Transforming mobility

08-start image copy

The Frost & Sullivan GIL India Summit 2017 recognised successful digital strategies to transform mobility.

Story by:

Ashish Bhatia

As smart phones and similar such gadgets pouring upon the humankind, bringing information to the finger tip, many organisations are leveraging different digital strategies to help their business platforms scale new heights of success. Reflecting upon such strategies, the Frost & Sullivan Growth Innovation & Leadership (GIL) India Summit 2017 saw industry leaders and senior Frost & Sullivan executives speak about mobility transformation. They emphasised upon India’s evolution as a global powerhouse in the day-long event. Marking the ninth edition of GIL India Summit, the event saw CxOs stress upon disruptive innovations as catalysts, and how they are transforming the way industries function. Announced Aroop Zutshi, Global President & Managing Partner, Frost & Sullivan, that technology is proving to be an enabler as well as a disrupter. He mentioned, “Organisations are digitally reworking their business initiatives to accomplish digital transformation, which is the need of the hour.” With technology and growth opportunities finding mention, a discussion on digital readiness of organisations proved to be of interest. Deliberation on Internet of Things (IoT) took place. It was deemed as a driving force for innovations. Said Zutshi, “There is a need to take advantage of data. With linear growth unacceptable, the need for companies is to look at top-line growth rather than focus on attaining bottom-line growth as a long term strategy.” “Digital transformation is catalysing innovation, productivity and growth,” he quipped.

Underlining key benefits of integrating disruptive technologies, the Summit 2017 saw Dr. Seshu Bhagavathula, Chief Technology Officer, Ashok Leyland, speak about transformational change. He emphasised upon the proliferation of platform-based business models and ecosystems, and how they are unlocking an immense potential for growth to gain a competitive advantage. Linking the ability to digitally re-imagine the business, Dr. Bhagavathula said, “Aggregator model will be obsolete over time. The value of their service will diminish. This will create a need for an aggregator-less mechanism.” Emphasising on an apparent shift in the ‘value chain’, Dr, Bhagavathula cited the example of people renting cars rather than buying them. “It is service that is beginning to figure at the top,” he averred. Dr. Bhagavathula opined that business models will undergo transformation, and reliance on middle men will cease. Touching upon multi-modal transportation and zero emission vehicles as agents of change, Dr. Bhagavathula announced that electric trucks with a range of 500 km to 600 km will mark the future.

Faster growth

Calling upon the need for traditional business models to collaborate, Jaspreet Bindra, Senior Vice President – Digital Transformation, Group Strategy Office, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., said that consolidation will continue to take place. “Platform-based businesses are scaling up faster than the conventional asset led businesses. The need is to sell experience over products. Customer preferences are changing. They are forcing business models to change. Companies that sell experience will flourish.” Pointing at mobile apps. as part of the core business, and not in isolation, Bindra stated that there was a need to modify strategies. He emphasised upon the digital platform developed by Mahindra for farmers, what with 35 per cent of the company’s revenues coming from rural India. Defining the rate of data transformation as exciting, Peter Gartenberg, General Manager, Enterprise Partner Group (EPG), Microsoft India, announced that the technology which Uber is using is not new. “Its success can be credited to the way the cab aggregator has integrated data on a common platform,” mentioned Gartenburg. He informed that the use of data in India is moderate, and should rise. Terming the need to engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations and transform products as the key areas an organisation should focus upon, Gartenburg said, “IoT, augmented reality, and quantum computing are the most relevant technologies. Digital transformation isn’t just catchy, it’s catching on.”

Drawing attention to a study by Frost & Sullivan, ‘Mapping Digital readiness of organisations and urging them to embrace Disruption’, Vidya S Nath, Senior Director, Digital Media, Global Innovation Centre, Frost & Sullivan, expressed, “Digital transformation to adapt technology and business models is a critical mission for Indian enterprises. The digital market transformation is valued at USD 45 billion. Close to 32 per cent of the total digital spend on manufacturing in 2016 was spent on cloud. Of the rest, 26 per cent was spent on mobility, 18 per cent was spent on analytics, one-per cent was spent on social, and the remaining 23 per cent was spent on miscellaneous activities.” On the topic of IoT leading to unanticipated innovation, Juergen Hase, Chief Executive Officer, Unlimit (A Reliance venture), averred, “IoT is driving new customer, and will lead to intelligent industry solutions. IoT is expected to drive trillions of dollars in opportunity for the IT industry.” Stating that truck and bus manufacturers will need to build intelligent ecosystems and partnerships, Dr. Bhagavathula mentioned that missing standardisation in devices will lead to challenges. Upon the challenge to integrate technologies, Benoy C.S, Director & Business Unit Head – Digital Transformation, Frost & Sullivan, said, “I expect organisations to earmark 40 to 50 per cent of their overall budgets for security going forward.”

Market push and ground realities

About the challenge of going digital, Dr. Rishi Mohan Bhatnagar, President, Aeris India, said that they were operating two trucks in Chattisgarh and Srinagar. “In both the regions, we are facing connectivity challenges, which highlights the fact that digitisation is at a nascent stage in the country.” Averred Dr. Bhagavathula, “To adopt advanced technologies calls for huge sums of money. To achieve each emission stage, manufacturers have been investing billions of dollars. To be able to do that, there has to be money. It has to come. The question however is, where will the money come from?” Hinting at companies finding it tough to invest in one technology after another with no return on investment in sight, Dr. Bhagavathula said, “India is still in the ‘import and assemble’ mode. The ambition to ‘Make in India’ is a far cry, and the utilisation of factories is far from optimal.”

4_new copy

During the panel discussion on auto and transportation industry transformation, moderated by Kaushik Madhavan, Director – Mobility, Middle East, North Africa & South Asia, Frost & Sullivan, one of the two panelists, Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting Ltd., mentioned that it was possible to achieve complete electrification. He drew attention to the ACMA and SIAM roadmap. Pointing at the industry track record of overcoming challenges, Pandey averred, “The internal quality and regulatory standards of the Indian automobile industry are world-class.” He cited an example of the proliferation of e-rickshaws at Dwarka in Delhi due to market demand, and opined that let the market call for a change rather than change being thrust upon the market. The other panelist, Santosh Datta, Head of Automotive Systems Integration(India), Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions Ltd., echoed Pandey’s sentiments about industry transformation. He mentioned, “Something like demonetisation, I hope, will not extend to internal combustion engines.” Datta cautioned about the auto industry withholding investment upon failing to achieve the minimal requirement for economies of scale. “Economies of scale are essential to make e-mobility sustainable,” he quipped. “As a supplier we are awaiting a clear push from the market,” informed Datta.

3_new copy

Stressing upon the need to set up inter operability of transport data such that mobility could be offered as a service, Pandey cited the example of Google powered platforms. He remarked, “Data sharing is becoming critical. There is a need for OEMs to create an aftermarket environment on the lines of operating systems like Android and iOS to facilitate cross servicing. A need is also to bring about a cultural change; to extend support to new entrants, and for the auto industry to collaborate rather than to work in silos.” Stressing upon sections of assembly lines communicating with each other as a token of development in material sciences, Dr. Bhagavathula explained that material shape and form was changing. “Materials are becoming context sensitive,” he stated. Upon receiving an award that recognised Maharashtra as the number-one state in overall development, Shweta Shalini, advisor to the chief minister of state Devendra Fadnavis, and spokesperson for Maharashtra BJP, said that the Government in partnership with technology giants like Microsoft has succeeded in digitally transforming six villages in the state. “We have additionally partnered with companies like Cisco to attain our objective of digitising the lives of people,” averred Shalilni. She drew attention to 156 online services launched through Government’s ‘Aaple Sarkar’ (Your Government). The highlight of the event was Kumar Mangalam Birla being given the 2017 GIL Visionary Award. This was the most significant award among the 61 awards presented to companies across genres like electronics and appliances, energy and environment, digital media, industrial automation and process control, metals and minerals, mobility, tech vision, and transformational health.

9 copy

Sustainability and Cvs

NITIN copy Sustainability 4.0 Awards Arvind Bodhankar copy

Sustainability in the CV industry was attended to at the Frost & Sullivan India Sustainability summit.

Story by:

Ashish Bhatia

The need to reduce the carbon footprint in the CV industry as it progresses towards the manufacture of modern and less emitting vehicles found a mention at the recent Frost & Sullivan India Sustainibility summit held at Mumbai. The discussion on sustainability and CV industry delved upon sustainability practices implemented. It also delved upon practices that were being implemented, or needed to be implemented. Arvind Bodhankar, Global Head – Health, Safety, Environment and Chief Sustainability Officer, Tata Motors, in his keynote address cautioned the industry about the rise in operational costs as sustainability took the front seat. He mentioned that to manufacture a low carbon emitting vehicle technology would effectively mean re-looking at the engine and associated technologies, weight reduction practices, aerodynamics and drag, hybrid technology, tyre technology, HVAC systems and alternative energy vehicles. All these would lead to a hike in the production cost even as they bring about more sustainability. Apart from life cycle assessment, a sustainable supply chain will have to be attained, added Bodhankar. He also spoke about connected vehicles as an important category to propel sustainability. Stating that a fully connected transportation system will be made possible by the upcoming transport regulations, Bodhankar said that it would compel manufacturers to produce them on a larger scale.

Present at the summit were corporates cutting rank across diverse industry sectors. A common thread that seem to bring them together was the need to collaborate and adopt sustainable business practices. In the course of the event, it became apparent that the auto industry and the transportation sector is lagging in the adoption of sustainable business practices. Nitin Kalothia, Director, Manufacturing & Process Consulting Practice, Frost & Sullivan on the sidelines of the summit expressed that there is a need for the stakeholders of the commercial vehicle industry to incorporate a 360-degree change in their ideologies and business methodologies. He pointed at the transport industry contributing 14 per cent directly to global Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) emissions and 0.3 per cent indirectly. The transport industry is placed second, and after electricity and heat production, which contribute 25 per cent of carbon emissions as per data sourced from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report. Also stated in the report is that the transport sector accounts for more than half of India’s petroleum consumption, and a quarter of the overall energy needs.

Referring to a statistics report that indicated how in a typical CO2 emissions life cycle in an automobile 72 per cent of the total emission is generated at the stage of manufacture, a delegate claimed that the remaining was contributed by materials, fuel production and other processes. He opined that the onus is on the government as much as it is on the automobile industry to work closely to iron out the creases in a set time-frame. The current scenario looks quite interesting, quipped another delegate while pointing at diesel vehicles. Said Kalothia, that technology is of importance when it comes to curbing climate change. This, he said, apart from the need to manage brand image, creates a competitive advantage and reduces cost as the main drivers for adoption of sustainable development practices. Kalothia further expressed that the good part is, technological advancements and lowering operational costs are being supported by the government and stakeholders of the auto vehicle industry alike. “Upgrading emission standards to Euro-six is one such concrete move,” he mentioned. Informed Bodhankar, that they are employing certain mechanisms to mitigate climate change at Tata Motors. “The mechanisms deployed include energy efficiency and focus on renewables; attaining fleet fuel efficiency, use of hybrids, alternate fuels and electric vehicles, and supply chain engagement,” he added. Towards attaining fuel efficiency, Bodhankar claimed that his company was amongst the first to conduct a fuel life cycle analysis in the Indian context. This included wheel-to-wheel Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and energy efficiency evaluation of various fuels. Drawing attention to Tata Motors electric commercial vehicle portfolio that includes a mix of hybrids and electric vehicles, Bodhankar averred that hybrids are far from being popular in India, and that the company expects them to gain acceptance over the medium to long-term. Making hybrids and electrics commercially available would depend on how soon the market attains maturity. This in-turn is driven by numerous factors, including the ability of the industry and government to work closely as mentioned earlier by a delegate.

Defined as development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, to be sustainable is not an option. It is the convergence between the three pillars of economic development, social equity and environmental protection.

Sustainable business practices are becoming the order of the day across industries. A certain difference of opinion about assessing the life cycle did reflect at the Frost & Sullivan summit, and whether to adopt a cradle-to-cradle (where the end-of-life disposal step for the product is a recycling process) or a gate-to-gate (partial LCA looking at only one value-added process in the entire production chain) approach. It was indicative of the fact that sustainability is finding a place of importance in the day-to-day functioning of companies. A video played at the summit on Bhutan reflected upon how the small hilly country is investing in sustainability. The Bhutan prime minsiter Tshering Tobgay spoke of investing in sustainable transport and subsidising electric vehicles in a bid to make Bhutan carbon neutral.