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Waste not, want not: auto industry toys with the circular economy

Megan Lampinen takes a look at the auto industry’s growing interest in the circular economy

A world with little or no waste – it’s not just a nice idea for the distant future, it’s a means of improving the environment, public health and even profit margins today.

Companies across many industries are moving towards the idea of a circular economy as an alternative to the traditional linear model of make, use, dispose. In many regions around the world, governments are stepping up with support in the form of guidance and legislation.

The European Commission (EC), for example, is pushing legislation that would encourage the recycling or reuse of “most if not all products and materials” through repairing, refurbishing and recycling. The savings could be substantial. For instance, the EC estimates that if 95% of mobile phones were collected for re-use, savings on material costs of more than €1bn per year could be generated. Imagine what the savings could be for cars.

Playing out

“The automotive industry depends on different raw materials to produce vehicles. Much of the supply of materials goes to car manufacturing. An increase in demand will lead to increases in prices, which can potentially increase the costs to car manufacturers,” explained Khaled Soufani of Cambridge Judge Business School. “The circular economy concept emphasises the need for firms in the automotive value chain, and other value chains, to come up with disruptive technology and business models that are based on longevity, renewability, reuse, repair, upgrade, refurbishment, servitisation and capacity sharing.”

The circular economy covers a complex and wide range of initiatives ensuring we work to make the best use of the valuable resources that go into our vehicles – Adrian Tautscher, Jaguar Land Rover

It is already playing out in a variety of ways, and Soufani points specifically to the concept of ‘reverse logistics’ as it relates to reusing materials. “There are also other issues relating to the industry exploring ways to use less energy and apply more innovative ways of reusing, remanufacturing, and reconditioning,” he added, suggesting that more research is needed in this area.

A handful of OEMs, including Jaguar Land Rover, have been investigating the potential for reuse and remanufacturing. “The circular economy covers a complex and wide range of initiatives ensuring we work to make the best use of the valuable resources that go into our vehicles. This includes technological innovation – such as recycling, remanufacturing, autonomous vehicles and ownership models that consider the future mobility needs of our customers,” suggested Adrian Tautscher, Sustainable Aluminium Strategies, Jaguar Land Rover.

From OEMs to suppliers

JLR’s REALCAR (REcycled ALuminium CAR) and the REALCAR2 projects have identified huge opportunities around the circular economy and resource efficiency. The OEM worked with Novelis and Innovate UK on this closed loop value chain project, creating new materials and production systems to introduce closed-loop aluminium into Jaguar Land Rover cars. The work resulted in the development of a recycled aluminium-based alloy for use in vehicles and the implementation of an innovative closed-loop aluminium recycling process. JLR claims that the closed-loop enabled it to reclaim more than 50,000 tonnes of aluminium scrap back into the production process during 2015 and 2016. This prevented emissions of more than 500,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

“REALCAR has delivered a technical and supply chain solution that allows aluminium scrap generated in manufacturing processes to be recycled in a much more efficient way,” explained Tautscher. “REALCAR applies ‘circular economy’ principles by ensuring that high quality automotive grade material is reclaimed and put back into the same high quality product. This transparent and traceable process adds value and keeps a tight logistical loop for the material where it is needed, in the UK and Europe.”

Material suppliers are also making headway on this front. ArcelorMittal’s head of RD, Greg Ludkovsky, has spoken about sustainability as a catalyst for change. Amongst other things, the supplier is using waste created during the steelmaking process to make agricultural fertiliser, and the waste gases created during steelmaking have been used to create bioethanol for aeroplanes. “Sustainability, and specifically the role that steel is playing in the circular economy, are resulting in the creation of new business models and pan-industry collaborations that are potential game-changers,” Ludkovksy commented.

Speaking to Megatrends, a spokesman for the steel supplier added: “Our innovation is helping our automotive customers to reduce their carbon footprint. Add to this the fact that steel is inherently recyclable without any loss of quality, so it is a perfect material for the circular economy.”

The shared economy

Another good fit with the circular economy is alternative ownership models. The shift towards a shared economy, with concepts such as car-sharing and ride-sharing, attack the problem from a very different angle. “The shared economy is about the shared use of an asset that is not fully used by its owner. The sharing economy model contributes to extending the time usage of an asset or a product, so the economic objective is the maximisation of the usage of the asset,” explained Soufani. “When this is applied to the automotive sector it is understood that cars are parked over 90% of the time, and thus a sharing model might increase utilisation and hence contribute to the circular economy. But there could be some challenges and again more research is required in this area.”

Headwinds and potential

A number of headwinds currently prevent automotive material recycling from reaching its full potential. As Soufani pointed out, the whole concept of the circular economy “is relatively new in the minds of consumers and producers. There is a need for greater awareness and more information and education about the need to explore this model in the different industries. When consumers and producers are more informed about the benefits of this system probably more would decide to learn about it and possibly consider the application.”

Our innovation is helping our automotive customers to reduce their carbon footprint. Add to this the fact that steel is inherently recyclable without any loss of quality, so it is a perfect material for the circular economy – ArcelorMittal

JLR’s Tautscher called for greater financial support. As he told Megatrends: “The solutions are complex but attainable; industry expertise needs to be supported with funding to innovate materials and recycling technologies. The steps to achieving this are equally complex.” These steps could include optimising current and future materials to allow increased recycling rates. He also flagged potential in advanced waste separation technology that is applied to end-of-life, post consumer and industrial waste streams to liberate a purer material source for recycling. There could also be potential in full supply chain engagement – from raw material producers to end users to the recycling industry, as Tautscher cautions that “automotive companies will not be able to deliver in isolation.”

Financial payback

All of these developments promise financial payback at some point for the companies involved. A report by Cambridge Judge Business School concluded that “full adoption of the circular strategy not only conserves resources, but can also raise businesses’ net profit margins and earnings dramatically over the long run.” As Soufani elaborated: “Reusing some of the used materials in the process of producing new products might reduce direct material costs, which is included in the cost of sales, and consequently would impact profit margins.” He cautioned that further research could uncover that different industries see different results.

JLR anticipates a return on its investment. “Fortune favours the brave, and ambitious thinking to break beyond existing established ways of working, as part of a long-term strategy, will yield financial benefits,” asserted Tautscher. “Specifically for recycling, maintaining material quality and purity helps ensure material properties are retained; this maximises the market value of the material. The challenge is delivering the technology alongside the associated business model to make it economically viable. A long-term strategic approach helps, because the financial benefit can take time to build as ideas go from small scale to fully industrialised, with scale and volume.”

 

 

This article appeared in the Q1 2017 issue of Automotive Megatrends Magazine. Follow this link to download the full issue. 

Article source: http://www.automotiveworld.com/analysis/waste-want-auto-industry-toys-circular-economy/

Newsroom : Premier Committed to Supporting Ontario’s Automotive …

Premier Committed to Supporting Ontario’s Automotive Industry

March 24, 2017 11:50 A.M.

Office of the Premier

Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement today after meeting with leaders from Ontario’s auto sector:

“Ontario’s automotive industry is a vital economic engine and a global leader in manufacturing and innovation. Today, Minister Brad Duguid and I met with key auto industry leaders to discuss how we can continue to support growth in a changing global landscape.

Our province is built on our ability to trade and our economic success is linked directly to our strong business relationships with the U.S.

There is no other sector that benefits more from these relationships than the auto industry. A vehicle crosses North American borders an average of seven times before it is complete. Free trade allows that to happen. And in communities across Ontario, people are earning a good living and supporting their families with manufacturing jobs in the auto industry. Those jobs exist because of free trade.

I am absolutely committed to protecting Ontario’s interests, defending our province’s business relationship with the U.S. and creating more good jobs in a strong Ontario auto sector. We have the people, the technology and the drive to make sure that our auto industry continues to be a pillar of our province’s economy.

Today we discussed how our government is also working closely with our federal partners and with our U.S. colleagues to sustain the unique and mutually beneficial relationship between Ontario and the U.S.

In the past five years, Ontario produced almost 15 per cent of North American cars. Our highly skilled workforce and our reputation as a hub for research and innovation make the province an attractive place to do business. We are working together with the industry to keep Ontario manufacturers at the forefront of evolving technology.

Today underscored the key role the auto industry plays in our province’s continued success. Minister Duguid and I look forward to working with auto leaders to create more jobs and growth in the industry and in Ontario’s economy.”

Article source: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2017/03/premier-committed-to-supporting-ontarios-automotive-industry.html

Automotive industry driving job creation in Mississippi

A little more than a decade ago, Mississippi had never produced a commercial vehicle. Today, about 4 million vehicles assembled in the state are on the road around the world, and production is showing no signs of slowing down.

For Mississippians, more significant than production milestones are the contributions Toyota and Nissan have made to the state and local economy. These automotive manufacturers are responsible for the creation of thousands of careers and the investment of billions of dollars in the state.

This year, Toyota celebrates 10 years since the announcement it would locate in Blue Springs, Miss. Today, a Corolla, one of the world’s top-selling vehicle models, rolls off the assembly line every 71 seconds thanks to the Toyota Mississippi team. This team of Mississippi men and women assembled 500,000 vehicles faster than any other Toyota plant in North America, proving once again the extraordinary quality of our workforce.

Nissan’s Canton assembly plant produces eight models and is the global source for the Murano. The more than 3 million vehicles assembled at the Canton, Miss., facility solidifies the state’s position as a leader in the Southern Automotive Corridor.

More important than the number of vehicles assembled in the state is the economic impact companies like Toyota, Nissan and almost 200 automotive suppliers have on their local communities and to the state.

In a study published in 2016 by national think tank The Center for Automotive Research, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi is responsible for a payroll of approximately $307 million, creating $235 million in disposable income. Additionally, the report also estimates Toyota supports 6,700 direct and indirect jobs. Toyota’s Mississippi-made workforce also is responsible for assembling more than 850,000 vehicles, and the company expects to produce the 1 million mark by the end of 2017.

Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning Analysis Research center also recently published a study highlighting Nissan’s contribution to the state’s economy. NSPARC estimates the presence of Nissan in Mississippi contributes $2.9 billion to the annual state gross domestic product. The automotive giant is responsible for 25,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.

Combined, Mississippi’s two original equipment manufacturers are responsible for an estimated 31,700 direct and indirect careers for hard-working people of our state. These careers create disposable income which is reinvested in our communities.

A vital component of the Mississippi Development Authority’s mission is to build stronger communities. In addition to our aggressive recruitment of global companies to the state like Continental Tire and Yokohama Tire, MDA is committed to developing local leaders. Strong leaders initiate community development, which leads to economic development. Successful communities are often the result of focused and forward-thinking leaders who create an environment where businesses can thrive. It is leadership at the state and local levels which resulted in Toyota and Nissan deciding Mississippi is the right location for their operations.

Today, Mississippi reaps the benefits of Toyota and Nissan’s investment in our state and our people. We all share the responsibility to ensure we position more Mississippi communities for success. Investing in the infrastructure of people means every Mississippian wins. Together, Mississippi, Toyota, Nissan and the many automotive suppliers are part of the winning team responsible for revving up Mississippi’s automotive industry.

Glenn McCullough is executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.

Article source: http://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/columnists/2017/03/24/automotive-industry-driving-job-creation-mississippi/99577396/

Premier Committed to Supporting Ontario’s Automotive Industry

Premier Committed to Supporting Ontario’s Automotive Industry

March 24, 2017 11:50 A.M.

Office of the Premier

Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement today after meeting with leaders from Ontario’s auto sector:

“Ontario’s automotive industry is a vital economic engine and a global leader in manufacturing and innovation. Today, Minister Brad Duguid and I met with key auto industry leaders to discuss how we can continue to support growth in a changing global landscape.

Our province is built on our ability to trade and our economic success is linked directly to our strong business relationships with the U.S.

There is no other sector that benefits more from these relationships than the auto industry. A vehicle crosses North American borders an average of seven times before it is complete. Free trade allows that to happen. And in communities across Ontario, people are earning a good living and supporting their families with manufacturing jobs in the auto industry. Those jobs exist because of free trade.

I am absolutely committed to protecting Ontario’s interests, defending our province’s business relationship with the U.S. and creating more good jobs in a strong Ontario auto sector. We have the people, the technology and the drive to make sure that our auto industry continues to be a pillar of our province’s economy.

Today we discussed how our government is also working closely with our federal partners and with our U.S. colleagues to sustain the unique and mutually beneficial relationship between Ontario and the U.S.

In the past five years, Ontario produced almost 15 per cent of North American cars. Our highly skilled workforce and our reputation as a hub for research and innovation make the province an attractive place to do business. We are working together with the industry to keep Ontario manufacturers at the forefront of evolving technology.

Today underscored the key role the auto industry plays in our province’s continued success. Minister Duguid and I look forward to working with auto leaders to create more jobs and growth in the industry and in Ontario’s economy.”

Article source: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2017/03/premier-committed-to-supporting-ontarios-automotive-industry.html

Preventing Avoidable Workplace Incidents in the Automotive Industry

Mechanics and manufacturing employees are tasked with some of the most daunting repairs that stretch them to not only their limits mentally, but physically as well. With thousands of pounds of metal hanging above workers, sharp tools in use and repetitive motions a mainstay technique, it’s clear more safety and precaution is needed to prevent some fo the more foreseeable incidents.

Repetitive motion and overexertion represent a large portion of these workers’ compensation claims, and even being struck by an object is unusually high on the list for an industry so keyed in on computerized processes. The real risk in the industry lie within the nature of the job itself, according to the International Labor Organization.

Download this report to have a better understanding of the injury risks associated within the auto industry and learn how to create a more effective culture of safety.

Provided by ProcessMAP

 

Article source: http://ehstoday.com/white-papers-and-case-studies/preventing-avoidable-workplace-incidents-automotive-industry

BlackBerry COO on the company’s dive into the automotive industry …

TORONTO – You might not know it, but chances are there is some sort of BlackBerry software in your vehicle.

Beard, who held executive positions at Oracle Corp., SAP division Sybase, and cloud call centre firm LiveOps Inc. before joining BlackBerry, sat down with ITWC to outline the company’s shift to software and the enterprise. BlackBerry’s focus now lies in security, software, and automotive operating systems, rather than hardware.

In part two of our QA with Beard, he discusses BlackBerry’s dive into the automotive industry and the success the company has had with Ottawa-based QNX.

This is part two in a three-part interview.

Read Part 1: BlackBerry COO on the company’s new direction with its hardware

The following is an edited transcript. 

ITWC: We were shocked that you said that BlackBerry is inside 250 auto makers. With the Ford announcement in December, we were under the impression that BlackBerry had just entered this space. How long has BlackBerry been preparing this push and working with auto makers?

Marty Beard: Years. Approximately 50 per cent of the market for Infotainment is BlackBerry. There are a lot of systems in a car, and they are all independently out there. For example, here’s BlackBerry managing really well the infotainment, and we’re also really good with acoustics. So most people don’t realize that if you have a high end sedan, all the sounds are managed. They’re fabricated, but you don’t know that when you’re driving.


BlackBerry COO Marty Beard

As we get into autonomous and semi-autonomous you get into much more analytics about what is happening. The sensors on the outside and inside of the car and what is going on around this environment. Those need to be managed. Then when you step back, those systems need to talk to each other. So we’re in an awesome space, because we’re really good at it. It is a really stable, very well vetted software. It’s in rockets, it’s in airplanes, and the industry knows that.

It’s a big opportunity, but it takes time. The Ford deal we announced, that takes a lot of time to get there.

ITWC: How have you forged these partnerships?

Beard: We’re known in the industry and we’ve already done some work with Ford previously. This expanded that quite dramatically. The good news about that industry is that it’s not huge in the sense of the number of players, so you know where to go. We’re in a good position there.

ITWC: Do you plan on growing beyond the infotainment, acoustics, etc. Would we ever see something like the Google Car from BlackBerry?

Beard: Yes, we plan on growing our software, but no, don’t mistake that for us moving beyond the software space. We have what we think is going to hit the roads, and I think we’re very well positioned.

ITWC: What made BlackBerry want to enter the automotive industry in the first place?

Beard: Through the acquisition of QNX. QNX was already there, and they did a beautiful job of growing and becoming bigger, but it was kind of off to the side a little bit. Now you’re hearing that it’s not off to the side and it’s becoming a major part of the story of what we do. QNX is now BlackBerry QNX.

Plus, a lot of us are Silicon Valley folks and you can’t go left or right without someone talking about smart cars, and then you see the Google Car go by, so it’s the next platform. Forget PCs and mobile, it’s all about the car. It’s such a huge topic and there is so much money going into it, that obviously for us we are already in there, so let’s get a larger presence.

ITWC: How do you win in this marketplace against these giants like Microsoft? What makes BlackBerry special?

Beard: With Ford, that was a win over Microsoft. It’s the solution. I don’t want to trivialize it, but it’s a great solution in terms of the actual software, but it’s also about security. Everybody saw the dramatic moment where that car was driven off the road, and it was all over YouTube, and it got a lot of attention because it was a very dramatic showing. This stuff has got to be secure.

There is great brand strength that we have around security, plus the actual technology. That’s the main reason.


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Understanding the IOT Explosion and its Impact on Enterprise Security


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Article source: http://www.itworldcanada.com/article/blackberry-coo-on-the-companys-dive-into-the-automotive-industry/391684

Italy’s MotorK, a company that offers digital services to the …


MotorK, an Italian company that offers a number of digital products to the automotive industry, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. The round was led by 83North, with participation from Zobito, a Swedish private equity and VC firm.

Founded in 2010 and launched at Mike Butcher’s GeeknRolla conference the same year (oh, how I miss those days when nobody knew my name), MotorK was, in co-founder and CEO Marco Marlia’s own words, set up to “revolutionise the creation, management and conversion of leads in the automotive sector by the power of digital”. The company’s products and services aim to help the automotive supply chain sell more auto vehicles, from helping dealers build an online presence to offering a better car buying experience to consumers.

“Our comprehensive end-to-end approach looks after the sales cycle of a car. We’re now servicing 90 per cent of European car brands and over 100,000 dealers,” says Marlia.

Amongst its offerings are DriveK, a new European car marketplace that could be considered a competitor to something like Carwow, and a SaaS platform for car dealers called DealerK. The company also runs Internet Motors, which claims to be the largest digital automotive event network in the EMEA region.

Noteworthy, this is the first time MotorK has taken outside funding, having bootstrapped the company, and says it’s been profitable for the last six years. It also claims “triple-digit growth year on year,” (as vague as that is) and has expanded from its home turf of Italy to Spain, U.K., France, and Germany. I’m told the new capital will be used to enter other European markets.

Laurel Bowden, Partner at 83North, said in a statement: “Today’s announcement is a reflection of our commitment to supporting top talent in the European tech sector as we seek to add value to entrepreneurs with our extensive network and experience of high growth companies. We share a common operating philosophy and we look forward to collaborating with the MotorK team.”

Article source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/23/italys-motork-a-company-that-offers-digital-services-to-the-automotive-industry-raises-10m-series-a/

Do not let Brexit ruin car industry, urges chair of London Taxi Company

The chair of the company behind the first new car plant in Britain for more than a decade has urged the UK and European governments not let Brexit ruin the country’s automotive industry.

Carl-Peter Forster was speaking as the London Taxi Company (LTC), the maker of London’s trademark black cabs, officially opened a factory in Coventry to build electric taxis. The plant will create more than 1,000 jobs and is funded with investment worth £325m from the Chinese car company Geely, which owns LTC.

The Coventry plant is the first site in the UK dedicated to the production of electric vehicles. It covers the size of nearly 20 football pitches and has capacity to manufacture 20,000 vehicles a year. LTC and Geely will also make small electric vans at the factory, which the companies believe could be a new growth market. They are looking to export the electric taxi outside London, but will focus on the UK first.

Greg Clark, the business secretary, said the new factory and Toyota’s announcement last week that it will invest £240m into modernising its Derbyshire production line is “recognition of our seriousness in the industrial strategy”. He was very confident about the future of the car industry in Britain, he said.

Forster, the former boss of General Motors Europe and Jaguar Land Rover, urged the UK and EU to reach a mutually beneficial deal for the automotive industry as part of Brexit.

“I think there is a mutual interest on both sides not to disrupt … and kill this very positive collaboration” between the UK and European car industries,” he said. “We bank on all governments to keep that in mind.”

Forster said sterling’s depreciation since the referendum had already hurt LTC’s profit margins, but added: “We will somehow live with it.”

On the potential terms of Brexit, he said: “We need a stable and level playing field in terms of trading, rules and regulations. We bank on the UK government to keep that in mind.”

Automotive industry bosses have consistently said that leaving the single market and the customs union could have a damaging impact on UK plants because of the number of cars exported and the high proportion of car parts imported. Around half the parts for the new electric taxi made at the Coventry factory will come from outside the UK.

A report by PA Consulting said earlier this week that the cost of assembling a car in Britain could increase by £2,370 in the event of a hard Brexit, forcing some manufacturers to look at moving production out of the country.

The increase in costs – equivalent to more than 10% per vehicle – would hit if Britain falls back on World Trade Organisation rules after leaving the EU. Even if the UK agrees a tariff of 5% with the EU on importing and exporting cars and 2.5% on components, then £1,202 will be added to the cost of production.

The report said it would make economic sense for some manufacturers to abandon British factories if 10% WTO tariffs were introduced. The cost of exporting 200,000 cars a year from the UK would be £920m after two years, which PA Consulting said would easily cover the cost of building a new plant in the EU.

The government has provided a £16.1m grant through the regional growth fund for LTC’s new factory. Clark said the facility, which will also house research and development, demonstrated that the UK was a “world leader in the development of new automotive technologies”.

He has pledged to put support for the development of electric vehicles at the heart of the government’s industrial strategy.

“Our iconic black cabs are famous across the world. The London Taxi Company’s impressive new factory and RD facility showcases the innovation that makes the UK a world leader in the development of new automotive technologies,” he said.

“Through our ambitious industrial strategy, we are committed to building on our strengths and taking advantage of the opportunities the new low-carbon economy provides.”

The Department for Transport aims to encourage taxi drivers to buy new electric vehicles with £64m in incentives. The money will be used to offer taxi drivers a £7,500 discount on the cost of an electric vehicle and pay for more charging points across the UK.

John Hayes, the transport minister, said: “This government is committed to improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities, which is essential for people’s health and the environment.”

Unions welcomed the investment, particularly in light of LTC going into administration in 2013 before being bought by Geely.

Unite’s regional officer Peter Coulson said: “This a fantastic story of a company that was on its knees in 2013. Now thanks to the commitment of Geely’s top management and accompanying large-scale investment the iconic London taxi is set for its continued renaissance.

“Tribute should also be paid to the dedicated workforce who have worked hard and diligently to contribute to the current success.”

Signal of China’s growing importance in car industry

The new LTC plant is not just the first new car plant in the UK for a decade and the first to focus on making electric vehicles. It also represents the single biggest investment in the British automotive industry by a Chinese company.

Geely saved the maker of London’s black cabs from the brink of collapse in 2013. The company was founded by Li Shufu, who the business secretary described as “one of China’s great business leaders and therefore one of the world’s great business leaders”.

Li set up Geely in 1986 as a fridge manufacturer, but he has gone on to build a substantial car maker in China and buy western brands such as Volvo and LTC.

Representatives from the Chinese government were at the official opening of the new factory, and the presentation translated into Chinese. Chris Gubbey, LTC’s chief executive, described the facility as a “success story for the cooperation between the UK and China”.

Article source: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/22/london-taxi-company-coventry-electric-cabs-jobs-brexit

BlackBerry COO on the company’s dive into the automotive industry

TORONTO – You might not know it, but chances are there is some sort of BlackBerry software in your vehicle.

Beard, who held executive positions at Oracle Corp., SAP division Sybase, and cloud call centre firm LiveOps Inc. before joining BlackBerry, sat down with CDN to outline the company’s shift to software and the enterprise. BlackBerry’s focus now lies in security, software, and automotive operating systems, rather than hardware.

In part two of our Q/A with Beard, he discusses BlackBerry’s dive into the automotive industry and the success the company has had with QNX.

This is part two in a three-part interview.

Part 1: BlackBerry COO on the company’s new direction with its hardware

The following is an edited transcript. 

ITWC: We were shocked that you said that BlackBerry is inside 250 auto makers. With the Ford announcement in December, we were under the impression that BlackBerry had just entered this space. How long has BlackBerry been preparing this push and working with auto makers?

Marty Beard: Years. Approximately 50 per cent of the market for Infotainment is BlackBerry. There are a lot of systems in a car, and they are all independently out there. For example, here’s BlackBerry managing really well the infotainment, and we’re also really good with acoustics. So most people don’t realize that if you have a high end sedan, all the sounds are managed. They’re fabricated, but you don’t know that when you’re driving.


BlackBerry COO Marty Beard

As we get into autonomous and semi-autonomous you get into much more analytics about what is happening. The sensors on the outside and inside of the car and what is going on around this environment. Those need to be managed. Then when you step back, those systems need to talk to each other. So we’re in an awesome space, because we’re really good at it. It is a really stable, very well vetted software. It’s in rockets, it’s in airplanes, and the industry knows that.

It’s a big opportunity, but it takes time. The Ford deal we announced, that takes a lot of time to get there.

ITWC: How have you forged these partnerships?

Beard: We’re known in the industry and we’ve already done some work with Ford previously. This expanded that quite dramatically. The good news about that industry is that it’s not huge in the sense of the number of players, so you know where to go. We’re in a good position there.

ITWC: Do you plan on growing beyond the infotainment, acoustics, etc. Would we ever see something like the Google Car from BlackBerry?

Beard: Yes, we plan on growing our software, but no, don’t mistake that for us moving beyond the software space. We have what we think is going to hit the roads, and I think we’re very well positioned.

ITWC: What made BlackBerry want to enter the automotive industry in the first place?

Beard: Through the acquisition of QNX. QNX was already there, and they did a beautiful job of growing and becoming bigger, but it was kind of off to the side a little bit. Now you’re hearing that it’s not off to the side and it’s becoming a major part of the story of what we do. QNX is now BlackBerry QNX.

Plus, a lot of us are Silicon Valley folks and you can’t go left or right without someone talking about smart cars, and then you see the Google Car go by, so it’s the next platform. Forget PCs and mobile, it’s all about the car. It’s such a huge topic and there is so much money going into it, that obviously for us we are already in there, so let’s get a larger presence.

ITWC: How do you win in this marketplace against these giants like Microsoft? What makes BlackBerry special?

Beard: With Ford, that was a win over Microsoft. It’s the solution. I don’t want to trivialize it, but it’s a great solution in terms of the actual software, but it’s also about security. Everybody saw the dramatic moment where that car was driven off the road, and it was all over YouTube, and it got a lot of attention because it was a very dramatic showing. This stuff has got to be secure.

There is great brand strength that we have around security, plus the actual technology. That’s the main reason.


Related Download
Understanding the IOT Explosion and its Impact on Enterprise Security Sponsor: Fortinet


Understanding the IOT Explosion and its Impact on Enterprise Security


Register Now

Article source: http://www.itworldcanada.com/article/blackberry-coo-on-the-companys-dive-into-the-automotive-industry/391684

Italy’s MotorK, a company that offers digital services to the automotive industry, raises $10M Series A


MotorK, an Italian company that offers a number of digital products to the automative industry, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. The round was led by 83North, with participation from Zobito, a Swedish private equity and VC firm.

Founded in 2010 and launched at Mike Butcher’s GeeknRolla conference the same year (oh, how I miss those days when nobody knew my name), MotorK was, in co-founder and CEO Marco Marlia’s own words, set up to “revolutionise the creation, management and conversion of leads in the automotive sector by the power of digital”. The company’s products and services aim to help the automotive supply chain sell more auto vehicles, from helping dealers build an online presence to offering a better car buying experience to consumers.

“Our comprehensive end-to-end approach looks after the sales cycle of a car. We’re now servicing 90 per cent of European car brands and over 100,000 dealers,” says Marlia.

Amongst its offerings are DriveK, a new European car marketplace that could be considered a competitor to something like Carwow, and a SaaS platform for car dealers called DealerK. The company also runs Internet Motors, which claims to be the largest digital automotive event network in the EMEA region.

Noteworthy, this is the first time MotorK has taken outside funding, having bootstrapped the company, and says it’s been profitable for the last six years. It also claims “triple-digit growth year on year,” (as vague as that is) and has expanded from its home turf of Italy to Spain, U.K., France, and Germany. I’m told the new capital will be used to enter other European markets.

Laurel Bowden, Partner at 83North, said in a statement: “Today’s announcement is a reflection of our commitment to supporting top talent in the European tech sector as we seek to add value to entrepreneurs with our extensive network and experience of high growth companies. We share a common operating philosophy and we look forward to collaborating with the MotorK team.”

Article source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/23/italys-motork-a-company-that-offers-digital-services-to-the-automotive-industry-raises-10m-series-a/