Today’s Growing Challenges and Opportunities

The automotive industry is forecasted to rise above all the other industry verticals when it comes to user experience & innovation. Examples being, syncing of our smartphones with the infotainment system of a car we are sitting in, Connected Mobility services like re-routing of traffic at the touch of a button, streaming of favorite playlists on Spotify or any other apps and seeking emergency roadside assistance at the touch of a button. To build an IoT-driven car, leading OEMs are working on hand in gloves with technology companies. Digital transformation is key and is already disrupting the existing business models in automotive and is expected to touch a revenue generation of $140 trillion over the next two decades.

By 2020, growing digitalization and advancements in technology will have increased the automotive industry investments to $82 billion

To tap into the real potential of digitalization, IT leaders are grappling with a massive transformation that is crucial to driving business growth, competitive advantage, and customer  loyalty. End user expectations have placed tremendous pressure on the industry to change the way they establish their strategies and manage their potential of winning over sales in the marketplace. Products that demand high-scaling of network of user’s requirements to incorporate information and interactivity quickly drive up costs and complexity. At the same time, the industry must be more creative to capture a larger share of the consumer’s attention and overall transportation spend – both in and beyond usage of vehicles. There is fundamental shift how organizations should be able to respond to the underlying consumer needs and yet make a difference? How can organizations become sustainable and yet grow new disruptive models that matter in today´s world? The automotive industry is definitely at crossroads where the vehicle itself and the consumer’s experience with it are rapidly shifting to digital agnostic. Through our research of leading companies and working with automotive majors, we found that companies with a cohesive digital strategy for integrating physical to digital elements are able to successfully transition and transform their existing business models – and even set a new direction for the entire industry. Successful companies move forward by focusing on two strategies: reshaping the customer value proposition and reshaping the operating model.

Switch to Cloud-Native Services have become Omni-present

Technological changes are also rampant in today´s revolutionized world, and that said, for successful entrepreneurship of Automotive IT adoptions, there are certain key technological concepts as also discussed below that would transition the industry from purely machine controlled to software-defined business model. In the next 10 to 15 years, industries would be upping their potential to become fully embraced to take on software challenges through necessitation of following techniques on full scale:

  1. Micro-services Architecture
    Cloud-native apps adopt a microservices architecture model, where each application is a collection of small services that can be operated independent of the other services in the application. The services enable faster delivery of software with minimum required time to scale.
  2. Containerization as a Service
    Containers provide isolation contexts for microservices. Containers are highly accessible, scalable, easily portable from one environment to another, and fast to create or tear down, making them ideal for building and running applications composed of microservices.
    Agile and Business Driven Development
    Software developers and IT operations teams collaborate under this model to build, test, and release software updates as soon as they are ready, without affecting customers or developers on other teams.
  3. Cloud-native Software
    Imagine your car is talking to other cars to avoid a crash, or to report an accident or emergency site would be the thing of the present in the future. With wireless connectivity, and software connected to cloud, vehicle to vehicle communication becomes seamless. Predictive maintenance and better services are possible through machine learning, AI bots and sensor data. Enhance driving experiences for users by building mobile apps scalable on cloud that could further amplify of connected vehicle applications for mobile and wearable devices. The use-cases demand a more reliable, elastically scalable system that could potentially alleviate any type of issues such as data, security, networking etc., providing a holistic view of modernized application landscape. The cloud-native software based on principles of 12-factor apps provides this modern development.

Why Cloud-Foundry as Application PaaS for Automotive

As Cloud computing evolves, it should move away from experimentation and towards enterprise-wide implementation says Gartner. An All in-cloud strategy is imminent across large enterprises, and with Gartner´s analyst reports that Cloud Foundry naturally fits into the overall application platform environment as PaaS is to be consistently factored into as part of an organization´s tech strategy. Consequently, automotive companies worldwide have really adopted Cloud Foundry as the cult platform across their application development runtime environments. For its connected car initiative, Honda is leveraging real-time data and cognitive analytics from its vehicles to promote safe and efficient driving. At the heart of these efforts, set to launch in 2020, are Cloud Foundry -based Bluemix and the Watson IoT platform.

At Volkswagen Digital Labs in Berlin, leveraging Cloud Foundry ´s capabilities have provided tremendous scalability and rapid app delivery with product cycle times which used to take months and years together have reduced to few weeks with the first MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Volkswagen is currently building a lot of cloud-native mobility products for the future of Connected Car and Smart Mobility based on Cloud Foundry. This was indeed a new operating model with rapid innovation and prototyping at the fore-front that which harnesses momentum at a start-up speed. To deliberate furthermore, since the inception of labs in Berlin, Volkswagen with the help of Cloud Foundry has delivered on few following commitment:

  • New codebase to working system in a span of three months. Beta launch with full partner integrations and connected car integrations by the teams in 6 months
  • Single identity provider built by scratch in less than a year. On-boarded new client in less than 4 weeks
  • A full replacement of legacy system delivered in 6 months and product is already live
  • GDPR compliant solution integrated into vehicle data ready for early 2018
  • A fully blown intelligent mobility platform MVP in a matter of 3 months

In June 2016, the company initiated its most ambitious strategy change to date. “We formulated a clear vision: Volkswagen is to become a globally leading provider of sustainable mobility solutions,” said Dr. Roy Sauer, Head of IT Architecture and Technology for Volkswagen Group, in a keynote at September’s Cloud Foundry Frankfurt Summit in 2016.

“Volkswagen continues to revolutionize the way vehicles are built, distributed and marketed, relying on Cloud Foundry to manage workloads across multiple clouds and gain flexibility, efficiency and agility,” says Abby. Kearns, executive director of the Cloud Foundry Foundation. “Volkswagen has always been an active member of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Mercedes Benz embraces rapid app delivery with Cloud Foundry. The connected car app was potentially shipped in a matter of 6 months, and since then there have been 100,000 downloads on Google Play. Accelerating iterations of the development process, integrating customer feedback for the App actually resulted in greater connected-car experience. The company focused on decoupling the processes from the surrounding world to avoid the need to depend on development cycles to make the app work. The app currently scales on Car2Go ride-sharing service with which the users can locate and book cars in serviced areas and are then charged by the minute. With the initiative been a successful business model, Mercedes is continuing to leverage Cloud Foundry across many other IT scenarios like IOT, Machine-learning, AI and smarter mobility.

Another such use-case is that of Ford where Cloud Foundry transformed their customer experience. The Ford Smart Mobility was born with the idea that Ford wanted to expand its mobility services apart from it´s core business model. Here, the application of Cloud Foundry was called for due to the high reliability of Ford´s investment into cloud, and the underlying need in digital transformation processes. The company is using Cloud Foundry to create a product called FordPass, part of its connected vehicle experience that simplifies how its customers use technology in their vehicles. Ford significantly wanted to move to zero downtime upgrades, and to be able to deploy within minutes using Cloud Foundry.
For all the above use-cases requiring huge bandwidths of data upstream and downstream, there need to be immense backing of cloud enabled services such as Google Cloud Platform in order to ensure that consistent throughput is achievable and transmits speeds up to hundreds of terabits per second are potentially feasible. The futuristic roadmap is most likely that consumers are aren´t motivated to be able to buy a new vehicle without having a rich connected car user experience within and outside the car and this rich user experience isn´t possible without enabling multiple connections to the world constantly transmitting data to other vehicles and to the Cloud.

Future is Safe and Secure

Cloud Foundry as Applications PaaS is arguably one of the most popular and industry-standard open source platform to start your cloud native transformation for new applications. The choice of Cloud Foundry also helps modernize the existing applications today and the tools of Cloud Foundry help deliver speed the whole organization can measure. The CF Application Runtime platform adds efficiencies in quickly iterating and testing applications, with on-demand provisioning and a clear path for getting applications from a developer’s laptop and into production reliably. Cloud Foundry removes the complexities of developing applications by decoupling the application from the overall infrastructure, so that organizations can make a business decision on where to deploy it. The Cloud Foundry Container Runtime simplifies adding existing applications to your environment making it easier for development community to deliver code faster. The use-cases for Cloud Foundry are tremendously higher. For example, you could essentially start small with a lean mobile app, but potentially end up with building a full spectrum of applications that could benefit from Cloud Foundry. Also, Cloud Foundry helps keep the workload secure because the services in the form of containers will be short-lived and doesn´t result in long standing vulnerabilities. Cloud Foundry can give you benefits for continuous delivery platform for modern app development strategies with rapid growth. Some of the few additional scenarios where the application of Cloud Foundry capabilities is already taking place in automotive industry:

  • Smart-car Telematics analysis in real-time
  • Vehicle to everything (V2X) through sensor handling and vehicular communication systems
  • Building Car-as-a-Sensor services that deliver sensor data to cloud and dynamic usage of information to the vehicles on-demand
  • Spin up of infrastructure instances tied to scalability and inter-operability of development platforms that lead to very shorted turn-around times and quicker innovation
  • Growth of ride-sharing platforms enabled use-cases
  • Vehicle connectivity solution use-cases that tap into gathering, processing, analyzing and acting on data within the vehicle while having to reduce the costs
  • Autonomous driving or driverless use-cases, of having to enable the cars to communicate to other cars when there is emergency or assistance needed
  • Predictive analysis of customer data that leads to increased point of sale and customer growth