The local automotive industry has been one of the top contributors to the Philippine economy for a number of years, and as the country continues to reopen and rebuild from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that sector will take back its position as a key driver of growth.
In order for the automotive industry to fulfill these expectations, it must be able to adapt to the post-pandemic economic environment as well as manage new challenges in 2022. For Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation in over 100 countries, edge computing is the modern solution for the next normal of the automotive sector.
“For the automotive industry, edge computing represents a solution to latency, bandwidth, and autonomy challenges, as well as regulatory and security requirements, that hold us back from reaching the full potential of data,” said Abraham Lim, Secure Power Director of Schneider Electric Philippines. “The industrial edge can help automotive players leverage their data in real time, ultimately creating a competitive advantage that is more necessary now than ever.”
Internet of Vehicles data can be a competitive advantage if processed close to the source
Software guides everything from production to testing to in-car navigation. The Internet of Vehicles (IoV) market is predicted to grow more than 200% between 2017 and 2024. The Philippines has seen the rise of intelligent transport systems, and vehicles are now able to share data to ensure safer journeys, reduce travel time, and conserve energy by providing real-time data to drivers on the road.
During every milestone of their lifecycle, from production to decommissioning, modern vehicles generate mountains of data. Data from sensors and remote-management equipment at factories allow manufacturers to adjust processes, conduct maintenance and make operational decisions from afar. Vehicle OEMs also capture test data, to the tune of terabytes per hour.
“When this information flows into a manufacturer’s network, it must make real-time decisions about the data. Though the cloud provides many efficiencies over legacy networking, it introduces too much latency when time is of the essence,” said Lim. “For auto manufacturers, then, the answer is to deploy IT resources closer to industrial systems so that they store and analyze data as closely as possible to where it’s produced.”
To enjoy the full potential this data has to offer, automakers must turn to industrial edge computing. As the phrase suggests, industrial edge computing places compute and analysis power in industrial settings at the network edge.
Industrial edge computing enables what centralized data strategies cannot
Schneider Electric highlights how industrial edge computing offers a framework for latency-free analysis, as well as the ability to leverage tools that enterprise what the standard cloud IT arrangements cannot. In addition, the instantaneous nature of edge might be the most crucial benefit.
“To reap the full benefits of edge computing, the automotive sector must gain a better understanding of the industrial edge implementations that enable organizations to combine IT and OT,” said Lim. “Generally, firms must analyze data from business systems to optimize several operational outputs, including sustainability, profitability, and cost. These systems do not function properly without the hard work and expertise of IT teams that understand network performance and security. At the end of the day, the future success for the automotive industry requires melding information and operational technology as close as possible to the asset.”
Resilience is the key to success at the edge
Even if the benefits of edge computing are clear, the path toward achieving such an infrastructure may not be. Industrial edge computing begins with a hybrid data center architecture. This architecture combines three factors: centralized data centers for massive compute and storage purposes, typically located in remote areas; regional edge centers for large compute and storage, often located in central or urban areas; and, local edge data centers, with compute and storage, at the site of data generation.
Unfortunately, not all organizations have treated edge compute sites with the same deference they show central data centers. But in the automotive world, local edge sites likely represent a manufacturing floor, distribution warehouse, or even personal safety monitoring system. If a local edge site experiences unplanned downtime, that downtime makes it challenging to deliver product or adequate customer and employee experiences.
“There is great potential for the automotive industry once they ensure that any industrial edge implementation is as resilient as if it were a standard central data center. However, the lack of on-site IT teams and wide geographic distribution of edge sites makes this task a more complicated endeavor,” said Lim, who underscores the importance of finding the right partner to assist in edge implementation. “Turning to partners for all phases of the edge data center lifecycle ensures smooth deployment and operations. Solutions that easily integrate with existing hardware and software tools and come equipped to withstand power disturbances and other outages can provide peace of mind even at unmanned locations.”
Industrial edge computing unlocks data, potential for automotive companies
Compute power and processing capabilities have become cornerstones of the automotive industry. With software and sensors enabling advancements maintenance and performance alerts to parking assistance, car makers today are as much software companies as they are producers of durable goods. Yet, unlike other industries that have monetized their transformation to software centricity, the automotive world still has more road ahead in turning its data into a bottom line-booster.
“Moving forward, automotive industry players can earn a competitive advantage by leveraging industrial edge computing solutions to truly harness their data,” said Lim. “This is especially crucial for growing IoT and IoV economies with a strong automotive industry, such as the Philippines, and Schneider Electric can be the partner of automotive companies in realizing this.”