Siemens AG will establish a dedicated business unit under the name, “next47,” to accelerate the development of new technologies, including blockchain applications. The name refers to the company’s founding in 1947.
The new unit will combine the independence, speed and agility with Siemens’ financial strength and credibility in serving a global customer base. One of its goals is to address blockchain applications intended to simplify and securitize data transfer in industry and energy trading.
Siegfried Russwurm, chief technology officer, said the company will fund the new unit with €1 billion in its first five years.
Joe Kaeser, president and CEO, said the unit allows Siemens to live up to its founder’s ideals by creating a basis for fostering innovation. The new unit will have the needed independence but be able to leverage Siemens’ unique advantages. The unit will have offices in Munich, Berkeley and Shanghai to cover all global regions.
The unit will build on Siemens’ current startup activities. It will be open to employees along with external startups and established companies that seek to pursue business ideas in Siemens’ strategic innovation fields.
“next47 will provide the freedom to experiment and grow – without the organizational restrictions of a large company,” Russwurm said. “Our new unit will rigorously pursue Siemens’ strategy and enable us to tap into disruptive ideas in our core areas of electrification, automation and digitalization.”
next47’s initial project will be the electrification of aviation, following an agreement in April 2016 with Airbus. The companies want to show the technical feasibility of hybrid/electric propulsion systems for small planes to mid-size passenger aircraft by the year 2020.
Other innovation areas will include decentralized electrification, networked mobility, autonomous machines and artificial intelligence.
The unit will also address blockchain applications intended to simplify and securitize data transfer in industry and energy trading.
Siemens has collaborated with startups since the late 1990s, having invested more than €800 million in about 180 startups in the last 20 years. The company stays in contact with more than 1,000 startups annually and launches about 20 cooperative ventures per year, having established more than a dozen of its own startups.
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