Image: Microsoft

Microsoft was at the Hannover Messe conference today and announced a new collaboration with BMW Group. Specifically, the companies are working on a project that aims to develop innovations in the manufacturing industry. Called the Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) the aim is to create smart factory solutions.

Microsoft and German automotive giant BMW say OMP is an open framework of developmental solutions that any dev can participate in. OMP participants across the manufacturing sector can use the platform to create solutions.

Open Manufacturing Platform is underpinned by Microsoft’s Azure cloud technologies and IoT cloud infrastructure. Microsoft’s announcement is timely as Amazon Web Services recently announced a similar project with Volkswagen. However, the AWS/VW partnership is specifically to improve VW’s manufacturing abilities.

“Microsoft is joining forces with the BMW Group to transform digital production efficiency across the industry,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud + AI Group. “Our commitment to building an open community will create new opportunities for collaboration across the entire manufacturing value chain.”

In a press release today, Microsoft describes OMP as:

  • “The OMP is intended to provide community members with a reference architecture with open source components based on open industrial standards and an open data model.
  • In addition to facilitating collaboration, this platform approach is designed to unlock and standardize data models that enable analytics and machine learning scenarios — data that has traditionally been managed in proprietary systems.
  • Utilizing industrial use cases and sample code, community members and other partners will have the capability to develop their own services and solutions while maintaining control over their data.”

BMW Group

BMW’s role in the partnership is to implement some initial use cases to the OMP community. The companies say they want to find four to six OMP partners before the end of 2019 and send out at least 15 use cases in production environments during that time.

“Mastering the complex task of producing individualized premium products requires innovative IT and software solutions,” said Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Production. “The interconnection of production sites and systems as well as the secure integration of partners and suppliers are particularly important. We have been relying on the cloud since 2016 and are consistently developing new approaches.”