Using Amazon Web Services to Accelerate Siemens’ Smart Building Solutions

Siemens Building Technologies provides automation technologies and services for commercial, industrial, and public buildings and infrastructures. These building automation systems help to integrate and easily manage a number of different common building features like heating, ventilation, air conditioning applications, lights and blinds, safety features, and equipment from one centralized hub. The result is significant energy and cost savings.

As part of its forward-thinking initiatives, in 2017, Siemens launched MindSphere, a cloud-based, open IoT operating system that connects products, plants, systems, and machines; it allows industrial customers to make decisions based on valuable data generated by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Accelerating Speed to Market of Smart Building Products

Siemens wanted to augment the MindSphere platform to get their building automation products into their customers’ hands faster, generate greater market value, and gain a competitive advantage. As it stood, MindSphere successfully provided low-level APIs for IIoT applications to build on top of; the goal was to leverage those low-level APIs to provide higher-level ones optimized for the Smart Building market, in turn allowing Siemens to develop and deliver Smart Building solutions at an accelerated rate.

Augmenting MindSphere would require that it be integrated with Horizon, another Siemens’ product. As a global, high-performance, and scalable platform, Horizon is powered by MindSphere and handles the foundational capabilities needed for secure data ingestion, data management, and remotely manage Smart Buildings. SPR worked with Siemens to architect and implement the next generation of Horizon and looked to product offerings from Amazon Web Services to perform the integration.

Why Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) was a surefire choice—not only is Siemens an AWS strategic partner, MindSphere runs in AWS. That said, it also made sense for the project. “AWS has a mature and well-understood cloud offering, expansive partner network, and continually collaborates with its customers to automate processes by creating services that directly address common customer needs so they don’t have to roll their own solutions,” said David Kinney, principal architect for SPR. “Specific to the Horizon project, AWS’s premier serverless compute and storage services with on-demand scalability and pricing gave Siemens the service reliability and flexibility they needed to rapidly grow their customer base.”

The Outcome

Over the course of the project, the technology stack made a few significant shifts, but SPR’s flexibility and AWS’s diverse product offerings helped to stay nimble and easily adjust to shifting needs; the team successfully completed the Horizon-MindSphere integration over the course of a few months. To achieve Siemens' performance and scalability needs, SPR worked with Siemens to implement an event-driven serverless architecture based on Lambda serverless compute and DynamoDB serverless storage. The platform's operational observability is built on CloudWatch and X-Ray.

With the implementation complete, Siemens' product teams can now focus on delivering superior Smart Building hardware products and software user experiences opposed to dealing with low-level technical minutia day to day.

AWS Products Used

  • AWS Lambda

    Provides automatic scalability, time to market, and cost transparency
  • Amazon DynamoDB

    Optimizes performance for web applications, is extremely fast and scalable
  • Amazon API Gateway

    Turns web requests into Lambda requests
  • Amazon API Gateway Cross-Account Lambda Authorizer

    Improves maintenance and management across multiple APIs
  • Amazon Simple Email Service (SES)

    Flexible, affordable, and highly-scalable email sending and receiving platform
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)

    Provides messaging for microservices, distributed systems, and serverless applications
  • Amazon X-Ray

    Provides superior performance and operational monitoring
  • Amazon CloudWatch Logs

    Monitors systems and applications using log data