Digital solutions demonstrate post-virus vow from Siemens

13:17 | 06/07/2020
The world has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pham Thai Lai, president and CEO of Siemens Vietnam as well as Siemens ASEAN and Singapore, talked with VIR’s Thanh Dat about how the company has been deploying its digital solutions to fight the pandemic, with Vietnam slated to be a beneficiary.
digital solutions demonstrate post virus vow from siemens
Pham Thai Lai, president and CEO of Siemens Vietnam as well as Siemens ASEAN and Singapore

COVID-19 has caused over 10 million infected cases and over half a million deaths worldwide. As a global leading technology provider, what has Siemens contributed to the fight against this deadly pandemic?

For health, economy and society, COVID-19 is a challenge of a kind that the world as a whole has never seen before in peacetime. This might be the most severe crisis since the World War II. Now, acting responsibly is more important than ever. For Siemens, our top priorities are to care for the safety and healthiness of our employees, to be close to our customers, and to be responsible to the entire society.

Firstly, in response to the ongoing global health crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, Siemens has made its Additive Manufacturing (AM) Network along with its 3D printers available to the global medical community to speed design and production of medical components. For example, in our regional AM Transformation Center in Singapore, we lent our Industry 4.0 expertise to develop and manufacture 3D printed medical shields for doctors and medical workers designed by the Tan Tock Seng Hospital. These shields are highly durable and protective while we could design and shorten the product introduction cycle significantly.

Secondly, to assist in the diagnosis of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 pandemic, Siemens Healthineers has successfully developed its molecular Fast Track Diagnostics SARS-CoV-2 Assay test kit. This kit is designed to help researchers positively identify the virus in less than three hours so that healthcare professionals can proceed as quickly as possible with the necessary next steps on their patients’ triage paths.

Our next contribution is the development of intelligent disinfection robots to be deployed in hospitals and other public areas to contain the spread of coronaviruses. It was developed by Siemens and Aucma with the help of NX software and the TIA portal in just one week, from design to sample production, thus providing timely help during the pandemic.

Many elderly and infirm patients infected with COVID-19 have significant issues breathing and are struggling staying alive. Siemens’ Simcenter has enabled Vyaire Medical – a global market leader in healthcare technology, providing a comprehensive line of respiratory products – to develop a digital twin of the respiratory products thus significantly reduce development times by removing the time-consuming process of building and testing physical prototypes, and therefore helps to save lives.

Besides those mentioned technological contributions, Siemens AG set up a COVID-19 aid fund in April. Can you share more about this fund?

Under the auspices of the community-serving nonprofit organisation Siemens Caring Hands, this aid fund is to provide support to relief organisations and medical facilities as well as to individuals impacted by the crisis worldwide.

All Siemens AG employees worldwide are encouraged to make monetary donations to Caring Hands and Siemens AG would eventually match every cash amount donated by our employees. Our global president and CEO Joe Kaeser laid the foundation by donating €1 million ($1.12 million).

digital solutions demonstrate post virus vow from siemens
Siemens is implementing management systems for offices and beyond, to suit a changing world

What else has Siemens done to help Vietnam amid the outbreak?

As mentioned above, we care for and do our best for our employees’ health and safety first and foremost. We set up a local task force team whose main responsibilities are to make sure all employees are well informed about the situation, to keep the working environment safe, as well as to develop and execute an emergency plan. We distributed masks to our employees and allowed them to work from home, a company policy we have implemented even before the country shut down. We are going to extend our work from home flexibility for our employees to minimise infection risks and community spread.

For our customers, we keep our full support online and even offline if necessary. Our engineers, especially service engineers, are on duty 24/7. We have organised many technical webinars during the lockdown to update our customers with the latest technologies.

For the local community, apart from a donation of an ACUSON S3000 Ultrasound System to Ho Chi Minh City Tropical Diseases Hospital, our colleagues from Siemens Healthineers have jointly helped at-risk Vietnamese communities who were heavily affected by strict social distancing measures by providing food and personal protective equipment.

Since April 23, more than 11 tonnes of rice, 6,000 sets of masks and hand sanitisers, and many other basic items have been donated. Our employees will also join the blood donation activities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in August in response to an appeal for donating blood, which saves lives.

digital solutions demonstrate post virus vow from siemens
Siemens Healthineers has donated an ACUSON S3000 ultrasound system to Ho Chi Minh Tropical Diseases Hospital in response to COVID-19

The pandemic has significantly changed the way we live and work, but besides its devastating effects there could be opportunities in making infrastructure smart. What can technology contribute to the post-coronavirus world?

Smart infrastructure intelligently connects energy systems, buildings, and industries to adapt and evolve the way we live and work. Making use of data in our infrastructure smartly can help to prevent infectious spread.

Smart buildings in particular interact with people, systems, and external elements around them. They learn from past experiences and real-time inputs. They adapt to the needs of the people and the businesses within them by increasing comfort, efficiency, resiliency, and safety. And today there is a new need: to protect people from COVID-19.

The measures taken against the spread of the coronavirus force building operators and facility managers to rethink building and workplace strategies. The health and safety of employees, partners, and customers is the first priority. The efforts of the individuals practicing social distancing and increased hygiene measures can be massively supported by smart building technology.

Siemens’ offerings on heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), room automation, and building management systems (BMS) help create healthy, productive, sustainable environments and safe workplaces for people to return to after the crisis and beyond.

Similarly to understand how technologies can support remote working environments despite one’s location, the data capabilities of smart buildings together with building automation enable remote operations. This has proven to be valuable in a pandemic. It allows the building operator to control the building remotely for maximum impact in regards to energy consumption, to ensure cost savings and reduced carbon emissions. Building twins can further extend the building operator’s capability to access all the data remotely.

Additionally, thermal cameras to your access control system help to mitigate risk by detecting potentially infected people. Siemens’ Siveillance Thermal Shield can quickly measure the body temperature of a person seeking to access a building and enable the results to be integrated into the video and access systems of corporations. Thermal imaging cameras are used to measure, in a contactless way, the body temperature at a distance up to two metres, ensuring the safety of monitoring staff.

Last but not least, our Comfy workplace app allows building operators and owners to engage with occupants and keep them informed, safe, and productive. With this app, you can ensure regular and accurate information to your employees – on their fingertips and no matter where they are located. This enables a consistent flow of information on local measures, policies, and processes while fostering trust of employees in the employer as well as infrastructure and measures taken.

Will these advanced technologies and solutions be introduced to Vietnam’s market as well?

Siemens’ offerings on HVAC, room automation, and BMS have already been deployed extensively in Vietnam. We are in the process of implementing the Comfy app in our office facilities in Vietnam and our colleagues in building technologies are working hard to ensure our technologies will be introduced to Vietnam soon.

Our world has changed forever due to the coronavirus pandemic. We must create a new normal that benefits from new use of smart technology and from the positives of the experiences of lockdown. Siemens has been an active player in the fight against COVID-19 and will continue to act responsibly for the wellbeing of its employees, customers, and the whole society.

By Thanh Dat

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