Automotive engineers used to be primarily concerned with horsepower and torque. With IT-related complexity on the rise in the automotive industry, those days are long gone: as digitalisation takes hold in the automotive industry, engineers must contend with a wider set of issues, not just structural and performance factors.
IT-related complexity will continue to increase in the next few years: not just with navigational devices, but also with technology related to vehicle safety, infotainment, diagnostics, and increasingly, battery charging. This trend has become more acute with the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), noted by the Wall Street Journal as “more about software than hardware”.
How China digitalises its cars shows the way for the rest of the world. The country has started passing legislation covering the processing of automobile data, mirroring two new UN Regulations on Cybersecurity (R155) and Software Updates (R156) that establish performance and audit requirements for car manufacturers.
Regulators are aware that connected vehicles have opened up a new front in the never-ending battle against cybercrime: these new rules ensure that engineers take direct action to manage cyber security systems, avoiding incursions that might endanger their vehicles’ operations and their passengers.
This is all familiar territory to companies like T-Systems that have long been on the leading edge of digitalisation in the APAC automotive industry. T-Systems’ participation in intelligent connected mobility research has led to innovations like the Argus cybersecurity for connected cars and mobile predictive maintenance courtesy of their "Machine Service in a Pocket".
In the next few years, the manufacturing industry in APAC is bound to capitalise on the ability of today’s technology to seamlessly marry both physical and virtual realms.
This trend is crystallised in “Industry 4.0”: a new field of digitally-enabled production processes that blends “manufacturing techniques with the Internet of Things to create manufacturing systems that are not only interconnected, but communicate, analyze, and use the information to drive further intelligent action back in the physical world.”
Low footfalls triggered by the pandemic and the ensuing Circuit Breaker have been a heavy burden on Singapore retailers, who experienced a 70% decrease in sales in 2020.
Luckily, local retailers had a trump card up their sleeve: a 90% Internet penetration rate in Singapore, beating the APAC average internet penetration rate of 58%. Through the first year of the pandemic, online sales in Singapore rose 151.2% year-on-year as of June 2020—an ascent that shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.
Today’s technology has driven a rapid increase in digitalisation – competition between providers and wider adoption by companies has driven the cost of digitalisation down, even as the technology’s capabilities have increased.
It’s safe to say that digitalisation will only hasten its pace in the year to come. More industries will replace inefficient analog processes with new digital technologies and capabilities. And organisations will revise entire business models, enabled by cloud-based platforms that can network people, machines and “smart” objects in both physical and virtual realms.
Widespread digital transformation aside, digitalisation can’t be hurried or simply plugged in willy nilly. Companies should invest in a long-term investment and change process, if digital transformation is on their agenda: this commitment can spell the difference between a failed digitalisation project and one that beats even 2022’s wildest expectations.