A Warm Welcome to Our Brand-New Interview Series “Five Questions for…”
We asked our members of the iiRDS Consortium what motivates them to actively participate. Read what our members are hoping for from working on the standard for the intelligent delivery of user information and how companies are at the same time preparing for the change in the world of Industrie 4.0. The first five questions go to Christian Geiger.
Christian J. Geiger
Director Marketing Communication, Endress+Hauser
Christian Geiger joined Endress+Hauser in 1989. After various positions at MarCom in the areas of production and sales, he took over responsibility for corporate marketing communications in 2007. His area of responsibility also includes technical communication.
- As the iiRDS Consortium was founded for the further development of the standard, what was the motivation for you and your company to join?
Standardization is a difficult and usually time-consuming process: At what point can a standard be considered a standard? How many standards may (still) coexist before one can no longer really speak of a standard?
We at Endress+Hauser are convinced of the need to push ahead with standardization, because the more standardized things are, the easier they can be transferred, further developed and used on a broader scale. In the course of the digital transformation of our industry, the digital twin of the physical product is becoming more and more important. Most manufacturers generate a large amount of information around their physical products, which means the data are available. It becomes critical when you start to think about how you can modularize and categorize these data automatically. This requires definitions on which as large a number of manufacturers as possible have agreed in order to create as great a benefit as possible for customers.
We hope that the iiRDS Consortium will help us to pursue such definitions and motivate as many market participants as possible. We want to support these efforts and are therefore involved in the Consortium.
- The roadmap contains numerous plans and ideas: what are you most hoping for from the Consortium?
Today, industrial companies such as ourselves, but also software companies, are involved in the Consortium and, in the future, this will certainly include user companies as well. There is a need for a position that takes care of all interests in an overall and objective way, keeping an overview of all areas and topics that are necessary for iiRDS to become a globally accepted standard. In my opinion, this is the responsibility of tekom as “Leading Member” of the Consortium and, in a supporting role, the Consortium members.
In addition to the “voluntary” work, there will also be some subjects that need to be “outsourced” as a project due to their scope and complexity; here, I expect the Consortium to play a neutral and objective role in contracting.
- What are you looking forward to in the internal work of the Consortium?
To be honest, I look forward most of all to the work that we still have in front of us today being completed and iiRDS successfully implemented as the most far-reaching standard possible. In my opinion, the Consortium’s efforts are a means to an end: The aim and purpose of our work must be to provide our customers with better and more user-friendly information in the future. Everything must be subordinated to this goal.
- Which practical implementations do you see for using iiRDS in your company – now and in the future?
As I indicated before: We are one of the world’s leading suppliers of field instrumentation and process automation, and we help our customers improve their production processes. These processes use a variety of different sensors that need to be configured, installed, operated and maintained from time to time.
For this purpose, our customers have a large amount of information about our products at their disposal; however, these are largely “caught” in documentation. The user has to search through operating instructions page by page in order to get to a certain relevant piece of information that he needs at a certain moment. We want to change that.
In the future, a system will have to display exactly the information that the user needs in a specific moment of his customer journey on a device that can be freely selected by the customer.
And, for this purpose, iiRDS and the success of this standard’s implementation are important for us.
- Where do you see iiRDS three years from now?
Gazing into a crystal ball doesn’t really do much, but I do have wishes for the Consortium: I want the companies involved in the Consortium to be aware of the fact that such standardization efforts are more like a marathon race than a 100m sprint. So we’re going to need a lot of air to get where we want to be… whenever that’s going to be.
Secondly, I hope that we don’t get lost in power struggles and stakeholdership. Membership in a Consortium always entails the danger, to a certain extent, that individual members try to compete in order to achieve their goals. In the course of time I have already experienced enough standardization projects to know that such shifts endanger the overall result. We must not allow that to happen.
If we succeed, we will be on the right track in three years’ time.
Thanks a lot to Christian Geiger who provided us this informative insight!
Do you have questions concerning iiRDS? Visit our communicative iiRDS-Café as part of the tekom fair 2018 on Wednesday, November 14 from 9:45 AM to 12:00 AM and exchange thoughts and information with our iiRDS experts.