Volkswagen and AWS have been working on the Industrial Cloud for a good year now. How would you describe the mission from today’s perspective?
Patel: We want to bring together data from all the Volkswagen Group facilities and make it usable on a real time basis. This will create the basis for even more efficient processes and increased productivity. We have already completed the first part of the journey – by the end of this year, 18 locations will be connected via the cloud. But that is only part of the task. In the future, we want to integrate other companies, such as suppliers, into the cloud. We are now taking an important step with eleven international partners who provide their own software applications.
What is the benefit?
Patel: The data that we integrate with the Industrial Cloud creates more efficiency through intelligent algorithms and software applications. For example, one of the eleven pioneering partners has developed an algorithm that uses artificial intelligence to optimize the use of driverless transport systems. Another company has an application that can be used to simulate the maintenance intervals of machines. The examples show: As the number of partners grows, so does the range of solutions our plants can draw on. The Industrial Cloud is not a closed club. We are open to cooperation – with our suppliers and any other company that wants to contribute solutions and/or consume them.
Cooper: At AWS, we have extensive experience with building technology solutions that create value for both solution providers and users. Our insight is: Additional partners always bring in additional data, which in turn enables new solutions. This creates a positive dynamic that leads to further improvements.
How might such improvements look?
Cooper: A good example is software for optimizing plant efficiency. But this is only one option – analyzing data offers almost unlimited opportunities to expand the range of industrial applications at a rapid pace.
Patel: Another example is energy management – a major issue in every factory. Together with partners, we want to work out solutions to reduce energy consumption – not just in one plant, but at many locations. This is good for the environment and good for Volkswagen. The more plants we bring into the cloud, the greater the economies of scale.