers and
developers, it becomes clear that the company has been a
global player for a long time. Almost 53 percent of
Siemens’ R&D employees work outside Germany at about
Siemens 5.275.4
R&D in Billions of EurosSales in Billions of Euros
The Largest Companies in Electrical Engineering and
Electronics (sales in 2005 in billions of euros)
35.1 34.8
GE Siemens IBM HP Hitachi Matsu-
Sony Toshiba Dell Bosch NEC Fujitsu Nokia Philips
Sales at Siemens (in billions of euros)
R&D intensity
relative to sales)
R&D expenditures
(in billions of euros)
2000* 2001* 2002 2003 2004 2005
*Incl. Infineon. Sources:business reports on each year
7.8% 6.9% 6.8% 6.7% 6.8%
* Incl. rail and automotive suppliers
Upper bar*
Lower bar*
R&D expenditures of the
Siemens business area
R&D expenditures of the Siemens business area
Upper bar
Lower bar
Lower bar
Upper bar
R&D expenditures of the Siemens business area
Lower bar
Upper bar
R&D expenditures of the Siemens business area
Automation and Control
Lower bar
Upper bar
R&D expenditures of the
Siemens business area
Sources: Siemens AG, competitors’ posted information and analyses
R&D Expenditures of the Siemens Business Areas Relative to their Competitors
* Incl. service business
Upper bar*
Lower bar*
Information and Communications
R&D expenditures of the Siemens
business area
R&D expenditures of Siemens’ major competitors
(relative to each company’s sales)
Companies used for comparison include: for Information and Communications: Alcatel, Cisco, Mo-
torola, Ericsson, Nokia, Nortel; for Automation and Control: ABB, Honeywell, Emerson, GE, Schneider
Electric, Tyco; for Transportation: Alstom, Bombardier, Bosch, Denso, Delphi, GE; for Power: ABB,
Alstom, GE, Mitsubishi Heavy; for Medical: GE, Hitachi, Philips, Toshiba; for Lighting: GE, Philips,
Nichia, Ushio. In each case, the competitors’ activities that corresponded to the Siemens business
areas were analyzed to the extent that figures were available. The broad spread between the com-
parison bars for I&C and Transportation is due to their composition. For example, I&C includes ser-
vice activities, which require very little R&D, and Transportation includes not only railroad business
with lower R&D costs, but also the automotive supply industry with relatively high R&D investments. 150 locations in more than 38 countries, including China,
Spain, France, India, the U.S., Israel, Russia and Brazil. The reasons for this are simple. A company must have
active research and development teams in the biggest
growth markets and the countries where innovation is
most dynamic, so that it can quickly respond to regional
requirements by coming up with new solutions. In addition, Siemens is always on the lookout for highly
qualified young people. It currently employs more than
103,000 college graduates with degrees in the natural
sciences, IT or engineering — and each year more than
10,000 fresh college graduates are hired. A key role in this
regard is played by Siemens’ close contacts with top univer-
sities all over the world, which include the approximately
1,000 cooperative research projects Siemens launches every
year with universities and research institutes (see p. 66). Nor should Siemens’ support of start-up companies all
over the world through venture capital be underestimated.
To date, Siemens Venture Capital has invested around 700
million euros in more than 100 companies and 30 venture-
capital funds, primarily in the U.S., Europe and Israel, but
also increasingly in China and India. These start-up compa-
nies also give rise to valuable cooperative projects in high-
tech areas, and these in turn generate innovations in
Siemens Groups.
Output Indicators.According to a well-known saying,
research initially transforms money into knowledge, but
the aim of all R&D investments is ultimately to produce
innovations — new products, systems, production
processes or services that, in turn, transform knowledge
into money because they bring a company business suc-
cess on the market. However, it’s not easy to quantify the
effectiveness of investments in R&D. That’s because R&D
expenditures take a long time to pay off — in many cases,
only after years of intense, risky work on technologies and
products. In the process, many things can go wrong that
have nothing to do with research and development. For
example, if associated production processes turn out to be
too expensive or inflexible, or the sales team is ineffective,
or the marketing campaign takes the wrong approach to
customers, or the people involved are not constantly com-
municating with one another, even the best R&D results
can flop when they’re brought to market.
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Total R&D expenditures
in billions of euros
Proportion of R&D
expenditures in %
Information and Communications
Automation and Control
R&D as a Percentage of Sales Main Areas of R&D Expenditure
2000 and 2001 excl. Infineon
Figures for the four quarters
previous to Sept. 30, 2005.
Excluding external R&D orders
and public funding, if known.
*GE excl. GE Capital Services
| Innovation Results
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 5554 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006
Nonetheless, there are a number of indicators of good
R&D work. An obvious one is the number and the value of
patents generated. Since the early 1990s, and in particular
since Siemens’ first patent initiative (which started in
1993), the number of inventions and patent applications
has doubled and tripled (see tables on the right). In busi-
ness year 2005, Siemens researchers came up with 8,800
inventions — about 40 each working day — and patent
applications were submitted for roughly two thirds of
them. In the annual rankings of the patent offices, Siemens
has occupied a top position for years now. In 2005,
Siemens held first place in Germany and second place at
the European Patent Office, right behind Philips (which
applies for patents directly at the European Patent Office
rather than in the Netherlands), as well as ninth place in
the U.S. — three places ahead of its competitor General
Electric. Even though GE and Philips launched their own
patent initiatives a few years after Siemens, they still lag far
behind Siemens when it comes to first patent publications. Now that the number of inventions registered by
Siemens has reached a constant high level, the focus is on
the quality of the patents and the development of strategi-
cally significant key patents that govern access to impor-
tant technologies or global standards. Siemens’ 53,000 or
so active patents and patent groups amount to a very
extensive and valuable portfolio, and that is reflected
especially clearly in cross-licensing agreements with other
companies. Licensing agreements provide protection
against patent claims by other companies. If not for such
protection, a certain percentage of sales would normally
have to be paid out as licensing fees. By avoiding these
costs, Siemens enhances its return on investment from
intellectual property.
The high esteem in which Siemens holds its patents is
also reflected by the “Inventor of the Year” prize awarded
annually to around a dozen successful inventors within the
company. There has also been ample recognition from out-
side the company. For example, for two years in a row,
Siemens employees received the German Future Prize —
a 250,000 euros award from the office of the German
President. In 2004, Siemens shared the prize with the
Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology and Infineon
for a “bio-laboratory on a chip,” and in 2005 it shared the
prize with Robert Bosch GmbH for piezo injectors for diesel
and gasoline engines. Siemens medical technology has also received its share
of awards. In 2005, a revolutionary imaging technology for
magnetic resonance tomography (TIM technology)
brought Siemens developers the coveted Innovation Prize
Regensburg, Munich
Oslo Gothenburg
A selection of key R&D locations
Hong Kong
New Delhi
São Paulo
Buenos Aires
Auburn Hills
San José
San Diego
Roke Manor
Tel Aviv
St. Petersburg
Even more impressive, the introduction of piezo injec-
tion for diesel vehicles actually created a new market.
Today, over 17,000 people work in this area at Siemens,
Bosch and the related suppliers. Another example comes
from the field of power generation. In the past 20 years,
orders for innovative Siemens gas turbines have increased
significantly. In the 1980s the Siemens plant in Berlin pro-
duced about ten gas turbines a year, but today it turns out
between 45 and 55 annually. Admittedly, the number of
employees at the plant has increased only slightly in
absolute terms. But the percentage of highly qualified
employees has reached 80 percent of the plant’s 1,000
person workforce; ten years ago, that figure was around
65 percent. This too is helping to safeguard the future of
Germany as an innovative business location. Overall, analyses show that there is a clear connection
between the technological position of a division, its market
position, its profit and the extent to which it safeguards
and expands its workforce. Siemens divisions that com-
bine an outstanding technological position — in other
words, innovative strength — with a good position in the
world market (number 1 or 2) also achieve excellent earn-
ings and offer secure jobs.
Harald Hassenmüller
Patents Granted
- Infineon
- Unisphere
adjustments at I&C 2000 01 02 03 04 2005
Number of Siemens Employees R&D employees
Inventions disclosures worldwide
Inventions disclosures in Germany
First filings worldwide
First filings in Germany
Source: Siemens AG, CT I
Sources:Patent offices
2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 Inventions and Patent Filings at Siemens
Siemens Conducts R&D at About 150 Locations Around the World
1980 1985 1990 1995 2000* 2005
*Infineon demerger + VA Tech
+ Flender
Effectiveness of Patent Initiatives
1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005
Number of first patent publications worldwide
Start of patent initiatives
at GE and Philips
Start of patent initiative
at Siemens 1993/94 Start of IP
Information and Communications
Automation and Control
First Patent Filings
Germany (47.2%)
47,200 R&D
employees (2005)
U.S. (14.7%)
Austria (6.6%)
India (4.2%)
France (3.0%)
China (2.8%)
Switzerland (2.5%)
UK (2.5%)
Italy (2.3%)
Other (14.2%)
Top Positions in Patent Rankings in 2005
0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000
Published patent applications at
the German Patent and Trade Mark Office
Patent applications
at the European Patent Office
Granted patents
by the U.S. Patent &
Trademark Office
0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000
0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000
DPMA, 2005 EPO, 2005 IPO, 2005
of German Industry. And Siemens energy technology has
matched this pace. In the summer of 2005, the President
of the Council of the Russian Federation honored Prof.
Klaus Riedle for the highly efficient Siemens gas turbines
developed under his leadership by awarding him the
Global Energy International Prize, which is endowed with $1 million — the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the field
of energy technology. Riedle shared his prize money with
Russian Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov (see p. 63).
Market Success is the Measure.The value of an innova-
tion ultimately depends on its market success. As a Siemens
Managing Board member once put it, “A new product
becomes an innovation not when the engineers are
delighted with it, but when the market shouts hurrah.”
Accordingly, business managers place the highest value in
a tool known as “lead customer feedback,” in which cus-
tomers are requested to give detailed evaluations of the
advantages and disadvantages of Siemens products. Here
too, divisions such as Med MR (Magnetic Resonance tomo-
graphy) have received high marks. In this case, leading
global clinics and institutes that are themselves highly
innovative were asked to evaluate equipment made by
Siemens and by Siemens’ competitors. The example of MR also shows that the successful
market launch of an innovation can change the market
itself. Before 2003, the number of magnetic resonance
tomographs sold by Siemens still clearly lagged behind
the figures for General Electric, but soon after the launch
of Siemens’ revolutionary TIM technology, Siemens was
able to catch up with GE and eventually it became the
market leader. The Computer Tomography division has
been equally successful and innovative. That’s reflected in
the number of jobs in these two divisions, which in-
creased by about 20 percent in only two and a half years. Similar progress is being posted by other divisions,
such as Industrial Automation Systems, which has long
been the global market leader thanks to its highly inno-
vative products. In the past ten years it has increased its
market share considerably and approximately doubled its
sales. Here too, the number of employees has increased
significantly, by almost 30 percent in two and a half years.
And when it comes to earnings, all three of these divisions
are major profit-makers for Siemens AG.
Major Countries for Siemens R&D
56 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 57
Innovators How and Why Innovations Originate.
Many management books focus on the
theory of innovation processes, strategies
and methods — but to what extent can
such theories explain the origins of inno-
vations? We’ve put together 14 brief por-
traits that present Siemens inventors and
innovators and their experiences. We ex-
plored their personalities and examined
the efforts they made to overcome obsta-
cles. In the end, we found that there’s no
standard recipe for innovation success.
Some innovations result from the pure
persistence of visionary pioneers who
think out of the box, while others are born of a consistent approach that in-
volves analysis and continual process im-
provement. Still others bear fruit because
inventors incorporated customers into the
process at an early stage, especially in
their own regions, or worked together
with external partners. What all our inno-
vators have in common, however, is a
propensity to think independently and the
need for a culture that permits errors and
promotes employee creativity. Above all,
such a culture must always consider the
utility of new ideas for customers. Inventors & Innovators | Dr. Manfred Wangler, Siemens Medical Solutions, Erlangen
From Halogen to Light Emitting Diodes
t was a trade fair stand operated by Osram
competitor General Electric (GE), of all places,
that made things click for Franz-Josef Bierbrauer
around 25 years ago. Bierbrauer, a 30-year-old
product manager for Osram at the time, saw at
the stand a large heavy spotlight that emitted
very little light. “I can do that better with a halo-
gen lamp,” he said to himself, thinking it would
make a lot of sense to exploit the benefits of
generating a large amount of light over a small
area for living rooms, sales showrooms and
store windows.
Bierbrauer knew there would soon be a mass
market for halogen lamps — even though until
then Osram used halogen sources only as H4
lamps for headlights and slide projectors. But
not everyone was as convinced as the young
electrical engineer. Development and sales spe-
cialists said halogen lamps were too expensive
and complicated to produce, and pointed to the
company’s many other products. But Bierbrauer was not dissuaded, and he
was also encouraged by the reaction of medi-
um-sized business customers, as numerous light
fixture manufacturers understood that the halo-
gen lamp had excellent properties. He therefore
drew up his first business plan for a cold-light
lamp. The plan estimated that 50,000 lamps
would be sold in the fifth year of production. “I
just had to have that lamp on the market — and I
would have arranged the numbers any way I had
to in order to make it all look good,” Bierbrauer
admits today. “Had my business plan failed and
the halogen lamp not taken off, I simply would
have tried something else.” Bierbrauer’s motto is
that “life itself is a risk.”
Sometimes you just have to be patient, as he
learned to be when the testing of his cold-light
lamps proceeded sluggishly in Osram’s base-
ment lab. “We had to vacuum-metalize 21 differ-
ent coatings on the glass reflector,” he recalls.
This took months, and there were repeated set-
Universal Language for Medical Systems
anfred Wangler, 59, has always been inter-
ested in computer science. He played a key
role in the development of syngo, a software
system from Siemens Medical Solutions (Med)
that enables hospital staff to operate equip-
ment, such as computer and magnetic reso-
nance tomographs and ultrasound scanners, via
a standardized interface. This “Windows for
Medical Systems” can also be used to process
patient data and images and to draw up medical
reports. A click of a mouse is all it takes to switch
between different functions without having to
shut down the previously used program. Wan-
gler, who has a PhD in physics, doesn’t see him-
self as the actual inventor of the system. “A lot of
people played a big role in developing syngo,”
he says. “I was more like a facilitator who helped
make everything come together.” Wangler’s career began in 1978 in the Private
Branch Exchange Technology Group at Siemens
in Munich. In 1983, he transferred to Medical
Solutions in Erlangen, where he worked in the
Magnetic Resonance Tomography division as a
software developer for data acquisition and
image calculations. Soon after his arrival, the
division came under pressure to lower software
development costs by generating synergies. The
developers responded by creating a common
middleware system — a type of software under-
belly — for computer tomography (CT) and
magnetic resonance tomography (MR), thereby
halving development costs. They also standard-
ized the user interface for MR and CT devices
and developed a graphic user interface with a
mouse cursor. Prior to that, users had to enter
parameters via keyboards and use a very long
menu. After receiving inquiries from customers,
Wangler came up with the idea of applying the
user interface to other imaging procedures such
as ultrasound. He felt that using standard appli-
cations for all systems would further reduce
development costs. “That was the breakthrough
that started us on the path to syngo,” he recalls.
Wangler had to overcome several obstacles
before getting there, however. For example, at
the beginning of the 1990s Windows PCs
appeared to have a bright future, and computer
prices were expected to fall dramatically. Man-
agement, however, insisted on using the Unix
operating system. Wangler was able to convince
executives in 1995 to go with Windows-based
PCs, citing costs and the flexibility of Windows
| Franz-Josef Bierbrauer, Osram, Munich
NT, which can be used with many different
processors. The development of a PC-based
syngowas thus able to continue.
Wangler was never discouraged by setbacks.
For example, in 1997 many of his R&D col-
leagues in India were being lured away by other
companies and Wangler’s team fell behind
schedule. However, Wangler responded by bring-
ing the Indian developers to Erlangen, arranging
extra pay for service abroad, and organizing
weekend excursions for them. Six months later
everything was back on schedule.
Wangler, who has four children, loves trans-
parency, especially when dealing with prob-
lems. “The first thing we do is talk openly,” he
says. “Then we find the guilty party — not to
punish him or her, but instead to determine the
cause of the problem so as to be able to solve it.”
His efforts have certainly paid off: syngo was
commercially introduced in 1999, giving all the
devices it was installed in a new user-friendly
look and feel. This not only made a name for
Med as an innovation driver; the utilization of a
standardized software platform also saved Med
a net total of around 150 million euros in de-
velopment expenditures. Today, Wangler is the
head of a worldwide development group of 650
men and women. When asked what he believes
to be his most distinguishing trait, he replies:
“My tenacity — it’s pretty much impossible to
stop me from pursuing an idea once I’ve
Tim Schröder
backs because “we had to do an awful lot of fun-
damental research. In such a situation, you need
to have occasional successes,” he says. Today, Bierbrauer is responsible for business
that generates annual sales of 2.15 billion euros.
A total of 20 person-years went into Bierbrauer’s
inventions: the super spotlight and the cold-
light lamp. “We invested a couple of hundred
million euros over the years,” he says, whereby
relatively little of that amount went into actual
development. The fully automated production
lines at Osram’s Eichstätt plant ate up a lot more;
one such line alone costs 20 million euros.
The halogen business at Osram now posts
annual revenues of approximately 300 million
euros and is very profitable. Some 1.2 billion
halogen lamps are sold every year worldwide,
and sales are growing at an annual rate of seven
percent. Osram is the world market leader for
such lamps, but there are more important things
for Bierbrauer than just this business success —
for example, the fact that he’s shaped an entire
market since the 1980s. He’s also very proud that his inventions “pro-
vide jobs for 500 people at three-fourths of an
entire plant in Eichstätt” and support an addi-
tional 500 jobs in China. Other beneficiaries
include the entire supplier chain for the reflec-
tors and sockets, the companies that manufac-
ture the fixtures in which they’re installed, tech-
nicians, planners and architects.
Bierbrauer, who travels a lot for his job, could
have just settled back a long time ago, but that’s
not his style. Instead, he’s working on his new
pride and joy: an LED lamp with “unprecedented
brightness.” The lamp base is also the cooling
unit, and the power supply comes from the
automotive industry. Bierbrauer has been pro-
moting these LEDs for three years now with the
same passion and determination he displayed
for his halogen lamps. “Even if it’s semiconduc-
tor technology, it’s still light and falls under the
category of general lighting,” he says. Thanks to
their high efficiency, compactness and longevi-
ty, LEDS can replace conventional bulbs in a vari-
ety of applications — and are thus a threat to
Bierbrauer’s current business. He’s aware of this
fact, but if he’s learned one thing in his career it’s
that products that are better for the customer
will prevail. That’s why his other motto is: “It’s
better to shape the market yourself than wait for
your competitors to do it.” Nikola Wohllaib
58 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 59
New Spin on Wedge Brake
ernd Gombert describes himself as an “all-
around talent” who may not be the best
technician, salesman, bookkeeper or manager,
but is good in everything he does. Trained as an
engineer, Gombert is working on an electronic
wedge brake (see Pictures of the Future, Fall
2005, p. 52) that could be used to decelerate all
types of vehicles more rapidly and safely — and
with much less expended energy than is the
case with today’s hydraulic and pneumatic
Wedge braking is nothing new — even horse-
driven carriages did it in the old days. However,
because locking often ensued, brake designers
considered it to be an uncontrollable decelera-
tion method. This, however, motivated Gombert
to rethink the entire principle. A proponent of
paradigm change, he lives by the motto that “the
longer a system has been on the market, the
greater the probability that it can be replaced.”
The trick behind Gombert’s brake is an electronic
control that prevents locking.
“It’s not the invention alone that makes the
innovation,” he says, “but also its business suc-
cess.” Gombert, 46, proved this at an early age
by establishing several successful companies.
He holds some 150 patents — 40 alone for his
electronic wedge brake technology. Gombert,
who at one time worked at the German Aero-
space Center, has been developing his brake sys-
tem since 2000, when he founded a company
called eStop. The firm was acquired by Siemens
VDO (SV) in 2005, and since then Gombert has
served as technical director of the Body & Chas-
sis Electronics unit at SV in Regensburg, where
he presides over a relatively large development
team of 100 employees.
His talents include the ability to find the right
people and combine them into an effective
team. It’s a difficult job, but it pays off — and
Gombert has never delegated it to anyone else.
This sense of responsibility is what has made
him so successful, and it’s also why he doesn’t
think much of project managers who hold big
meetings and workshops in an effort to optimize
processes, hoping that this will lead to better
results. “It’s people, particularly talented individuals
and their ideas, that move a development for-
ward — not processes,” he says, adding that
there are plenty of innovators at Siemens; they
just have to be found and kept in the company.
Gombert is a big believer in getting young
people interested in technology. “You have to
talk to them and encourage them,” he says. He
conducts presentations for young people, in
which he encourages them to trust in their abili-
ties and try out new things. And who knows —
maybe there’s another Bernd Gombert out there
Rolf Sterbak
orin Comaniciu (42) has loads of ideas. In
fact, with 11 patents granted and more
than 70 patent applications to his name, he is a
prolific inventor. The head of the Integrated
Data Systems Department at Siemens Corporate
Research in Princeton, New Jersey and coordina-
tor of Siemens’ activities in biomedical informat-
ics, Comaniciu is a native of Romania who
moved to the United States in 1996 to pursue a
second PhD. Over the years he has developed
inventions that span the gamut of applications,
from new ways of interpreting the contours of a
beating heart to technologies for automatically
keeping cars safely on the road.
Comaniciu’s most far-reaching patent is a
mathematical invention called Robust Informa-
tion Fusion — a novel way of detecting and
weeding out questionable information from any
given sensor source. What’s more, he has
already used this invention to pave the way to
the next logical step toward machine-based
interpretation. “Once you have reliable data that
can be fused, you can develop expert systems to
evaluate it and draw conclusions from it,” he
says. The idea is called “database guidance,” – a
way of translating expert knowledge into algo-
rithms that can support human decision-mak-
ing. (see p. 83)
The first commercial example of database
guidance is “Auto EF” – a unique program based
on a Comaniciu patent that can be used in the
context of an ultrasound exam to automatically
measure the heart’s ejection fraction (EF) – the
difference in the amount of blood pumped
between diastole and systole. “Today,” says
Comaniciu, “this crucial measurement is ether
eyeballed or traced manually. It takes an expert
a couple of minutes to do it. It takes the software
two seconds to do the same thing.”
Auto EF is just the beginning. Following up
on another one of his patents, Comaniciu’s team
is working on programs that will accelerate key
ultrasound tests in obstetrics. They are also involved in longer-range pro-
jects to develop databases that will support
automated identification of colon cancer,
prostate cancer, and autism based on magnetic
resonance scans.
But achieving top results isn’t just a question
of top science. “You have to push the limits,” says
Comaniciu. “People often come to me and tell
me that something’s not possible. And my
response to them is always, ‘Then try it again!’ As
a manager, you have to walk a tightrope. You
have to have a plan and know how to stick to it.
But you also have to brainstorm, leave room for
creativity, have fun, and know how to convince
your team that they are doing something that
will make a real difference for society.”
Arthur F. Pease
Lilliputian Sniffers
aximilian Fleischer is only 45 years old, but
to judge by the number of patents he’s
registered you’d think he’d be well past retire-
ment. Fleischer has worked for Siemens Corpo-
rate Technology (CT) in Munich since 1992, and
since that time he’s registered 150 inventions
and published just as many articles in special-
ized journals. “I like to try out new things,” he
says. Fleischer, who holds a doctorate in physics,
has one invention that makes him seem like Gul-
liver in the land of the Lilliputians. The “little peo-
ple” here are miniature chemical sensors that
are used to detect various substances, such as
toxic gases, industrial pollutants, and stale air in
conference rooms. They are only a few square
millimeters in area, are designed simply — and
are thus relatively inexpensive. The first such devices developed by Fleischer
have already been in commercial use for several
years. They include sensitive microchips that
monitor the combustion process in the small gas
boilers found in many apartments. Tiny alcohol
sensors for motorists will also soon be launched,
and there are plans to introduce measuring
probes that recognize asthma and other illness-
es through scents (see Pictures of the Future, Fall
2004, p. 81).
Fleischer has always done things his way —
and for that he’s very grateful to his former boss,
Prof. Hans Meixner, a Siemens researcher and
expert for innovative applications of piezo
ceramics. “When I was getting my master’s
degree, I had the freedom to try something new,
and I ended up developing a piezo motor that
could turn in two directions,” he recalls. This
small sensation was followed by a doctoral dis-
sertation that laid the foundation for Fleischer’s
first chemical sensor. “You have to be patient,”
he says. “In our industry, it can take ten years to
go from the initial idea to an actual product.”
Fleischer, who received the Siemens “Inven-
tor of the Year Award” in 2003, likes to collabo-
rate with universities and outside companies.
He attends conferences, obtains information on
the latest research results and often talks with
colleagues. “You have to intelligently combine
all the contributions from research in order to
come up with an application,” he says.
Even after 15 years in the lab, Fleischer says
he still wants to remain a researcher. He was
once offered a job as director of research at a
major company, but he turned it down because
“it would have been a pure management job. I
could have had a bunch of people at my beck
and call, but in the end I would simply have been
managing other people’s research,” he says.
Instead, Fleischer is quite happy with his “rela-
tively modest working group,” to which he tries
to give the same degree of freedom that he him-
self has always enjoyed.
Tim Schröder
Inventors & Innovators | Bernd Gombert, Siemens VDO, Regensburg
| Dr. Maximilian Fleischer, Siemens Corporate Technology, Munich
| Dr. Dorin Comaniciu, Siemens Corporate Research, Princeton, New Jersey (USA)
Robust Information Fusion
60 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 61
Inventors & Innovators | Dr. Tzoanna Ekaterinidi, Siemens Greece, Athens
| Dr. Osman Ahmed, Siemens Building Technologies, Buffalo Grove, Illinois (USA)
| Dr. Robert Krieg, Siemens Medical Solutions, Erlangen
sman Ahmed sees his life as the journey of
a man who’s always wanted to do some-
thing new. That’s why he stopped studying for a
doctorate in nuclear technology in the 1980s
and began learning about building system tech-
nologies instead. “I adapted my career path to a
market situation because it was clear that no
nuclear power plants were going to be built in
the U.S. for some time,” he recalls.
Ahmed is convinced that innovations can
only be successful on the market if they’re devel-
oped closely in line with customers’ needs. One
of his early successes occurred with climate con-
trol systems while he was working at Landis &
Gyr Powers near Chicago. At the time, the sys-
tems used extraction hoods (the kind used for
work with viruses) that were constantly operat-
ed at full power. Ahmed’s team developed a sys-
tem that automatically reduced power to the
hoods during work breaks, saving a great deal of
energy. It wasn’t exactly a major feat, but it did
demonstrate Ahmed’s ability to develop solu-
tions offering a high level of customer utility.
In 1997, Ahmed first became interested in
the area that would become the focus of his
career. “I was at a conference when I heard
something about micro-electromechanical sys-
tems, or MEMS. I thought it had to be possible to
use them to regulate building systems as well,”
he says. MEMS technology exploits the special
properties of silicon, which is used to make com-
puter chips and can function as a sensor for
measuring pressure or, when covered with cer-
tain coatings, to detect various gases. In 1999, Ahmed was thrilled to learn that
Siemens would acquire the company he was
working for, as he knew that access to a major
corporation’s resources would enable him to
develop marketable MEMS products. His idea
was to put more functions on chips than on
existing devices, which were around the size of
a pack of cards. He also theorized that integrat-
ed circuits and tiny radio antennas could net-
work such sensors into an intelligent system
that would measure and control things like
building temperature, analyze light intensity or
measure the carbon dioxide in ambient air. “The
result was a decentralized, self-regulating con-
trol system that registers energy consumption
and derives an energy conservation strategy
based on collected data,” Ahmed explains. “And
the associated radio technology eliminates the
need for wiring,” he adds. A one-year develop-
ment period planned for the first product
begins this fall.
“Development is only fun in a free, indepen-
dent environment,” says Ahmed, a father of
two who has studied in Bangladesh, Canada
and the U.S. “But it must be a controlled free-
dom, one that clearly focuses on customers’
needs, not personal technical interests.” Andreas Kleinschmidt
obert Krieg knows that workshops held in
unusual settings with professional modera-
tors spark ideas that would otherwise be
deemed impossible. In 2001, Krieg, now head of
Molecular Imaging at Siemens Medical Solu-
tions (Med), met with developers, customers
and suppliers at Wernberg Castle in Germany
and devised a bold plan to build “the world’s best
magnetic resonance imaging tomograph.” It was the birth of the idea behind the Total
Imaging Matrix (TIM), a technology that makes
possible magnetic resonance (MR) examina-
tions in which the entire body can be scanned
layer by layer in less than 15 minutes with a reso-
lution of less than one millimeter. TIM not only revolutionized MR tomography;
the process used to conceive, develop and
implement it was overhauled. Nothing was left
to chance — everything was carried out accord-
ing to a precisely conceived plan. Never before
in the history of imaging technology develop-
ment had the customers’ needs been as system-
atically taken into consideration as with TIM. “I’m a big believer in structured approaches,”
says the 42-year-old father of three, who studied
theoretical physics at the University of Erlangen
and launched his career in the strategy depart-
ment at Med before getting into development. It
took three years to transform the initial TIM idea
into a finished MR tomograph — too long for
some critics, who felt that the effort put into
such precise analysis and planning was exces-
sive. Krieg disagrees. “The structured processes
saved us time in the end,” he says, adding that
the important thing was that all decisions were
documented. “That’s because project managers
and staff move in and out. If you don’t docu-
ment everything, nobody knows what’s going
on after a couple of years, or why certain deci-
sions were made and not others.” Krieg’s efforts resulted in the Magnetom
Avanto MR tomograph, which contains up to 76
TIM coil elements, and other models like the
Magnetom Espree with 102 coil elements, a
diameter of 70 centimeters and a short bore
measuring 1.25 meters. With TIM, which has
become a platform for the Magnetom system,
several organs can be scanned simultaneously
without having to rearrange coil elements —
and Siemens has extended its technology lead in
the MR tomography sector to at least two years. Krieg says that being able to develop highly
innovative technology within a company plays a
big role in such successes. Manufacturers who
outsource as much development work as possi-
ble end up struggling with increased attrition
and longer development times. The 2002 workshop participants seem to
have achieved their goal of building the world’s
best MR tomograph. A list of weak points, like
those for previous models, has yet to be drawn
up for the Avanto series.
Bernd Müller
ou have to love people and accept them
with all their strengths and weaknesses, just
like parents do with their children. But you also
have to teach them to establish a culture of ob-
jective self-assessment,” says Tzoanna Ekaterini-
di, head of the Software Center (SWC) operated
by Siemens Greece. Ekaterinidi, 47, practices
what she preaches. “I want to give my employ-
ees the feeling that I work for and with them. If
we communicate openly, we can avoid errors
and do things better the next time,” she says.
This attitude may indeed be the secret
behind the success of the SWC, whose engi-
neers, computer scientists and physicists devel-
op and innovate in three main fields: telecom-
munication networks, simulation technologies
and security systems. Some 700 people work in
the SWC and 40 percent of them are women —
an unusually high percentage. “Software devel-
opment is a very analytical and precise discipline
that meshes well with female patterns of think-
ing,” says Ekaterinidi, who recalls how the SWC
got off to a modest start in 1990. “I had just
started working as a software developer at
Siemens Greece. There were only 12 developers
back then, but we built up the center.” Ekaterinidi, a native of Athens, received a
master’s degree in electrical engineering when
she was only 22. After taking two years off to
start a family, she founded a firm for design, en-
gineering and construction of electrotechnical
projects while pursuing and completing a doc-
toral degree in physics. Eight years later, she de-
cided to give up her business and join Siemens.
Ekaterinidi became director of the SWC in
1997, and under her leadership it has estab-
lished itself as an international center for
research and development, carrying out pro-
jects for Siemens in Europe, the Middle East and
Africa. Among other things, the SWC developed
the software for the state-of-the-art security and
transport monitoring system used during the
2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The SWC also
works on the development of prototypes and
innovative services for international markets
served by Siemens.
The open communication style at the center
is one example of the culture of innovation
established by Ekaterinidi, who frequently
brings together engineers, researchers, techni-
cians, sales staff and customers for internal
workshops. “They have to learn to express their
thoughts and opinions freely,” she explains.
“There’s no such thing as a dumb or wrong idea.”
Encouraged by this approach, her employees
have learned to discuss their proposals and prac-
tice the art of persuasion when they run into
obstacles. “Basically, you have to be able to
clearly explain the utility of what you’re propos-
ing — and you have to believe in your idea and
have enough mental stamina to implement it,”
she says.
Evdoxia Tsakiridou
Software’s Human Touch Total Imaging RevolutionBringing Build ings to Life
62 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 63
Inventors & Innovators | Thomas Schott, Siemens A&D, Nuremberg
atents? Klaus Riedle, a mechanical engineer
and honorary professor only has a few.
Spontaneous ideas? That’s not his style. His
strengths? The ability to recognize complex
interrelationships, break them down into indi-
vidual problems, and then gradually solve them
— while keeping a complete overview and pay-
ing close attention to what will happen if you
make a change that may seem very minor. This
sounds more pedantic than spectacular. Never-
theless, it’s exactly the right approach for a tech-
nology as advanced as the gas turbine. “Innovations in this area require continuity
and perseverance,” explains Riedle, a native of
Innsbruck, Austria. He showed he possessed
those two traits back in the early 1980s, when
he was assigned the task of building a catalytic
converter for reducing nitrogen-oxide emissions
at power plants. The patents on the technology
at that time were held almost exclusively by
Japanese companies. Riedle was patient, how-
ever, and he eventually found a way to develop a
catalytic converter that also ended up setting
new technological standards. In the mid 1980s, he started working on the
development of fossil fuel power plants, which
marked the beginning of the success story of gas
turbines “made by Siemens.” Today, Siemens’
Berlin gas turbine facility is about to produce a
turbine that will have a record-breaking output
of 340 megawatts — enough power for 1.7 mil-
lion people. Thanks to this turbine, a new combined-cycle
power plant to be operated by E.ON in Irsching,
Germany will have an overall efficiency of more
than 60 percent — a world record (see Pictures of
the Future, Spring 2006, p.16). Still, technology
alone isn’t enough in this market. Those unable
to deliver the right product at a reasonable price
within a specified time frame will quickly lose
market share. That’s why Riedle relies on innova-
tion benchmarking, a procedure that compares
products and costs, but also innovation process-
es, with those of competitors (see p. 47). Together with his international organization-
al team, Riedle analyzes development steps and
uses balanced scorecards to determine to what
extent results match plans. Riedle, 65, was a pio-
neer in this regard, and today many other
Siemens groups use his management methods. His employees are given the same freedom
to develop that Riedle himself enjoyed. “I was
pleasantly surprised by how much freedom I had
at Siemens,” he says. That’s important for people
who work hard, Riedle explains, because only if
they are given freedom will they be willing to
share their knowledge. Riedle shares his knowledge not only with
employees, students and his four children, but
also with other companies, including Russia’s
Power Machines, in which Siemens has a 25-
percent interest. In honor of his contribution to
gas turbine development, Riedle was awarded the
Global Energy International Prize (a sort of Nobel
Prize for energy technology, which is endowed
with one million dollars) in St. Petersburg in June
2005. He shared his prize money with Russian
Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov.
Bernd Müller
implicity is our recipe for success,” says
Thomas Schott, 52, head of Production
Automation at Siemens Automation and Drives
(A&D) in Nuremberg. The Simatic controls that
are produced by this Group were designed from
the very beginning for non-specialists, so that
any engineer or technician could learn to oper-
ate them. The origin of these controls goes back
to the 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1979 that sales
began to take off. Schott, who studied electrical
engineering at Schweinfurt College, had joined
Siemens the year before. Today, he is considered
to be “the father of Simatic” — or, as he jokingly
refers to himself, “the grandfather of control
As Schott recalls, Simatic was originally just a
“local hero” that had to struggle to establish a
customer base in the German market. Today,
Simatic is the world’s undisputed leader in its
segment, with a 36-percent market share. Its
success is the result of hard work and continual
innovation in an environment where such
devices were becoming steadily smaller, and
computing power ever greater. “There’s really no
such thing as radical innovations in our sector —
our product cycles run from five to seven years,”
says Schott, who adds that this doesn’t make
things easier. That’s because the 170 people in
his core team have to keep up with the daily
pace of technological development and imme-
diately incorporate new technologies into new
products, if that’s what the customer wants.
They have adopted a two-pronged approach. On
the one hand, they regularly conduct innovation
discussions with major customers in the most
important markets to determine the course of
new developments. They also identify technolo-
gy trends by working with renowned universi-
ties and commissioning the development of
new technologies within A&D, such as Internet
connections or completely digital factories with
self-organizing production units. The trick is to
reconcile customer requirements with techno-
logical feasibility. A radical technology transformation is cur-
rently under way at A&D. In the future, product
design data will be used to generate production
control software, which will reduce costs by 50
to 70 percent. And the time it takes from plan-
ning to production launch will also be signifi-
cantly reduced. Schott sees himself as a generator of ideas
who draws his energy and creativity from dis-
cussions with customers. He believes that expe-
rience is extremely important in his job. “If you
keep taking on new people, they’ll keep making
the same mistakes,” he explains. That’s not
exactly helpful in a market that demands conti-
nuity and stable customer relationships. Of course, this doesn’t mean Schott’s team
never makes mistakes. However, Schott reports
that 70 percent of the team’s ideas end up being
successful and making money, which means he
can accept a 30 percent failure rate. And, as
Schott is quick to add, the only people who don’t
make any mistakes are those who leave every-
thing just as it is — and that’s the biggest mis-
take of all.
Bernd Müller
Best Factory, Best People
est Factory 2004” is emblazoned on a large
poster above the entrance to Hall 42 at
Siemens’ Automation and Drives (A&D) produc-
tion plant in Erlangen. A&D’s Motion Control
Systems division produces electronic controls
and drive technologies for machines and pro-
duction lines at the facility, which a specialized
jury selected as Europe’s best factory in 2004.
The jury explained that the 1,100 people at the
factory do their work in a way that’s described in
numerous management books but is seldom
put into practice. Everyday reality at the plant is
characterized by high quality, delivery reliability
and just-in-time logistics. But things weren't always so good. Back
when Josef Röhrle started working there, the
factory was in the red and a shutdown appeared
unavoidable. Röhrle, however, fought to keep
he plant open. Today, the facility has sales of 570 million euros per year and is one of
Siemens’ most profitable production plants.
What’s more, with a market share of more than
27 percent, Motion Control Systems is now
number one in its segment. All of this was made possible by teamwork
and flexible working hours — not exactly any-
thing difficult to understand. Why, then, did
Röhrle, 57, succeed where others had failed?
Perhaps it has something to do with his wealth
of experience. He trained early as a precision
mechanic, then as an aircraft instrument
mechanic in the German armed forces, and later
went on to become a developer of hardware and
software at Siemens. Or maybe it’s Röhrle’s hiring practices. He
only picks the best, most motivated applicants.
And if someone with great talent applies for a
job, Röhrle will hire the applicant even if there’s
no position available at the time. When asked
about the most important trait a member of his
staff should have, he replies: “He or she must be
able to disagree with me. What we need are peo-
ple who think outside the box and have unusual
ideas and charisma.” Röhrle puts such individu-
als into teams — and the greater the difference
in knowledge and personalities, the better it is
for the team. Everyone, from managers to line
workers, is given a high degree of personal
responsibility and a say in decision-making.
Röhrle believes an optimal innovation
process should be a step-by-step procedure that
doesn’t just allow for deviations but actually
treats them as a productive factor. When a
process of change is implemented at the plant,
it’s always only the very next step that’s defined;
the long-term transformations remain open.
When things go well, Röhrle reminds his people
to look ahead to the next step, because slow-
downs are equivalent to setbacks. That’s why he
believes you have to keep pushing forward on
your own and not wait for market or manage-
ment pressures to get you moving. A father of two, Röhrle is always discovering
new role models, including Japanese firms. He
says that Siemens is equal to its Japanese coun-
terparts in many areas, although the quality
structures in Japan are superior. “But we’ll catch
up in a few years,” he promises. Bernd Müller
| Josef Röhrle, Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D), Erlangen
| Dr. Klaus Riedle, Siemens Power Generation, Erlangen
Father of Control Systems Turbine Efficiency Guru
64 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 65
Inventors & Innovators | Dr. Bernd Montag, Medical Solutions, Forchheim
Right Spirit for Hospitals
ew people can claim they are direct descen-
dants of Kong Zi (Master Kong, or Confu-
cius), whose teachings from 2,500 years ago
form the foundation of the Chinese ethical sys-
tem. Siemens researcher Dr. Jun Kong can make
this claim. “The philosophy of Confucius has
strongly influenced my management style,”
Kong says. “My main concerns in my daily work
are honesty, trust and perseverance.” The success of the Somatom Spirit computer
tomograph, which he and his team developed in
China, seems to confirm this. Around 400 of the
devices had been ordered by mid-2006, and
three out of four orders are from abroad. Kong
had previously proved himself by enhancing the
image quality of the Spirit’s predecessor model,
the Somatom Smile. Later, he visited customers around the world,
teaching them how to use the unit and helping
them fix the mistakes they were making during
its operation. This experience ultimately flowed
into the development of the Somatom Spirit.
Together with sales and marketing teams, Kong
clearly defined the strategy for the follow-up
device. The Somatom Spirit was to be cost-effi-
cient, highly reliable, easy to use —and cus-
tomers were to quickly recoup their investment
“All the important hospitals already have
high-end equipment, but they still often need to
acquire lower-priced secondary devices for less
complicated procedures such as lung examina-
tions,” Kong explains. The numerous small hos-
pitals throughout China are also interested in
obtaining an entry-level model so that they can
perform CT scans themselves.
“Ultimately, the key to success is communica-
tion — with customers, within the team, and
also with Siemens Medical Solutions headquar-
ters in Erlangen and our top developers in Forch-
heim,” says Kong, who manages his internation-
al team from an office in Shanghai. He’s convinced the new Spirit unit’s success
resulted from precise process management and
the clear monitoring of milestones. Even more
important, however, was the fact that both the
Chinese and the German engineers involved in
the development project spoke English and
were able to overcome cultural differences. Kong knows that “unusual paths often lead
to special developments. When my employees
approach me with a crazy idea, I allocate them a
limited budget for a specific period of time,“ he
says. He also comes up with creative ideas to get
the best people into his department and keep
them there. “We discuss the progress being
made on all our projects at monthly meetings,
because it’s important to have an overview of
what’s going on throughout the department,
rather than people who focus solely on their
own individual projects,” says Kong. After the meeting, there’s a party in honor of
everyone whose birthday falls during that
month. “That’s really a big boost,” says Kong,
“because everyone is relaxed and has a feeling
that is important for many Chinese people —
the feeling that ‘my company is there for me.’ ”
Andreas Kleinschmidt
lot of people would like to get their first job
the way Raymond Liao did. “I had been
doing research at Columbia University in New
York for five years and had almost finished my
doctorate,” Liao (36) recalls. “Then a stranger
called me out of the blue and asked if I’d like to
work for Siemens.” Liao said yes, as the job
offered him the opportunity to create a product
based on the results of his research on transmis-
sion quality in wireless communication networks. However, when the New Economy bubble
burst in 2000, network provider investment
dropped dramatically, and with it the chances of
Liao’s development being used in the telecom-
munications industry. He therefore began to
search for another area in which to apply his
skills. He soon hit on the booming industrial
automation sector. There was strong demand for reliable WLAN
solutions for factories and production lines.
After all, the ability to transmit data for machine
control and monitoring systems via radio waves
would mean that plant operators could stop
investing in expensive cable connections and
maintainance of clean surface contacts for mov-
ing vehicles — particularly in dusty, dirty or
damp areas. Cables were also completely unsuit-
able for rotating machine parts — and wireless
solutions simply made factories more flexible. But conventional WLAN solutions were
unable to guarantee data packet transfer rates in
the millisecond range, which is crucial to effec-
tive monitoring and control of industrial
machines. A command that takes too long to
reach its destination can, in the worst case,
cause an entire production line to shut down.
“Together with my colleagues at Siemens
Automation and Drives in Karlsruhe and Nurem-
berg, as well as marketing and sales experts, we
defined what customers wanted,” says Liao. “We
found that if our industrial WLAN (I-WLAN)
could guarantee the data transfer rates, it would
give us a unique selling point that would set us
apart from our competitors.” With this in mind, they went to work. And
after only six months, a prototype was ready,
with a finished product on the market six
months after that (see Pictures of the Future, Fall
2005, p. 34). “We’re now well ahead of the com-
petition in the I-WLAN premium segment and
our sales are growing at a rate of 200 to 300 per-
cent per year,” says Liao, who is now one of the
directors of Venture Technology at the Siemens
Technology-to-Business Center in Berkeley. He’s
also constantly on the lookout for innovative
ideas from outstanding young researchers. “It’s
like detective work,” he says, “but finding appli-
cations for innovations is exactly what I enjoy
the most about my job. When we find some-
thing interesting, we establish direct contact
with the people involved. We’re so well-known
by now that people even send us unsolicited
summaries of their work.” In this regard, Liao
often feels like a prospector panning for gold —
and the nuggets he’s looking for are ideas. It’s
even gotten to the point where he’s become the
stranger who calls up a talented student and
offers him or her a job. Andreas Kleinschmidt
| Dr. Raymond Liao, Technology-to-Business Center, Berkeley, California (USA)
couple of years ago, pictures of a tall basket-
ball player and other athletes in magnetic
resonance (MR) tomographs appeared in news-
paper articles around the world. When you meet
Bernd Montag of Siemens Medical Solutions
(Med), you immediately realize that the amus-
ing images were his idea. A former basketball
player — Montag is nearly 2.05 meters in
height— he is tall enough to match the maxi-
mum scanning length of a Magnetom Avanto
MR tomograph.
He’s also a theoretical physicist who received
a doctorate from the University of Erlangen and
began his career at Med in 1995. After serving in
various positions, he became head of marketing
for MR Tomography in 2001, exactly when the
new TIM technology was born (see the portrait
of Robert Krieg, p.61). The technology makes it
possible to record images of the entire inside of
the body in just one scan.
“Innovation and communication are insepa-
rable,” says Montag. “They are the yin and yang
of the innovation process.” Without Montag,
there would have been no successful market
launch of TIM, no use of orange as the trade-
mark color, and no ad campaign concept that
focused not on the devices themselves but
instead on the technology behind them. “We need to avoid getting too technical
when communicating,” says Montag, 37, and by
this he means communication of everything
from product details to customer utility. “For
example, instead of saying ‘magnetic field
strength has been increased by x percent,’ you
need to say something like ‘a complete body
scan can now be done in 15 minutes.’ ” Montag, who is now head of Computer
Tomography, also pulled off a major achieve-
ment for the market launch of the Somatom
Definition CT scanner. Siemens planned to pre-
sent the device as a completely new concept,
superior to competing products. At that time, CT
manufacturers were constantly trying to outdo
one another with devices capable of producing
images based on more and more layers . How-
ever, the actual goal of such imaging — to cap-
ture a beating heart or distinguish between
bones and blood vessels as clearly as possible in
a single image — was being ignored. The solution was to develop a new genera-
tion of tomographs and emphasize that they
contained two X-ray tubes and were fast enough
to freeze-frame a beating heart. Such a tech-
nique made it possible to cut X-ray dosage in half
and also to visually distinguish between several
organs in one image. Montag knew exactly what he was doing.
Siemens’ market share for CTs started to rise,
and is now at around 30 percent, only a few per-
centage points behind market leader General
Electric. And the situation with MR tomographs
was exactly the same until TIM technology was
introduced. Today, Siemens is the world’s number one
MR manufacturer, and it is continually expand-
ing its lead. As for Montag, he’s very confident
that Siemens will soon surpass GE in computer
tomographs as well.
Bernd Müller
Dr. Jun Kong, Siemens Shanghai Medical Equipment, Shanghai, China
Fastest Tomograph in Town Wireless Factory Flexibility
Learning Together
In 2005, Siemens launched over 1,000 collaborative projects with universities and research establishments worldwide. In general, both parties profit from such relationships. Siemens employs a variety of models, from supporting students, all the way up to strategic alliances to expand its global cooperation network.
Prof. Gustav Pomberger from Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria presents his new automobile navigation system featuring augmented reality.
nyone who demands the impossible must
be prepared to try out new approaches.
“Invent something that is visionary, highly inno-
vative —something that will make a lot of peo-
ple’s lives easier and has a big fun component,
and be sure to focus on the mass market.” These
were the words with which a Siemens manager
first approached Professor Gustav Pomberger
from the Institute of Business Computing / Soft-
ware Engineering at Johannes Kepler University
in Linz, Austria. Back then, says Pomberger, every-
body laughed, but he took on the challenge. And now, after several years of work with
engineers from Siemens Corporate Technology
(CT), the result is there for all to see: a complete-
ly new type of navigation system based on the
principle of augmented reality (see Pictures of
the Future, Fall 2005, p. 49). For Siemens, such a
partnership has two major benefits. The patent
for the system and the prospect of a mass mar-
ket. And for Pomberger, it has provided a rare
opportunity to explore unconventional avenues
of research in the company of a highly heteroge-
neous team made up of computer scientists,
mathematicians, software engineers, philoso-
phers, psychologists, sociologists and even
sculptors and media artists. “This kind of trans-
disciplinary approach is still uncommon in the
university sector, but it certainly inspired us to
new creative heights!” says Pomberger.
Cooperative work with the University of Linz
is just one example of well over 1,000 such
research projects in which Siemens is involved
each year around the world. Almost half of all
such contacts originate with CT, the other half
with the Siemens Groups, especially Medical
Solutions. This global network provides Siemens
with insight into all the latest results from the
worlds of pure and applied research as well as
establishing contacts to the researchers con-
cerned, who are potential future employees. At
the same time, it means the company can dove-
tail its own R&D activities with those of universi-
ty departments working in areas in which
Siemens lacks expertise — for example, in the
life sciences and neurobiology. There are several good reasons why universi-
ties are interested in working with Siemens. For
researchers and engineers, the connection to
industry provides an important contact to the
world of business. As Pomberger explains, this
not only gives them valuable information about
current and future market trends, but also
shows them where the problem areas in indus-
Inventors & Innovators | Research Cooperation
66 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 67
try lie. “Cooperative work with industrial part-
ners is an important yardstick for us. It’s the only
way we can gauge whether the work we do in
the lab is capable of being turned into new prod-
ucts or technologies,” he says. Likewise, when
his students come to select a research topic, its
practical relevance has a high priority. “By now,
our long-standing cooperation with Siemens is
tants and visiting scientists. In addition, CT
invests an additional 18 million euros to fund
cooperation in publicly funded research pro-
grams, which as a rule are financed on a 50-50
basis by industry and the public sector. At present, research cooperation at Siemens
has a distinctly German flavor. In view of this,
Prof. Klaus Wucherer, a member of the Corpo-
rate Executive Committee of Siemens AG, plans
to increase the number of international con-
tacts. “We still need much more cooperation
with outstanding universities around the globe,”
he said at a university conference in July, 2006.
At the same time, he also emphasized that this
did not mean that the company would be reduc-
ing its commitment in Germany. One Hundred Years of Partnership. Siemens
employs a variety of strategies to forge new
alliances with higher education. In the first
instance, the type of cooperation with a univer-
sity in a given country depends very much on
the objectives and expectations of the two
prospective partners. The most common form of
cooperation is that of a bilateral relationship
between Siemens and individual university sci-
entists or their associated faculties and depart-
ments. This includes purely informal contacts as
well as numerous contractually settled arrange-
ments. There is a long-standing tradition of such
ad hoc, more or less firmly established, ties
between Siemens and higher education, that
stretches back over 100 years. Ever since its
beginnings in the second half of the 19th centu-
ry, electrical engineering has remained a
research-intensive industry that has always had
close and varied relations to universities. An early — and still common — example of
this relationship involves scientists moving from
universities to spend time in industry and vice
versa. Although the departure of a respected
researcher marks a heavy loss for either side, it is
nonetheless of great benefit in the creation of a
cooperation network, because those who leave,
as a rule, stay in contact with their former work-
place. Another form of cooperation between
industry and higher education is that of a tech-
nology transfer. In numerous cases, Siemens
Who Owns the Inventions?
CT’s International R&D Partnerships
Legal provisions regarding patent rights vary from country to country. When awarding R&D con-
tracts, Siemens strives to reach an outline agreement with the establishment concerned or a standard
agreement specifically tailored to the university in question. Such agreements stipulate that the intellec-
tual property rights to any inventions made in the course of a research contract financed by the com-
pany belong to Siemens AG. In return, university researchers receive an ex gratia “motivational bonus,”
paid by Siemens, for each invention transferred. In 2002, the German law covering the rights to inven-
tions made by employees at work was substantially amended with regard to the provisions governing
commissioned R&D contracts conducted at German universities and institutes. Until then, university
lecturers and scientific assistants had enjoyed full rights to any inventions made in the course of com-
missioned R&D contracts and could transfer these directly to the contracting party. Since the abolition
of this privilege for university lecturers, the universities have access to the inventions of their employees
and can exploit these themselves. This often involves the use of patent utilization agencies.
so well known that students often approach us
with the express wish that they be allowed to
work on a Siemens project,” he adds. Apart from commissioning research, another
major form of cooperation between Siemens
and the university sector is that of support for
students who are writing dissertations and doc-
toral theses. At present, CT spends between 7
million euros and 10 million euros per year on
research cooperation with universities, insti-
tutes of technology and, to a limited extent,
research establishments such as the Fraunhofer
Society. Of that total, which makes up between
three and four percent of the annual R&D bud-
get of Corporate Technology, 28 percent goes to
fund degree and doctoral students, and around
65 percent to pay for commissioned research.
The rest goes to scholarship holders, consul-
Largest international cooperation projects
Johannes Kepler University of Linz Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
Vanderbilt University, Nashville
Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montreal Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
Budapest University of Technology and Economics Technical University of Eindhoven, Netherlands University of Pennsylvania
University of Maryland University of Calgary Tsinghua University, Beijing
St. Petersburg University, Russia
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT University of Maribor, Slovenia etc.
Largest national collaborations
Technical University (TU) Munich
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
TU Dresden
TU Kaiserslautern
LMU Munich
University of Potsdam
TU Darmstadt
Fraunhofer Society
Otto Beisheim School of Management (WHU), Vallendar
CT locations
Initiated by CT units from Germany Initiated by international
CT units
Competing for Talent
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 69
In addition to providing specialized knowledge, the uni-
versity of the future will teach students how to collabo-
rate in globally networked teams. Crucial requirements
include a sound educational concept and a modern technical infrastructure. Siemens technology is helping
schools to master the challenges of the 21st century.
At the European School of Management and
Technology in Berlin, the auditorium is equipped with
a full range of multimedia capabilities. Presentations
and films are controlled from an LCD display (insert).
n the foyer of the European School of Man-
agement and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin,
Ramon Giovannini pulls out his access card. An
integrated radio chip on the card identifies him
and permits him to enter. In the lounge, the 29-
year-old engineer, who is working toward a Mas-
ter in Business Administration (MBA), sinks into
one of the red leather armchairs and enjoys a
cup of coffee. Meanwhile, his laptop logs onto
the radio network that enables wireless access
to the intranet and the Internet throughout the
entire building. Checking his online schedule,
Giovannini downloads project work on case
studies from the business sector that fit today’s
agenda. “Only the members of a given team
have access to the group rooms,” he says as he
holds his card in front of the monitor next to a
door. The card shows him which of his fellow
team members have already arrived. “In this
high-tech environment, I sometimes have to be
very disciplined,” he confides with a smile. “After
all, it’s very tempting to use your laptop to enter
an Internet chat room during a lecture or reserve
cheap flight tickets. But we’re adults and we
should be able to control ourselves.”
“Individual responsibility is the key to suc-
cessful learning,” agrees Prof. Derek Abell, who
has been the president of the ESMT ever since it
was founded four years ago on the initiative of
25 German companies and associations as an
elite training ground for up-and-coming young
managers. “The ESMT’s technical equipment is
pioneering in many respects. But there’s one
thing we shouldn’t forget: The best equipment is
useless if the didactic concept is wrong and we
can’t motivate the students.” The university auditorium is semicircular so
that everyone present can engage in dialogue.
Modern technology, most of it from Siemens,
facilitates daily learning. The instructor can con-
trol all of the media from a central control unit —
an LCD screen that can be pulled out from the
podium like a drawer. These media include
sound files as well as films and presentations
stored on the university’s central server. Daniel
Grosch from Siemens Building Technologies is
especially proud of this innovation. “The impres-
sive thing about this solution is the interplay of
| The University of the Future
68 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006
has supplied the technical know-how required
to advance pure research projects at a university.
For example, it was Siemens that supplied Prof.
Klaus von Klitzing, winner of the Nobel Prize for
Physics, with the semiconductor components he
needed to measure the Quantum Hall Effect at
the end of the 1970s.
Ambassador Universities. In the early 1970s,
Siemens introduced a form of cooperation
designed to promote even greater partnership:
the Siemens Ambassador University Program.
“We only work with those universities with which
we want to build up a long-standing relation-
ship,” explains Prof. Hubertus von Dewitz, head
of the relevant department on the Corporate
Executive Committee. As a rule, the most impor-
tant criterion is the scientific reputation of the
university in question, especially in the techno-
logical fields that are of interest to Siemens.
Today, a total of 33 universities and three insti-
tutes of technology are part of the Ambassador
Program. Each is assigned its very own “ambas-
sador” from senior company management. It is
their responsibility to initiate and promote as
many strategic forms of cooperation as possible.
This can take a variety of forms, such as personal
discussions with professors and students, the
awarding of research contracts, and the funding
of part-time lectureships. Introduced several years ago, the Center for
Knowledge Interchange (CKI) model is based on
the concept of the sponsored university but
structured in a more differentiated manner. “This
is the closest relation we have to a university.
The CKIs are especially important, since they
provide us with direct access to innovation,”
explains von Dewitz. Each CKI has its own administrative office
that acts as an interface between the industrial
and the academic worlds. It’s here that represen-
tatives from the Siemens Groups regularly meet
with people from universities. This systematic
transfer of knowledge is managed by a CKI advis-
er, whose job is to match Siemens’ needs with
what’s on offer from universities and thus to initi-
ate as many cooperation agreements as possible.
In 2003, for example, 8 million euros was made
available to the CKI at Munich’s Technical Univer-
sity to spend on suitable joint projects over the
following five years. “We have already met the
project’s target,” says Martin Zißler, spokes-
person for the President of Munich Technical Uni-
versity and CKI adviser there. “We’ve set up 105
cooperation agreements.” By the end of 2007,
the aim is that the current total of four CKIs
should have increased to 12. “But that’s not the
upper limit. We’d like to enter into active collabo-
rative relationships with all the universities we
rate as especially important, especially in China,
India and the U.S.,” says von Dewitz. Such alliances are also about educating and
supporting future generations of scientists (see p.
74). After all, higher education is an important
Inventors & Innovators | Research Cooperation
recruiting ground for new employees. Of the
461,000 people Siemens employs full-time world-
wide, 34 percent have an academic qualification
(26 percent in engineering, natural sciences or IT). What’s more, in Germany and Austria alone,
over 200 managers from Siemens hold a part-
time lectureship at a university or institute of tech-
nology. To ensure that all concerned — students,
universities, and Siemens — benefit as much as
possible from such arrangements, someone like
Dr. Michael Hofmeister from CT consults closely
with the university on the precise content of
each lecture program. “For universities, such lec-
tureships represent a sensible addition to their
teaching profile on the applied side, whereas they
give us the opportunity to train students as poten-
tial employees by providing them with specific
practical content,” says Hofmeister. He adds that
this form of teaching is an investment that pays
off in a number of ways. It produces motivated
and highly qualified future employees, promotes
knowledge transfer, and increases Siemens’ visi-
bility at universities and institutes of technology.
Yet such involvement also has its price.
Hofmeister spends as much as a month of his
annual working hours on lectures, workshops
and scholarship programs. However, he says
that compared to the rewards, it’s not really that
much, and he refers to a quote by Derek Bok,
former President of Harvard University: “If you
think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
Luitgard Marschall
TU (Technical University) Berlin (since 1998)
TU Munich (since 2001)
RWTH Aachen (since 2002)
DTU Copenhagen (since 2006)
Power engineering and skills development (supplementary course to promote key skills such as communication and teamwork capabilities)
Medical technology plus information and communications technology
Industrial groups and skills development Sustainable power engineering, environmental technology, biotech and medical technology
Centers for Knowledge Interchange (CKIs)
Tsinghua University,
Beijing, China
University of Linz, Austria
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Cranfield University, UK
Uppsala University, Sweden
Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria
RU Groningen, Netherlands
TUs of Braunschweig, Darmstadt, U. of Augsburg
Cooperation since
Process to compress video and audio data (MPEG-4) and an intelligent digital archive
for multimedia data (MPEG-7). Sandwich exchange program for doctoral students: one year Tsinghua University, one year Siemens CT, one year Tsinghua Software tools and applications for pervasive computing / ambient intelligence; analysis and optimization of software development processes
Tools to evaluate software quality; new software development processes
A speech-synthesis system for Mandarin Chinese and the generation of speech databases
A DNA/protein-based bio-sensor for the diagnosis of cancer (EU “Biognosis” project)
Organic LEDs for lighting applications (EU “OLLA” project, BMBF “OPAL” project)
Selected Collaborations with Universities and Institutes Networked Schools
The universities of the futurewill need to focus more closely on transmitting key skills. They will there-
fore have to train their students as to how to deal with information technology and the Internet at an early
stage. Numerous school projects provide excellent models of active learning and teaching with the help of
the IT infrastructure. One of these is the “Unit21” school network in Unna, Germany, which has been serv-
ing all of the city’s 21 schools, from the primary to the college preparatory level, since 2004. This pioneer-
ing project was made possible by a collaboration between the schools and Siemens. The project included
development, installation, maintenance and support. The highlight of the system is its so-called “@-classes.”
For example, the seven @-classes of the Unna-Königsborn comprehensive school are completing the nor-
mal curriculum with the help of individual laptops. In parallel, they are learning how to use IT tools and
do interdisciplinary project work as team players. “For these students, the computer is no longer just
something they learn about in class; it’s a normal tool that they use every day, in the same way they use
their pocket calculators,” says Uwe Kornatz, Supervisor of Schools in Unna. Every student has his or her
own notebook, and the entire school is served by a radio network (W-LAN). The students can even access
the Internet in the schoolyard — but only in protected areas, and questionable content is filtered out.
Teachers have more time to coach students and help them learn independently using their PCs. Different
combinations of classes and schools work together on interdisciplinary projects, such as the history of the city of Unna. Data is exchanged via a central server that is operated and maintained by Siemens. learning modules that can be loaded into PDAs,
or project work. The traditional lecture won’t dis-
appear, but it will be transformed with the help
of multimedia. “And this will be speeded along
by content management systems and fast and
secure data transfer channels, like those we’ve
installed at NSU,” says Mayr-Knoch. One thing is
already certain: The student will increasingly be
seen as a customer —in other words, as the cen-
tral factor when choosing solutions.
The Currency of Knowledge. Many experts
believe that the following vision could become
reality in just a few years. On the campus of the
future, all key facilities are networked in an inte-
grated system. Students use a single smart card
to borrow books from the library, pay for meals
and snacks in the cafeteria, and sign off on digi-
tal examinations. Biometric information is used to control
access to sensitive areas like labs. Students sit in
a cafe, loading information on specific topics
into their PDAs, for example a video clip showing
how the human heart functions; this optional
service is paid for in the school’s own “currency,”
for example a credit point system like those used
at many American and British colleges and uni-
versities. Knowledge, education experts agree,
will pay off. “Particularly for highly developed
economies, education is the capital of the
future, and knowledge will be their currency,”
says Mayr-Knoch. “This also means that courses
of study at colleges and universities — their
content — is becoming a commodity.”
But commercial goods must be secured
against theft. And that creates a paradox. In the
future, universities will have to make their intel-
lectual assets more accessible than ever before
via the Internet — around the clock and in every
country. At the same time, they’ll be using the
latest information technology to limit access to
this knowledge and put a price tag on it. For
these institutions — and their students — this
will be the only way to ensure prosperity in the
new world of learning. Giovannini’s tuition bill for two years of stud-
ies at the ESMT came to roughly 50,000 euros, a
considerable investment. In return, he got a top-
quality education and the benefits of the most
modern technical equipment, which functions
virtually unseen behind the ESMT’s wood-
paneled walls and in its server rooms. “The great
thing is that we’re no longer even conscious of
how the technology at the ESMT makes our
work so much easier,” explains Giovannini.
“Everything seems to run smoothly without any
effort on our part, and that’s the real added
Andreas Kleinschmidt
MBA students at the ESMT work in globally networked
teams. Equipped with integrated radio chips, their
smart cards identify them to the school server and
give them access to the group room.
70 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 71
technical components. It’s a fully integrated
system,” he says. Grosch installed the building
and automation technology at the ESMT and
worked closely with the Siemens Communica-
tions Group to install the School’s IT and com-
munication technology.
Academic Vision. For most of the world’s uni-
versities, it’s still impossible to follow the ESMT’s
lead. But in the future they won’t be able
to avoid massive investments in equipment.
Dr. Wolfgang Mayr-Knoch, Corporate Account
Manager for Research & Education at Siemens,
estimates that in the coming decade the world’s
universities will need to make investments total-
ing €166 billion annually. “Education is the key
resource for building future prosperity,” he says.
His job is to work out a vision of the campus of
the future — and to help universities all over the
world to make this vision come true. One of
these was Nova Southeastern University (NSU)
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Here, Siemens has created a fully integrated
digitized system for the university hospital and
the campus. This system is transforming NSU’s
entire academic community into a pioneering
center of living and learning, with a focus on
health research and biotechnology. W-LAN ac-
cess everywhere, smartcard solutions for access
control and safety systems, and a powerful light
rail transport system will make life easier for stu-
dents and teachers alike. These services, and
many more, can be put in place by a single
source, thanks to the Siemens One approach.
Five different Siemens groups are participating
edge and services. Says Mayr-Knoch, “Educa-
tional institutions that fail to keep up with these
trends will be at a disadvantage in the global
competition to attract the best students.”
Dynamically developing economies like those
of China and India mean stronger demand
worldwide for admission to higher education —
and tougher competition among universities
and colleges. About 33,000 engineers graduate
from German universities annually; in India, the
total is more than 300,000, topped by China’s
tional institutes are coming under more pres-
sure. “Universities are being forced to cope with
a host of challenges, especially rising costs and
the need to continuously improve the quality of
their programs and their competitiveness in the
global educational market,” says Mayr-Knoch.
“And this is where technological systems and
equipment have a vital role to play.”
Clients Around the World. These radically
changing demands are straining the financial
and organizational resources of many universi-
ties. To help relieve this pressure, Siemens pro-
vides a wide spectrum of support services, rang-
ing from planning and physical facilities to
systems integration, maintenance and service. And good planning is particularly important,
because colleges and universities usually devote
only about one quarter of their total expendi-
tures for IT and energy solutions to infrastruc-
tures. The largest share of what’s left is ear-
marked for operations and maintenance. This is
why Siemens provides consulting not only for
IT and telecommunications solutions, building
systems and power engineering, security and
e-learning, but also for concrete financing. In
the last five years alone, Siemens has provided
support for dozens of universities and institutes
of higher learning in Australia, Canada, Egypt,
Lebanon, the Netherlands and the United King-
“Educational institutes will focus more inten-
sively on offering courses of study in appropriate
contexts and in a manner that students can
access quickly and conveniently,” Mayr-Knoch
says. And that could mean using e-learning,
Inventors & Innovators | The University of the Future
Universities around the world will need to invest
€166 billion each year in equipment.
in this major project, which has a volume of
several hundred million dollars. NSU is also linked via a fiber-optic network
with other research locations in the United
States and Europe. Dr. George Hanbury, NSU
Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, is
already thinking even further ahead — to the vi-
sion of a decentralized campus: “State-of-the-art
high-speed networks will make decentralized
research a reality and make it possible for univer-
sities to cooperate more closely with one anoth-
er and with the business world.” NSU will be
optimally prepared for the future — and that’s
a good thing, because the challenges facing
universities are being irreversibly changed by
global trends. These include globalization,
changing demographics and the structural
transformation into a society based on knowl-
400,000. And their training is becoming increas-
ingly advanced. In just a few years, many of
today’s students will be scattered around the
globe, working in networked teams. To prepare
them for the challenges ahead, greater empha-
sis will have to be placed on teaching them im-
portant key skills that go far beyond the detailed
knowledge need for specialized disciplines. For Giovannini, who earned his engineering
degree at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technol-
ogy in Lausanne, this was precisely why he de-
cided to add an MBA to his credentials. “Today’s
work world demands more sophisticated skills
than ever before. At the ESMT, I am refining not
only my analytic abilities, but also my skills as a
team player — with colleagues from all over the
world,” he says. While students are putting
together impressive resumes, however, educa-
Software and related services are a 67 billion-euro-per-year industry in Europe. What’s the role of this sector for the EU’s information society?
Reding:This sector plays a key role in the infor-
mation society, and, with an expected 5.8 per-
cent annual growth rate in 2006 and 2007, is
the fastest growing ICT market segment. Soft-
ware, grids and service technologies are power-
ful enablers for many of Europe’s key industries,
such as mobile telephony, telecommunications,
automotive, aircraft, and the financial services
industries. Large software systems also support
vital aspects of our daily lives. The ability to
produce software and deliver services in an effi-
cient and economic way is therefore something
that Europe should cultivate.
Achatz:Software drives innovation, and inno-
vation drives business. In the automotive area,
for instance, ninety percent of innovations are
software-related. What’s more, we are experi-
encing an on-going shift from hardware to
software. So the importance of software is
growing steadily. What are NESSI’s goals and how is the
program designed to accelerate the intro-
duction of e-services throughout the EU?
Reding:The Networked Software and Services
Initiative is industry led; and it is important to
note that it is not a Commission initiative and
receives no financial support from European
Community funds. This said, NESSI’s stated
objectives — to provide new approaches for
developing services in an open environment,
and to deliver them efficiently through utility-
like infrastructures and devices — are a clear
answer to the challenges faced by European
industry. To facilitate the delivery of innovative
e-services that can compete successfully across
Europe and worldwide, NESSI should be based
on widely-open standards that will allow com-
panies and individuals to deliver and use ser-
vices across countries with a high level of inter-
operability and market acceptance.
Achatz:NESSI sets the stage for a framework
that will allow us to define a service platform
while providing services for industry segments,
such as the healthcare and automotive sectors.
Naturally, open source is an important part of
that picture — as is, from our point of view,
commercial software. Our philosophy is to treat
open source and commercial software equally
and leave it to the implementers and providers
to decide which offers the best solution for
Many kinds of convergence are taking
place in the ICT and media sectors. One of these is the way diverse platforms for delivering e-services are coming together.
What does this mean within the NESSI context?
Reding:The convergence of information
society and media services, networks and
devices is already well advanced. Voice over IP,
Web TV, on-line music, movies on mobile phones
— all this already exists. Market demand for
ever more sophisticated services will reinforce
the need for more usable systems with vastly
greater capacity and functionality. In this
scenario, a crucial missing piece is a reliable
environment that will allow easy development
of e-services, as well as a utility-like service in-
frastructure for the deployment, delivery and
management of e-services. This service utility
will allow the sharing of converged computing,
communication and media resources and deliv-
ery of knowledge to citizens and organizations.
In fact, it could become the backbone of the
21st century service-oriented knowledge econ-
omy. I therefore welcome NESSI’s ambition to
support this goal. Achatz:I agree one hundred percent with that
vision. The convergence of service platforms is
a great vision and primary objective of NESSI.
However, there is still a long way to go before
we get there. Obviously, major players are in-
volved in NESSI, which makes me bullish about
its future. But on the other hand, some of those
players have entrenched interests. We will have
to work closely with them to understand their
concerns. But I am very optimistic that we will
be able to achieve that within the context of the
NESSI vision. What’s driving all this convergence, and
does this perhaps mean that as a society
we are turning a corner — becoming a different kind of economy?
Reding:The information society is moving
from a pilot phase to wide deployment as the
ICT world becomes more mature and global.
The convergence of digital networks, content
and devices is radically changing the ICT sector
itself, as well as the way we use ICT in society
and the economy. But the benefits of an in-
creasingly “digital” lifestyle depend crucially on
our ability to greatly improve the quality, as well
as the reliability of essential services. All in all,
from an economic standpoint, the convergence
of technologies will cause an unprecedented
change in the market.
Achatz:I have no doubt that we are turning the
corner on a new kind of economy. Until now the
paradigm for accessing information has been
the computer. That is about to change. Soon,
the environment itself, be it a car, an office or
a home, will provide pervasive access to ser-
vices through a range of devices. Those devices
will be things we do not today associate with
communication. They will be things such as
wheelchairs, refrigerators, and cars. These
objects will be intelligent — that is, equipped
with wireless microprocessors — and each will
allow us to access utility-like information ser-
vices in ways that simplify our lives. NESSI will
allow these varied devices to use all kinds of
services and communicate sensor information
to a software platform.
72 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 73
Inventors and Innovators | Expert Interview
What sorts of changes do you foresee as
a result of the adoption of a common technology platform?
Reding:The information society is about a
better life for everyone. Let me give you a few examples where NESSI might help: Innovative
public services, such as online procurement can
help cut red tape and simplify administrative
procedures for businesses. When we reach our
target of fifty percent take-up of online procurement, Europe will save €40 billion a
year. New technologies can make healthcare
more efficient, while responding to the
increasing demand for health services in an
ageing society. Achatz:NESSI will facilitate new, more immediate, forms of communication. For instance, a wheelchair may be able to help a disabled person find ramps and elevators. In
the kitchen, simply saying the words “lemon
cake” might bring up an online recipe and automatically generate a shopping list based
on what is not available at home. Sensors that
are seamlessly integrated in the everyday environment will be able to use built-in intelligence to identify an emergency situation
and trigger a call for help from the most appropriate source.
What are your hopes for the Networked
European Software and Services Initiative,
and how will Europe be different in ten
years if it can be successfully implemented? Reding:My hope is that NESSI will be success-
ful in helping European industry to take a
leadership role in exploiting the potential of
advanced software, grids and e-services. With
the economy moving towards a service-centric
model and with the pervasive nature of soft-
ware and IT services, the potential impact en-
compasses the entire value chain in all innova-
tive business sectors. To reiterate what I said
earlier, Europe needs vibrant industry and a
market with choice for consumers. This is how
we will get growth and new jobs. I trust that
NESSI — and Siemens — will help us achieve
this vision.
Achatz:My expectation is that within ten years
the NESSI vision will be a reality for everybody.
That means integrated services that are easy to
access for people of all ages, regardless of in-
come, language, culture or health conditions.
It means your environment will be so smart that
it will understand your needs and automatically
translate them into the appropriate services.
The service platform will be immediate and
intuitive. In short, the environment will be the interface.
Interview conducted by Arthur F. Pease.
Dr. Viviane Reding (55)
is European Union Com-
missioner for Information
Society and Media. Her
political career began in
1979 when she became
a member of Luxem-
bourg’s Parliament.
From 1989 to 1999 she served as leader of
Luxembourg’s European
People’s Party delegation
in the European Parlia-
ment. In 1999 she be-
came Commissioner for
Education, Culture, Youth,
Media and Sport. Mrs.
Reding holds a doctorate
in human sciences from
the Sorbonne, Paris. Reinhold Achatz (52) is
head of Siemens Corpo-
rate Research and Tech-
nologies. With Siemens
since 1980, he has held
numerous management
positions in Germany
and the U.S., Until his
current appointment, he
served as vice president
for Software and Engi-
neering at Siemens
Corporate Technology in
Munich with responsibil-
ity for Siemens’ software
and engineering strategy.
Mr. Achatz is a member
of Siemens’ Innovation
Steering Committee, a
member of the Siemens
VDO (automotive) Tech-
nology Board, and a
member of the board of the EU’s ARTEMIS
project, as well as board
member and vice chair-
man of the EU’s NESSI
For additional informa-
tion, visit: www.nessi-
The Environment Is the Interface
The Information Society is about a better life for everyone. NESSI – the Networked
European Software and Services Initiative – is a visionary program supported by key
European companies and the European Union that could transform our cars, homes
and institutions into intuitive, service-based interfaces. Siemens’ Generation21 global training program promotes up-and-coming talent in the
natural sciences and technical fields — starting right from kindergarten and continu-
ing through the university years. Providing young people with knowledge and skills is
a form of social responsibility that also helps ensure a bright future for the company. Children at the Bad Nenndorf middle school in
Germany built a miniature hydroelectric power plant
with the help of a kit supplied by Siemens . Even
kindergarten children can get into the fun (right).
t’s a beautiful summer day in July at the Bad
Nenndorf Gymnasium (middle school-high
school), and the mood is upbeat as vacation
time approaches. Teachers and students from
upper classes have organized a science experi-
ment for the fifth- and sixth-graders. The topic
is water. “Ooh, that’s disgusting,” the 12-year-
old boys yell as they mix water, corn starch and
borate to create a green slime. The girls, mean-
while, are standing in front of a bucket of wa-
ter, a pile of plastic pipes and a small paddle
wheel. With a little work, they succeed in
putting together what amounts to a rough ver-
sion of a hydroelectric power plant. When it’s all
over, the kids have learned a lot — for example,
how a sand filter can clean dirty water, how
much power is contained in steam, and why
soap produces fewer suds in calciferous water
than in distilled water. Eighty schools in Germany, including Bad
Nenndorf Gymnasium, were encouraged by
Siemens to stage a “water project day” this year,
for which the company provided 500 euros plus
collections of media tools. Siemens is one of
the most prominent members of MINT-EC, an
association that promotes centers of excellence
in mathematics and natural sciences at schools.
74 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 75
Inventors & Innovators | Generation21
Siemens has a long tradition of sparking an
interest in science among young people. The
company launched its first partnerships with
schools back at the beginning of the 20th cen-
tury. Today, the company’s education program,
known as Generation21 since 2005, encom-
passes activities around the world that start as
early as pre-school and continue all the way
through the college level. “As a knowledge-
based company, we have a tremendous need
for highly trained and well-educated people, es-
pecially in the natural sciences,” explains
Siemens CEO Dr. Klaus Kleinfeld. “That’s why
we consider education and training a major
element of social responsibility.” Maria
Schumm-Tschauder, coordinator of school and
pre-school projects at Siemens Corporate
Communications (CC), explains why the scope
of Generation21 is so broad: “We want to sup-
port the top talents of the 21st century, so we
begin as early as possible.”
Starting Early Pays Off. Some of tomorrow’s
researchers and engineers might be named
Emilia, Nikito, or Luce. At the Kinderfreunde e.V.
kindergarten in Munich, these four-year-olds are
already becoming acquainted with the exciting
tion colors to the children, but they’ve already
begun looking through the wooden box for
other markers to conduct more tests. Siemens has distributed 500 of these “re-
search” kits to kindergartens around Germany
since the beginning of this year, while provid-
ing training for two teachers at each kinder-
garten. The kits contain all kinds of accessories
for experiments, from balloons to light bulbs.
The company has a very good reason for pro-
moting scientific education as early as kinder-
garten. “Kindergarten kids are very curious by
nature, and they love discovering new things,”
says Dr. Barbara Filtzinger, head of Siemens’
Corporate Citizenship department. “That’s why
we’re already working on adopting this success-
ful concept at the international level.” Scientific studies, such as the one conduct-
ed by renowned learning researcher Karen Lind
of the University of Louisville in Kentucky,
confirm that children between the ages of
three and five are old enough to examine scien-
tific phenomena — if it’s done in a playful way.
Interest then wanes after puberty sets in.
Siemens is also working with 39 other German
companies on a project that’s being conducted
within the framework of what’s called the
Tomorrow’s Researchers The association’s objective is to provide mem-
ber schools with ideas that will inspire young
students to become interested in the natural
sciences, and then keep their interest alive until
they graduate from high school. Bad Nenndorf Gymnasium is one of the
member schools. This means that, unlike other
schools, it regularly offers advanced placement
courses in physics, sometimes even two of
them per grade, according to the school’s prin-
cipal, Dr. Irmtraud Gratza-Lüthen. The impor-
tant thing to remember here is that, “teachers
no longer conduct the experiments — the stu-
dents now do almost everything themselves,”
says Gratza-Lüthen.
phenomena that arise from electricity, sound
and water. Today they’re learning about colors.
“Does brown have any other colors in it?” asks
kindergarten teacher Stefanie Wellenhofer.
Emilia takes a brown magic marker and draws
loops on a piece of filter paper. With Stephanie’s
help, she rolls up another piece of paper and
sticks it through a hole in the middle of her
creation. She then puts this “flower” in a glass
filled with water. The children gather around to
see what will happen. “The color’s disappear-
ing,” Luce cries. When the water reaches the
brown loops, yellow, red and other stripes sud-
denly form. Stephanie begins to explain the
underlying principle of primary and combina-
“Knowledge Factory.” “The project is designed
to keep kids interested in the natural sciences
and develop their interest even further,” Werner
Busch of Siemens CC explains.
Partnerships Around the World. Siemens is
not only supporting higher education through
its involvement in MINT-EC; it also runs a partner
school program that includes about 155 schools
in Germany, some of which even bear the name
of company founder Werner von Siemens. The
program is centrally managed by headquarters
in Munich, but Siemens employees at the re-
gional level organize and conduct the projects,
in cooperation with school officials. Activities
In Brief
To achieve profitable growth, companies
must turn creative ideas into successful
products. Siemens uses tools to help it create
successful innovations on a sustained basis.
These include a sophisticated idea manage-
ment system, inventor workshops, innovation
benchmarking, best-practice sharing, lead
customer feedback, and methods (Pictures of
the Future) for systematically planning the
company’s future. (see pages 46, 52)
Siemens strives to set trends in order to
offer its customers added value. This involves
achieving technological leadership, global
presence, and a comprehensive patent port-
folio, allowing it to define major trends regard-
ing products, systems and services. (see p. 52)
According to a Booz Allen Hamilton study,
higher investments in R&D do not guarantee
business success. It is more important for
companies to make their innovation processes
more effective. The larger a company is, the
less it proportionally has to spend on R&D, as
each investment has a greater leveraging ef-
fect. (see p. 50)
Every year, Siemens launches more than
1,000 collaborative projects with universities
and other research organizations. Alongside
commissioned projects, cooperation chiefly
takes the form of master’s theses and doctoral
dissertations. Siemens maintains particularly
close contact to its partner universities and to
the Centers of Knowledge Interchange, whose
number will rise from four to 12. (see p. 66)
Siemens technology is enabling universities
and schools to face the challenges of the 21st
century. It provides them with comprehensive
solutions, encompassing information and
communications, building systems, power
engineering, security solutions for software,
and financial advice. (see p. 69)
With its Generation21 training program,
Siemens is preparing for the future by provid-
ing young people with knowledge and skills in
science and technology. In other words, the
company is also taking on social responsibility
as a good corporate citizen. (see p. 74)
Siemens top
Dr. Gisela Fuchs, ZV top
Innovation Benchmarking:
Eleonora Peis, CT SE 4
Research partnerships:
Prof. Hubertus von Dewitz, ZV Referat
Prof. Dietmar Theis, CT SM
Prof. Gustav Pomberger, Johannes Kepler University of Linz The University of the Future:
Dr. Wolfgang Mayr-Knoch, RD
Generation21 preschools and schools:
Maria Schumm-Tschauder, CC
Generation21 colleges and universities:
Dr. Frank Stefan Becker, CC
YOLANTE mentoring program:
Susanne Kiefer, CP
Reinhold Achatz, CT
Dr. Viviane Reding, European Commis-
Booz Allen Hamilton:
Steven Veldhoen, Tokyo
Siemens Research and Development:
Siemens Generation21
European School of Management and Technology:
Booz Allen Hamilton, “Global Innovation
1000” study (2005)
Ulrich Eberl, Jörg Puma, Innovation
Stories, Publicis (as of Jan. 2007)
76 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 77
10,000 Trainees Around the World
Siemens is continually training about 10,000 young men and women in approximately 30 technical, commercial, and IT professions in countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, Indonesia,
China, India, Pakistan, and Mexico. There are more than 7,000 trainees in Germany alone, as well as almost
3,000 young people being trained by Siemens in cooperation with other companies. Technical training areas include electrical systems, metalworking, and IT, with possibilities here for training as an automation
specialist, industrial mechanic, or computer scientist. Careers in specialized consulting and administrative
fields at headquarters are also popular. Here, all trainees must have a high school diploma. High school
graduates are trained at technical academies in Berlin, Erlangen, and Munich in a two-year practice-ori-
ented program. Upon completion, they are given the title of industrial technologist — a professional group
much in demand. Training focuses on specific fields ranging from information technology to mechatronics
and automation. Siemens works with universities to expand its bachelors’ programs of study in technical
and commercial fields. Also on offer are bachelor’s and master’s study programs for employed adults, in
cooperation with Steinbeis University in Berlin. Regardless of whether trainees attend a university, there is
a consistent focus on practical applications, up-to-date knowledge, project work, and social skills. In recog-
nition of the successful incorporation of personal development skills into its training program, Siemens
received the Education Award of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations in 2002.
ners of the tenth — and final — competition came
from every corner of Europe: from Croatia, Lat-
via, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia
and Montenegro, the Czech Republic, and Belarus. Siemens is now planning to launch a new
competition that will focus more strongly on
identifying and promoting students with partic-
ular talent in the natural sciences and technolo-
gy. Modeled on the Siemens Competition in
Math, Science & Technology, which has been a
great success since it was founded in the U.S. in
1999, the new competition is to be held in
Germany, Russia and China beginning in the fall
of 2006. Entries will be judged by university re-
searchers, and winners will be awarded scholar-
ships. “It’s all about identifying talented people
For example, only six percent of the country’s
electrical engineering graduates are women.
“We want to use mentoring to encourage female
students to complete their degrees and take
advantage of career opportunities in technical
fields,” says Susanne Kiefer, an engineer at
Siemens Corporate Personnel Germany, who is
responsible for many university support projects.
Every year since 2002, Siemens has therefore
offered about 100 female engineering and sci-
ence students the opportunity to take part in the
YOLANTE (Young Ladies’ Network of Technology)
mentoring program. Participants are advised and
supported by experienced Siemens employees. For example, Dr. Eva-Maria Korbmacher,
commercial director of the Corporate Chief
Information Office at Siemens, has been helping
mathematics student Alana Kirchner for two
years. “Part of my job is to get Alana better
acquainted with typically male professions,”
says Korbmacher. “We discuss opportunities and
obstacles in a professional world that’s still dom-
inated by men.” “It’s very helpful for me to have
contact with the corporate world at this early
stage, and to get an idea of what I might be able
to do later on,” says Alana. Others who make contact with Siemens rel-
atively early are the recipients of the scholar-
ships the company has been offering since
1997 as part of the Siemens Masters Program.
The program is open to students from Asia and
Central and Eastern Europe who have complet-
ed a bachelor’s degree in a technical subject
with top grades. The scholarships can be used
for an international master’s degree at one of
11 German universities. “Universities and indus-
try are worlds apart,” says Dr. Frank Stefan
Becker of Siemens CC. “That’s why it’s impor-
tant for students to learn about the corporate
world early — by means of internships, for ex-
ample.” The company honors outstanding master’s
theses with the Werner von Siemens Excellence
Award, and it provides scholarships to many
graduates who go on to obtain doctorates. For
the first time, Siemens also paid special tribute
to 14 talented students and young scientists
from Germany, Russia, China, the U.S., and In-
dia this year by inviting them to Lindau for a
meeting of Nobel Prize-winners. The company doesn’t necessarily see all of
these support programs, which cost tens of mil-
lions of euros per year worldwide, as recruiting
measures. “We’re also perfectly happy if these
talented young people later turn out to be our
customers, or end up in positions of responsi-
bility,” explains Maria Schumm-Tschauder. “The
important thing is that they remember Siemens
as a pleasant, appealing and socially responsi-
ble company.”
Ute Kehse
include project days at the schools, factory tours,
job-application workshops, teacher training,
and student internships at Siemens plants. And
the program isn’t limited to Germany — partner-
ships have also been established with schools in
Brazil, the Netherlands, the UK, Greece, Austria,
and Denmark, with more countries to follow. In
the U.S., Siemens employees regularly stage a
Siemens Science Day at schools, with the aim of
stimulating young people’s interest in math and
science. The company also supports schools in
China, Thailand, Chile, the Philippines and Turkey.
Siemens helps teachers at its partner schools
prepare science lessons by providing media col-
lections free of charge. The collections include
CD ROMs for “The Water Project for Humanity,”
“The Ear, Hearing and Hearing Impairment,”
and “Einstein — Physicist of Light,” as well as
work sheets, interactive tests, and animations.
Some 18,000 of the collections are already in
use. And Siemens employees are especially proud
of having received the Erasmus Euro-Media
Medal for their “Water Project for Humanity”
collection in June 2006. The European Society
for Education and Communication presents the
award to honor euro-cultural educational
media packages with exceptional pedagogical
value, content and design. Motivation Through Competition. Since
1996, some 220,000 students from 37 coun-
tries, supported by 23,000 teachers, have partic-
ipated in the Join Multimedia competition
sponsored by Siemens. The competition gets
students actively involved with new media and
its various application areas in schools. The win-
Inventors & Innovators | Generation21
Two happy winners of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.The Siemens Science Camp supports girls with a talent for technology. We want students to see Siemens as an appealing and socially responsible company. early on, supporting them, and establishing
contact between high school students and
universities,” explains Christa Mühlbauer of
Siemens CC. Other events, including the Siemens Science
Experience Program in Australia, are designed
to foster interest in the study of the natural sci-
ences among high school students. Last year, a
total of 40,000 Australian students took advan-
tage of the opportunity offered by the program
to spend three days learning in lecture halls and
laboratories. Siemens also operates a Technical
Adventure Camp and Siemens Science Camp in
Germany. These camps are particularly geared
toward girls, with the objective of encouraging
talented female high school students to pursue
technical or scientific degrees.
Knowledge Transfer. Women are heavily
under-represented among students of technical
subjects at universities, particularly in Germany.
Siemens Corporate Research | Princeton
Converging Trends and A Holistic Vision of Data
78 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 79
With a total staff of 430, Siemens Corporate Research in Princeton, New Jersey, is Siemens’ largest research institute outside Europe. For more than 25 years, it has been responsible for producing top quality innovations that are incorporated into a full range of Siemens products and
services. Today, it is a leading research organization for medical imaging and real time vision.
When it comes to developing
new image processing
technologies, such as those for
medical applications, close
contacts to customers and
partners are crucial, says SCR
President Paul Camuti (right).
vision-based driver assistance technologies will
come together in the future as robust data
fusion systems are developed. “Eventually,” says
Camuti, “they could appear as a package, and
one day, thanks to such systems, we may have
the option of being able to switch our cars to
autonomous driving.”
Journey Through the Human Body. A similar
dynamic is taking place in the healthcare field.
For instance, at Johns Hopkins University in
Baltimore, Maryland, researchers from Siemens
Corporate Technology and Siemens Medical
Systems are developing software that will help
cardiologists and radiologists not only visualize
the location of a catheter in real time as it moves
through the body, but also map it into a pre-
operative CT image, thus allowing pinpoint
or Paul Camuti, head of Siemens Corporate
Research (SCR), the focus of his eight depart-
ments boils down to one thing: a new vision of
data. Data, as he sees it, is embedded in what
sensors see — an approaching vehicle, an
unclaimed briefcase in a rail station, a hearing
aid on a production line, or the indistinct out-
lines of a beating fetal heart in an ultrasound
scan. “The vision,” says Camuti, “is that although
we have a range of sensing technologies that
deliver images for purposes ranging from auto-
motive safety and security to automation and
medical diagnostics, in the end, all of the images
are just pictures of data, and once we grasp that,
we will begin to manage that data synergistical-
ly and extract a new level of information from it.”
At SCR, with its 280 scientists developing
technologies in the areas of automation & con-
trol, imaging & visualization, intelligent vision &
reasoning, integrated data systems, real-time
vision & modeling, software engineering, user
experience, and knowledge management, that
vision of a grand convergence of data and an
ensuing world of concise, actionable informa-
tion is still just a gleam in Camuti’s eyes, yet it
draws closer each day as computing power
Examples of converging data flows are com-
ing up fast. In the automotive safety area, for
instance, SCR researchers are working with
Siemens’ SV automotive Group and its cus-
tomers to develop a range of technologies such
as traffic sign recognition, advanced cruise
control, night vision pedestrian detection, and
driver monitoring. Known as “pro.pilot” (see
Pictures of the Future Fall 2005, p. 46), these
approaches, and radical ideas, bringing the best
of these to Siemens. SCR is also benefiting from a convergence of
interests on the international level. At CT India in
Bangalore, for instance, where SCR has incubat-
ed a number of projects, a core competence has
emerged in machine vision hardware. “Here in
Examples such as these provide insight into
another kind of convergence being promoted by
Camuti: A convergence of interests between
SCR researchers, their immediate customers
within the Groups, and end customers, be they
medical centers, rail authorities, or manufactur-
ers interested in the most advanced automation
and control technologies. All of this represents an expanded focus for
SCR. “Our goal, “ says Camuti, “is to become not
only a leading research organization for medical
imaging and real time vision within Siemens,
but within the research community at large.”
This ambitious vision has practical roots.
“Although our charter is to develop technolo-
gies for the Groups,” explains Camuti, “innova-
tion itself is getting to be more and more of a
collaborative process. That means being in
accuracy for a variety of treatments (see this
issue, page 42, and Pictures of the Future Fall
2005, p. 67). These steps are opening the door
to, for instance, safe elimination of cardiac
arrhythmias without medications, pace makers
or open heart surgery. “What we’re seeing in
such procedures,” explains Camuti, “is data con-
vergence — the convergence of what were once
the separate worlds of real time and post pro-
cessing information, the convergence of data
from different imaging modalities, the conver-
gence of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques,
and the convergence of imaging and non-imag-
ing data in fields like medical informatics. All of
this will help to make a range of treatments
faster, safer, and more effective while cutting
hospital stays, thus reducing costs and improv-
ing medical outcomes.”
touch with lead customers, federal research pro-
grams, and universities. It boils down to broad-
ening the community we tap for innovative
ideas.” With this in mind, SCR has established more
than twenty collaborations in the past year with
leading institutions such as Johns Hopkins, MD
Anderson, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia
Tech, and Virginia Tech.
And that collaborative community is growing
steadily. In addition to the extraordinarily
diverse mixture of talents and cultures repre-
sented by SCR’s professional staff, the organiza-
tion benefits from its Berkeley, California-based
Technology-to-Business Center, where a team of
venture technologists continuously scouts uni-
versities, small start-up companies and other
innovation sources for new inventions, different
Princeton, our focus on vision has been in algo-
rithms, software and architecture. But we did
not have a research agenda designed to look at
trends and technologies in related hardware,”
says Camuti. Bangalore, on the other hand,
offers talent, design support, and manufactur-
ers that have specialized in this specific area.
By connecting the dots between Princeton and
Bangalore, SCR has come up with a more holistic
approach to vision system development — one
that will eventually cover a more complete set of
the Groups’ future needs worldwide.
And what might those needs be? Whether
vision systems are used to make our homes
responsive to our needs, to guide our cars
autonomously, or to make our airports, cities
and subway systems safer, they will need to
function as a network. For that to happen, each
system will have to have the capacity to extract
key information from what it sees, and pass only
that information on to data collection nodes. “I
would say that what this boils down to is the
beginnings of a revolution in terms of intelligent
video processing — in short, a holistic vision of
data,” says Camuti.
Arthur F. Pease
The ANS Are Coming
October 18, 2020. The City of New York is testing a new
class of autonomous networked systems. The mobile devices learn by seeing. A meta text (machine language)
report generated by the devices and automatically paraphrased into human language explains how they perceive the world around them.
ew York. If and when you see us, don’t be
surprised. We may not look like municipal
workers, but that’s what we are! We are mobile
machines about 15 cm, or 6 inches in length. We
see the world around us through sensors, inter-
pret what we see, and respond accordingly. “We”
are what experts call Autonomous Networked
Systems (ANS).
Our mission is to perform inspections and
maintenance on hard-to-reach or dangerous
equipment and infrastructures. We are also
designed to provide mobile surveillance. Specifically, we have been authorized to
upgrade the processors in all the surveillance
cameras throughout a two-square mile area in
central Manhattan. Upgraded cameras will be
able to intelligently interpret what they see,
82 Machines See the Light Machines equipped with image
processing systems are becoming
increasingly intelligent and reli-
able. Already, they can interpret
much of what they see. 86 Meet the Digital Watchman The latest video surveillance
systems not only help observers
monitor several areas simultane-
ously, but also detect meaningful
changes. As a result, such systems
can automatically track the move-
ments of people who have entered
a zone without authorization.
89 Unlimited Horizons In an interview, Dr. Norbert
Bauer, head of the Fraunhofer
Allianz Vision, talks about the
future of machine vision.
90 In-Depth Vision The latest image processing systems can recognize objects in three dimensions. Potential appli-
cations include autonomous cranes, automatic package sort-
ing systems, and digital casts of auditory canals.
94 Speed Readers In milliseconds, state-of-the-art
reader scanners can recognize
the individual “fingerprint” of an
envelope or the codes on ma-
chine components, such as those
used to identify turbine blades.
New York City is testing a new class of
maintenance workers —
Networked Systems (ANS). Their first mission: to upgrade surveillance cameras
with advanced visual processors. Thanks to
their ability to accurately fuse information
from a variety of sensors, ANS not only see
the world around them, but constantly learn
from it while flexibly performing missions.
Machine Vision | Scenario 2020
80 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006
achines are about to see the light. It
could be the laser light that is dawning in
high-tech ports, allowing automated cranes to
stack 80-ton containers as precisely as cans of
corn on a supermarket shelf (see p. 90). It
could be the invisible energy of radar and radio
waves that will help vehicles keep a safe dis-
tance from one another, or the visible light
that allows cameras with 3D vision to manage
automated postal sorting systems (see p. 94)
or visualize the inner ear to produce custom-
made hearing aids .
ready spotting abandoned objects in airline ter-
minals, people who are dangerously close to
tracks in subway stations, and cars traveling in
the wrong direction in tunnels and on roads.
And where “smart” surveillance systems were
once plagued by false alarms, today they offer a
level of event detection reliability that in many
cases exceeds 95 percent while maintaining
very low false alarm rates. “Three or four years
ago there were more false alarms than real de-
tections of events,” says Imad Zoghlami, PhD, a
specialist in surveillance technology at SCR. “To-
day, our traffic surveillance systems in places
such as Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Tunnel and
Switzerland’s Giswil Tunnel produce less than
one false alarm per week.”
While earlier systems were confused by
reflections, occlusions and sharp contrasts,
newer systems — thanks to smarter algorithms
— can continuously track objects without trig-
gering an alarm. The result: security personnel
pay attention to alarms and can concentrate on
deciding whether events merit action. That’s
important because, while cameras are prolifer-
Intelligent imaging applications developed by Visvanathan Ramesh (right) and other
Siemens experts range from detecting faces (left), to real time lane, vehicle and sign
recognition (top center and bottom left), automated subway platform surveillance
(center left) and detection of hairline cracks in turbine blades (center).
trade information with other cameras and sen-
sors, and decide when to alert security person-
nel. If we are successful, our numbers will be
increased to provide the same service through-
out all five Burroughs. This report chronicles our
initial deployment.
4:30 a.m.:The first of us were transferred
from a development location in New Jersey to a
municipal distribution center in lower Manhat-
6:14 a.m.:ANS-1 (myself) and ANS-2 (trainee)
were discharged on a sidewalk at the corner of
53th St. and West End Avenue by an automated
municipal transporter. We had not been to the
area before. I had been pre-trained for interpre-
tation of complex visual data. ANS-2 had not.
My secondary mission was to train ANS-2 and
determine the effectiveness of this process.
6:15 a.m.: I was able to confirm our exact loca-
tion by GPS coordinates and sensor evidence.
Verification included use of optical sensors to
identify building numbers. I compared these
(using augmented reality) with building and
municipal databases, which I accessed through
the wireless net. 6:16 a.m.: I was able to match this with location
data for all the nearest cameras and plan an opti-
mized service schedule that did not conflict with
those of other ANS teams.
6:17 a.m.: Our mission was momentarily inter-
rupted by a model “M6 Sidewalk Genie” auto-
mated cleaner, which had been alerted by an
older security camera of our presence. Contact
with the M6’s vacuum attachment was avoided
by rapid upward movement over the external
surface of target building, a three-year-old, pre-
dominantly glass-covered 64-story office tower.
I led. ANS-2 followed. (Note: Upgraded security
cameras will recognize ANS and inform M6s and
other automated devices accordingly.) 6:37 a.m.: We serviced a small number of mini
cams as we ascended. At first, several phenome-
na confused ANS-2. Each time ANS-2 was uncer-
tain regarding interpretation of its sensor data, it
transmitted an image to me in which the area of
uncertainty was highlighted. I responded with
definitions of the phenomena. 8:20 a.m.: As we moved up the building, per-
spective changed and ANS-2 required additional
image interpretation support. The outlines of
buildings above us grew larger. Objects below
seemed to move more slowly, became harder to
interpret, and produced altered sounds. 8:21 a.m.: I instructed ANS-2 to use its radar to
interpret image perspective and to use Doppler
sound analysis to determine vehicle speeds as
they related to vision. This would help calculate
the distances of moving objects in real time. 8:22 a.m.: Energy levels in ANS-1 and ANS-2
holding steady. Building motion, wind, sunlight,
temperature variations, and vibrations in glass
panels caused by ground vehicle engine activity
and aircraft were being translated into sufficient
energy to maintain full battery strength. 8:23 a.m.: When we reached the top of the
building, an older model surveillance camera on
a security pedestal well above us failed to recog-
nize us and began transmitting a high definition
sequence of our arrival, which it marked “intrud-
er alert.” I was able to read its meta text mes-
sages over the city’s SecureNet and retrieve
an image of our arrival for our report from its
transmission. An intermediate processing node
recognized us and discontinued the transmis-
sion before it could be forwarded to the city’s
human-operated security command post. The
camera’s processor was immediately upgraded
to avoid further false alarms. 8:52 a.m.:We commenced upgrade of the
camera we were photographed servicing. After
removal of the camera’s earlier-generation
processor and disposal in ANS-2’s receptacle, I
conducted a non-destructive evaluation of the
camera’s hardware using X-rays and structured
8:57 a.m.: I indicated to ANS-2 how to access
the camera’s secure file, compare previous and
current images to detect hairline cracks, abra-
sions or signs of tampering, including changes
in its RFID-marked parts inventory. I indicated
how to apply a database-guided expert system
to support this comparison. A similar test was
performed on the device’s electronics. Finally, I
extracted a next-generation processor from my
parts receptacle, snapped it into the camera,
and conducted an operational test. Everything
fine. The camera’s digital file was updated
9:20 a.m.:Mission status summary: Camera
successfully upgraded. Check. Building’s surveil-
lance system successfully promoted. Check.
ANS-2 now fully capable of interpreting fused
sensor data. Check. Our own vision is now net-
worked with that of the building’s cameras.
Check. We can see what they see. Check. The
first step in providing heightened security is
complete. Check. City maintenance will never be
the same. Check. Arthur F. Pease
Machine Vision | Scenario 2020
| Trends
Vision systems are proliferating — in surveillance, in the automotive sector, in industrial environments, healthcare, and the military. Behind this trend is a revolution
in the accuracy of image processing, the ability to fuse key data from large numbers of
sensors in such a way as to automate processes or provide decision support, and the
ability of systems to intelligently interpret and report what they see. Machines See the Light
In these cases, and many more, what be-
comes clear is that machine vision is evolving to
a level that will soon border on intelligence. “In
the very near future, the boundary between
sensors and intelligent reasoning will become
gray,” predicts Visvanathan Ramesh, PhD, head
of the Real-time Vision and Modeling Depart-
ment at Siemens Corporate Research (SCR) in
Princeton, New Jersey. In no other area of machine vision is this
trend clearer than in surveillance technology
(see p. 86). Here, cameras themselves are al-
82 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 83
Thanks to new algorithms and embedded processing, intelligent security cameras (right) can
independently and reliably recognize the difference between furniture (green box, left),
abandoned bags (red box) and people, as well as changes in available parking spaces (center)
— thus concentrating on meaningful events rather than occlusions, reflections, or shadows.
Vehicles with Vision. Modeling the real world
is not as easy as it sounds, however. Applied to
traffic sign recognition, for instance, the tech-
nology can successfully recognize signs 90 to 95
percent of the time. “But bad weather and poor
lighting can still confuse the camera system,”
says Zhu. “Fusion with other sensor modalities is
the solution to this problem.”
Detecting signs is just the beginning.
According to Frost & Sullivan, cameras are
expected to be the fastest growing sensing
technology in the automotive sector (see
bottom graphic, p. 93). As part of Siemens’
pro.pilot driver assistance system (see
Pictures of the Future, Fall 2005, pp. 46) the
company is developing camera-based lane-
keeping and lane departure warning sys-
tems,driver and occupant monitoring for
drowsiness and airbag deployment, pedes-
trian detection, and front- and rear-end
monitoring, among others. Additional sens-
ing will be provided by radar, infrared, ultra-
sound and wireless systems to detect and
communicate with nearby vehicles and
avoid accidents associated with blind spots,
sudden braking and low visibility.
“Automotive sensing technologies are re-
ally starting to take off,” says SCR’s Camuti.
“Computing is pushing it, and demand for
safety is pulling it. Some of these technolo-
gies are already on the market. Eventually,
they will be offered as packages, and fur-
ther on they will set the stage for au-
tonomous driving.”
Although it may be twenty years or more
before our cars can take responsibility for
getting us from here to there, autonomous
military vehicles may be just around the
corner. Indeed, at Siemens’ Roke facility,
engineers have already developed an au-
tonomous vehicle small enough to navigate
buildings. On display for Roke’s recent 50th
anniversary celebration, the vehicle uses a
camera sensor to move through areas inde-
pendently (even without GPS), while avoid-
ing obstacles and wirelessly transmitting
video to off-theater personnel. The same
technology is also driving development of
surveillance capabilities in unmanned air
vehicles, police vehicles, and crop and pow-
er line inspection systems.
Behind Roke’s (and SCR’s) autonomous
vision-based systems are complex tech-
nologies such as model-based vision — the
ability to accurately track a known 3D model
to determine its orientation and position —
and 3D structure from motion, a tech-
nology that can be compared to the way
humans build up concepts as new things
are seen and experienced. “With this technology, we’ve found that
machines can build a model of the world as
they move along,” explains Brassington.
“Our philosophy is that, instead of teaching
a machine about the world, we let it explore
and learn from what it sees. Ten or fifteen
years from now, this work will lead to ma-
chines that will be able to make decisions,
adapt to new situations, and change their
goals autonomously.”
Robots at Work.Long before machines are
capable of building their own models of com-
plex natural or urban environments, they will be
able to do so in simpler, more predictable places,
such as factories and warehouses. “Our goal is to
allow vision-based machines to create models
by simply looking at things,” says Yakup Genc,
PhD, who heads SCR’s 3D Vision and Augmented
Reality Program.
Whether a robot is attempting to identify
a new object or a familiar one, 3D vision of-
fers a major advantage over 2D. Pioneered
by Dr. Claudio Laloni and his team at Sie-
mens Corporate Technology in Munich, 3D
technology is based on the projection of bar
code-like lines (structured light) onto sur-
faces to determine their characteristics with
a resolution of 100 microns (see p. 92). In the industrial area, 3D vision is now
being used to inspect power plant turbine
blades. “The result,” says Genc, “is a com-
plete, digital, high resolution model of each
blade. The customer can use this to detect
and track defects such as coating loss, ab-
rasions or twisting.” The information, he adds, can be applied
to building a database for each blade and
analyzing the effects of varying conditions
on the blades. Not only is the system fast
(five minutes per blade in a portable scan-
ner) and more accurate than any human
eye, but it provides a standardized way of
collecting data.
The Big Picture.It’s a long way from turbine
blades to human hearts, but the two are linked
by a common philosophy pursued by Ramesh,
Comaniciu and their teams, namely, a systems
view of machine vision. In this context, every
module in a system should possess awareness of
how certain its interpretation is, while uncer-
tainties should be fused in a coherent frame-
work to further support formulation of accurate
Machine Vision| Trends
ating — the London Underground alone has
6,000 — humans are not getting any better at
watching activity on monitors, a point con-
firmed by a recent independent study that
found that surveillance personnel “miss 95 per-
cent of scene activity after only 22 minutes of
observation,” says Zoghlami. Cameras with Brains. But aside from smart,
new algorithms, overcoming challenges of this
sort generally requires more processing power
— something that is in short supply today
because four to eight cameras typically share a
single CPU (central processing unit). That’s
about to change, however, as the price of so-
called “embedded” intelligence continues to
decline. In fact, cameras equipped with a spe-
cial-purpose digital signal processor are already
available. Says Emma Brassington, head of Vision Pro-
cessing at Roke Manor Research Limited (Roke),
a Siemens subsidiary in Romsey, England,
“There is growing demand to cope with the
huge amount of data cameras are producing.
The answer is not to throw more and more
people at watching their output, but to build
more and more intelligence into them in the first
Embedded intelligence offers many advan-
tages. For instance, cameras equipped with
their own processors will be able to indepen-
dently monitor what is happening within their
field of view, filtering out unimportant data, and
transmitting information from images to a cen-
tral location for evaluation. Furthermore, smart
each person’s characteristics and passing that
data back and forth among cameras.” Considering the future need for distributed
smart camera networks, Siemens Corporate
Technology has formed a global team in video
analysis that includes vision experts from SCR, a
multimedia communication team headed by Dr.
Andreas Hutter in Munich, and teams in India
headed by Rita Chattopadhyay and Dr. Zubin
Varghese. “By connecting the dots between
Princeton, Munich and Bangalore, SCR has come
up with a holistic approach to vision systems
development,” says SCR President Paul Camuti.
Whether its object recognition or surveillance —
machines are learning to interpret what they see.
84 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 85
performance limits in real time. It boils down to
giving a machine the equivalent of what we call
self-awareness with respect to how well it is per-
forming its tasks.” Working within this context, Dorin Comani-
ciu, PhD (see p. 59), who heads SCR’s Integrated
Data Systems Department, has developed and
patented a mathematical invention called
Robust Information Fusion, which is essentially a
novel way of detecting and weeding out ques-
tionable information from any given sensor
source by analyzing data from multiple sources.
The result is a kind of data democracy in which
bits and bytes from a spectrum of sources, such
as the sensors in a car, can merge seamlessly
into a single information expressway.
The technology is based on the principle that
each measurement that a sensor produces
comes with a level of uncertainty. “In a nutshell,”
explains Comaniciu, “Robust Information Fusion
is a statistical method that weighs the combina-
tion of data from different sources to obtain an
optimum result.”
Another major area of research that focuses
on enhancing the robustness of machine vision
is statistical learning. In order for cameras to
track objects easily and quickly they need to
know how to map image and video data to the
object or its event category — what humans
might call concept formation. To recognize peo-
ple or cars as concepts, for instance, a camera
must know what their common properties are.
“To do that, you have to develop a comprehen-
sive statistical model that explains most of the
variations observed in the data,” explains Ying
Zhu, PhD, a specialist in machine learning.
“Once you have such a model, you can apply it to
analyze camera data.”
cameras offer the potential of being wirelessly
networked without being confused by multiple
events, congestion, interference or noise — a
problem Justinian Rosca, PhD, a specialist in sig-
nal processing at SCR, is attempting to resolve.
“The more embedded processing each camera
can perform, the less information it needs to
transmit — and the more room there is for shar-
ing crucial data,” he says. Rosca envisions sharing on a grand scale,
with tens of thousands of tiny, wireless cameras
constantly searching for signs of danger and
comparing “notes” known as meta data regard-
ing the characteristics of anything that changes
from frame to frame. (see Pictures of the Future,
Spring 2003, pp. 44). “What this boils down to is
cameras generating written reports,” says
Rosca. “This will make it possible to track thou-
sands of events simultaneously by describing
Seeing with Self Awareness. Before vision
systems can become the basis for real world
decisions they must be capable of evaluating
image information with a view to identifying the
presence of uncertainty and disturbance factors
such as occlusions, wetness, reflections, and
shadows. Even more important, they must be
able to quantify their own ability to accurately
perform their visual tasks. With this in mind, SCR has been developing
statistical model and analysis tools that will
allow systems to diagnose themselves. “The
need for this becomes apparent when you con-
sider the increasing complexity of these systems
and the environments and conditions in which
they are expected to perform,” explains Ramesh.
“To characterize system performance, we have
developed a holistic view that models each
component’s — as well as the entire system’s —
Video monitoring systems that automatically detect unauthorized persons and follow their every step are edging out of labs and moving into the mainstream. On the way are systems that differentiate between humans, animals and vehicles, identify unusual behavior,
and track suspects even in crowded environments.
Thanks to growing computing power, it was
becoming possible to evaluate image data in
real time. Furthermore, image compression
technology based on the MPEG standard was
finally up to the task. Signals and Substance. “Thanks to the MPEG
process, the enormous quantity of data from a
high-resolution video signal can be reduced from
approximately 160 Mbit/s to one Mbit/s,” explains
Baumgartner. In fact, his development depart-
ment is working with a team at Siemens Corpo-
rate Technology that is developing an even more
efficient compression processes as part of the
international MPEG committee. The process
exploits knowledge of the physiology of the
human eye — that is, it removes hardly any
perceptible information from the image. ”This is
similar to DVD technology, where the signal is
reduced to five Mbit/s.“
As a first step toward digital video monitor-
ing, in 1999 Siemens installed a video signal
converter between an analog camera and a
video crossbar. This “video codec” with proces-
sor digitized the signal, evaluated it for motion,
and transmitted it to the monitor. In the proces-
sor were algorithms that made automatic mo-
tion detection possible. “For example, in South
Africa this digital video sensor was very popular
with customers, especially in gold and diamond
mines,” adds Baumgartner. The technology that makes these automatic
motion detection, analysis, and object tracking
functions possible is one of the world’s most in-
novative security systems: the Sistore CX EDS
(Enhanced Detection Solution) monitoring sys-
tem from Siemens Building Technologies (SBT).
“The heart of the system is intelligent image
processing,“ explains Klaus Baumgartner, Prod-
uct Manager for digital video systems and a
specialist in digital video monitoring — other-
wise known as closed circuit television systems
(CCTV) — at SBT in Karlsruhe, Germany. “With
Sistore CX, we have succeeded for the first time
looks up to 45 percent of all activities depicted
in the images after 12 minutes,” says Baum-
gartner. “After 22 minutes, that figure reaches
95 percent.“ Furthermore, the video crossbar
has a significant problem: It’s permanently
wired to the cameras, so expansions are very
expensive. Beginning in the mid-1990s, thanks to digi-
tal technology, new algorithms for image analy-
sis, and Internet technology, a solution to this
problem began to emerge. At Siemens SBT, de-
velopers envisioned systems that could simply
be added to a company’s intranet structure.
in designing a complete, permanently-installed
monitoring platform with such flexibility that it
can be equipped with new functions including
automatic people tracking by means of a simple
A lot has changed since video monitoring
was first used in the late 1950s. In those days,
the objective was to use proven TV technology
for the security sector. The first systems consist-
ed of a few cameras that were connected to
monitors, directly or via relay technology. The
displays were intended to provide, in a sense,
an “expanded field of vision” for watchmen,
who suddenly were able to observe several
areas simultaneously from a single control
room. But as the number of areas to be moni-
tored grew, so did the number of cameras. As a
result, by the late 1960s, space limitations had
made it impossible to connect each camera to
an individual monitor. This triggered the birth of the electronic
video crossbar on the interface between cam-
era and monitor, thus allowing numerous video
cameras to be connected to this control device,
and their signals to be transmitted to any moni-
tor. However, although the camera signal on
the monitors can change at five-second inter-
vals, this quickly strains the limits of human
perceptual abilities. “A study in the United
States showed that with just two monitors with
automatic image switching, an observer over-
Today’s most advanced video surveillance centers
(below) provide an overview of activity in major
installations, such as the Munich airport (below
right), which has approximately 1,600 cameras.
A platform for a flexible infrastructure for
digital security systems finally emerged with
the arrival of the Internet and intranets. Experts
at Siemens quickly recognized its potential and
went to work on a solution that could connect
any number of cameras with video codecs to
monitors via the intranet. The result was a com-
bination of hardware and software that makes it
possible to access the cameras from a PC, which
in turn made the video crossbar superfluous.
“This way, a network is designed redundantly
and can be expanded flexibly,“ explains Baum-
gartner. At the same time, the video codec can
86 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 87
Machine Vision | Trends | Video Surveillance
The Digital
:34 a.m. — a suspicious person stealthily
approaches an airport area under cover of
darkness, climbs over a high fence, sneaks
across an open area and takes cover. Nothing
happens. There’s no sound from an alarm sys-
tem. But anyone who might assume that secu-
rity isn’t assigned the highest priority here
would be very much mistaken. When the in-
truder approached the fence, an alarm was trig-
gered in the facility’s central monitoring office.
But the intruder, noticing nothing out of the
ordinary, believes he has gone undetected and
leaves his hiding place. What he cannot know is
that a video camera has long since detected his
presence and is tracking his every move. When
the unauthorized person enters a hangar, spe-
cialists from the security service are waiting for
him. At today’s most advanced airports, hundreds
of cameras may be deployed to monitor
perimeters and detect intruders. As soon as an
intruder is detected, a monitoring system
reports this development and automatically
follows the person’s movements — regardless
of his location, in any kind of weather and
around the clock.
interpretations. These principles have already
found their way into video analysis systems for
security and medical imaging. The design of such systems and their mod-
ules is increasingly being driven by so-called
“database-guided techniques,” which use anno-
tated examples of image or video data to pro-
duce automated algorithms that perform visual
and quantitative measurement tasks. An example of such an algorithm is Auto EF,
an invention patented by SCR’s Dorin Comaniciu
and his team that is now entering the clinical
market. The algorithm uses a conventional ultra-
sound image of a patient’s heart to calculate the
heart’s ejection fraction (EF) — the difference in
the amount of blood pumped between diastole
and systole. “Today,” says Comaniciu, “this crucial mea-
surement of cardiac health is ether eyeballed or
traced manually. It takes an expert a couple of
minutes to do it. It takes the software two sec-
onds to do the same thing.”
Developing the database that allows a sys-
tem such as Auto EF to recognize the perimeter
of a beating heart in real time from fuzzy ultra-
sound images is a significant challenge. With a
view to developing software tools designed to
simplify annotation in the field of database-
guided medical diagnostics, Comaniciu’s team,
in collaboration with Siemens Corporate Tech-
nology, plans to establish a center of compe-
tence in Bangalore, India.
As specialized algorithms that automatically
measure complex functions such as ejection
fraction are developed, they will help to acceler-
ate workflows in image-based clinical environ-
ments. Furthermore, in coming years, these
systems will be able to offer comprehensive
evaluations of entire organs, their functions and
diseases from a demographic, individual, and
systemic point of view, all the way down to the
genetic and molecular levels. What’s more, the generic nature of machine
vision is already creating synergies between
fields. For instance, a soon-to-be-released prod-
uct from Siemens Medical Solutions will make it
possible to automatically measure a fetal head,
abdomen and femur in an ultrasound scan —
the most important parameters for determining
gestation — and compare them to previous
measurements. Yet, thanks to modular software architecture,
the same basic technology can already help to
accurately detect changes in microscopic cracks
on turbine blades, usage variations in parking
lots, and the minute-by-minute variations in the
patterns of vehicles and pedestrians on city
roads and sidewalks — all parts of machine
vision’s increasingly intelligent big picture.
Arthur F. Pease
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 89
Image Processing: Unlimited Horizons
Dr. Norbert Bauer, 61, is the director of the Fraunhofer Allianz
Vision office in Erlangen, Germany. Over the last 25 years, he has
been addressing all aspects of digital image processing. Bauer
now coordinates the activities of 13 Fraunhofer institutes, all of
which are investigating different aspects of image processing. In which applications does digital image
processing play a key role today? Bauer: The world’s leading application area is
automotive engineering, including everything
from quality assurance to driver assistance
systems. The automotive sector is increasingly
demanding better and more intelligent
solutions, such as cameras that record drivers’
blinking to determine if they’re tired. In such a case, the driver is alerted by steering wheel
vibrations or other types of alarms. The
processed food industry is another case in
point. Here, digital image processing is being
implemented in inspection systems that
automatically detect impurities or check to
ensure that packages are properly sealed, for example. In addition, there’s tremendous
potential in the area of safety. Here, sensors can be used to monitor air quality and ambient
temperature, or to film parts of burning
buildings, and then send the data to a display
mounted inside a firefighter’s helmet. Many
advances have also been made in biometric
facial recognition, which is now considered a
reliable method of identification. What are the goals of the Fraunhofer
Allianz Vision?
Bauer:The alliance was established ten years
ago to create synergies between the Fraunhofer
institutes. To ensure that each part of the
organization knew what the others were doing,
we networked the image processing expertise
of 13 institutes. Development redundancies
have since been eliminated, and scientists are
now working with shared development
modules. This allows us to serve industrial
| Interview
partners like Siemens as a unified organization.
Because image processing requires a great deal
of interdisciplinary expertise, the alliance has
proved quite successful. Basically, it allows us to assign the right people to the job at hand. What trends have you identified ?
Bauer:There are trends toward 3D imaging,
texture analysis, high-speed cameras, color
recognition and thermography. With today’s
powerful computers you can implement image
processing systems using relatively inexpensive
hardware, and this has led to increasingly
precise and detailed image recognition
performance. For example, a laptop and a
machine-based support system are now all it
takes to analyze complex aerial and satellite
images. Heat-flow thermography, which can be
used to identify hidden weaknesses in windmill
wheels and gas-turbine blades, is an up-and-
coming area. I also see great opportunities for
surveillance systems. In fact, automated image
analysis could be refined to a degree where it
would be possible to identify pickpockets in
large crowds on the basis of their movements. What else will be possible in the future?
Bauer:At the moment, soccer-playing robots
offer the best example of what we can expect to see. They can interpret the scene in front of
them, precisely measure distances, and
coordinate their movements. And they do all
this very rapidly and with practically no errors.
Still, we can expect to see further advances in
processing speed and the analysis of complex
situations — for example, in the area of camera-
based assistance systems in cars. What will image processing be like in ten
Bauer:I think we’ll see the greatest amount of innovation in data processing, recognition
software and optical resolution performance.
One example involves photonic mixer devices
for 3D imaging. These sensors estimate
distances very quickly by comparing trans-
mitted beams of light and their reflections.
Further momentum will come from self-
learning algorithms that describe not only
individual pixels but also complex relation-
ships. Unfortunately, not enough scientists are
conducting research in this area today. Other
new applications will include the monitoring of large crowds and the analysis of movement
patterns and facial expressions as a means of
gauging crowd moods. Personal identification
based on 3D recognition of facial and bodily
features will become more important, as will
the surveillance of airspace, borders, and
traffic and transport systems.
Are there still some areas where problems
need to be worked out?
Bauer: Yes, in terms of details. For example,
people change. They can cut their hair or grow
a beard, thereby creating a difficult situation
for a system that works with reference images
and image comparisons. The same applies to
color images in rapidly rotating printing
machines, where a camera must determine
within milliseconds whether color structures
conform to quality guidelines. The effective-
ness of such applications is still limited today — but that will change quickly in the future. Interview by Andreas Beuthner
88 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006
Machine Vision | Video Surveillance
Smart Cameras And Safer Flights
An EU-funded project should make airliner highjackings more unlikely than ever before. Using video
cameras and microphones, the SAFEE (Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment) computer
system records what happens on a flight and compares the events with stored images and records of criti-
cal situations. If the system detects suspicious movements or conversations, it sounds an alarm and auto-
matically sends an encrypted emergency call. And if terrorists actually manage to penetrate the cockpit and
attempt to divert the aircraft, SAFEE compares the flight position with off-limits zones that are stored in its
memory, blocks access to the steering controls, and automatically returns the flight to its authorized path.
Siemens is one of 30 participants in the 36 million euros project.
Baumgartner and his colleagues are working
on additional solutions, including continuous
monitoring with digital cameras — a feature
that will mean even more substantial improve-
ments in image quality. Working along these
lines, Siemens has installed a completely digital
Sistore system for the 2006 Asian Games in
Doha, Qatar. More than 1,300 digital cameras
will automatically detect, evaluate and, if nec-
essary, track suspicious movements in the city’s
sports compound. Siemens’ fully-digital monitoring system will
also soon be deployed in Germany. The Federal
Border Police in Berlin, for instance, are current-
ly building a new headquarters that will be out-
also be supplied with algorithms, which no
longer have to be permanently programmed;
instead, they can be flexibly updated. With these developments, the foundation
for the Sistore CX video monitoring system was
in place. The existing intranet infrastructure trans-
mits the signal from any number of cameras via
Ethernet, while the software — in addition to
providing automatic motion detection — offers
additional functions, such as Enhanced Detec-
tion Solution (EDS) software upgrades. For ex-
ample, the video sensor can learn the normal
state of the monitor image by memorizing the
most frequently-occurring state during a partic-
ular period, and then focusing more closely on
any deviation from that state. “It’s about much
more than just the difference between two pic-
tures,“ says Baumgartner, explaining the changes
that have taken place over the years. “Today’s
system actually learns what normal means.”
Man or Beast? EDS software also works with
algorithms to achieve a “feature extraction”
function. Using pre-defined parameters, such as
size and speed, it is possible for it to distinguish a
person from an animal or vehicle, for example.
And with the help of “foot points” that mark the
site of the object and compare it with its knowl-
edge of the image, the system can determine
the object’s precise location. Still another advan-
tage of knowing what a normal background
image looks like is automatic sabotage detec-
tion. If someone turns a camera to point in
another direction, changing the background
image, the camera no longer recognizes its
usual environment and sounds an alarm.
Ensuring that these functions would also be
possible with analog cameras was a must for
developers of the system, who felt strongly that
when old systems are replaced with Sistore CX,
most of a facility’s existing technology should
still be usable — as at Munich Airport. There,
the old video system was still largely intact.
“Only the video crossbar from 1992 no longer
functioned,“ explains CCTV Product Manager
Oliver Wiesner, who is responsible for video
A surveillance system detects an intruder in a camera’s
video image (left) from his behavior pattern (right) and
tracks him on a monitor with multiple images (middle). Automatic tracking is only the beginning — soon it will be possible to detect abandoned objects.
monitoring at the airport. “There were no spare
parts available for that year of manufacture.“
Wiesner had the video crossbar replaced with a
video codec and connected the system to the
airport’s Ethernet. The decision to have Siemens
handle the modernization was made quickly.
“In addition to Siemens’ great quality and ser-
vice, the compatibility of Sistore CX with the
existing 1,600 cameras ensured the best price-
performance ratio for us,“ said Wiesner.
fitted with a high-quality surveillance system.
“The headquarters’ fence, which is 1.2 kilome-
ters long, will be protected by a system that will
safely cover the entire area with only 40 digital
cameras,“ reports on-site Project Manager Mar-
kus Sasse.
Looking ahead, Sistore CX developers will
focus primarily on new algorithms. ”Soon our
system will be able to locate abandoned objects
in airports,” predicts Baumgartner. “The video
sensors will memorize not only the back-
ground, but also every permanent change that
takes place in the foreground.“
And considering the steady increase in com-
puting power, Baumgartner foresees the auto-
matic identification of persons. “Even in crowd-
ed pedestrian zones and sports events, cameras
will be able to detect troublemakers and people
wanted by the police — simply by recognizing
their faces — and report them to the authori-
ties,“ he says. But don’t hold your breath. It will
still be a years before security systems will be
able to identify people regardless of weather
and lighting conditions, not to mention their
constantly-changing appearances.
Sebastian Webel
90 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 91
Machine Vision | 3D Object Recognition
Cameras and laser scanners generate a 3D image of their surroundings — here in Dr. Frank Forster’s
laboratory (large photo) and during the placement of heavy containers (bottom). Machine Vision’s In-Depth Picture
Machines are getting better at recognizing 3D objects. Progress in this
area is being driven by stereo cameras, light stripe projection systems,
laser scanners — and the intelligent software that makes them possible . D
ubai, free port. A fully loaded container ship
has barely docked, yet it’s time to hurry.
Wasted time is expensive. Towering gantry
cranes purr and clatter as they lower their hooks
and then hoist shipping containers, some of
which are over 12 meters long, ashore. Other
giants approach on rail tracks and proceed to
stack the cargo in the container storage area. The cranes go through their motions as
always. But this time something is different.
Experts from Siemens Automation and Drives
(A&D) are on hand and their attention is focused
on a crane that’s about to maneuver a container
onto the bed of a huge truck. Superficially, the
crane looks no different from the others. But the
A&D pros know what’s concealed in the crane’s
trolley, which is slowly lowering the cargo
toward the truck. Laser beams from the crane
have detected the truck, scanned it, and created
its three-dimensional image. As a result, the
crane can now compute the vehicle’s position
with great precision. Visible light signals guide the truck driver
precisely to his parking position under the
gantry crane. The laser system verifies this posi-
tion and communicates it to the crane’s control
system, which then manages the unloading of
the cargo onto the truck with precision in the
centimeter range. The truck positioning system,
they’ll work fully automatically. Here too, laser
technology will be useful, and preliminary tests
are already under way. To enable the crane to
deposit its load correctly in a huge stack of con-
tainers, the control system scans the container
landscape and stores it as a 3D image. Using this
image, the system automatically computes the
quickest path to each storage place and the
height to which the container must be hoisted in
order to avoid obstacles. Alois Recktenwald, product manager at A&D
MC Cranes, is convinced that such driverless
gantry cranes with 3D object recognition will be safer and more productive than their prede-
cessors. “Even now, the safety and efficiency of
the test cranes is several percent better than
today’s standard,” says Recktenwald .
Automated Forklifts. In addition to their work
on rail-mounted harbor cranes, experts from
Siemens A&D are also planning to equip forklifts
with laser scanners. The driverless vehicles will
then be able to cruise automatically through ware-
houses or factory shops without conventional
floor-mounted guide wires. “By the end of the
year, such autonomous vehicles will be ready for
large-scale production,” predicts A&D project
manager Walter Beichl as he starts up a proto-
type in a warehouse near Stuttgart. “First it has
pallet. But they’ll manage this feat within a few
months.” When that happens, information
regarding the position and destination of each
pallet will be transmitted by a master computer
via WLAN to the forklift. Closely Watched Packages. Vision systems
are also set to transform postal sorting. At the
Cologne-Bonn airport, for instance, Siemens has
integrated an entirely new type of 3D object
recognition system into its Singulator package
sorting system. There, Siemens Industrial Solu-
tions and Services has installed four Singulators
for UPS to ensure efficient operation of package
conveyor belts. Each Singulator takes an initially
unsorted flow of packages of various sizes, all
aligned helter-skelter, and sorts it into a single-
But to line up the packages, the system must
recognize and record them. To this end, six video
cameras are installed above the conveyor. The
first pair are stereo cameras, which acquire a
three-dimensional view of the packages. This
initial image information is processed — in
conjunction with signals from photodiodes inte-
grated in the conveyor belt — to determine the
size, location and orientation of the packages.
As this processing takes place, mechanical sort-
ing takes place on the conveyor belt, which is
about 1.5 meters wide. Narrower side-by-side conveyor belts and
rollers accelerate or slow down the packages
individually to cause them to rotate and line up
in a single-file. Four additional cameras monitor
the scene to ensure that everything runs
smoothly. which was developed by Siemens and tested for
the first time in Dubai, functions flawlessly. In
other words, these containers, which weigh
many tons, can now be loaded and hauled away
faster and more safely than ever. The rail-mounted gantry cranes that stack
containers in the storage area up to five high, in
rows of six, will also work faster in the future.
Siemens researchers plan to upgrade them so
to learn its route,” explains Beichl as he maneu-
vers the forklift among the storage shelves in the
building. As he does so, the laser beam emitted
by the navigation system on top of the forklift con-
tinues to scan the surrounding space from floor
to ceiling, scan line after scan line. From these
scanned lines, which represent local geography,
the forklift’s image processing software generates
and stores a 3D model of the route’s environment.
In a subsequent automatic trip, an internal
computer compares this map with new, live
images detected by the laser scanner. The fork-
lift precisely follows the route for which it’s been
trained, including proper speed and steering
angles. To achieve such accurate localization,
the navigation system uses fixed landmarks on
the ceiling, such as supporting beams, whose
images it has stored during the test drive. The forklift’s efficiency will be further en-
hanced when it also learns to reliably detect pal-
lets in the laser image — and how to pick them
up automatically. “Unfortunately, the required
algorithms aren’t quite there yet,” says Beichl.
“They’ve learned to recognize pallets, but
haven’t quite learned how to precisely align their
forks with the pallet axes. As a result, they can’t
accurately calculate the angle of approach to the
| Facts and Forecasts
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 9392 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006
already 9,000 cameras in public places — about four per
city block. In the past, such systems utilized cameras that merely
transmitted their images to tape machines and monitors
(CCTV, Closed Circuit Television). But now there are more
and more digital cameras that transmit data to computers.
Presently, four to eight such cameras share one CPU. But in
just two to three years many cameras will have their own
CPUs. Conventional videotape will be superfluous. Using
intelligent software, the latest smart cameras can even use
data comparison to detect unusual behavior and trigger an
alarm (see p. 87). By 2008, video cameras will be increasingly combined
with access control solutions. That, in turn, will increase
demand for biometric systems, especially those based on
face recognition. Market researchers also see a particularly
strong future trend toward totally digital solutions based
on the Internet Protocol. Every surveillance camera will
then essentially be a Webcam. What’s more, security per-
sonnel will increasingly be able to use mobile telephones
to record and transmit the actions of suspicious persons for
computer analysis, for instance in airports, railroad stations
and sports arenas.
Sylvia Trage
mage processing applications already range from indus-
trial uses and security systems to transportation and
medical technology. Even so, industry experts agree that
only about 20 percent of all possible applications have
been addressed so far. According to estimates provided by
a number of manufacturers, the worldwide market volume
for machine vision systems presently amounts to about 6.5
billion euros, with annual growth rates extending into the
double-digit range.
In the industrial area, image processing systems are
employed for quality control in virtually every sector. They
are used to inspect everything from computer displays and
the surfaces of gearbox components to printed circuit
boards for cell phones. Image processing is also useful in
metrology, where it is used in visually guided machines
and to recognize components, symbolic characters and
codes. Cameras can help robots recognize objects, such as
the shape and position of workpieces. In Germany, industrial image processing has been
growing faster than other sectors of automation tech-
nology for several years. According to a study published in
July 2006 by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA),
sales volume in 2005 grew seven percent and now tops
the one billion euro mark. “For 2006 we project a growth
rate of nine percent, with the strongest advances coming
from export sales,” predicts VDMA expert Patrick
Schwarzkopf. In 2005 about 70 percent of component
sales involved cameras and smart cameras. Among the latter, system functionalities — in other
words, the image sensor, processor and light source — are
integrated in a compact housing. Sales of these products
soared 23 percent between 2004 and 2005. The share of
frame grabbers, on the other hand, declined from 15 to 13
percent. This category includes PC cards for digitizing, stor-
ing and playback of image signals. The decline resulted
from the increased use of digital cameras that have a built-
in image processing system without a frame grabber, but
that use USB. According to a 2005 study by Frost & Sullivan (F&S) the
market will see increasing growth in sales of gigabit Ether-
net cameras that can transmit high-resolution images from
a camera to a computer across a distance of several hun-
dred meters. And by 2007, 3D vision systems for robots
should be available, as should systems for the inspection of
semiconductor components with an accuracy of 4.5 micro-
meters. Starting in 2010, smart cameras with neural networks
are expected to have the capability of categorizing objects
into many different classes — an important feature when it
comes to automatic sorting. Image processing is vitally important in hospitals too.
According to F&S market researchers, the key development
in that sector is the growing importance of Picture Archiv-
ing and Communication System. PACS make it possible to
process, store and manage medical images, and have be-
come accepted as the standard in radiology. By 2010 ana-
lysts predict sales in Europe will reach $1.47 billion —
compared to $0.47 billion in 2003. An important growth
engine here is a reduction in costs, which are declining by
about ten percent annually. Another trend is the combina-
tion of two imaging modalities in a single system, such as
high resolution computed-tomography images paired with
nuclear medicine methods that visualize biochemical
processes. In the auto industry too, image processing for driver
assistance systems is gaining in importance (Pictures of the
Future, Fall 2005, p. 46). Automakers use not only laser,
radar and ultrasonic sensors, but also cameras that can
perceive vehicles, lane boundaries, traffic signs and pedes-
trians faster than the human eye. According to a 2006 F&S
analysis, cameras will experience the strongest sales
growth among all onboard automotive sensing systems,
for instance in video-supported systems that sense lane
markers and issue a warning when a car strays from its
lane, and in parking assistance systems. Eyes on London. Security systems are a particularly
strong market for video surveillance. According to an F&S
study, worldwide sales are expected to reach about $11
billion by 2008. At 44 percent, North America represents
the largest share of this market. In Europe, the United
Kingdomis driving this trend.
As a case in point, the authors of the 2004 EU study,
UrbanEye (, estimate that there are
more than four million private and public surveillance cam-
eras in the UK. That makes the United Kingdom the coun-
try with the largest concentration of video surveillance in
Europe. Around 6,000 cameras of the estimated half a mil-
lion cameras installed throughout London are located in
the city’s Underground system. In some streets, cameras
are mounted only 15 meters apart. Privacy advocates have
calculated that people in London are recorded by a surveil-
lance camera up to 300 times per day. But most Londoners
consider the undeniable successes in fighting crime more
important than the potential negative aspects of such
monitoring. In the UrbanEye survey, 90 percent of London’s inhabi-
tants were in favor of cameras in public places (compared
with 25 percent in Vienna). In New York too, cameras are
multiplying rapidly. In Manhattan, for instance, there are
Image Processing: A Booming Market
Machine Vision | 3D Object Recognition
Seeing with Sound As part of the Cognitive Aid System for Blind People (CASBliP) project, a research initiative supported
by the European Union, Siemens is collaborating with universities and organizations for the blind in
developing a sensor system that uses audio signals to endow sightless people with spatial perception of
their surroundings. The concept for the sensor system, which is built into a pair of glasses, was developed
by Siemens Corporate Technology (CT). “We originally developed the sensor for pedestrian recognition by
cars,” says project researcher Dr. Peter Mengel. “But this solution is also very well suited as an orientation
aid for blind people.” A laser diode in a special pair of glasses scans its surroundings with infrared light
pulses up to five meters ahead, and with an angle of 60 degrees. Infrared light reflected by objects is
detected by a tiny scanning camera with 64 pixels. Differences in elapsed time are converted into a
distance profile of the immediate environment, which in turn is converted into audible signals. The shorter the distance to the object, the higher the pitch of the sound — and conversely, the farther
the object, the lower the pitch of the signal. Thanks to the different angles from which the infrared light
is reflected, there is an audible right / left difference. By turning his or her head, an otherwise unaided
blind person can gain a nearly complete impression of object distances in the immediate environment.
As part of his dissertation on color-coded tri-
angulation, Dr. Frank Forster, a researcher at
Siemens Corporate Technology (CT), developed
a very promising method of 3D acquisition that’s
already used in several Siemens products. The
basic principle is simple. A projector illuminates
the object whose shape is to be detected with a
pattern of parallel, colored light stripes that are
subsequently deformed according to the geom-
etry of the object’s surface. A camera records the resulting pattern, and
in a fraction of a second a computer program
composes a 3D image based on the pattern’s
deformation. The method has a number of
advantages: Since all that’s required are stan-
dard video system components, it is inexpensive
to implement. What’s more, it generates a 3D
record from a single video image, which means
that it can be used for anything from facial
recognition to detection of imperfections in
manufactured objects.
Faces and Hearing Aids. Color-coded triangu-
lation was initially used for facial recognition in
access control systems (see Pictures of the Future,
Spring 2003, p. 38). The advantage of this
method over other recognition methods, such
as color images, is obvious: 3D recognition is
more reliable, because the exact shape of the
face is difficult to imitate. In order to quickly take
advantage of Siemens’ technological lead in this
area, a cooperative agreement was concluded
between CT, Siemens Building Technologies and
Viisage Technology Inc., the global leader in per-
sonal identification systems.
Color-coded triangulation is also being put to
good use by other Siemens Groups. Siemens
Automation and Drives (A&D), for instance, uses
it in the latest generation of chassis tuning sys-
tems. In this system, the surfaces of rotating
vehicle wheels are scanned. Within seconds, the
system precisely measures the chassis with a
view to improving the quality of the vehicle.
After all, the more precisely the chassis is adjust-
ed, the greater its safety and driving comfort,
and the less tire wear. The system is used by
BMW and Porsche, among others, and will soon
be available to repair shops as well. Color coding is also used in the iScan system,
which was recently introduced by Siemens Audi-
ologische Technik GmbH (S.A.T.). iScan allows
hearing-aid acousticians to produce digital casts of the auditory canal that can be translat-
ed into in-the-canal devices. iScan scans the
canal and converts the image into 3D data.
Then, instead of mailing a physical cast for a
hearing aid to a device manufacturer for digi-
tization, they can send an electronic version by
e-mail. That’s a lot faster, simpler and more
secure. Rolf Sterbak
3D object recognition based on the use colored stripes — so called structured light — is useful in applications
ranging from 3D face recognition to measuring suspension systems and ensuring a perfect fit for hearing aids. 2002
Euros: millions
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Millions of units
Inspection, discrete parts (46% of total sales)
Materials inspection
Component and
character recognition
Code reading
Automotive Onboard Sensing
Industrial Image Processing
Major applications of machine
image processing
High note
from right front
Audible impression: Mid-range
tone from left front
Infrared light pulse
Reflected signal
Audible impression:
Base note from
directly in front
Source: VDMA, July 2006, Values are for Germany alone
Source: Frost &Sullivan (2006), Figures are for world market
Source: VDMA 2006
High-performance scanners and reading technologies
play a key role in ensuring that letters and packages
reach their destinations quickly. In addition to capturing
address data on up to 60,000 pieces of mail per hour,
these machines read Arabic and Chinese. In addition,
the automobile and aviation industries are investing
in reliable reading systems and counterfeit-proof
markings in order to protect their products. High-performance scanners capture all significant information on up to 60,000 letters per hour. The newest models even create a “fingerprint” for each letter (below). T
hey look like a combination of a stretched
out filing cabinet and photocopier. But the
blue-gray behemoths that are 40 meters in
length and produce a soothing clickity-clack
sound each time a postcard or letter arrives — in
other words, some 60,000 times per hour — are
actually giant letter sorters. They drone along in
a large hall the size of a shopping center at
Siemens Postal Automation (PA, Industrial Solu-
tions and Services Group) in Konstanz, Germany,
where they are built and tested. Envelopes whiz
along the machines’ conveyer systems at four
meters per second — so fast that you can only
make out an endless white ribbon instead of
individual letters. Each system’s scanner can read and capture
not only the address, but also the images of 17
94 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 95
Machine Vision | Scanning Technologies
envelopes per second. That’s a world record.
Addresses read, the machines spit the letters into
bins according to street and house numbers.
People are needed only to feed the machines
with more letters. The rest is handled by the
gigantic machines, regardless of whether a
stamp has been pasted incorrectly or an address
is illegible or written in Arabic. Udo Miletzki is one of the people who worked
hard to ensure that such machines can function
intelligently. In fact, he’s been refining increas-
ingly intelligent recognition methods for over 30
years. “Before new systems can be delivered
around the world, they are tested here,” says
Miletzki, who grew up with the postal sorting
business from its beginnings. “Then, after being
thoroughly evaluated, the machines are set up
on the customer’s premises in exactly the same
way.” That’s how it was in 1973, when the com-
pany got its first big order from the German
Postal Service for the construction of an auto-
matic address reader. The first system of its kind
in the world went online in 1978 and was able
— even then — to process 36,000 handwritten
ZIP codes per hour. Today, letters in Germany are brought to so-
called incoming-mail post offices and read by
machines like the one in Konstanz. The address is
registered and printed on each letter as an
arrangement of lines — a barcode — in pink.
Then the trip to the letter’s destination begins.
Thanks to the code, the address doesn’t have to
be read in again. The barcode contains all the ad-
dress information needed and guides the letter
Speed Readers
reliably through the final sorting machine. Even
the route the mailman will use is taken into
account during this process. The newest postal recognition technology,
which is known as ARTRead, breaks new ground.
In contrast to previous methods, many different
types of mail can be read with it: letters, parcels
or glossy magazines. ARTRead utilizes special
high-performance Siemens scanners that have a
resolution unprecedented for this velocity class —
up to 300 dpi. The software can even recognize
printed text that is hard to read. In addition, the
system has command of many languages and ad-
dress formats. Particularly in countries in which
different alphabets are mixed — for example,
Latin or Cyrillic alphabets — ARTRead is helpful.
In fact, there is no written language that can’t be
read using this technology, which was developed
in Konstanz. Digital Fingerprints. To make sure that news-
papers, parcels and letters reach their recipients
dependably and quickly, Miletzki and his col-
leagues have developed a “fingerprint” method
that will start as a pilot project for a large Euro-
pean mail service in 2007. The system will help
facilitate delivery of large pieces of mail, such as
oversized envelopes, heat-sealed magazines or
padded envelopes. “For example, it’s very difficult
to stick barcode labels onto slippery plastic foils or
to print barcodes on them,” says Miletzki. Further-
more, special instruments and huge amounts of
ink make barcodes expensive. But that’s all ancient history thanks to the
fingerprint. This system captures the front of
the envelope as a digital image that is as unique
as a fingerprint. Unmistakable characteristics
are extracted from each envelope and assigned
to the delivery as a binary number code. This
image is stored in a central database along with
address information. Each letter is scanned
again at its destination and its fingerprint is
transmitted to the center. Within fractions of a
second the center returns the previously read,
related address information.
Each letter’s characteristics are captured by
high-resolution scanners and analyzed by soft-
ware like ARTRead, which has been trained us-
ing thousands of address samples, letters and
types of handwriting, so that everything func-
tions successfully. Statistical methods then help
the software to determine which symbol a sign
or handwritten word is most similar to.
Saving Hundreds of Millions of Dollars.
Siemens Postal Automation leads the market
worldwide with a 66 percent market share (for
installed systems) in the field of letter sorting
systems. The most significant new developments
in this area are based on an intelligent linking of
recognition technology with information systems.
This includes PARS — the Postal Automated
Redirection System, which has been used in the
United States for the last few years (see Pictures
of the Future, Fall 2003, p. 20). “Seventeen per-
cent of the U.S. population moves every year,”
says Rudolf Klink, a marketing manager in
Konstanz. Because of unregistered changes of
address, billions of pieces of mail end up as ‘dead
letters’ — representing an enormous cost in
time and effort for the US Postal Service.” PARS prevents letters with obsolete address-
es from being sent to a prior place of residence.
If a person relocates, his or her mail is diverted
to the new address. The system works this way:
A database stores old and new addresses. If a
letter with an old address is recorded, PARS will
transmit it to the new destination in spite of the
wrong address. This system has clearly speeded up delivery,
substantially reduced the amount of misdirect-
ed mail, and made it possible for the US Postal
Service to save several hundred millions of dol-
lars annually. Meanwhile, a similar, slightly
modified forwarding system is now also being
utilized in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland.
The PARS order from USPS — with a value of
460 million euros — was the biggest that
Siemens Postal Automation ever landed in its
fifty-plus-year history.
96 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006
Steep Rise in Reading Rates
Data Matrix Code processing requires high-
performance reading instruments, such as the
scanners produced by Siemens Automation and
Drives (A&D) in Nuremberg. There, specialists
regard the reading and verification of individual
and counterfeit-proof markings as nothing
more than part of day-to-day business. To them, the issue involves not only letters,
but also printed circuit boards, airplane compo-
nents and ships’ engines. That’s because many
rupting reflections on the surfaces of parts,
problems with low contrast, and changing
lighting conditions. “The quality demands on
these systems are primarily the same ones that
have been placed on the performance of postal
systems,” says Beck. “These have taken a great
leap forward.”
A&D’s position in this area has been
strengthened recently thanks to the purchase
of Acuity CiMatrix, a U.S. company that was the
world leader in matrix code reading instru-
ments and image processing systems in 2005. Worldwide Authentication. Another chal-
lenge lies in integrating DPM and DMC into an
extremely wide range of production lines. To
accomplish this, Siemens maintains a Solution
Partner Program for Machine Vision with ISW of
Hamburg, Germany, a leader in the develop-
ment of customized data matrix systems for a
wide variety of industries. “For one thing, we test which DPM method is
best for marking the customer’s products or
components,” says ISW’s Ulrich van Groningen.
“For another, we analyze how the instruments
can be integrated into production.” That means
that ISW employees test the customer’s parts
directly in their laboratories to determine which
type of marking is the most suitable for the
materials involved and which reading system is
best for the application. The company recently developed a data
matrix system to mark Lufthansa’s turbine
blades. Here, jet engines are completely dis-
mantled for maintenance and individual blades
are reworked or replaced whenever they are
damaged. Blades are individually marked with the 2D
code to ensure that each of them is mounted
back into the same position later. “The code also
serves as protection against counterfeit or old
parts that are brought to the market with false
declarations,” says Beck. And that doesn’t only
apply to aircraft parts. Here too, the 2D code is
just beginning to become established. After all,
reliable communication networks are a prerequi-
site of a monitoring system like this one. They
ensure that DPM data stored centrally with a
manufacturer can be sent anywhere in the world
within seconds. Aircraft manufacturers that mark their parts
using counterfeit-proof DPM technology are one
example. If a customer replaces a component at
some point, the component’s code is read in and
authenticated by the manufacturer via Internet. Beck is certain that with the establishment of
reliable central data memory and linked DPM
reading systems, 2D code will become a high
flyer in plenty of industries in addition to aero-
Tim Schröder
The objective for ever more sophisticated
sorting systems is clear. Distribution must be-
come even faster and more economical. That’s
also the goal of Switzerland’s postal service,
which is planning to centralize distribution in
three big mail centers. Today, letters with illegi-
ble addresses are video coded. The images are
sent to computer workstations, where employ-
ees read the data and type the entire correct
address into the system. Video coding is well-
established, but it is time-consuming. The new video codec system does not re-
quire the full address to be typed in. Employees
need only fill out the portion of the address that
the machine is unable to read. Furthermore,
video coding can take place far from distribu-
tion centers. Letter-sorting installations can simply send
envelope images to workstations for process-
ing. The address is usually completed and re-
turned while the letter is still in the machine.
When the letter leaves the machine, it’s marked
with the right destination. But thanks to the fingerprint method and
the ARTRead system, video coding can probably
be dispensed with altogether in the foreseeable
future, according to Miletzki. For experts at
Siemens PA this is not only a question of speed,
but also one of quality and reliability — and the
prevention of fraud. To that end they have
come up with a system that checks whether let-
ters are correctly postmarked or not. PA’s “Rev-
enue Protection System,” for instance, can rec-
ognize if the postage mark is legitimate or from
a stolen machine — once again, thanks to a
connection to a database.
Workers in Konstanz have been fine tuning
mailing systems for over five decades. But they
still haven’t run out of ideas. In conjunction
with a number of companies and the German
Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in
Kaiserslautern, they’re working on a project in-
volving a reader that will understand semantic
information. In other words, this device will be
able to understand word meanings in their con-
text. For example, a word like “Konstanz” could
crop up in various places in an address — in the
town, street or company name — and that can
confuse even the most sophisticated sorting
system. Automatic semantic evaluation of text, on
the other hand, could make sorting machines
even smarter than they already are and also
make it possible for new web services to handle
daily mail communications more effectively. Coding Ships’ Engines. Another well-estab-
lished postal automation technology is “data
matrix code“ (DMC) or “2D code” — the use of a
square that is filled with a dot pattern. In con-
trast to barcodes, DMC can be scanned from
every angle and requires up to 100 times less
space for the same information content. Fur-
thermore, it can still be read even if small areas
are scratched. Post authorities allocate the
codes — similar to the numbers in Internet
banking — from a central database that protects
DMCs from falsification. Machine Vision | Scanning Technologies Latin, Arabic and hand-written addresses —
Siemens scanners can read them all.
industrial businesses — especially automobile
manufacturers and aviation-related companies
— have recognized the advantages of DMC and
are already marking many of their products
with it. The special thing about data matrix codes is
that their dots can be imprinted directly on a
given part more easily than the stripes of a bar-
code. Depending on the material, the dot pat-
tern is burned in by a laser, etched into metal
with needles or applied with special inks. Experts
refer to this as Direct Part Marking (DPM).
Thomas Beck, a Product Manager at A&D,
says that “we are currently at the beginning of
a growth curve with regard to 2D code.” Today,
1,800 reading operations per minute are al-
ready possible. Reading and interpreting a code with instru-
ments from the Simatic HawkEye series, which
have very good optics and excellent software,
takes less than 100 milliseconds. Furthermore,
dot patterns can be read even if there are dis-
1978:Single-line reader (for town + zip code), 1984:Dual-line reader (street name added)
1990:Four-line reader (whole address), 1996:All-line reader (all lines of sender and recipient addresses)
2006:ARTRead software recognizes all text lines and graphic objects (logos, stamps, stickers) 0%
Reading rate
Arabic (respective
reading rates for city and zip
codes) Scanners need less than 100 milliseconds to read a 2D code. Using such markings, turbine blades, for example, can be made counterfeit-proof and quickly identified. In Brief
The areas of application of automatic image
processing include quality control in industry,
video surveillance and biometric recognition,
automatic letter sorting, automotive driver
assistance systems, robotics, medicine, and
intelligent imaging and image evaluation. In the future, these system will be able to
perceive their surroundings with ever more
accuracy and to make autonomous decisions.
(see pp. 83, 93)
Siemens has developed one of the world’s
most innovative video monitoring systems. It not only provides analog systems with the
advantages of digital video surveillance, but
can also provide the latest functions using a
simple software update. The system can carry
out functions such as intruder detection —
whereby it distinguishes between a genuine
intruder and animals or other objects — and
tracking. It forwards only relevant information
to security personnel. The system can even
recognize acts of sabotage and report them.
In the future, this type of system will also be
able to detect wanted persons in large
crowds. (see p. 86)
Machines are learning to see in three
dimensions. Today, laser scanners, cameras
and intelligent software can already auto-
nomously steer fork-lifts around warehouses
or help harbor cranes stack containers
weighing many tons on top of one another
with precision. The ability to measure three-
dimensional shapes also provides a basis for
biometric security processes, high-precision
vehicle chassis tuning, and the manufacture
of perfectly-fitting hearing aids. (see p. 90)
Reading units from Siemens are being used in letter sorting systems to acquire the
addresses from up to 60,000 mail pieces per
hour — even if they are written in Cyrillic,
Arabic or Chinese. Recognition rates have
increased enormously over the last few years. Furthermore, automobile and
airplane companies are also making
increased use of reliable reading
instruments and counterfeit-proof
markings — so-called 2D codes — to
protect their products. (see p. 94)
Siemens Corporate Research, Princeton:
Paul Camuti, President & CEO SCR
Real-Time Vision:
Dr. Visvanathan Ramesh, SCR, Princeton
Image processing, Roke Manor
Research: Emma Brassington, RMR
Integrated data systems:
Dr. Dorin Comaniciu, SCR, Princeton
Digital video monitoring:
Klaus Baumgartner, SBT
Imad Zoghlami, SCR, Princeton
Autonomous cranes:
Alois Recktenwald, A&D
Autonomous fork lifts:
Walter Beichl, A&D
3D shape sensing:
Dr. Frank Forster, CT
Letter-sorting systems:
Udo Miletzki, Rudolf Klink, I&S PA
2D code readers:
Thomas Beck, A&D
Fraunhofer Allianz Vision:
Dr. Norbert Bauer,
Siemens Corporate Research, Princeton:
Roke Manor Research:
Siemens Building Technologies:
Fraunhofer Allianz Vision:
Siemens Automation and Drives:
Siemens Postal Automation:
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2006 97
| Preview Spring 2007
Technology for the EnvironmentThe Road to Molecular Medicine
Optimizing the City
Even the biggest cities can offer the highest quality of life. For instance, intel-
ligent technologies can help to provide a safe and healthy life free from the
fear of crime and environmental damage. They can provide clean water and
air, maximize the efficiency and reliability of infrastructures, accelerate the
movements of goods, and make access to information, recreation, cultural
events, and employment available to all. Molecular analysis of lab samples and molecular imaging of
the body can help to detect and diagnose illnesses years before
symptoms occur. Furthermore, combined with powerful imaging technologies, molecular medicine is opening the door
to new avenues of research and to the treatment of illnesses ranging from cancer to heart disease on a cellular level.
Today, environmental protection is based to a very large extent
on innovative technical solutions. These include highly sensi-
tive analytic measurement methods, filtering and catalytic
technology, air and water purification, resource-conserving
energy production using fuel cells — and power plants driven
by wind, water, biomass or geothermal energy.
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Publisher:Siemens AG
Corporate Communications (CC) and Corporate Technology (CT)
Wittelsbacherplatz 2, 80333 Munich
For the publisher: Dr. Ulrich Eberl (CC), Prof. Dietmar Theis (CT) (Tel. +49 89 636 33246),
Editorial Office:
Dr. Ulrich Eberl (ue) (Editor-in-Chief) Arthur F. Pease (afp) (Executive Editor, English Edition)
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner (na) (Managing Editor)
Sebastian Webel (sw)
Ulrike Zechbauer (uz)
Additional Authors in this Issue:
Bernhard Bartsch, Andreas Beuthner, Bernhard Gerl, Björn Gondesen, Harald Hassenmüller, Günter Heismann,Ute Kehse, Andreas Kleinschmidt, Katrin Nikolaus, Dr. Luitgard Marschall, Bernd Müller, Gitta Rohling, Tim Schröder, Rolf Sterbak,Dr. Sylvia Trage, Dr. Evdoxia Tsakiridou, Nikola Wohllaib
Picture Editing: Judith Egelhof, Vera Ferrarotti, Irene Kern, Jürgen
Winzeck, Publicis Munich
Stefanie Aumiller, Kurt Bauer, Franz Fender, Wolfgang
Filser, Jan Greune, Wolfgang Geyer, Katharina Hesse, Christian
Höhn, Körber Industriefotografie, George Moore, Bernd Müller,
Andreas Pohlmann, Karsten Schöne, Volker Steger, Jürgen Winzeck
Internet ( Volkmar Dimpfl
Historical Information:Dr. Frank Wittendorfer, Siemens Corporate
Address Database:Anke Kimmling, Susan Süß, Publicis Erlangen
Layout / Lithography: Rigo Ratschke, Büro Seufferle, Stuttgart
Illustrations:Natascha Römer, Stuttgart
Graphics:Jochen Haller, Büro Seufferle, Stuttgart
Translations German – English: Transform GmbH, Köln
Translations English – German:Karin Hofmann, Publicis Munich Printing: Bechtle Druck&Service, Esslingen
More information:
Picture Credits: Getty Images (10, 37 b.), Corbis (27 l.a.r.), picture-
alliance / dpa (27 m., 34-35), Chesapeake Bay Foundation (30),
laif (36 r.), Privat (50), Siemens Foundation (76 l.), Fraunhofer
Allianz Vision (89), Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (91 b.),
Auto Service Praxis (92 t.r.). Copyright of all other images is held by Siemens AG.
Pictures of the Future,syngo,ARTRead and other names are registered
trade marks of Siemens AG. Windows is a registered trademark of
Microsoft Corporation. Other product and company names mentioned in
the magazine may be registered trade marks of their respective compa-
The editorial content of the reports does not necessarily reflect the opin-
ion 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 Future appears twice a year.
Printed in Germany. Reproduction of the articles in whole or in part
requires the permission of the editorial office. This also applies to storage
in electronic databases, on the Internet and reproduction on CD-ROM.
© 2006 by Siemens AG. All rights reserved. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
Order number:A19100-F-P104-X-7600
ISSN 1618-5498
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