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CES 2024 Keynote: AI, Digital Twins Set to Transform Lives

Siemens CEO says the industrial metaverse will unlock the ability for many to perform tasks faster and more accurately.

Spencer Chin

January 11, 2024

3 Min Read
Siemens CEO Dr. Roland Busch
Siemens CEO Dr. Roland Busch speaking during a keynote session at CES 2024. Ethan Miller / Staff/ Getty Images North America

At a Glance

  • Siemens CEO Dr. Roland Busch is bullish on the industrial metaverse as the future of engineering
  • Technologies including digital twins, software-defined automation, and AI are paving the way for the industrial metaverse.

While the metaverse is most often associated with gaming or being the obsession of companies such as Meta, Siemens CEO Dr. Roland Busch gave a plug to the metaverse at during a keynote at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show). But Busch was not plugging the metaverse as a gaming arena but specifically touted the benefits of the industrial metaverse, which he expects to transform the way humans work as well as play.

Busch, who has transformed into the company from a medical technology company to one that plays in major key technology sectors, spoke about the company’s often behind-the-scenes role in transforming communications, manufacturing, transportation, and of course health care.

But Busch’s strongest message was the expectation that three current trends─digital twin technology, software-defined automation, and AI─ would pave the way for faster, better way of doing work for people of varying skills and abilities. The industrial metaverse, according to Busch, will allow digital simulation on a wide scale, and perform tasks such as product design in far faster time than previously while using less resources.

Digital simulation, Busch told the audience, would make it possible to virtually set up new production lines or simulate the functions of a human heart, while enabling an engineer to make corrections and tweaks on the fly in real time, and avoid extensive, expensive rework or redesigns later on. And the ability of AI to collect and store massive amounts of data would give actionable insights into a design or process that can be stored in the cloud or on the edge and retrieved later.

Busch added that generative AI would change the model of programming from one that requires learning code to one that relies on natural language. It would bring the ability to perform powerful programming to many.

To this end, Busch said Siemens would team with Amazon Web Service to integrate generative AI into no-code programming.

Siemens and Amazon Web Services will integrate generative AI into no-code programming.

The Metaverse Helmet

Cedrik Neike, CEO of Siemens Digital Industries, announced Siemens was teaming with Sony to usher in the age of immersive engineering, where the metaverse would become an intuitive medium for design and manufacturing set-up. Yoshinori Matsumoto, Executive Deputy President, Technology and Innovation for Sony Corporation, demonstrated a head-mounted display that would integrate Sony’s hardware and Siemens’ software to allow prototyping in a virtual environment. Aided by digital twin technology, the helmet would make functions such as designing a racing car cockpit an interactive, fun experience.

Matsumoto said the helmet would not only be a key element in making engineering an immersive experience, but also opens engineering design to more people.

Siemens’ Cedrik Neike also shared how Siemens’ metaverse technology was being deployed in the design of Formula 1 racing cars. The immersive engineering environment is making it possible to more quickly design vehicles. At the same time, it will help transform Formula 1 cars to be designed with more sustainable materials and power technologies.

Outside of technology, Neike also detailed how the deployment of digital twin and software-defined automation technologies are making it possible to manufacture food powders locally, instead of incurring the costs and time of shipping them worldwide. The powders would be manufactured through “microfactories” that would be shipped to locations worldwide. These kits would allow customized, on-location development of food powders geared specifically to the nutritional needs of the populations served.

For the entire keynote, watch it here.

About the Author(s)

Spencer Chin

Senior Editor, Design News

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor with Design News, covering the electronics beat.

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