and yellow banners. “Unbelievable!” screams Luiz, who is reporting on the game for a Brazilian newspaper. “I don’t believe it!” chimes in his German colleague Harry, who clearly doesn’t share his euphoria.
Both have been sitting with their laptops and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) in the press section, where they are following the game. Their computers are linked via a radio network with a number of cameras at the edge of the playing field that automatically follow the ball and always keep it in focus. That enables the reporters to keep track of what’s going on in detail. “One to zero for Brazil, which has taken the lead against the run of play in the 48th minute,” says Harry into his PDA. Luiz, after commenting “Brazil has deservedly taken the lead” into his own computer, says “Don’t look so morose, amigo. We’ve simply got superior technique, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“You may be right, but that only goes for the soccer field,” replies Harry. “Just look around, and you’ll see that the whole stadium is full of advanced technology made in Ger- many.” He points to a glassed-in room on the left under the press section. “That’s the con- trol center for the building and security tech- nology. It’s networked with the local police, the fire station and all of the security systems in the stadium. There are a lot of them, even though you don’t notice them immediately. Intelligent cameras monitor the stadium and report any unusual incidents — for example, if somebody waves a burning torch in the stands, like that guy over there is doing right now. The cameras are linked with a network of many tiny sensors that autonomously ex- change information, measure the tempera- ture and detect any smoke that develops anywhere in the stadium. In case of an emer- gency, these electronic watchdogs automati- cally sound an alarm. All of the information converges down there in the control center. I’ll bet you they’ve already detected that man with the torch, thanks to the cameras, and that they’ll send over some security guards immediately to check him out.”
Meanwhile, back on the playing field, Brazil is dominating the game. A wave of ju- bilation sweeps through the stadium and washes over the reporters. They watch as the “La Ola!” wave reaches the stands where the German fans are sitting and gradually disinte- grates. “You may have great engineers, but you sure don’t have rhythm,” grins Luiz. “But
without our technology it would take your fans much longer to be able to show off their sense of rhythm,” counters Harry, holding his admission ticket under his colleague’s nose. “These tickets contain RFID chips made of plastic. They enable the fans to get into the stadium quickly and easily. The reading sys- tems in every section register which area each spectator is sitting in. And the tickets not only admit their holders to the stadium, they’re also parking permits and tickets for public transportation. But — hold on a second!”
Defender Philipp Lahm has stolen the ball from Ronaldinho and passed it to Podolski, who evades two Brazilian defenders before scoring the equalizer. It’s now the German fans’ — and Harry’s turn — to scream and shout.
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch! That was just a lucky break!” grumbles Luiz, gazing mistrustfully at his laptop, where the scene is being replayed. But Harry is grow- ing in confidence. “You’re the one who was lucky today. If you hadn’t followed the traffic management system’s recommendations, you would have missed the opening goal. That was another one of the innovations I was talking about. Thousands of sensors, cameras and TrafficOnline systems located along the roads monitor traffic and transmit their data to the traffic management center. The center then makes recommendations to drivers via their navigation systems and mobile phones. For example, it can suggest that they switch to public transportation for a certain route.”
On the playing field, Ronaldinho is once again swinging into action. He brilliantly drib- bles around the German defense and shoots. The ball bounces off the goalpost and rolls along the goal line until a player kicks it out of play. “Goooal!” shouts Luiz. “That’s what you think,” replies his German colleague. “The ball didn’t cross the goal line. There’s no way that was a goal!” Luiz is of a different opinion, but decides not to waste his time arguing. “We’ll find out in a minute,” he says. “Ever since the 2006 World Cup in Germany, all the balls have been equipped with RFID chips that deter- mine whether the ball really crossed the goal line.” He presses a key on his laptop, which is linked with the reader system at the goal post. And a clear message appears in the text window: Brazil is leading 2:1, and there are just 30 seconds left to play. “I love your tech- n o l o g y , ” s a y s L u i z , g r i n n i n g f r o m e a r t o e a r . ■ F l o r i a n M a r t i n i
Avoiding traffic congestion, increasing safety, speeding up industrial production and sales channels, or simply making our lives more comfortable — intelligent networking is increasingly doing all these things. Few other companies can equal Siemens when it comes to specialized knowledge of a field that includes everything from sensors, actuators and software to the necessary information and communication technology.
Societies function because their members organize themselves and form networks. That’s true of dolphins hunting for food, ants building a nest, bushmen in the wilderness and stockbrokers at the stock exchange.
Networks for Living
B ushmen in the African savanna, stockbro- kers in New York, ant colonies and dol- phins have more features in common than most people realize. All of these communities function because they communicate, organ- ize themselves and form networks. That’s the only way social beings can master the chal- lenges posed by their environments. This age- old recipe for success is also being used by modern technology. Thanks to sensors and actuators, as well as software that gives inert objects a measure of intelligence and identity, technical systems are becoming increasingly autonomous. They can also form networks with one another at a higher level with the help of communications technology. In com- bination, they can then operate faster and more efficiently, flexibly and cost-effectively than their isolated counterparts.
This principle of “added value through in- telligent networking” is one of the major trends of the 21st Century. It applies to build-
ing technology, industrial automation, mer- chandise monitoring in logistics, traffic telem- atics, networking in the health care sector and energy technology. And, of course, the success of the Internet and worldwide radio networks is also due to intelligent network- ing. In all of these areas, Siemens stands out when it comes to expert solutions. It not only has comprehensive know-how regarding sen- sors, actuators and the necessary embedded software and communication technologies; even more important, experts at Siemens are also familiar with the needs of their cus- tomers in all of these areas.
A Siemens-wide Trend. The trend toward intelligent networking is therefore a common feature of all Siemens Groups, and it makes synergies possible. In turn, the development of sensors, software platforms and communi- cation technologies benefits many Groups (see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2004). For ex-
ample, self-organizing sensor networks can help to extinguish fires in buildings, produce avalanche warnings or boost the efficiency of offshore wind parks (see p.14). “The compre- hensive distribution of information and the networking of the world is becoming more of a reality every day,” says Prof. Friedemann Mattern of the Swiss Federal Institute of Tech- nology in Zurich. “Over the long term, an In- ternet of inanimate objects is being created. Its operations will seem like invisible magic to us.” (see p. 22)
In the traffic sector in particular, intelligent networking results in value added, because people’s mobility is continually increasing. In Europe alone, the volume of passenger traffic has increased by more than 18 percent since the early 1990s, according to EU statistics. So it’s no wonder that the market for telematics systems is set to grow by leaps and bounds in the future. According to a Frost & Sullivan study, it will increase from its present level of
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2005