Digital Fiber Ecosystem Launches Bio-Based Industry IoT Innovation Challenge

Industrial Internet has become an essential part of innovation in process industries, but utilization of digital twins across the whole process life cycle has been lagging. The Digital Fiber Ecosystem, initiated by Siemens and other key players in process automation and digitalization, is changing this landscape in the bioprocess industry.

In this Innovation Challenge, we are looking for new opportunities to gain significant competitiveness improvements in the bio-based industry based on digital twins.

Has your company or organization identified a challenging problem that could be solved utilizing digital twins? What value could digital twins bring in the bio-based industry? Which business models are needed to capitalize their benefits?

Digital Fiber Initiative welcomes companies and teams to join this Innovation Challenge. The Challenge participants can come from any organizations dealing with process industry digitalization, including process plants, engineering, consulting and systems integration service providers as well as research organizations and academia. Joint teams representing different backgrounds are also welcome.

Apply here by April 17!

Description of the Digital Fiber ecosystem

Digital Fiber Initiative (DFI) is an industry-driven innovation ecosystem for forest industry digitalization with the aim to achieve the next level of industrial productivity. In DFI, Siemens technology solutions include COMOS process lifecycle management software and the open cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) platform MindSphere. With COMOS, integrated plant asset management projects over the entire industrial lifecycle can be carried out. Design engineers, plant operating personnel, company management and solution partners are provided with a continuous flow of data that meets their specific needs across all project phases. MindSphere connects machines and physical infrastructure to the digital world and provides powerful industrial apps and digital services that can unleash productivity gains and efficiency across the entire business.

Existing application examples

The consumption of textile fibers has increased from 50 million tons to more than 70 million tons during the last decade. Textile industry needs new sustainable solutions to meet this increasing demand. Infinited Fiber Company (IFC) is piloting new man-made cellulose fiber technology that has huge global business potential. With IFC technology, which development is supported by Siemens’ tools, you can turn textile, cardboard and agricultural waste to new natural fiber and thus reduce the usage of new virgin materials.

We search for new radical innovations

This Innovation Challenge aims to find out potential digital twin application areas with specific problems to be solved that will significantly improve the competitiveness of existing or future bio-based plants. The problem areas can relate to: Design, productivity, quality, maintenance, environmental, safety and health factors, flexibility etc., including new business models enabled by innovative IoT applications.

In terms of technologies, the solution concepts can leverage the tools and results of the Digital Fiber Ecosystem, including COMOS and MindSphere, in new application areas with significant commercial potential.

We are looking for ideas that can be implemented commercially in 2019–2022.

An opportunity to join a mutually beneficial innovation process

The winner(s) will have a chance to pilot their solutions with Siemens in a real-life environment, supported by world-class industry expertise. Depending on the winning solutions, Siemens MindSphere developer tools may be accessible to the winner(s). We are seeking innovative ideas that make it possible to develop successful collaboration with Siemens into a long-term partnership. Siemens can also act as an international sales channel for solutions developed in the project.

Depending of the background of the winning team, other benefits may vary. For example, a process industry company may develop a new competitive edge over their rivals, while an engineering company could open a new, lucrative market segment to be exploited in partnership with Siemens. An academic organization can leverage the participation in the research and education activities and raise their profile to attract high quality industrial partners and offer new career opportunities for the students.

How to succeed in the Innovation Challenge?

Applicants must clearly describe their problem area, including its potential innovative features, feasibility and the business value it could provide for Siemens and the end-users, if the problem is solved.

In particular, the Challenge Jury will evaluate the following factors related to the proposed applications:

  • How well does the problem/concept match to the challenge?

  • Feasibility and attractiveness of the concept

  • Novelty of the concept

We will first evaluate the Challenge entries and choose the finalists to the second phase for further development through coaching and collaboration with a team of experts. In the third and final phase, the finalist teams present their ideas for the Digital Fiber Initiative jury, who will select the winner(s), with whom Siemens will pursue mutually beneficial long-term partnership.

The Innovation Challenge is being held in collaboration with the leading Nordic innovation management consultancy Spinverse. Besides the overall organization, Spinverse provides coaching and advice to the participants and acts as the link between them and Siemens to ensure efficient and agile collaboration during the process.

Apply by submitting a description of your idea by 17th of April 2019 through this link.

The description should answer the following questions:

  • What is the problem you have identified?

  • Why is it important/What are the benefits of solving the problem? (e.g. what is the commercial potential?)

  • How could digital twin/IoT solve the problem? What is your proposed idea/concept?

  • How feasible is the idea/solution?

  • Has the proposed idea or solution been piloted before? In what timeframe can it be implemented on an industrial scale?

  • What is the background of you or your team in terms of industry expertise, innovation and commercialization?


  • Submit your proposal by 17 April 2019 by 23:00 (CET).

  • Finalists will be selected and all participants informed of the results by the end of April 2019.

  • Coaching with the selected finalists and further development of the ideas together with Spinverse and Siemens experts will take place in early May 2019.

  • The selected teams will pitch their ideas for the Digital Fiber Initiative jury in late May 2019.


Further information

Kaisu Leppänen, Project Manager, Spinverse, kaisu.leppanen(at), +358 44 288 4824

Tiina Witikkala, Project Manager, Digital Fiber Initiative, Siemens, tiina.witikkala(at), +358 50 3166279