Siemens strengthens its position as “SAP for the railways”

Siemens strengthens its position as “SAP for the railways”

Siemens strengthens its position as “SAP for the railways”

In the production hall of Siemens Braunschweig for printed circuit boards. Pictures (6): Hermann Schmidtendorf
The city of Braunschweig is a traditional industrial center in north-west Germany. In the immediate vicinity of the main train station is a large research and production plant of the Siemens group with 3,500 employees. It is the largest Siemens site for rail automation worldwide.

However, a different topic was the focus of a press presentation on July 5, 2022. A large number of high-ranking executives introduced the topic, which will also dominate Siemens Mobility’s presence at this year’s Innotrans trade fair. The leitmotif is: Destination Digital.

Michael Peter, CEO von Siemens Mobility

Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility: “The slogan we created here is “SAP for rail”. We want to give our customers, but also the passengers, operating systems so that they can use the train more effectively.”

Michael Peter sees the main difference to the competitors in the railway industry in the fact that Siemens is an industrial group. As a result, solutions are also being created in many areas of the company in the digital area that can also be used in the mobility area. For this purpose, other important special companies have now been acquired and combined in a separate “Mobility Software” area.

Johannes Emmelheinz, CEO Customer Services Siemens Mobility

Johannes Emmelheinz, CEO Customer Services Siemens Mobility, presented some digital use cases from the mobility sector: “In 2018 we had the first fully digitalized service operation. That was really a milestone. The trains create work orders directly in our live system.”

Journalists from Belgium, Austria, Great Britain and Poland were also invited to the presentation. What were their impressions? Michał Szymajda, editor of the leading railway magazine Rynek Kolejowy, felt it was a “great opportunity” to be informed about news from the broad digitalisation and the associated offers from Siemens. In Poland and certainly in many other countries as well, decision-makers are still far from aware of the great technological developments that have been made recently.

“Decision-makers in Poland have the problem that they don’t use public transport,” Szymajda is sure. “They don’t know what problems plague passengers on both international and long-distance journeys or in urban areas. There are cities in Poland, there are whole agglomerations like the Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot region, where buying a single ticket for a train, bus or trolleybus is still a problem. At this conference we clearly see that technologically it is not a problem to create a ticket generated by a single application that would be valid for all modes of transport.

Here in Braunschweig there is also a lot of talk about the German €9 ticket. This is a never ending topic. Together with my colleagues from my editorial office in Poland, we asked ourselves whether such a ticket, a cheap ticket, would make sense in Poland. We quickly came to the conclusion that no – because there is no integrated offer of train, bus, trolleybus and bicycle in Poland. We can only develop it further, we still have a lot to do in Poland.”

Bart van Munster, CEO Sqills

Last year, Siemens Mobility added Sqills, a Dutch provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for inventory management, reservation and ticketing, to its software sector. The most recent acquisition is the French company Padam. It offers on-demand and paratransit software solutions.

“We realized that the industry lacked a standard, configurable product for booking train tickets online,” said Sqills CEO Bart van Munster of his company’s beginnings. “Back then, it was very difficult to book a ticket for the Eurostar, for example. And the idea was born to develop a standard, configurable software solution for booking products. And we did. We started development of the S3 Passenger. Step by step, more customers started using it. S3 Passenger is a software-as-a-service inventory management, seat reservation and ticket distribution platform for long-distance rail and bus operators. We now work for 35 operators around the world.”

“Our customer community is currently a nice mix of established state-owned companies, large operators, but also newcomers like iryo in Spain and Itabus in Italy. This proves that the product is capable of handling all types of operators with just one code base.”

Michael Frankenberg, CEO Software Siemens Mobility

The preliminary conclusion of the restructuring at Siemens Mobility was the merger of the various companies into the “Software Siemens Mobility” unit. Michael Frankenberg, who is already CEO of HACON, which belongs to Siemens, took over the post of CEO. Frankenberg gave the CARGO-MANAGER an example of new digital possibilities:

“In London there is the so-called Oyster Card for regular customers. You need a lot of infrastructure to use them, because you have to physically check in on a device with a card or smartphone. Nowadays, however, the smartphone can also do this on its own.”

Obvioisly, there are many ways to promote environmentally friendly rail transport. The manufacturers of new solutions must now reach the decision-makers and convince them that the innovations work safely in all situations and bring real benefits. Of course, this is easier with signal technology offers that have been in use for many years.

Andre Rodenbeck, CEO Rail Infrastructure Siemens Mobility

Because these, as emphasized by the Braunschweig host Andre Rodenbeck, CEO Rail Infrastructure Siemens Mobility, are of course not losing their importance:

“We have a huge range of products from very, very old traditional products to the newest products. But we have also been electrifying the railways for more than 100 years. In Germany there is an ambition to get to 70% electrification, which is a huge task in itself. But all this electrification for rail also comes from us.”

Hermann Schmidtendorf, Editor-in-Chief

We have also produced an in-depth film in English about the event, check it out! The link:

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