A Review Why TotalEnergies Selected Siemens’ MindSphere for IoT Monitoring and Services

MindSphere will soon link over 50 natural gas vehicle stations across Europe.

Engineers may remember that not too long ago, Siemens Digital Industries and TotalEnergies Gas Mobility announced that TotalEnergies has selected MindSphere, Siemens’ Industrial IoT (IIoT) as a service platform, to monitor, collect, and analyze data across its French, Belgian and Dutch natural gas vehicle (NGV) stations.

TotalEnergies Gas Mobility is the subsidiary of TotalEnergies, a French multinational energy company, one of the largest in the world and among the supermajors in Big Oil. The subsidiary is responsible for global oversight of the company’s natural gas, renewable natural gas, and hydrogen gas for vehicles. It also provides small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) for TotalEnergies’ industrial uses. The company will implement Siemens’ MindSphere to link over 50 natural gas vehicle (NGV) stations across western Europe in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

TotalEnergies has already connected over 50 natural gas vehicle stations across parts of western Europe as part of its digitalization strategy. (Image via TotalEnergies.)

TotalEnergies has already connected over 50 natural gas vehicle stations across parts of western Europe as part of its digitalization strategy. (Image via TotalEnergies.)

The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have only further highlighted the need for a more digitalized, smart, connected world. TotalEnergies Gas Mobility was able to quickly integrate and leverage MindSphere’s open out-of-the-box capabilities to achieve positive results in the first year. By employing a flexible platform like MindSphere, the company was able to connect and collect data from a variety of sources, turn that data into structured information, and then use that information to improve customer experience and internal operations. The availability of the wealth of data also provides companies with more information to identify potential new business models and processes.

“The Siemens IoT monitoring solution will enable us to better serve our internal customers and station owners, the local affiliated offices of TotalEnergies in different countries around the world, through enhanced station supervision, maintenance cost, and TCO [total cost of ownership aka running/operating costs] reduction,” remarked Total Energies Gas Mobility VP John Wilson. TotalEnergies has big plans for MindSphere and its IoT operations—the company hopes to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and to expand to over 450 renewable gas for vehicles stations by 2025. TotalEnergies hopes that the insight leveraged through the added layer of digitalization and connectivity will help retain its leadership position in the market.

TotalEnergies Gas Mobility’s adoption of MindSphere for its IIoT needs is part of a larger digitalization strategy that the company is undertaking. The company hopes to reduce maintenance costs through remote monitoring and service scheduling while also leveraging the data gathered to further improve its service offerings and generate additional operational insights.

Siemens’ MindSphere was chosen by TotalEnergies Gas Mobility specifically because of the diversity of its IoT portfolio and the software’s capability to orchestrate, collaborate and deliver digital services while supporting security operations and operational standards at scale. MindSphere is part of Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio of software and services, and the adoption of MindSphere is TotalEnergies Gas Mobility’s gateway into the wider Xcelerator portfolio.

The Xcelerator portfolio is Siemens Digital Industries’ full-cycle digital transformation software as a service (SaaS) that unites design, systems simulation, manufacturing, operations, and lifecycle analytics under one umbrella. The Xcelerator portfolio currently includes Polarion and Teamcenter as collaborative software, and Mendix for low-code application development to help drive digitalization. MindSphere is Xcelerator’s IoT analytics software that helps its users optimize operations, improve product offerings, and provide new business avenues by leveraging analytics gathered across products, plants, systems and other locations.

The following paragraphs provide a more in-depth discussion of MindSphere’s capabilities, while this paragraph shows the breadth of the Xcelerator portfolio.

Siemens’ Xcelerator is a software portfolio that helps companies embrace digitalization and turn operational complexity into competitive advantages. (Image via Siemens.)

Siemens’ Xcelerator is a software portfolio that helps companies embrace digitalization and turn operational complexity into competitive advantages. (Image via Siemens.)

Opcenter is Xcelerator’s manufacturing operations software that enables a complete digitalization of manufacturing operations to provide those who leverage analytics with end-to-end visibility into design, production and manufacturing operations to deliver key insights and robust models. Tecnomatix is Siemens’ manufacturing operations synergy software that allows companies to achieve synchronization between research and manufacturing engineering, production and service operations.

The portfolio also features additive manufacturing capabilities whereby a comprehensive digital twin is created to improve manufacturing processes related to often one-off complex products and parts for specialized equipment and purposes. Simcenter software expands on the digital twin simulation offerings by bringing together simulation, 3D computer-aided engineering (CAE), and testing under one roof to help deliver product and service innovations faster and with greater assurance.

The Xcelerator portfolio also features four distinct software packages for the electronics and mechanical manufacturing portfolios:

  • Siemens NX unites mechanical design, simulation and manufacturing to help improve product development times.
  • Solid Edge offers a low-cost, easy-to-use package that provides flexible tools that allow companies to digitalize their product development.
  • Capital is Xcelerator’s electrical/electronic development software that covers the full life cycle of electrical system manufacturing and service and includes software architectures, network communications and embedded software development.
  • Siemens electronic design automation (EDA) rounds out the portfolio by including integrated circuit design, verification and manufacturing capabilities as well as providing its users with full-on electronic systems design and manufacturing capabilities.

MindSphere is Siemens’ cloud-based, open IoT operating system that allows organizations to connect physical-, web-, and enterprise-based systems in one place. MindSphere supports multiple protocols concurrently, which allows for streamlined, centrally-organized operations despite the heterogeneity of the types of data sources. Siemens has created an ecosystem that allows for a wide range of applications by creating a multi-tiered federated architecture that builds connectivity and applications on top of the base MindSphere platform.

MindSphere’s architecture enables users to build connectivity and applications on top of the open platform. (Image via Siemens.)

MindSphere’s architecture enables users to build connectivity and applications on top of the open platform. (Image via Siemens.)

MindSphere applications are developed by Siemens’ industry specialist teams and on-call consultants, and the company has also cultivated a diverse and experienced partner ecosystem of well-known independent software vendors to develop applications for users. This provides customers with the flexibility to choose the solution that is best suited to their needs—they do not have to choose Siemens’ in-house teams. They are able to shop around from a variety of developers while also having the option of developing their own applications, if they have the capacity to do so.

The open architecture of the platform as a service (PaaS) is hosted in data centers of various cloud providers. Whether it be Amazon Web Services, Azure or others, the powerful cloud service offers a full package of production, operations and developer environments. MindSphere’s connectivity layer enables its adopters to connect all their physical assets, as well as its web and enterprise information technology systems, to MindSphere.

This allows MindSphere to bring together all of an organization’s relevant physical and nonphysical asset monitoring in one place while also providing support for third-party resources for additional operational flexibility. This connection solution is called MindConnect, and the security framework embedded within it follows the most stringent industry and legal standards while also allowing for additional use-specific security protocols.

Organizations can fully reap the rewards of digitalization when assets are fluidly connected and access to current and historical data is possible. Data processed in a centralized system not only allows organizations to standardize their reporting practices better but also provides the opportunity for operations teams, business analysts, and data scientists to discover new insights that have the potential to profitably transform a business.

These types of insights are more common in a connected organization and next to impossible in a disconnected one. TotalEnergies selected MindSphere’s MindConnect solution because it offers both physical and software assets to help bring organizations’ information under one roof.