Roland Busch, stellvertretender Osram-Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender und Mitglied des Vorstands der Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, blickt am 16.02.2016 auf der Hauptversammlung der Osram Licht AG im Internationalen Congress Center München (ICM) in München (Bayern) in die Kamera. Photo by: Matthias Balk/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Roland Busch, Siemens chief tecnology officer is dismissive of critics who ask what happens when machines no longer need humans to direct them as AI becomes more advanced. Matthias Balk /AP

Exclusive: Siemens to open global airport and cargo unit in Dubai

Siemens, Europe's largest industrial conglomerate, has created a global division catering to airports, cargo and logistics in Dubai in conjunction with a digital platform, or industrial internet of things, near the Dubai Expo 2020 site. The new unit will be operational from the first quarter of 2018 and is part of the German industrial major's focus on innovation and its core technologies.

"We see this really as a growth market and we thought it's best to build it there where you have one of the biggest hubs in the world which is Dubai…We are starting that as we speak, we are ramping it up," Roland Busch, chief technology officer of Siemens said in an interview with The National.

"It has two legs. One is on Expo 2020 in Dubai. We are bringing the MindSphere technology platform to it," he said. "The other leg is that we are locating our headquarter for airports and cargo into Dubai, driving digitalisation there. This is very much digitalisation driven, the way you optimise your flow in your airport or cargo is definitely impacted heavily by digital transformation."

Siemens, which ranks among the 10 largest software companies globally, has been investing aggressively in research and development (R&D) and acquisition of software companies as it seeks to strengthen its position to leverage data analytics and the global economy's pivot towards digitisation, automation and electrification. The company plans to increase R&D spending by 8 per cent in 2018 to €5.6 billion (US$6.57bn) from €5.2bn a year earlier. About €1.2bn of the total is invested in its digital business. Since 2014, the company has increased R&D spending by 40 per cent.The company's MindSphere Application Centre in Dubai and the new business unit dedicated to airports and cargo will be based in the Dubai South area next to the Expo site. The Mindsphere platform facilitates data analytics with a view to increasing efficiency and optimisation of businesses.


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The efficacy of the platform will receive a boost when Siemen's partnership with Amazon Web Services, the most popular cloud provider, comes into effect next month.

“MindSphere is an open operating system. You can connect all the different dots, the energy system, the buildings, mobility under one umbrella, a sector coupling so to speak,” Mr Busch said. “So you can gather data, store the data and make them available for creating cases and applications. Northbound of our operating system, we have open APIs [application programming interface], any third party can use the data and program their applications on it.”

Siemens, which competes with General Electric, has about 40,000 employees dedicated to R&D. The company has 200 data and artificial intelligence (AI) analysts who added to the number of software applications last year by 250. Siemen's leveraging of AI and digital technologies such as 3D has already led to Strata and Etihad to develop the region's first 3D-printed parts for aircraft interiors.

Mr Busch is dismissive of critics who ask what happens when machines no longer need humans to direct them as AI becomes more advanced.

“If you would have worried about the people feeding the horses and taking care of them in the past, we would never have combustion cars,” he said. “It’s technology rolling in, it kills certain jobs, you don’t need so many horses anymore. In these kind of disruptive changes you always some jobs which are transformed and others which are created,” he said.

An aging global population is also adversely affecting the world’s economy and technology can provide the reboot that can foster growth, Mr Busch said.

“We are living in an aging society globally. China’s labor market has peaked,” he said. Making his point Mr Bush cited a study by the consultancy McKinsey that illustrated waning growth over a 50-year period compared to a previous period, that was due to the lower number of people entering the labour force because of an ageing population. The gap in productivity can be bridged through the deployment of new technologies, Mr Busch said.

“It’s not worrying about not creating enough jobs to feed people,” he said. “It’s more about new jobs coming up, where people have to be trained and deployed.”

Siemens spends €500 million on training employees annually.

The Munich company has been trimming, restructuring and spinning off businesses as it vies to become more nimble and efficient. Siemens plans to list a minority stake between 15 to and 25 percent of Healthineers, its medical equipment business on the Frankfurt stock exchange in the first half of 2018, Mr Busch said. The IPO is slated to be Germany's largest offering since Deutsche Telekom's IPO listing in 1996 and is estimated to value the unit at €40 bn.

“Let’s see how the market reacts. We are going to IPO it… We are just about to make the market for it and introduce it,” Mr Busch said.

Brexit and the ensuing uncertainty over Europe’s relationship with the United Kingdom did not dissuade Siemens from listing the company in London, he said.

The lingering question for Siemens is related to how Brexit will impact the pound and the UK's economy which may adversely affect the company's overall performance.

“It’s about the valuation of the pound. We are not really changing our strategy there. The only thing worrying about Brexit is the way trading happens between the UK and European countries if that slows down the economy in the UK it has an impact on our markets…If the market slows down it will pull some of our business down too.”

The company continues to collaborate with Rolls-Royce and Airbus to develop a single-aisle 100-seater hybrid electric aircraft that is likely to be operational commercially by 2030, he said. The prototype and testing will be complete by 2020, Mr Busch said.


Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver review

Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Ed Skrein, Sir Anthony Hopkins
Rating: 2/5

Chris Jordan on Sanchit

Chris Jordan insists Sanchit Sharma will make an impact on the ILT20, despite him starting the campaign on Gulf Giants' bench.
The young UAE seamer was an instant success for the side last season, and remained part of the XI as they claimed the title.
He has yet to feature this term as the Giants have preferred Aayan Khan and Usman Khan as their two UAE players so far.
However, England quick Jordan is sure his young colleague will have a role to play at some point.
"Me and Sanchit have a great relationship from last season," Jordan said.
"Whenever I am working with more inexperienced guys, I take pleasure in sharing as much as possible.
"I know what it was like when I was younger and learning off senior players.
"Last season Sanchit kick-started our season in Abu Dhabi with a brilliant man-of-the-match performance.
"Coming into this one, I have seen a lot of improvement. The focus he is showing will only stand him in good stead."


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


5pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,200m, Winner: ES Rubban, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Ibrahim Aseel (trainer)

5.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh85,000 (T) 1,200m, Winner: Al Mobher, Sczcepan Mazur, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

6pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m, Winner: Jabalini, Tadhg O’Shea, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

6.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 2,200m, Winner: AF Abahe, Tadgh O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7pm: Handicap (PA) Dh85,000 (T) 1,600m, Winner: AF Makerah, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m, Winner: Law Of Peace, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside


Sunday, February 3, 2019 - Rome to Abu Dhabi
1pm: departure by plane from Rome / Fiumicino to Abu Dhabi
10pm: arrival at Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport

Monday, February 4
12pm: welcome ceremony at the main entrance of the Presidential Palace
12.20pm: visit Abu Dhabi Crown Prince at Presidential Palace
5pm: private meeting with Muslim Council of Elders at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
6.10pm: Inter-religious in the Founder's Memorial

Tuesday, February 5 - Abu Dhabi to Rome
9.15am: private visit to undisclosed cathedral
10.30am: public mass at Zayed Sports City – with a homily by Pope Francis
12.40pm: farewell at Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport
1pm: departure by plane to Rome
5pm: arrival at the Rome / Ciampino International Airport


Creator: Netflix

Stars: Kris Fade, Ebraheem Al Samadi, Zeina Khoury

Rating: 2/5


Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder
Power: 210hp
Torque: 320Nm
Price: Starting from Dh89,900
On sale: Now

Blue Beetle

Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Stars: Xolo Mariduena, Adriana Barraza, Damian Alcazar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez
Rating: 4/5 

Super Rugby play-offs


  • Hurricanes 35, ACT 16
  • Crusaders 17, Highlanders 0
  • Lions 23, Sharks 21
  • Chiefs 17, Stormers 11


Saturday, July 29

  • Crusaders v Chiefs, 12.35pm (UAE)
  • Lions v Hurricanes, 4.30pm

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