From hardware to software: the digital journey of automotive companies
Digital disruption is changing the course of the automotive industry, with trends like Big Data, IoT and automation steering the change towards a more technology-driven future. In order to survive in this new digital reality, automakers need to develop the core digital capabilities that are becoming integral to staying on the cutting edge of automotive technology.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, there will be more than 250 million connected vehicles on the road worldwide. With disruptive players like Google, Uber and even Apple reportedly working on smart cars, traditional automakers need to act fast or risk losing market share to more agile, technology-driven competitors who have the innovative solutions to engineer next-generation vehicles built for tomorrow’s smart roadways.
More and more automakers are beginning to act like IT companies, and they will no longer be defined solely by their engineering capabilities and craftsmanship, but will also carve out their competitive position by how digital their products can become.
According to research by McKinsey, the car of the future will be connected, employing data to monitor safety conditions, and to communicate with other vehicles and an increasingly smart roadway infrastructure. Made possible by the convergence of IoT and sensor technology, Cloud computing and Big Data analytics, manufacturers are still just scratching the surface of the potential for their use in vehicles.
As cars become increasingly software-driven, real-time data can be used to monitor vehicle performance, provide real-time traffic and road hazard alerts, instantly call for emergency assistance, and even predict mechanical problems before they happen. Manufacturers will also be able to stay connected with their products and monitor their vehicles long after they have left the showroom floor.
In addition to the benefits to drivers, applying analytics tools to data from smart vehicles has the potential to benefit the manufacturers themselves, by identifying production issues and reliability problems that can be re-engineered and fixed in succeeding models.
Taken together, these technology advancements have the potential to revolutionise what people expect from their vehicles. Customer satisfaction will no longer be measured simply by how vehicles drive, but how they interact with their owners and the world around them.
Thus, automakers must carefully plan their future technology initiatives to ensure that they have the right computing environment in place. Their systems must be able to efficiently handle the enormous amounts of data generated by smart cars, or they risk alienating a new generation of customers that has redefined reliability as “anytime, anywhere” access to services and information. Smart cars also can create a positive feedback loop with the potential transform the entire automotive value chain.
Taking incremental steps to modernize can put manufacturers on a path to have the control and visibility into their enterprises required to succeed in the future. Early adopters always have the advantage, so auto companies without a clear innovation strategy should turn to digital specialists to help them get their data driven strategy on track.
The most significant hurdle that auto companies need to overcome may actually be themselves. To stay competitive, automakers need to break free from cultural inertia and do away with a traditionally conservative approach to innovation and fully embrace the disruptive power of the Digital Age.
Nitin Rakesh is CEO and President of Syntel.
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Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.