Hermann Hänle
11. April 2018 0

Automobile meets IT – a real-world glimpse

There’s a good reason why automotiveIT markets its congress as the industry’s top event. Automobile manufacturer CIOs gave visitors some very interesting insight into their strategies and current initiatives at this year’s congress, which took place on 22 March in Berlin. Naturally, today’s most relevant topics dominated the discussions: self-driving cars, integrated mobility, artificial intelligence, blockchain and robotics. It was the perfect illustration of the interface between the automotive industry and IT.

Interesting insights where IT and the automotive industry meet

At the start of the congress, Markus Schäfer from Mercedes Benz made it clear that we are living in an era in which IT in the back end has reached equal footing with the actual car. IT isn’t only inside the car but is also along for the ride as a sort of quasi-trailer. But, Deutsche Telekom’s Thomas Gerzsberg discovered, this IT is not solely cloud-based. Edge computing is becoming essential if we want to continue turning the dream of self-driving cars into reality. Martin Hofmann of VW focused on the production aspect in his presentation, which he peppered with Isaac Asimov’s robotics laws: robots are becoming more intelligent, they are undertaking increasingly complex tasks and are self-learning. Artificial intelligence thus transcended the cornucopia of possibilities for the first time. Sven Lorenz from Porsche, Jeff Chung from Byton and Roland Villiger from Audi talked about transparency, user experience, integrated mobility and Smart Cities. Nowadays, automotive CIOs need to go far beyond merely thinking about the pure car and the IT behind it and also need to keep an eye on comprehensive reference systems and more extensive demands. What’s more, they have to cast their glance beyond the IT realm. There are still those employees who not only need to get their bearings in this new digital era but also have to be able to shape it – as pointed out by BMW’s Klaus Straub, who wrapped up the congress program by mentioning the human aspect. Genial.

Business breakfast with start-up pitches

T-Systems invited attendees to a business breakfast before the presentations got underway. The warm-up event was well-attended once again this year. Perhaps this was due to the start-up pitches, which featured innovative solutions that helped a few OEM managers generate some fresh ideas. The 80 participants in the business breakfast crowned Smart Mobile Labs as the winner of our start-up pitches. The company offers real-time video. Until now the solution, which transmits real-time videos to the smartphone using an app, has been used for concerts and sporting events (so that even people sitting in the last row can see everything). But mobile real-time transmission of videos also has potential for the connected car. Aerial photos as well as “insider information” about traffic jams provide travelers with an authentic view of what exactly is hidden behind the red bar in the navigation system. The solution could also be used to enable contact between cars (or emergency vehicles) – as a simple ad-hoc video conference. To date it appears to work very well with LTE, but a jump in quality is going to be needed for 5G.

T-Systems – from e-mobility to digital twin

All in all, it was a successful event for T-Systems as well. Too bad that we didn’t also have the attendees vote on our pitches. Personally, I would be very interested in knowing which of our topics was the visitors’ favorite (e-mobility, IoT, paperless processes, e-charging stations or digital twin). Well, next time, then. Thank you very much for attending our breakfast and breakout session and see you soon – perhaps at the Hanover Trade Fair?

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