“Automation meets Edge” Challenge

Siemens Digital Factory and Siemens Factory Automation business units, together with university and Edge experts of Siemens Corporate Technology are launching a Global University Challenge on the topic „Automation meets Edge”.

It is an online open innovation competition where students from 32 partner universities worldwide are invited to share ideas on industrial app use cases with Edge Computing.

The ideas will be evaluated by Siemens experts online during a timeframe of 5 weeks – from May 2nd until June 5th 2018.

10 winning student teams will receive prize money as well as an invitation to a Hackathon in Nuremberg in October (Siemens takes over all travel & accommodation costs) where the students can prototype their idea on the brand new Edge platform.

Students of the following universities are eligible to participate in the challenge (including Siemens working students and PhD students):

  1. Newcastle University (UK)
  2. University of Manchester (UK)
  3. University of Oxford (UK)
  4. University of Cambridge (UK)
  5. University of Southampton (UK)
  6. TU of Denmark (Denmark)
  7. Tsinghua Beijing (China)
  8. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China)
  9. Tongji University (China)
  10. Soochow University (China)
  11. HUST University (China)
  12. TU Munich (Germany)
  13. Ludwig Maximilian University (Germany)
  14. RWTH Aachen (Germany)
  15. TU Berlin (Germany)
  16. FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany)
  17. KIT (Germany)
  18. TU Darmstadt (Germany)
  19. TU Dresden (Germany)
  20. University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany)
  21. University of Passau (Germany)
  22. University of Stuttgart (Germany)
  23. TU Budapest (Hungary)
  24. TU Vienna (Austria)
  25. TU Graz (Austria)
  26. JKU Linz (Austria)
  27. ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
  28. Vanderbilt University (USA)
  29. Virginia Tech (USA)
  30. Purdue (USA)
  31. Clemson University (USA)
  32. UCLA (USA)

Siemens is looking forward to great ideas from students on use cases with Edge computing in a production environment!

More information and registration form is available at https://siemensinnovation.spigit.com/automationmeetsedge

Three Bitcoin and Blockchain Courses

Blockchain is a groundbreaking technology. It’s already disrupting the banking and insurance industries and has the potential to revolutionize current political and social systems. It has many implementations and applications, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger, Smart Contracts, Smart Laws, Distributed Apps (DApps) etc. In essence, it’s about removing the trusted authorities and giving power to the peers or people.

I can highly recommend the following three courses, which give a very well structured overview of this technology:

Learning Bitcoin by Tom Geller
Blockchain Basics by Jonathan Reichental
Blockchain Beyond the Basics by Jonathan Reichental

Three IoT-related PTC Courses

PTC offers three nice IoT-related courses via their IoT University website or via Udemy. Each course is about one hour long.

Unpacking the Internet of Things
A Simple Framework for Designing IoT Products
New Business Markets in the Internet of Things

Course instructors: Alyssa Walker, Ayora Berry and Jordan Jay Cox.

Completed 3 Kubernetes and Docker Courses

Containers have a bright future. Some analysts predict that PaaS technologies might be disrupted since containers are a platform on their own. I spent some time and passed 3 Kubernetes and Docker courses, which I can highly recommend:
Learning Kubernetes by Karthik Gaekwad
Kubernetes Native Tools by Karthik Gaekwad
Learning Docker by Arthur Ulfeldt

Works Council Election Result

I’m glad to announce, that according to the works council election result I was elected as one of the eleven works council members for the next four years. A big Thank You to all fellow employees for the strong support and all those who actively participated in the election. If you are a Siemens Industry Software GmbH employee and work in one of the Munich, Nuremberg, Erlangen or Lindau locations of the company, don’t hesitate to contact me for support.

Completed three AWS and Azure online courses

Took a day off from work and successfully completed 3 online courses:

☁ Amazon Web Services: Design and Implement Systems,
☁ Microsoft Azure: Core Functionalities, and
☁ Microsoft Azure: Security Concepts.

I can highly recommend all three courses and their instructors: David Elfassy and Lynn Langit.

How to add new Cloud Foundry users to an ORG via CF CLI

This tutorial applies to the MindSphere version 3.0. MindSphere operates on top of the Cloud Foundry platform. To deploy “MindSphere native” applications, one needs an access to the Cloud Foundry environment within the MindSphere. Each MindSphere customer, who orders “MindAccess Developer” or “MindAccess Operator” plan, also receives a separate Cloud Foundry org. An org (short from “organization”) is a development environment that an individual or multiple collaborators can own and use. Every application and service within Cloud Foundry is scoped to a space. Each org contains at least one space.

The tutorial explains in a step-by-step mode how to add new users to an org via Cloud Foundry’s command line interface (CLI).

Steps #1-#8 should be performed by the user. Step #9 should be performed by an admin

1. Install Cloud Foundry Command Line Interface (CF CLI) software from github.com/cloudfoundry/cli

2. Open command-shell (on Windows: Start / Execute / cmd)

3. If you are behind a firewall, then set up proxies by entering these two lines (this step is optional):

set http_proxy=YOUR_PROXY_ADDRESS
set https_proxy=YOUR_PROXY_ADDRESS

where YOUR_PROXY_ADDRESS is your proxy’s address. If you are behind Siemens’ corporate firewall, try these setting, they’ve worked pretty well for me:

set http_proxy=http://coia.hcvpc.io:9400
set https_proxy=http://coia.hcvpc.io:9400

4. Enter the following command:

cf login -a https://api.cf.eu1.mindsphere.io -sso

5. Visit login.cf.eu1.mindsphere.io/passcode to get an One Time Code

6. Login using the WebKey Link below the Cloud Foundry Login Form

7. Type in your MindSphere Credentials

8. Copy the One Time Code and use in the CF CLI (don’t be confused if nothing will appear on screen as you type or paste the code – it is supposed to be this way)

9. Admin should perform:

cf set-org-role EMAIL ORG OrgManager

where EMAIL is user’s email address and ORG is the org’s name. Instead of „OrgManager“ other roles can be assigned.

Here is a PDF version of the tutorial: [PDF] Tutorial – How to add CF users v1.1

Works Council Election 2018

I’ve decided to nominate myself for the Works Council Election of the company Siemens Industry Software GmbH (often abbreviated as SISW or SIS GmbH), where I’m currently employed at and which is a German subsidiary of the company Siemens PLM Software. The reasons for this decision are:

1) To improve communication channels and information exchange among employees as well as between the works council and employees, whom the council represents. This can be done by the regular release of currently discussed questions and periodical reports by the works council. I’ll dedicate some of my effort to create a thriving online community, where employees can exchange ideas and discuss current topics. I’ve already created the group “Siemens Industry Software Germany” (internal link) on the Siemens Social Network (SSN) and encourage every employee to join the group!

2) I suggest that SISW should adopt the 3i reward program of Siemens AG. Many other daughter companies of Siemens AG, like Evosoft or Siemens Healthineers, are participating in the 3i Program. After struggling for months, I discovered that our company has no efficient employee reward system. Often mentioned “Siemens – You Answered” program is in no case a replacement for the proven-to-be-so-effective 3i Program.

3) Believe it or not, but we are still receiving paper-based payslips (“Gehaltsabrechnungen”) sent per snail mail. Unfortunately, some of them have already landed in my neighbor’s hands. Other drawbacks are – they are ecology-unfriendly, cost company more money than digital payslips, can be stolen from the mailbox, and just not up to date. I suggest that we should move to signed PDF files, sent via encrypted emails.

4) To make the introduction of new employees via email an optional, opt-in feature. I find it important to be up to date with newly employed colleagues. But on the other hand, sending out emails to ALL company’s employees might be an exaggeration and will unnecessarily clutter up inboxes of fellow workers. Thus, I suggest implementing a policy to restrict broadcast emailing of new hires and use kind of newsletter, which interested people can subscribe to. Or at least, it should be possible to opt-out from this kind of announcements.

5) To help employees to be heard by company’s management. Especially those initiatives and concerns, which affect many employees. But also individual problems and suggestions are welcome.

As I made this blog post also the landing page for my election campaign, I’m using this chance to introduce myself to the voters, who don’t already know me.

I joined Siemens (again) in June 2017 as Software Consultants and Solution Architect for MindSphere and I’m a part of the Siemens MindSphere sales team. I’m a Winner of the Siemens Masters Scholarship program, which allowed me to successfully accomplish the Master of Science in Computer Engineering studies in Germany. Besides Siemens, I’m a CEO of my own privately held software company, which is called “Freeware Lovers“. I’m a father of four, a son of two and a husband to one. My passions: tech startups, cutting-edge technologies, free and open source movement, making and tinkering. Feel free to discover more and connect with me via linkedin, twitter or youtube channels.

Vote for me and let’s together make our workspace better!

Freebies at Embedded World 2018

Embedded World trade show in Nuremberg is one of the world’s biggest exhibitions and conferences focused on embedded technologies and Internet of Things (IoT). The expo occurs annually and this year it will go from 27 February until 1 March 2018. The opening times are 09:00 – 18:00 (27 and 28 February) and 09:00 – 17:00 (1 March). The entrance ticket is also free and can be obrained with the voucher code “ew18web” or by simply following this link.

There are many interesting things going on the trade fair, like speeches, workshops, and networking events. It’s a must visit for members of the maker community, at least those who are living nearby. In this post, I want to solely concentrate on the freebies, which one can obtain during the trade show. Embedded World 2018 lasts for 3 days and the best chances to grab freebies are on the first day.


Trinamic provides motor and motion control solutions. At their booth they freely distribute motor controller boards for different motor types. If you need one, then follow the instructions of this tweet.
Update from 27 Feb: I was able to get one board at their booth without pre-registration. So, ask politely and maybe you will get one.
Location: Hall 3, Booth 511
Website: Trinamic @ EW2018

Mouser Electronics

Mouser has a lot of giveaways each year. There is a good chance to win one of many development boards by playing a free lottery the spin of fortune game at their booth. Aside from that, they have a lot of smaller freebies, like cups and back scratchers 🙂 On their website, there is also an online registration form to participate in an online lottery with the following dev boards as prizes: Digi International Xbee SX 868 Development Kit, Infineon AURIXô Application Kit, Linear Technology/Analog Devices DC1962C-KIT Starter Kit, Maxim Integrated MAXREFDES100 Health Sensor Platform, Microchip PIC32MZ Embedded Graphics Starter Kit, NXP Semiconductors QN9080DK Development Kit, On Semiconductor IoT Development Kit Bundle, Renesas Synergy DK-S124 Development Kit, Silicon Labs Giant Gecko GG11 Starter Kit, STMicroelectronics STM32F769I-EVAL Evaluation Board, Texas Instruments CapTIvateô Development Kit Bundle.
Location: Hall 3A, Booth 111
Website: Mouser @ EW2018

OpenSystems Media

Grab a free T-Shirt and get a chance to win a free dev board.
Location: Hall 3A, Booth 507
Website: OpenSystems @ EW2018

Espressif Systems

Espressif is the manufacturer of highly popular within the maker community ESP8266 and ESP32 series of SoCs. They are participating for the first time at this expo with rather a small booth. But don’t be fooled, their boards are amazing. Just ask politely and the chances are high that you’ll get an ESP32 dev board.
Update from 27 Feb: Confirmed! And yes, make sure to check out their mesh network simulation demo, it is impressif!
Location: Hall 3A, Booth 623
Website: Espressif @ EW2018


ST is traditionally giving away a lot of their STM32 dev boards. This time they have: Nucleo-H743ZI, Nucleo-F413ZH, Nucleo-F767ZI, Nucleo-L4R5ZI, Nucleo-F303RE, Nucleo-L476RG, Nucleo-F401RE, Nucleo-L432KC, Nucleo-L073RZ, Nucleo-L031K6, X-NUCLEO-NFC04A1, X-NUCLEO-NFC05A1. If you are overwhelmed and don’t know which one to choose, then here is my advice – two boards NUCLEO-H743ZI and NUCLEO-F767ZI have the most value.
Update from 27 Feb: They changed the procedure this year. Before, one used to register on their website in advance and then pick up the boards in their booth. Now no pre-registration is required. Just visit the booth, scan your badge and you will receive an email with instructions on how to proceed. The board will be sent eventually to your address per snail mail.
Location: Hall 4A, Booths 138 & 238
Website: ST @ EW2018


Cypress didn’t communicate that they will be distributing freebies, but as experience shows they normally have free dev kits as giveaways. Definitely worth a check.
Update from 27 Feb: Confirmed! At least PSoC 4 boards are there. With a little bit of luck maybe other boards are also possible.
Location: Hall 4A, Booth 148
Website: Cypress @ EW2018


Arrow is an electronics online store. According to their flyer, they will be distributing about 5,000 dev boards for free! Just approach them and ask for one. Be prepared that they’ll ask why you need a board 🙂
Location: Hall 4A, Booth 340
Website: Arrow @ EW2018 & PDF flyer


DigiKey is an electronics supplier and offers every year at their booth free coins to play on slot machines, where there is a chance to win USB thumb drives as well as other goodies. Student, who visit the booth on March 1st (“Student Day”) can get a free ruler. Also, there is a chance to win a Digi-Key InstaLab Kit – just search for a QR code somewhere near their booth to register for the competition.
Location: Hall 4A, Booth 633
Website: DigiKey @ EW2018


Elektor announced on their website that they will be giving away amazing ESP32-PICO-KIT boards! I managed to register myself for one free board, but the registration seems to be closed now. They also removed all information related to this campaign from the page. Still maybe worth to check them out. Elektor subscribers can also get a free gift (a pen-like screwdriver with some exchangable bits): “loyal subscribers … can drop by to say hi and pick up their very own small gift”.
Location: Hall 4A, Booth 646
Website: Elektor @ EW2018

Here is the picture of the first day’s yield:

If you have any freebie tips, feel free to share in the comment. Also, keep an eye on the #ew18 tag and on my twitter page. Some goodies could be posted ad hoc during the expo.