Interview 
Microsoft

NEXCON: Virtual conference with keynotes and examples of success from Industry 4.0 

Industrial companies are increasingly looking for intelligent solutions for networked value chains and intelligent manufacturing. The key technologies of information technology play a central role in this. Microsoft therefore offers integrated technological solutions that range from the Internet of Things (IoT) to the interplay of devices, with sensors and actuators in the so-called “edge”. 

In his role as Industry Lead Manufacturing, Sebastian Seutter supports the managers of German industrial companies and accompanies their transformation programs, which are run in cooperation with Microsoft. He will also report on this from March 5, 2020 at the global online conference NEXCON. NEXCON offers success stories in the digitization of value chains as well as trends in Industry 4.0. In his internet keynote, Sebastian Seutter and Siemens will present a successful model for the establishment of "intelligent factories". We can already get an overview of this in his joint interview with NEXCON's Managing Director, Thomas Rohrbach

What is NEXCON? 

Rohrbach: NEXCON is a worldwide networking platform for everything related to smart manufacturing. Technology providers and customers from industry meet here. Purely virtual. Our main format is online conferences, in which exciting practical experience reports and the latest trends in digital industrial transformation are presented. From solution providers as well as from users from various industries and company sizes. On March 5, for example from Mercedes Benz Brazil, BASF, the Mexican white goods manufacturer Mabe and the Chinese Jiaotong University. In addition, NEXCON also offers a lot of know-how outside of the conferences to make it easier for decision-makers from industry to move towards Industry 4.0, e.g. in the form of seminars and coaching. 

Sebastian Seutter, Industry Lead Manufacturing, recording his NEXCON keynote

Mr. Seutter, is this your first virtual B2B congress? 

Seutter: The idea was really new for me. At Microsoft we have many successful event formats where you can still meet personally, such as our Microsoft Envision Forum or the appearance at the Hannover Messe. But because we are starting in a similar direction with our virtual manufacturing conferences, it is very interesting for me to appear at a virtual congress for the first time. 

Mr. Rohrbach, you yourself are the managing director of the management consultancy STAUFEN.DIGITAL NEONEX, which accompanies companies on their way through digital transformation. How did you get the idea for NEXCON? 

Rohrbach: In our day-to-day business, we always experience the "top 3 roadblocks" that prevent companies from digitizing their operations: lack of capacity, lack of know-how and an unstructured approach. We want to overcome these hurdles with NEXCON, by offering a highly efficient means of inspiration, know-how development and exchange of experience in the area of Industry 4.0. Many people forget: Digital transformation of the factories does not only imply new technical systems, high-tech and IT. But also that managers and decision-makers will have a new role in the future with a new skill set. Resulting fears need to be reduced through understanding, education and qualification. When the mental blocks are overcome, risks become opportunities. NEXCON’s goal is to help with that! 

Thomas Rohrbach, Managing Director NEXCON

How does Microsoft fit into the NEXCON Smart Factory agenda? 

Rohrbach: Microsoft is a leader in cloud computing and has undergone massive development in recent years, especially in data security. They are driving very interesting developments, such as the Open Manufacturing Platform or artificial intelligence for the manufacturing industry. That's why I'm particularly happy about the contribution from Microsoft. 

What will your keynote be about, Mr. Seutter? 

Seutter: First of all, we were interested in a further technological view of the "future of intelligence". We also wanted to show to which degree intelligent factories are still wishful thinking or already a reality. This is particularly useful in a tandem lecture with Siemens. Above all, we want to present our experience from working with leading companies and show how intelligent factories can be successfully implemented in the long term. 

 

And where does all the know-how come from? 

Seutter: In our keynote we first use a McKinsey study to illustrate the enormous potential of intelligent automated value chains. We want to show what companies like Siemens need to do to realize this potential. We were also able to work this out in two current publications: on intelligent digital ecosystems in the manufacturing industry in Manager magazine and on the value of manufacturing data at the World Economic Forum. 

 

What is special about NEXCON for you? 

Seutter: The fact that a conference only takes place online - this is really a new and interesting format. It starts with the lecture, where you stand in front of a camera and not in front of an audience. In addition, NEXCON does not only run on a certain day. We will be there live on March 5th - and after that our talk will be available on the platform all year round. That would not be possible offline! The conference is therefore very progressive, because today everything is becoming more virtual and there are great innovations in this area. Maybe there will be a tour with the HoloLens next time? 

 

Rohrbach: NEXCON delivers a modern, digital concept in addition to traditional events. And one that is particularly efficient and effective. You don't have to travel anywhere and can only watch what you're really interested in. NEXCON also offers more opportunities for global exchange. Whether in Wolfsburg, Stuttgart, Sicily - or even in the hinterland of China: NEXCON ensures exchange across borders. That is our vision. Interesting side effect: Of course, NEXCON is not entirely CO2-free - but also very efficient in this area. 

 

The keynote from Microsoft & Siemens will be available from March 5, 2020 on NEXCON. 

After the lecture, questions can be directed to Sebastian Seutter and his Siemens colleague Dennis Zwetschke via live chat. In addition to the global conference on March 5, further regional conferences, seminars and coachings will take place on the NEXCON platform this year. Information and registration at: www.nexcon.digital 

This article was originally published on Microsoft Cloudblog.

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