Executives from the automotive sector recently shared their views on how recent events have reshaped the industry and how emerging technologies will offer companies future competitive advantage.
We have seen two years of digital acceleration in two months in the automotive industry. Everything is changing: from the environmental impact, to warranty maintenance, to how we service our customers, to logistics, to how we consider offices and remote working – all of this has accelerated digital strategy.
Recently, I was pleased to join a panel of industry leaders at the Transformation Tune-In virtual event – hosted by Dell Technologies and Nvidia — to discuss this.
Gary Clark, COO Automotive Cloud at Volkswagen, started the discussion by saying that the positive environmental impact of reduced global travel during the pandemic had given a new impetus to the move towards cleaner vehicles. Dubravko Hlede, CIO and IT Manager at Rimac Automobili, discussed the immediate impact on the Croatia-based manufacturer of electric vehicles: “We managed to completely shift our workforce to remote working in a matter of days. Right now, we are in risk mitigation, adapting to change, and the new normal is remote work.”
A new era of connected mobility
As conversation turned to connected vehicles and the emerging technologies creating new opportunities, and challenges, in the sector, Said Tabet, Senior Technologist at Dell Technologies commented: “There are exponential amounts of data that will be created, at the edge particularly. Connected vehicles have end-points at the edge and, behind this, systems are not idle, the data will flow across all of these elements in dynamic and changing ways. We’re really seeing new methodologies and new ways to accelerate adoption through software-defined, cloud-native, edge, AI, simulation, digital twins – all of these are new and now taking center stage.”
Teodoro Lio, MD and Automotive and Mobility Lead in Europe for Accenture, agreed, adding: “The fundamental change over the past ten years is that technology moved from being something in the back-office to being front and center of a business model for automotive and mobility providers, and to become a board-level discussion.”
Why? Technology is critical in three areas:
- Software in particular is now a key element of the car as a product.
- The product to service transformation, as we move from a relatively simple business model of selling cars into a mobility world of services, from ownership, to subscription, to rental.
- Technology is key to engaging with your customers – the relationship between the brand and the consumer is increasingly driven via online channel. Data goes across all three of these areas and is going to break the silos.
Data sharing imperative
Hank Skorny, President of Connected Services at Aptiv, said that in order for companies to truly gain the advantages promised by connected mobility technologies, a new approach to data-sharing is needed: “The ability to share data amongst numerous different providers – in a standardized format, yet with some type of identity and access control security over the top of it – is absolutely critical for this to move forward. There are so many people, even in the manufacturing step, that feed into the production of a vehicle. Without some type of sharing, you’re never going to realize the cost savings and benefits. The same is true in post-production. Once vehicles are in the hands of individuals the question is: how do you get to the point where you share data with the environmental protection people, with cities and counties, with maintenance providers? Standardizing a way for all of this data to be utilized yet protected across the industry is a critical element to success.”
The virtual roundtable ended with live Q&A and a question from the audience as to how traditional automotive OEMs can remain relevant in the face of disruptive entries into the market by technology companies. It was clear that every company on the event’s panel is involved in the development of autonomous cars. We agreed that the future is about bringing together that technology thrust and that the software-defined automotive future is clearly in front of us.
Click here to watch the full replay of “Changes in the Automotive Sector” (registration required).