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This is just the beginning!

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Philipp Guth is the new Senior Vice President of the Business Unit Automation & Electrification Solutions at Bosch Rexroth. His new position combines the responsibilities of CTO and CEO of the Business Unit. In this interview he tells us why ctrlX AUTOMATION has the potential to become the leading automation platform in the market, how well accepted the solution has been so far and where the journey is leading to. That's for sure: The aims are ambitious!

Mr Guth, starting now, you are the new CEO of the Business Unit Automation & Electrification Solutions. What advantages or synergies will result from the combination of the CTO and CEO function?

With ctrlX AUTOMATION our Business Unit has completely reinvented itself and is in a start-up mode despite its size of 3,500 employees. In this early phase of the market launch, we are learning a lot every day and we would like to use the feedbacks and experiences directly in the operationalization of our strategy. We consciously focus on an agile mode of operation in sales and development. This allows us to make necessary adjustments quickly and in a controlled manner. Combining the roles of CTO and CEO is a logical step in this process, because quick decisions live not least from flat hierarchies.

You have certainly set yourself high goals for your new job. How do these look like?

That is answered quickly: We want to expand ctrlX AUTOMATION into a leading automation platform over the next years. The fundamentals for this are laid with the open microservice architecture. With this, our customers decide on a future-proof and connectable solution. Of course, we will continuously expand the range of functions and pay high attention on usability. In addition, we are increasingly inviting partners to bring their technology and applications on our platform, thus reducing time-to-market. In this way, we combine the strengths of the involved parties.

How would you explain ctrlX AUTOMATION to a layperson?

Simply spoken, ctrlX AUTOMATION works like a smartphone, with an operating system and apps, for industrial automation. Just as we adapt our smartphones with apps to our individual needs, the same is possible for our customers. They can choose to use apps from Bosch Rexroth, apps from third-party providers or even apps they have created themselves, thus extending the range of functions to suit their individual needs. It is not necessary to have programming skills to use ctrlX AUTOMATION, it is possible to implement simple solutions very quickly and easily.

What makes ctrlX AUTOMATION unique for you?

The open approach of the architecture, the wide degrees of freedom in engineering and the variety of programming languages are convincing unique selling points. With ctrlX AUTOMATION, we have realized the real fusion of OT in terms of machine safety and determinism with IT in terms of data security and maintainability in one platform for the first time. It is a very smart solution with a high level of simplicity in its application - that particularly excites me.

Behind every good solution there is always a strong team. Which challenges have you already solved with this team, which ones have not yet been mastered?

We have a long history in the market as a Business Unit. This reaches back to the year 1958. Over the decades, we have produced recognized solutions and standards and have established ourselves as market leader in numerous disciplines. The greatest challenge we faced was therefore to radically question our own legacy and thus ourselves. This honesty is hard, but purifying. We have now presented a completely new automation platform to the world public within just three years. With the market launch of a young product, we now face the challenge of holding on to our strategic course, taking advantage of opportunities and expanding our position. The great demand and the consistently positive feedback from the market confirm that we are on the right track.

Which kind of change do you want to create in the automation industry with ctrlX AUTOMATION? And why?

Today, more than ever, mechanical engineering means software development. We consider this fact with our new automation platform. We want to revolutionize the industrial automation and make life as easy as possible for the digital natives. Simple integration, plug & produce, co-creation, open standards and the fact that there is no lock-in required for customers, makes our system easy, fast and flexible to use. ctrlX AUTOMATION exactly meets the needs of the developer of the future, who turns from programmer to designer - and wants to reach his goal as quickly and flexibly as possible.

What are the market reactions since the launch in 2019 and which influence do they have on the further development of the platform?

The market's reactions are consistently positive, which of course delights us greatly. The architecture meets the requirements of our current and future target groups. Changes in classical methods and new technologies often trigger reservations, even fears. In our case, the solution reduces complexity and increases flexibility and scope for action for our customers. Getting started is very easy. These are among other things the reasons for the very high and fast user acceptance. The positive feedback regarding the architecture leads to completely new discussions about possible business models and added value on our side.

Can you give a brief preview of the innovations that will be created around ctrlX AUTOMATION this year?

ctrlX AUTOMATION in its current form: This is just the beginning! We will successively expand the automation platform. We will present some trend-setting features at the SPS 2020. Be curious ...

 

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Philipp Guth

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