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Connecting the leaders in auto industry digitization

One of the take-away messages from CeBIT 2015 is that the future of the automotive industry lies in digitization, smart integration and the Internet of Things (IoT). Digital technol­ogy is increasingly driving innovation in everything from entry-level cars to agricultural equipment.

One of the take-away messages from CeBIT 2015 is that the future of the automotive industry lies in digitization, smart integration and the Internet of Things (IoT). Automotive Industries (AI) asked Marius Felzmann, Senior Vice President CeBIT, Deutsche Messe AG, Hannover, what were some of the highlights at CeBIT 2015 from an automotive perspective.

Felzmann: They include the annual “automotiveIT Kongress,” which was in its seventh season. Another important automotive industry topic was machine-to-machine communication, which was explored in great detail at the Communication & Networks showcase. Vodafone, for example, used a Porsche Panamera to demonstrate how smartphones can be used to access vehicle data, control certain functions and safeguard the vehicle against theft. Deutsche Telekom showcased its “Digital Car” as a model of intelligent connectivity between car owners, dealers and service and repair workshops.

One particularly impressive example of digital transformation in the automotive industry was a presentation by the agricultural machinery manufacturer Claas titled “Farming 4.0.” Claas demonstrated how a combine harvester equipped with automated communication technology can leverage geographic information and big data to work more effectively and efficiently. BMW showcased IT applications in motorcycles. Tesla presented its Model S electric car, and Volkswagen used a student hackathon to uncover exciting new ideas for tomorrow’s vehicles and recruit new employees.

AI: Will CeBIT 2016 reflect this focus on automotive IT?

Felzmann: We’ll be hosting another “automotiveIT Kongress” – themed “The Digital Transformation of the Automotive Industry.” Plus, we’re expanding the machine-to-machine section of the show – a logical step given its special importance for the automotive industry. Apart from that, the “Communications & Networks” topic cluster will be complemented by a new cluster called “IoT Solutions.”

I should mention here that digitization in the automotive industry is not the exclusive preserve of large corporations. It’s an area of increasing interest in the startup scene as well. Which is why we’re adding a special “Mobility & Automotive” theme zone to SCALE 11, CeBIT’s marketplace for the startup ecosystem. The “Mobility & Automotive” zone will be an exhibition platform both for startups with automotive solutions and for established corporations and their venture units. There will also be a Startup Stage where young enterprises can pitch their innovations to the automotive industry. We are also expecting an array of exciting solutions and showcases from our IT-industry exhibitors.

AI: How does a trade show provide a platform for sharing new ideas on IoT and other trends?

Felzmann: A major advantage of CeBIT is the close interplay between its exhibition content and its conferences. This delivers the twin benefits of breadth and depth: a broad overview of all the big trends and issues paired with in-depth examination of each one. The numerous conferences, speaking events and forums complement the exhibition by providing added scope for dialogue on the opportunities of digitization and the macroeconomic and socio-political conditions needed to leverage those opportunities.

AI: Tell us what the lead theme will be for CeBIT 2016.

Felzmann: CeBIT is leaving its traditional image as a computer or IT exhibition behind and from now on will be positioned as the global showcase for digitization. This will be reflected in the 2016 lead theme.

AI: This year, China was the CeBIT Partner Country. Which nation will be next year’s Partner Country?

Felzmann: The Partner Country for 2016 is Switzerland. Switzerland is one of the most innovative countries in the world. It is an internationally respected center of excellence for research and development, not to mention one of the most affluent countries on the planet. What’s more, it is streets ahead in terms of understanding the importance of digitization strategies.


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