Cover story: Disrupting the status quo

Cover story: Disrupting the status quo
Siersdorfer joined Siemens in 1987.
Published: 14 May 2018 - 8:49 a.m.
By: Jonathan Sheikh-Miller

Mapping, or digitalising, long-standing oil facilities or plants using 3D cameras also interests Siersdorfer as the results provide “a real asset database which is based on actuals”. Technicians could then be sent, guided by visual data and utilising smart glasses, to the exact spot where a failure has occurred.

Technology and new innovations are intrinsic motivations for Siersdorfer and in the lead-up to Siemens’ Innovation Day he wrote briefly about the potential impacts of blockchain –the most hyped technological innovation around right now.

But is blockchain a game-changer or a buzzword?

Siersdorfer observes that most people know blockchain through its connection to cryptocurrencies and its press coverage, but its real value, for example, is in tracking complex, multi-party series of transactions without risk of modification.

“What is coming out of the well, what is coming to the processing plant, what is transferred to the tanker, what is coming to the customer in Korea or Germany or wherever you transport your stuff. So tracking these many transactions that are done, who is getting what, in a blockchain, this is more secure than doing this manually. Typically there are many parties involved, many independent parties involved.”

With the “millions” of transactions undertaken in the oil and gas sector, blockchain offers a means to record and monitor them securely. Blockchain is a “young technology” and its potential innovations and uses are not yet available “off the shelf”. Siemens itself is assessing blockchain for its own internal operations, with regard to processing elongated and frequently adjusted contracts.

Siemens has an estimated 40,000 employees engaged in research and development (R&D) globally and spends $6bn a year on R&D alone as it works to stay ahead of its competitors. Innovation is not just a core value, but also a necessity.

With the changing industry landscape, and the increasing impact of AI, digitalisation, renewables and electric cars, there is a surely a need for more innovative ideas to start filtering down directly from the boardroom.

“I see a lot of companies, such as ADNOC, they are adapting to it, they got leaner, they slimmed themselves down, they made the operations better, they work much closer together between the former operating companies, so we see this happening and this is innovation. This is adapting to new technologies  - and this we will see in a greater scale. And the good ones will survive and the ones that are not adapting will not survive.”


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