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What will the factory of tomorrow look like?

The CEO of T-Systems, Adel Al-Saleh, at the HMI: How software-defined manufacturing helps factories to become more flexible

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May 12 2021

Software changes production

According to a study by PwC, 91 percent of European industrial companies are investing in creating digital factories.¹ They should be focusing on software-defined manufacturing, said Adel Al-Saleh in his keynote address at the Hannover Messe. Because it combines intelligent software with the cloud, AI and machine learning or robotics. Result: a higher degree of automation and fast response to changes and new customer requirements.


¹ Digital Factories 2020 – Shaping the future of manufacturing, PWC

Are your machines fit for the future?

Adel Al-Saleh and interview partner sitting in front of a wall with T-Systems logo.

Machines are as intelligent as the software they contain. According to Adel Al-Saleh, software-defined manufacturing scores points in several ways thanks to

  • a faster time-to-market and better innovation capability,
  • higher efficiency through predictive maintenance, AI or KPI-based dashboards,
  • greater flexibility with variable batch sizes and modularization in production,
  • higher resilience through sustainable supply chains and AI-supported predictive analysis,
  • more sustainability, for example through the use of renewable and sustainable materials or carbon-neutral production.

Software is the foundation of digitization. It determines how we develop and manufacture products. It makes our factories more efficient, flexible and resilient. As a result, software-defined manufacturing is becoming a key success factor in the manufacturing industry.

Adel Al-Saleh, CEO of T-Systems and Board Member of Deutsche Telekom

What is software-defined manufacturing?

In software-defined manufacturing, the software configures, monitors and manages the machine and its processes. This increases the level of automation in factories. While this area was fairly quiet for a number of years, now the autonomous factory is emerging, in which the manufacturing processes themselves become intelligent and transparent.

New standards in automation

Nahaufnahme Hand über Tablet, worauf Daten und Diagramme erkennbar sind.

Software-defined production means software-defined automation: software-defined manufacturing owes its success to innovative technologies. Artificial intelligence is helping entire production facilities transform to become smart. Based on predictive analytics, they can respond autonomously to changes in production. Machine learning allows robots to be used in quality control. In addition, systems, processes and products can be mapped virtually as digital twins. According to Al-Saleh, this helps industrial companies to improve their processes along the value chain.

Lower error rates

Thanks to a new AI solution from T-Systems, welding robots in the automotive industry can now learn whether they have done a good job. If this is not the case, the system can control it and automatically improve the quality of the weld seams. Adel Al-Saleh used this as an example during his presentation of his company’s new AI Solution Factory at the HMI. T-Systems bundles the development, testing, implementation and operation of AI solutions for production and logistics companies. The modular kit includes hardware and software, security and connectivity as well as trained AI services and integration into the company’s own IT.

How to make digital manufacturing work

According to Adel Al-Saleh, the future of production begins in the cloud. His recommendation:

  • Digitize your platforms, take full advantage of the hybrid cloud, ensure end-to-end connectivity - for example, with a 5G campus network or edge computing.
  • Make consistent use of the data from the production systems. With the help of this information, you can see in real time what is happening in your factory.
  • Take the security of your data seriously.
  • Do not be afraid of AI: start with small projects and simple models.
  • Think in terms of prototypes that you can continue developing later.

Together with partners

Man and woman looking through a futuristic digitally generated display.

Digitization requires new thinking. According to the CEO of T-Systems, those who are ready for partnerships can find their way around the digitized world more easily and benefit from additional resources and a broader body of knowledge. Telekom and T-Systems are looking to third parties for assistance and inspiration: For example, the Group is participating in Catena-X, the network for cross-company data exchange in the automotive industry. The partners want to accelerate business processes along the entire value chain and increase the competitiveness of European companies.

Accelerate digital now – future of manufacturing

Would you like to find out more about our solutions for the age of data-driven industrial transformation? Have a look at our recorded sessions from the Hannover Messe.

We look forward to your project!

We are happy to provide you with the right experts and to answer your questions about planning, implementation, and maintenance for your digitization plans. Get in touch!

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