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Digitalisation: the trend driving the automotive industry


27 June 2016

Martin Hunt

Blogs by author: Martin Hunt, Senior Business Development Director, Automotive Global Industry, BT


The automotive industry is undergoing a transformation. But what’s behind it? Read on, to find out.

Driving change in the automotive industry.

If I were to ask 20 experts what the major trend in the automotive industry is at the moment, there’s a good chance I would get 20 different, but equally relevant, answers.

I, however, think there’s actually one overarching trend — digitalisation. Whether your answer was connected cars, driverless cars, online retailing or any of the other things we’re seeing in the automotive industry — digital is the one thing that is driving everything else.

Digital transformation is under discussion with CIO’s and operational teams in every organisation, and in every industry. And that’s exactly how it should be. Because the scope of what’s digitally possible is huge.

The CIO is in the driver’s seat.

I’d guess that nearly every CIO considers the digitalisation of business to be a personal priority — whether it’s disruptive new revenue streams, using digital elements to create a better customer experience, or transforming internal processes. And, as a result, CIOs are measuring the success of their organisation against different key performance indicators (KPIs) compared to 12 months ago.

The automotive industry is no different — in fact, it has been out in front of the digitalisation movement for a while.

And underpinning that digitalisation, for the automotive industry as well as any other, is ICT.

Vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers depend on systems and applications to manage operations across a complex network of plants and sites worldwide. The efficiency of the ICT platform and digitalisation of the systems and processes affects how functions as diverse as engineering, manufacturing and logistics, are executed. Such an ICT backbone also allows data analytics, agile manufacturing and supply chain integration to deliver on the numerous benefits of advanced manufacturing.

And, as well as driving better business, ICT and digitalisation have another key side effect — cutting carbon emissions.

Digitalisation and the environment.

BT was a key contributor and sponsor for Global e-Sustainability Initiative’s (GeSI) recent SMARTer2030 report. This outlines the potential for ICT to abate 12 gigatonnes of CO2e, and generate over $11 trillion in economic benefits per year by 2030.

The digitalised automotive sector is an important contributor to this, with smart manufacturing, smart logistics, traffic control and optimisation, and connected private transportation all working towards lower carbon emissions.

It’s clear that the automotive sector has a key role to play in carbon reduction — with ICT solutions as a key enabler.

Want to know more?

You can discover more about BT’s Digital Transformation of the automotive industry at the Frost & Sullivan intelligent mobility event. I’ll be there, alongside my colleague Hubertus von Roenne, so make sure to find us if you’re there.

Head over to the event’s website now, to sign up