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Driving Automotive Transformation

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Christian Ott
Christian Ott

At the end of September, the Automotive IT Congress took place in Berlin. I was supposed to hold a breakout session on software innovations in the automotive industry. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to illness. Since the topic is still close to my heart, here are my thoughts.

In addition to sustainability, the automotive industry today is primarily shaped by data. Admittedly, this is not revolutionarily new. On-board computers have been around since the 1970s, and since then, more software has found its way into our vehicles. However, for some years now, a development has been underway that fundamentally changes the car business model. So far, OEM has drawn most of the added value from mechanical hardware: engine, transmission, interior, exterior, add-on parts. However, this added value is now shifting toward software, which can activate additional functions or extra packages. Also, the automobile is becoming more integrated into digital ecosystems; autonomous driving is an example. That's because, whether level 2, 3, 4, or 5, manufacturers have to process millions of test kilometers and extract countless datasets from them.

Getting the most out of digital transformation in four steps: This is how we get the automotive industry going

The central challenge for companies is to generate added value from the large amounts of data, which requires the right data management solution. This is where IT service providers come into play. Read on to learn about the four main ways these service providers can help vehicle manufacturers with their own transformation.

Managing growing data

Innovative technologies such as self-driving electric vehicles are driving a rapid increase in the amount of data to be managed. According to a report by Cobank, the global data sphere will grow from 64 zettabytes in 2020 to 15,000 zettabytes in 2030. If you remember CDs, 64 zettabytes would be about 7.2x10^16 simple CDs, with a stacked height of about 1 time to the sun. Unimaginable. And all of that data must be stored—without losing control over the associated consumption of resources. Keyword #Cloud. Considering that 32% percent of spending on cloud technology is actually wasted, the need for applications that make cloud services more efficient and affordable can only increase. This is where NetApp® data management solutions for the cloud come in, as do our flexible pricing models. To cope with the ever-increasing volume of information, we also rely on #MachineLearning.

Facilitating software development

It's important to remember that value is added only when applications are created from the data. The more complex the requirement, the more complex the software. This in turn requires more extensive testing before a product reaches market maturity. If you want to shorten the time to market, you need faster test environments that allow developers to work flexibly on multiple versions. With cloud solutions, this is no problem. For example, you can freely create clones of a file that can be tested with different configurations (automated testing). This works regardless of the development stage of a project. Tests can be handled more efficiently right from the start. In this way, developers detect errors early on and can take countermeasures. The result: OEMs accelerate their releases and can respond faster to customer requirements.

Strengthening data security

Hackers who crack self-driving vehicles and use them as a weapon: This fear belongs more to the realm of Hollywood. But IT security is still a growing requirement for the automotive industry. Test data from autonomous systems and user data from digital vehicle updates are popular targets for cybercrimes. That's because this data can be easily monetized. According to Capgemini, only 10% of OEMs believe they are well positioned in cybersecurity. Considering the extensive data-driven transformation facing the auto industry, this figure should change quickly.

Cloud specialists such as NetApp help to secure the data flows of the mobility industry. Zero Trust architectures and constant monitoring of the storage environment can help to prevent and accelerate attacks. With cloud-based backup and recovery mechanisms, business-critical systems can be repaired in time, even in the event of an attack.

Learn more about our automotive industry solutions

Keeping track

Overall, cloud environments help the automotive industry meet the challenges of a changing market. However, companies must be careful not to get lost in different solutions. After all, the flexibility of cloud technologies should not be limited by a complex network of different services.

Whether in public, private, or hybrid cloud, with a comprehensive data management platform, all information streams and workloads become visible in one tool. They can be managed in any environment, regardless of their actual location. Companies don't have to worry about operations, so they can focus on results and new business models.

Christian Ott

Christian Ott is NetApp’s CTO Industry Solutions. Industry solutions lie at the heart of NetApp’s industry-focused cloud solutions strategy, that empower customers to envision new opportunities and reach their transformation goals, across global industries. These include automotive, financial services, energy, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing and more. During his 10+ years at NetApp, Chris has held several positions in technical sales and management and was responsible for various customers in the semiconductor, manufacturing and automotive industries. In his free time Chris likes to swim, bike and run but it’s not enough for triathlon, yet. 

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