All the same, factories, traffic networks and utility grids are a good deal more complex than smartphones and tracker armbands. All are examples of real and virtual systems that have been intermeshed and that often even involve critical infrastructures. Customers in such critical areas have entirely different expectations about safety, reliability and durability than those purchasing a smart thermostat or plant moisture tracking system. What’s more, such customers want to enrich their existing equipment through the advantages of the evolving digital universe without endangering or sacrificing either data protection or intellectual property. That’s why Siemens has expanded the concept of the Internet of Things for industrial applications to create the Web of Systems, meaning systems that are digital, communicate with each other, and can act autonomously. Siemens’ vision is that as this ecosystem takes shape its elements will be managed via future Web technologies that use standardized protocols and languages of the kind that are used for the Internet today.
This linking up of the real world and the virtual world of data offers multiple advantages for Siemens customers. It enables them to capture and analyze the current status of a system and its parts anytime, in detail. This in turn yields immense opportunities for savings through predictive maintenance, as well as major potential for optimizing systems. Using today’s technologies from the World Wide Web environment, systems can often be implemented and commissioned faster and more economically. A system’s intelligence can be distributed as needed between real components and virtual systems in the Cloud, resulting in enhanced robustness and customer data protection. Finally, as the digital landscape is transformed along these lines, it will become easier to update systems with new functions, or to update system software on the fly, in much the same way as smartphones and other devices are updated through apps.