ZEISS Group and Microsoft Corp. announced a multi-year strategic partnership to accelerate ZEISS’ transformation into a digital services provider that is embracing a cloud-first approach. By standardizing its equipment and processes on Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform, ZEISS will be able to provide its customers with enhanced digital experiences, address changing market needs more quickly and increase its productivity.
Leveraging Azure high-performance compute, AI, and IoT services, ZEISS will work with Microsoft to provide original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with new quality management solutions, enable microchip manufacturers to build more powerful, energy-efficient microchips, and deliver new digital healthcare solutions for improved clinical workflows, enhanced treatments, and device maintenance. Furthermore, ZEISS will create a seamless experience for its customers through one digital platform and manage all digital ZEISS products through one cloud-native platform to enhance continuous and agile product development.
Microsoft’s datacenter regions around the globe help meet the regional needs of ZEISS’ customers while delivering against highest security, privacy and resiliency standards. ZEISS will build on Microsoft’s experience in software development to grow its own digital capabilities while helping Microsoft enhance its customer-driven product innovation through deep industry insights.
Connected quality platform drives industrial efficiency
Initially, ZEISS will enable its solutions in the Industrial Quality & Research segment to be run on a connected quality platform built on Azure, allowing direct integration into the customer’s production process. The platform will help gain business insights and foster collaboration across domains, assets and processes that have traditionally been managed in siloed, proprietary systems.
ZEISS provides metrology and quality assurance solutions delivering meaningful information on parts dimensions, component behavior and defect detection. Real-time and large-scale analysis of data that is collected at all stages of the manufacturing process is key to efficient and effective quality assurance, tightly integrated with today’s and tomorrow’s IoT-enabled production processes.
Quality is also a key objective of a new ZEISS audit trail solution, initially focused on highly regulated manufacturing industries, such as medical technology which is particularly sensitive to quality assurance. The solution will allow customers to identify root causes and react quickly on quality issues to reduce down-time and keep productivity up. The software will allow customers to track, trace, visualize and analyze process and product data with the help of Azure AI services to identify failure root causes more quickly.
High-performance computing enables more powerful, energy-efficient microchips
The ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology segment (SMT) enables chip manufacturers worldwide to produce smaller, more powerful, more affordable and more energy-efficient microchips which are used in essentially every technical device today. Optical lithography applying deep ultra violet (DUV) and even extreme ultra violet (EUV) light allows to manufacture chips at structure sizes 4,000 times thinner than a human hair or, more scientifically, at single-digit nanometer sizes. Lithography systems include extremely complex and ultra-precisely shaped aspherical lenses (DUV) and mirrors (EUV). ZEISS SMT is a technological leader in this field of the semiconductor industry. Especially the development of next-generation, so-called High-NA EUV systems requires the most complex optical calculations calling for massive compute power.
Using Azure high-performance compute capabilities, ZEISS is now able to dynamically burst to the cloud to complement its sophisticated on-premises high-performance computing cluster and handle peaks more efficiently. Such capabilities enable the development of future leading-edge EUV lithography tools. Optical lithography and especially EUV technology advancements are driving digitalization and are keeping Moore’s Law alive for many years to come.
Data-driven healthcare solutions improve patient care
ZEISS Medical Technology provides comprehensive solutions for ophthalmic professionals and microsurgeons, consisting of devices, implants, consumables and services. Through the partnership, ZEISS will connect its medical technology to Microsoft’s cloud and leverage Azure AI and IoT technologies for new digital services such as improved clinical workflows, enhanced treatments, and device maintenance in a secure environment that enables compliance with regulatory requirements in the health industry. These solutions will help improve the quality of life of patients and drive progress, efficiency and access to healthcare.
Cloud-native ZEISS platforms enhance customer experience and boost internal productivity
ZEISS Digital Innovation Partners and ZEISS Corporate IT already partner very closely with Microsoft and will further intensify and scale this partnership going forward. Together with Microsoft, ZEISS Corporate IT has developed a cloud-native digital integration platform running on Azure to integrate all customer-facing digital ZEISS products into ZEISS Enterprise IT. ZEISS can apply the latest technology developments and share its manufacturing and medical technology insights at the same time to support Microsoft’s customer-driven product innovations.
ZEISS Digital Innovation Partners builds on these integration capabilities and uses Azure cloud and DevOps services to enable a seamless and coherent end-to-end digital journey for ZEISS customers, for example quality experts and eyecare professionals. The digital customer interaction platform MY ZEISS will integrate various customer-facing solutions into one platform so that customers can easily manage their Zeiss touchpoints through one central web application.
“As a global leader in optics and optoelectronics, ZEISS is committed to digitally enable its customers’ business models, products, and services. We are proud to join forces with Microsoft in our quest to apply precision optics, IoT capabilities, artificial intelligence and machine learning to the most demanding processes in healthcare and manufacturing,” says Dr. Karl Lamprecht, ZEISS President and CEO. “Improving the patient’s life and doctor’s work and driving industrial quality assurance in the production process have always been top of mind for us. We are taking our expertise to the next digital level together with Microsoft, a leading innovator and provider of digital technologies.”
“Zeiss is driving innovations across industries to improve the quality of individual lives and create industrial efficiencies by overcoming data silos and integrating digital experiences,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President Cloud + AI at Microsoft. “Harnessing the power of Microsoft’s cloud, AI and IoT services, ZEISS is transforming into a leading digital services provider.”
ZEISS and Microsoft will also explore opportunities to collaborate and co-innovate across other ZEISS segments and units including Consumer Markets, ZEISS Ventures and Corporate Research and Technology.
ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling more than 6.4 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2019).
For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, and medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world’s leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.
With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly advancing the world of optics and related fields with its solutions. The company’s significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS’ technology and market leadership.
With over 31,000 employees, ZEISS is active globally in almost 50 countries with around 60 sales and service companies, 30 production sites and 25 development sites. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG.
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