BMW and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced a comprehensive strategic collaboration 'to further accelerate the automaker's pace of innovation by placing data and analytics at the centre of its decision-making'.
The companies will jointly develop cloud-enabled solutions that they say will increase efficiency, performance, and sustainability across every aspect of the automotive life cycle, from vehicle design to after-sales services.
As part of the wide-ranging collaboration, the BMW Group will migrate data from across its business units and operations in over a hundred countries to AWS. The move will encompass a number of the BMW Group's core IT systems and databases for functions such as sales, manufacturing, and maintenance, and will help them increase agility, achieve new insights, and more quickly innovate new customer experiences.
In addition, the companies will invest in enabling and training up to 5,000 BMW Group-affiliated software engineers in the latest AWS technologies and empower the company's global workforce to make better use of data.
BMW says it is working to expand a company-wide data lake built on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), named the "Cloud Data Hub," so that it can leverage data to deliver innovation across its global businesses. The Cloud Data Hub provides employees throughout the company with a common operating picture of their entire organisation and a central starting point for new development efforts.
From the Cloud Data Hub, BMW Group employees will have access to the breadth and depth of AWS services, including Amazon SageMaker (AWS's service that helps developers and data scientists build, train, and deploy machine learning models quickly in the cloud and at the edge), to process, interrogate, and enrich several petabytes of engineering, manufacturing, sales, and vehicle performance data.
BMW also says its third-party partners like car dealerships, suppliers, and technology companies will also be able to securely contribute vehicle operating and maintenance data to the Cloud Data Hub and benefit from insights driven by machine learning. For example, BMW says it can apply machine learning to forecast demand for its range of vehicle models and individual equipment on a worldwide scale, as well as optimise planning across its sales, production, and purchasing units to deliver improved customer experiences.
AWS and BMW will also collaborate on products and solutions to improve operational performance and increase transparency in the supply chain. The BMW Group's PartChain Platform uses AWS services such as Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) in conjunction with open-source blockchain management tools to enhance the traceability of automotive parts and critical raw materials throughout the automotive industry's highly complex global supply chain.
This allows the BMW Group to link specific parts and vehicles to assist in defect investigations, as well as validate that materials are coming from socially responsible sources. The BMW Group is also using Amazon SageMaker to examine data from vehicle subsystems, leveraging machine learning to predict the performance of parts, proactively recommend maintenance, and inform parts suppliers of potential issues with their manufacturing processes to improve quality.
As a core piece of this agreement, the companies will upskill and enable BMW Group employees to better apply data and analytics in their roles and take full advantage of the latest cloud technologies. AWS Professional Services and the BMW Group's data scientists will work with BMW Group employees to identify business challenges, evaluate emerging technologies, and develop new cloud-enabled solutions for the automotive industry. For example, the companies plan to develop a natural language processing solution, optimised for terminology used in the automotive industry, that can automatically extract, process, and translate data from diverse text sources like factory reports, social media, and customer-facing chatbots to provide a more comprehensive view of issues across the BMW Group's operations and identify insights relevant to customer service, marketing, compliance, maintenance, and related functions. With the support of AWS Training and Certification, the BMW Group plans to train up to 5,000 software engineers affiliated with the company, and certify more than 2,000 of that number, on AWS services, with an emphasis on machine learning and data analytics, to empower the company's workforce to innovate.
"The BMW Group is driving digitalisation and innovation in the automotive industry," said Alexander Buresch, CIO and Senior Vice President, BMW Group IT. "We are making data central to the way we work and we look forward to collaborating with AWS to merge our talents, continuing to raise the bar for innovation among automakers and delivering exciting new experiences for our customers around the world."
"AWS provides the most comprehensive suite of cloud offerings to enable automakers to build applications that touch every point in the customer journey. By combining the domain expertise of the BMW Group with AWS's demonstrated leadership in the cloud, we're expanding our impact across the automotive industry so that stakeholders, from parts manufacturers to mechanics, can benefit from greater visibility and insights," said Matt Garman, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Amazon Web Services, Inc. "As customer expectations evolve alongside automotive technologies, automakers can rely on AWS to help them seize opportunities and take the lead in areas such as electric and autonomous vehicles, ridesharing, data services, and more."