The founders actually called the first Munich Security Conference (MSC) a “transatlantic family meeting.” There were only a few dozen people, mostly German and American.
Now, the conference is better described as an “international family meeting,” with policymakers and decision-makers from around the world. I’ll address some of them as part of Innovation Night, a forum hosted by the MSC, the Cyber Innovation Hub of the Bundeswehr and Siemens to discuss the intersections between technological progress and creating a more secure world.
I’m glad to be part of this important and necessary conversation. The Fourth Industrial Revolution knows no geographic boundaries. Its value chains and use of data in many ways transcend them. It’s creating business models while testing regulatory models. And it’s forcing the roles of government and business to be redefined.
What we’re finding is that global companies are uniquely qualified to ensure global stability. At Siemens, we navigate different challenges, expectations and policies in every single market we serve. And when we pair our larger purpose to serve society with a local approach to investment, we have an opportunity to foster innovation alliances across sectors and continents. We have a role to play in helping ensure that, as the physical and the virtual worlds converge, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is lifting people up – that today’s innovation, and tomorrow’s, is serving to create a more prosperous global society.
Here are three examples of what that looks like, which I’ll share as part of my remarks in Munich tonight.
Frameworks for data that build trust
Our world now possesses 40 times more bytes of data than stars we can see in the sky. We now have all of the digital tools we need to put this data to use to help us address the global megatrends we’re facing – trends like climate change, urbanization, digitalization, an aging population, and increasing globalization.
But as much as technology, everything we endeavor to do is really built upon trust. And that starts with cybersecurity.
Two years ago, Siemens launched the Charter of Trust, a global alliance with other like-minded companies to set standards and best practices for securing the world’s critical infrastructure.
But gaining trust also comes through focusing on purpose. We must show that the data we possess – and that will flow across borders – will only be used to improve lives and strengthen communities.
It’s this trustworthy use of data that’s now enabling us to provide clean, reliable and affordable energy to underserved areas. It’s helping us give healthcare providers more advanced tools to care for a world population that’s aging. It’s helping us empower cities to meet their sustainability goals and offer industries new ways to drive productivity.
Partnerships to deliver wins in the developing world
This is what happened when Siemens and Afghanistan’s Bayat Energy joined forces last year. Our mobile gas turbine offered a power solution that, once on site in Afghanistan, could deliver electricity to some 200,000 homes in a matter of weeks. We built a mobile unit in Houston, shipped it to Dubai and then flew it to Afghanistan, where we worked with our partners and the national utility to get it up and running.
We’re bringing reliable power to a country where 90 percent of the population has either limited electricity access or none at all. And we’re making progress in what we believe is the moonshot goal of our generation: bringing affordable, reliable, sustainable power to the roughly 850 million people worldwide who still lack electricity.
A renewed commitment to people
From the first time a human picked up a rock, it became a tool for expanding what was humanly possible. The technology we have today is no different. It simply can’t work without a human involved in its development and deployment.
We need to focus a global workforce agenda on not leaving anyone behind. But here’s another question: What if anyone could code?
Think about how this would shatter the barriers for entry for anyone interested in building the apps of tomorrow for digital industry, for smart infrastructure, or for energy. This is what Siemens is aspiring to do by acquiring the low-code development platform created by the startup Mendix.
We don’t see it just as a business win. We see this as a way to empower people to drive their own digital transformations. We see this as opening new doors for people to advance their digital skills. With power and connectivity, anyone, anywhere, can be part of the digital revolution that’s changing lives, lifting economies and enhancing global security.
Through innovation alliances, we can further the mission of stability and peace that the MSC champions. We can build trust, forge interconnected partnerships, and connect people and inspire them to innovate like never before. We can look toward the future as truly ours to shape.