The automotive industry is one such industry that is currently lying at the tip of an iceberg for bringing in a major internal transformation. Products are being developed with a software-oriented approach rather than going for generalized and common ones. Customers have raised their expectation levels when it comes to buying & owning processes. They now set a high value on companies that develop sustainable products and services, resulting in an apparent shift in how automakers design & manufacture their products and components. Despite all this, the automotive industry is always blanketed by the stiff challenge of establishing a feasible business model.

Common Cloud Apprehensions or Myths

Cloud users often carry several apprehensions related to Cloud migration. These misconceptions, myths, and worries have been the main challenge to understanding Cloud’s benefits and advantages. Some common concerns associated with Cloud comprise of-

  1. Cloud is Less Secure: Security indeed has been a major concern for every industry today, and automotive manufacturers are no exception. Usually, manufacturers in this industry might have secured their on-premise infrastructure, established experiences, and ensured trust with the existing security mechanisms. However, due to the increased cyberattacks, CIOs and security teams within the automotive manufacturing industry have started realizing that on-premise data and infrastructure can be easily targeted. Additionally, manual security procedures and insider threats are also emerging as some of the common cyberattack methods.
  2. There is No Clarity on Where Data is Stored: Controlled data access is a vital element that needs to be accounted for when securing user-critical data and privacy. However, data ownership and the location where data is stored continue to be major concern area for CXOs across organizations. The CXOs fear the mismanagement of their data by cybercriminals or notorious insiders, which is one reason that is holding the CXOs back from migrating to the Cloud. Manufacturers must understand that industry-leading Cloud service providers give significant weightage to data localization and store their data within their geographic boundaries.
  3. Cloud Hosting is Expensive: Apart from security and location of data, manufacturers also carry a common apprehension related to the cost factor of Cloud hosting. They feel that Cloud is an expensive option compared to other storage alternatives. However, the benefits that Cloud offers can easily overpower other forms of expenditures in technology. To ensure savings in the Cloud, automotive providers must provide a few things. First, they need to understand and establish a new cost management capacity, while second is to let go of the existing legacy infrastructure, resulting in substantial savings.

Cloud Computing & Automotive Industry

Cloud Computing offers the automotive industry a holistic approach that is needed for an enterprise to prosper and make it future-enabled. OEMs have started rearchitecting their design, manufacturing processes, and, most importantly, customer experience. With Cloud Computing, manufacturers present in the automotive industry can cut down their storage costs by boosting vehicle design and manufacturing speed. Improved levels of data storage at relatively lower prices and faster technology access results in an increased development process, which translates to more number of differentiated products and services. Implementation of the Cloud demands the entire organization to shift the attention of automotive manufacturers regarding their work. The transition to Cloud also needs to be backed with a clear definition along with synchronization amongst all the departments involved in manufacturing.

How Does Cloud Benefits the Automotive Industry?

Talking about the automotive industry, Cloud Computing offers numerous benefits. Some of these include the following-

  • Substantial Cost Savings: The Cloud, along with other supporting software in the automotive industry, helps substantially reduce costs. If the manufacturers have any IT hardware that is on-premise, it becomes their responsibility to ensure the hardware maintenance. Besides the maintenance, manufacturers also need to pay for labor and power consumption costs. However, with Cloud, all the hardware is offered by the Cloud provider, who is responsible for ensuring timely maintenance, monitoring, and updation of the hardware. Also, with smart automotive Cloud solutions, manufacturers can leverage the benefits of pay-per-use or pay-per-consumption billing. This model ensures manufacturers have to only pay for the resources they have utilized and can easily scale up or down as per their business requirements.
  • Infinite Storage Space: The automotive industry generates huge volumes of data, and storage space is needed to store such voluminous data. When this data gets stored with on-premise infrastructure, it results in the purchase of expensive storage devices. However, modern-day smart automotive Cloud solutions are known to offer infinite storage space where they store large volumes of data. At the later stage, this storage space can be increased easily to cater to business needs and goals.
  • Improved Autonomous Driving: The concept of autonomous cars involves sensors, radars, and cameras having the ability to steer and take control of the vehicle automatically, even in case the driver is not physically present. Autonomous Cloud solutions are well-known to support this continuous data flow between self-driving cars and provide unhindered network services. With Cloud platforms in place, driving can become much safer, more efficient, and more secure in self-driving cars. 
  • Better Security and Lower Risks: Data breaches are constantly on the rise globally, and this has indeed become a major concern for almost every industry. However, automotive manufacturers usually have the on-premise infrastructure, whose main task is to keep their valuable data secure from notorious cybercriminals. With Cloud Computing in place, it becomes the responsibility of the Cloud Service Provider to secure the manufacturers’ data and protect their systems against looming threats. Cloud has lower chances of failures, data damage, and breakdowns than siloed on-premise Data Centers. Cloud providers ensure regular and redundant data backups so that enterprises’ critical information and applications remain intact in case of unforeseen disasters or failures. 
  • Better Team Collaboration: Talking about the automotive sector, in particular, manufacturers have to communicate internally and externally continuously. With different departments having different means of communication, having effective collaboration becomes quite challenging in the automotive industry. However, using the Cloud, all these departments can effectively collaborate by using a single and centralized platform that offers concurrent access to every user. Cloud-based collaborative tools provide manufacturers with a pre-built central platform that ensures easy collaborations with all internal and external stakeholders.

Role of Data in Autonomous Vehicles

Like every industry, data has been at the core, even for autonomous vehicles. Talking about the manufacturers, Cloud is the best technological option present today to gain a competitive edge. The volume of data that the manufacturing industry generates today demands a Cloud solution owing to constant reassessment and redevelopment of tools to support the software complexity that is essential for smoother functioning and safety of autonomous cars. Data is also constantly being leveraged extensively in newer techniques for selling services related to automotive, covering safety add-ons to in-vehicle experiences. Data is also being used to understand traffic patterns and broad-scale planning within smart cities. Data collected from various products and services across the industry will have a major role when defining future smart towns and amenities.

The Road Ahead

Manufacturers must come out of the Cloud technology myth bubble. Enterprises have started moving to the Cloud, and its associated add-ons and functionalities are being used to solve various complex problems. Cloud is also a great tool that enables the complete digital transformation of enterprises by ensuring enhanced security to the hosted data and applications of automotive manufacturers. Lastly, the manufacturers need to understand that whenever a manufacturer becomes Cloud-native, they get reduced OPEX while introducing new revenue sources.

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