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Get in, go zoom: Innovating for Next Generation Automobile Manufacturing

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By Jim Mccaffrey, Writer, Hewlett Packard Labs

How can the automotive industry apply the innovations of artificial intelligence, converged OT/IT, and edge computing to shorten manufacturing cycles, improve product quality, and increase profit?

To discuss proven, practical moves toward “Industry 4.0,” the HPE Channel-to-Edge Institute (CEI) is co-sponsoring Innovating for Next Generation Automobile Manufacturing, an IoT auto industry event on Tuesday, May 26. in cooperation with HPE partners Arrow, Ciber, and Viviota. The event will take place online.

The CEI provides industry actors “use cases, business cases, and briefcases,” or go-to-market examples, according to Tom Bradicich, HPE VP, Fellow, and head of the IoT and Edge lab and Center of Excellence, which administers the CEI.

Automation at the edge

The automobile industry is an exciting ecosystem for a number of computing innovations. A great deal of the auto industry’s automation takes place at the edge – computing at the place of action, in this case the factory. So understanding how to most efficiently and creatively deploy that computing will be integral to its success. It is also arguably one of the most important industries in terms of operational technology, technology integrated into the business structure -- sensors, control systems, data acquisition systems, and industrial protocols, industrial networks, and more.

"A car is very complicated,” says Bradicich. “During manufacturing, if something goes wrong, it can take a tremendous amount of time to discover and correct the issue."

If you can't turn the heat on, it might be the heater. Or it might be the electrical system. Or the switch that turns on the heater, or the program that controls the switch, or a dozen other things. A sophisticated IoT solution puts every component together in one system, so technicians can debug faster, or even from afar. That means getting a product out faster, without sacrificing safety, quality, or security.

A new category

“The Edgeline Converged Edge Systems and OT Link is not just a new product line, but a differentiated new product category,” says Bradicich. “They’re first-of-a-kind systems that unite control systems, enterprise-class IT, data center-level compute storage, and OT in one integrated, ruggedized offering.

"This brings economical open standards to an otherwise closed ecosystem -  we're doing for the edge what Compaq did for the data center," he says

This new product category is evidence of HPE’s belief that innovation alone isn't enough. Not every innovation is a game-changer unless you can provide something truly novel or unique. When your offering isn't substantially different, Bradicich asks, "What do you compete on? You compete on price, and struggle to grow." He likens competitors’ offerings to selling cheeseburgers. One joint might have the best burger, or the cheapest burger, or serve them faster than the joint around the corner. "But when you have something differentiated, you're the sole inhabitant of that market."

In addition to delivering the opening keynote, Bradicich will host the Automotive Manufacturing Leadership Panel.

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Managing Editor, Hewlett Packard Labs