1847–2019Pioneering technologies and business models built on them have been an integral part of Siemens’ DNA for 170 years – innovations that stand out because they don’t stop with the invention itself, but become established in the market as new products, solutions or services. These are innovations that shape the world because they concentrate on key technologies that make a significant contribution to economic and social progress.
1847: The pointer telegraph revolutionizes communicationsWerner von Siemens’ very first innovation already had far-reaching significance – besides providing the basis on which he founded his “Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske,” the Telegraph Construction Company of Siemens & Halske, in 1847. This was the beginning of a new era in communications. Individual electric telegraph lines led to national networks, linking regions and cities together. Communications technology soon penetrated into everyday use: the telephone that Siemens played an important role in helping to introduce was the start of telephony as a mass means of communication.
1866: The dynamo machine lays the cornerstone of power engineeringInventing the dynamo machine was Werner von Siemens’ most significant innovation. He recognized the concrete benefits of the dynamo electric principle, and made a standing maxim of his principle that an invention’s value lies in its practical implementation. The dynamo made it possible to use electricity for everyday purposes, and laid the foundation for the use of power technology.
1930s to today: Innovations revolutionize medical technologyCutting-edge technologies from Siemens have also set new standards on the way to integrated healthcare delivery. In the 1930s, the Siemens X-ray sphere founded modern medical radiological technology. In 1983 the MAGNETOM was the world’s first magnetic resonance tomography unit (MRT). And in 2010 the company’s “Biograph mMR” opened up another hitherto unimagined dimension in medical imaging. Just three examples of a long history of innovative successes from Siemens in medical technology.
1958 to today: Siemens opens the way to automation and digitalizationIn the late 1950s, the company achieved world market standing in automation technology as well, with the introduction of the SIMATIC control solution. It’s also Siemens who has been bringing “Industrie 4.0” to life and has played an active role in shaping it. The course for the digital automation of complete production facilities was already set back in the 1990s, and today Siemens’ first Internet of Things operating system makes it possible to fully connect machines and physical infrastructure with the digital world.
Taking new pathways, encouraging and integrating disruptive ideas
But innovation today isn’t limited to technology. What’s needed in addition is new pathways and methods. And here again, Siemens is leading the way. Its innovation fund and idea platforms like Quickstarter offer its employees new ways to contribute and finance their ideas. And the new next47 unit, introduced in 2017, has laid a whole new foundation for the company’s collaboration with startups. With an investment budget of about a billion euros over five years, next47 is intended to encourage disruptive ideas that have the potential to generate growth in the fields where Siemens foresees a big future – electrification, automation and digitalization. It’s no coincidence that the name next47 alludes to 1847, the year when Siemens was founded. It closes the circle for a company that is inspired to make real what matters – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Dr. Johannes von Karczewski