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BMW Embraces Cloudy Future with AWS Partnership

Improved results targeted with data-based decisions
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BMW Group is going big on big data.

Under a comprehensive partnership with Amazon Web Services, BMW is developing cloud-based IT and software systems that will be applied across the carmaker’s development, engineering, manufacturing, sales, management, service and supply chain operations.

The goal of the program, according to the partners, is to enhance innovation by placing data and analytics at the center of BMW’s decision-making process to boost efficiency, performance and sustainability.

Big Picture

(Image: BMW/AWS)

“We are making data central to the way we work,” asserts BMW CIO Alexander Buresch.

This includes migrating data from various business units in more than 100 countries to AWS. BMW says the initiative will encompass a number of core IT systems and databases across functions to help them increase agility.

People

The cloud-based data hub will provide employees throughout BMW with a common operating picture of the larger organization, according to the carmaker, to serve as a central starting point for development efforts.

As many as 5,000 BMW software engineers will be trained on the system. Of these, 2,000 will receive AWS certification with an emphasis on machine learning and data analytics.

But BMW says the eventual goal is to make the data accessible to its entire workforce, who then can work with certified data scientists and engineers to make the best use of the information.

Smart Hub

The hub will use artificial intelligence to maximize the value of the data and analytics.

BMW employees will have access to various AWS services, including machine learning tools to process and manage several petabytes of engineering, manufacturing, sales and vehicle performance data, according to the partners.

AWS, which has been working with BMW since 2015, also supplies several other digital tools to the carmaker. They include an open-sourced blockchain platform that can trace parts and raw materials throughout the supply chain, thus assisting in defect investigations and validating that materials are coming from socially responsible sources.

The data hub will build on that platform and other AWS services.

Making It Work

BMW envisions the machine learning-enabled hub to help it identify business challenges and evaluate emerging technologies, as well as track and analyze in field performance of various parts and vehicles.

Potential applications include:

  • Forecasting demand for individual car models, platforms, segments (including EV and AV trends) and equipment globally, then optimizing planning across sales, production and purchasing.
  • Developing a natural language processing system, optimized for automotive terminology, that can automatically extract, process and translate data from diverse digital sources, including factory reports, social media and customer-facing chat-bots to provide a more comprehensive view of issues across BMW’s operations.
  • Predicting the performance of parts, proactively recommending maintenance and alerting suppliers of potential quality issues.
  • Validating design requirements and complying with regulations across different markets.

BMW says the system already has proven its worth. During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the carmaker used machine learning and data analytics to help it manage suppliers and identify potential risks.

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