Aerial view of a large parking lot with many cars

Industry 4.0 and smart production

Digitalization in the automotive and manufacturing industries

Challenges in the automotive and manufacturing industries

Highly technologically developed industrial sectors such as the automotive and mechanical and plant engineering sectors are almost entirely automated, but are nonetheless facing unprecedented pressure to transform. They must redefine their products and business models within the scope of digitalization and further optimize their development, production, and logistics processes.

Industry 4.0 and smart production

Worker standing in front of the shell of a car

It used to be the case in manufacturing companies that design, development, manufacturing, logistics, and after-sales services were largely separate areas. Various IT systems supported the respective processes. While the development department worked with CAD/CAM and PLM software, automation on the shop floor was supported by software for machine control, and ERP systems catered to business administration tasks. In the course of digitalization these borders are done away with and processes are seamlessly networked with one another. This, for example, enables machines to feed IoT data back into development. They send data concerning the condition of production facilities and products to the cloud for real-time analysis. 

Networked development and production

On the basis of the results of the analysis, manufacturers can accurately adjust their sub-processes. Or the data help to further improve product quality and optimize maintenance services for the delivered products. The long-term goal is to set up smart factories in which production can be as flexible as possible - even up to Lot Size 1 series production. In the smart factory, all process steps are networked with one another, which decreases the costs of development, production, and service while increasing quality. 

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

Decision maker checklist: Top questions from a company perspective

Networked IT and communication

Several semi-finished cars on the assembly line in a factory

The continuous digitalization of the value chain necessitates putting IT and connectivity solutions to the test. Admittedly, conventional business software systems such as ERP, PLM, SCM, or CRM remain largely unaffected. However, for networked production in the smart factory in particular, systems must interact more closely with one another and the company must productively use the significantly larger data volumes to improve processes.

An IT and telecommunications landscape which allows the flexible adjustment of altered processes is just as important for a company's ability to compete as flexible manufacturing. The greatest momentum arises when automation, communication technology, software development, virtualization, data analysis, and electronics interact closely with one another. To this end, companies from the automotive and manufacturing industries will build on cloud, big data, IoT, or AI solutions, among other things. In addition, ultra-fast 5G campus networks within the smart factory will allow data exchange with lower latency in real time.

Integrated solutions for Industry 4.0

Three businessmen stand in a factory hall looking together at a tablet

T-Systems supports the processes along the value chain with a comprehensive integrated approach to engineering, production, and logistics, through to sales & after-sales services. Automotive-specific solutions such as connected mobility services round off the portfolio. As an experienced transformation partner, T-Systems has command of comprehensive technological and industrial know-how. 

We support the digital transformation

As a longstanding technological partner of the automotive industry with around 4,000 international automotive experts, T-Systems offers technical expertise and a deep understanding of processes from a single source. For more than two decades, 13 out of 20 of the biggest manufacturers and more than 3,000 dealerships and international suppliers have trusted us. Independent industry rankings regularly place T-Systems as the ICT partner number 1 for the automotive industry. 

T-Systems offers the right technologies for future mobility. This includes solutions for digital services inside vehicles, over-the-air updates, and the development and operation of modular, scalable platforms – for autonomous driving among other things. According to a current study from the Information Services Group (ISG), T-Systems is, for example, among the top players for connected car platform services.

Digitalization in industry

60 GB

of data storage capacity will be needed by one vehicle from 2025 ¹

57 %

of the decision makers in the automotive industry are of the opinion that, first and foremost, digitalization means changes to manufacturing processes ²

78 %

of businesses within the industry expect that they will be able to offer new products and services thanks to digitalization ³

74 %

of companies within the industry expect possibilities for expanding and/or cornering new markets with digitalization ³
¹ Automobil Produktion June 2016 / ² Egon Zehnder, April 2019 / ³ Das E-3 Magazin, February 2019

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Digital twin

Several robot arms in an otherwise empty factory

Great potential lies in the model and simulation-based end-to-end assessment of the entire value chain. The development of a "digital twin", which stays linked with the same real system throughout the life cycle of the product, creates transparency and enables integrated, effective control of the process. With Future Engineering, T-Systems offers competent advice and modern technologies such as big data in combination with integrated PLM solutions and products from the cloud. 

In smart factories, IoT brings intelligence right down to the product core. This, for example, enables remote and predictive maintenance for cars, machines, and devices. The basis for this is formed by 5G campus networks, data security, and cloud technology. In the areas of sales and after-sales services too, networked products and goods create a proactive service model. The goal is to create a consistently high quality customer experience, individuality in the sales approach, and digitalization of the customer dialog. In such a scenario, T-Systems networks the players in the entire ecosystem and orchestrates effective processes for manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, fleet operators, and end customers. 

Always knowing what is happening

How can I guarantee the quality of my products, align my product's features precisely to the needs of my customers, and realize new business models? All this is possible with the digital twin. (Video in German language)

The ACES transformation

Close-up of a charging cable plugged into an electric car

Autonomous, connected, electric, and shared: the digital strategy for the automotive industry consists of these four ingredients. The industry needs a reliable and competent partner for the implementation.  As a member of the 5G Association, T-Systems is working together with partners on smart 5G use cases for networked and autonomous driving. T-Systems has many years of experience in the development, integration, and worldwide operation of mobile vehicle services. To this end, Deutsche Telekom uses appropriate telecommunications infrastructure for the development of charging stations. As a player in the mobility ecosystem, T-Systems works together with automotive businesses, airports, cities, and public transport providers.

Security for the networked car

Computer graphics of a car from above

With Europe's biggest Automotive Security Operations Center (Auto SOC), T-Systems is creating a protective shield for networked vehicles. Together with Argus, a subsidiary of Continental specialized in cyber-security in vehicles, T-Systems is developing components for a comprehensive security concept. Security-relevant data from the vehicle itself, the vehicles environment, and from development and production teams is processed in the Auto-SOC. T-Systems' security experts classify possible security breaches and immediately initiate counter measures. We also look for security vulnerabilities in the components and systems of control devices. Integrated intrusion detection systems identify attacks on the networked vehicle.

Digitalization in the automotive industry

References and success stories

Automotive Events