‘We can offer cross-domain connected solutions to our customers’

The increasing complexity with software-defined vehicles (SDVs) and the need for comprehensive problem-solving solutions are opening new opportunities. Matthew Thomas, Country Manager and Managing Director, Siemens Digital Industries Software India, talks about the tech giant’s readiness in an exclusive interaction.  

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 11 Sep 2023 Views icon8470 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
‘We can offer cross-domain connected solutions to our customers’

The transition to EVs and software-defined vehicles (SDVs) is springing demand for comprehensive product development solutions including electrical, mechanical, electronics and software capabilities. With its mechanical and electronic design automation (EDA) tools, Siemens Digital Industries Software is poised to cater to the industry’s changing requirements as it faces complexities in design well as manufacturing of new-age vehicles.

Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Matthew Thomas, Country Manager and MD, Siemens Digital Industries Software India:

How do you see the transition from specifically focusing on certain products and services to now shifting towards becoming an end-to-end solutions provider? 
The whole transition of Siemens Digital Industries Software to the SaaS world, and being a cloud company started three years back. It really enables our software portfolio to be a technology platform, and that is where we look at Siemens Xcelerator, which is an open digital platform that is aimed at accelerating digital transformation for our customers at a faster scale. The whole portfolio is curated of IoT-enabled hardware, software, and digital services. Interestingly, customers are looking at digitisation in a very deep and thoughtful manner. One would have observed that today many companies have a chief digital officer, and this is separate from the CIO role, and not necessarily an IT function.

That is where the industry is today, and while we are on our journey to offer our solutions on the cloud, our customers are also looking at this transformation. Therefore, it sort of comes together. We have made strategic investments to acquire assets, to combine them with our automation systems because we are very proud of the fact that we are the only company that can talk to customers from the automation and industrial software standpoint. That is how we combine the real and the digital worlds, and by the convergence of IoT and OT (operational technology), offer a strong value proposition to our customers, by just not being a software vendor, rather acting as a digitisation supplier.

What are the key factors driving this change in the automotive industry?
If we take a step back, cars were more mechanical in the earlier days, than electrical or software-defined vehicles (SDVs), as we call them today, and this is driving the need for more comprehensive solutions for problem solving. Customers are asking for combining electrical, mechanical, electronics and software capabilities as they shift towards EVs and SDVs, and that is where we have been able to manage the entire transition seamlessly.

For instance, Siemens’ acquisition of Mentor Graphics brought about electronic design automation (EDA) capabilities, which help PCB design and embedded software development. With this, we have been able to combine our traditional strengths of mechanical design by virtue of our NX CAD, Teamcenter PLM, and Simcenter portfolio, with EDA. So, our OEM customers in India of the likes of Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra who are getting involved in ground-up EV development, are leveraging our model-based systems engineering (MBSE) tools to conduct architecture modelling, assessing different steps, detailed designs, and some trade-offs to deliver on parameters such as cost, quality, and performance. That is how we have been able to cater to our customers’ needs holistically.

Who are Siemens Digital Industries Software’s key automotive clients in India?
We have been in the country for the past three decades, and all the large OEMs of the likes of Maruti Suzuki India, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra deploy our solutions in various areas. Of late, EV start-ups such as Ola Electric, Ather Energy, and Simple Energy have also latched on to the Siemens network. The electric two-wheeler segment is the one where the most amount of action is happening, and that is why we are seeing a lot of new players coming into the space and leveraging our solutions. In the Tier-1 supplier ecosystem, majors of the likes of Motherson Sumi are our key customers.

What opportunities do you see for your solutions with the growing electrification in India?
With electrification, vehicle manufacturers are looking at the design and optimisation of the vehicle battery, motors, inverters, and converters. This obviously increases the complexity of product development as well as manufacturing, and with our product suite ranging from the traditional NX, and Simcenter, to our Mentor Graphics EDA capabilities, we can offer cross-domain connected solutions to our customers. These solutions help OEMs balance vehicle attributes such as thermal characteristics, cabin comfort, aerodynamics, as well as acoustic performance. With both ICE and EVs co-existing in the foreseeable future, we see an enhanced opportunity for us. It is a great opportunity for technology companies like us to really be at the forefront and cater to our customers’ requirements.

How is India contributing to the global project development at Siemens Digital Industries Software?
India is very strong on software delivery and our contribution towards core product development. For Siemens Digital Industries Software, we have a large facility in Pune, which is a co-development centre with other Siemens global locations. India is an important centre for Siemens globally, and there is a lot of value being generated from products developed in India.

Since a lot is happening in collaboration with our customers, there is a fair bit of interaction that happens with our customers during development, and one thing that is certain is that the Indian consumer is always very discerning. They would use a product much more than probably some of the other countries, and that is where the product is really tested, because our conditions, the load, the volume, everything gets tested. So, India is a key part of global product development for Siemens.

This interview was first published in Autocar Professional's August 15, 2023 issue.

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