A year of disruption, innovation

By Angus Marshall, CEO & Managing Director, ASEAN & ANZ, Siemens PLM Software.

Siemens PLM

The past year has seen the emergence of exciting technologies and changes to the manufacturing sector. With organizations and enterprises alike getting increasingly connected and where entire market landscapes can change with a single innovation, manufacturers are quickly adopting Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT) to closely monitor how their products are being used. The IoT market, digital factories, IIoT and predictive engineering analytics are some of the key technologies to look out for in the future, with PLM serving as a cornerstone for vertical industries.




IoT and IIoT have been focus areas especially for emerging ASEAN economies like Singapore and Thailand in 2016. The Singaporean government, for instance has been pursuing its ‘National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster’ initiative with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the National Research Foundation and SPRING Singapore as of last year to help organizations develop capabilities in 3D printing. It has formed key partnerships with Rolls Royce and UPS to champion smart manufacturing and on-demand 3D printing respectively. In addition, the budding nation is also looking into cogeneration facilities and industrial IoT as the main key factors to driving growth and cutting back on greenhouse emissions within the petrochemical industry, according to the Economic Development Board (EDB).


As for Thailand, the nation is set to be the next digitalization hub with its True Digital Park. The park is set to help propel Thailand’s startup ecosystem and make the nation’s talent pool more competitive, with US$43 million invested in its digital infrastructure. With IoT adoption steadily rising in Thailand, the government is paving the way to facilitate a digital economy with its Thailand 4.0 agenda that lays out plans for a digital infrastructure. The goals of the agenda are to develop a high value-added economy through changing Thailand’s currently traditional manufacturing structure to smart manufacturing, traditional small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to smart enterprises and traditional services to high-value services. The scheme will tap onto digital technologies, including IoT, cloud and big data analytics to nurture smart, secure and connected communities to ensure they remain at the forefront of innovation and are well equipped to tackle competition.


Another trend we expect to continue its momentum this year is the Internet of Things (IoT). It is already triggering a paradigm shift in the manufacturing sector and we are expecting to see a greater acceleration for the year ahead. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the IoT market will continue to gain momentum, with a CAGR of 32.4 percent between 2016 and 2022. The market in Asia Pacific is expected to hold the largest share by 2022, and experience the fastest growth in IoT with the rising adoption of autonomous technology.


Organizations and SMEs alike are adopting IoT and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions such as sensor-based data to create analytically rich data sets. According to Frost and Sullivan, ASEAN is becoming the frontrunner for IoT, valued at 1.68 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow 35 percent each year – with focus on manufacturing, automotive and agriculture. The value IoT that provides is immense, and Siemens PLM foresees more parts of ASEAN and its manufacturing chains to be filled by digitalization.


In 2017, the manufacturing sector will continue to be an engine of growth for the ASEAN economy — and this is possible because of digitalization. Digitalization will drive new manufacturing business and operating models, and the risk of being left out or becoming irrelevant is becoming increasingly alarming. Enabling manufacturers to empower their enterprises, digitalization helps vertical industries realize innovation even quicker than their peers. This is vital in today’s connected world – where a single innovation can put out a business line or an entire market. To keep up with the rapid change, it is no longer enough to digitize. Manufacturers have to digitalize and weave in a digital thread through ideation, realization and utilization from start to finish.


With a fully optimized “Digital Enterprise,” manufacturers are better equipped to initiate or respond to disruptive innovation. Siemens PLM Software is aiding manufacturers by enabling them to merge virtual and real product development, and production automation with the new Digital Factory and Smart Innovation. The spotlight on manufacturing isn’t set to fade anytime soon, and opportunities for realization are well in the pipeline with the acceleration of digital technologies, according to Forbes. Siemens PLM Software’s Smart Innovation Portfolio enables manufacturers to activate digitalization through developing intelligent models that evolve throughout the process, with the information necessary to optimize themselves for how manufacturers require their models to be built and how they should perform. The portfolio also helps manufacturers adapt and efficiently deploy solutions today, while maintaining future flexibility.


In 2017, as disruption and innovation continues to transform the manufacturing industry, digitalization will set the foundation for enterprises to sustain their business models. PLM will be the key and the currency for manufacturers to progress forward in the road towards innovation.