Digital transformation is a big stream that no one can resist. What kind of impacts will the TIC industry experience by digital transformation? Is it going to be positive or negative?
There are business areas which are in danger of being disrupted by digitalization. One example would be the breathtaking developments in autonomous driving and the associated data being generated by vehicles. Because the car and its sensors provide enough information to judge if it is still safe to operate soon, the consumer might not have to bring their car to inspection every second year as it is right now in Germany, but a physical inspection is only necessary every three of four years. That will be great for the consumer but it threatens an important business area in TÜV SÜD which provides periodic vehicle inspection
On the other hand, software becomes more complex and will be continuously updated during the lifespan of a vehicle. In the past we bought a car which would not change a lot. Nowadays cars do get software updates through Wi-Fi or the mobile phone network – so no need to see your garage mechanic. However, highly automated vehicles do interact with the environment whilst driving and a software update might influence the vehicle. As interaction with humans and other vehicles on the street, up to the point where their functional safety deserves another look, even though the car as a physical product has not changed. In this scenario, car owners will have to get a recertification after their car got a major update of its driving system, which is something we are more than happy to provide. As you can see, digitalization is a threat for TIC industry but it’s an opportunity at the same time.
These - new fields of business will become mission-critical for us and this is why we need to look at them very closely, including building up expert knowledge.
Consequently, the role of human inspectors will not diminish, but it will change and be enriched. Inspecting an industrial plant still needs to be done on-site by a person. But there might be digital tools which can support the inspection – imagine augmented reality goggles or having access to the right technical document just when you need it and independent of your physical location. In the end and in most of the cases there will still be a person in charge, personally vouching for and signing off on the results of a test or an inspection. Even Artificial Intelligence will not change this in the foreseeable future. To give an example: we did a project with Artificial Intelligence on predicting wind turbine failures and found that human context and causality understanding is needed to train the algorithm. Otherwise strange results may appear, which are only correlations between things and have nothing to do with reality.
One thing to consider, though: digitalization and all development in Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and so forth contain many opportunities but risks as well. We can no longer separate cybersecurity from physical security. Securing data integrity, privacy and security from attacks has therefore become essential. Standards and regulation merging safety and security in the Cyberspace are coming, and TIC companies should play an important role in these initiatives – but this is something which requires active shaping and even basic R&D from our side to become and stay relevant.
About Dr. Dirk Schlesinger
Dr. Dirk Schlesinger is Chief Digital Officer and joined TÜV SÜD in May 2016. At the Center of Excellence for Digital Service at TÜV SÜD, he is responsible for the digital transformation at TÜV SÜD worldwide.
Majored in aerospace engineering at the University of Stuttgart, he holds an MBA from the University of California and did his PhD in mathematics at the University of Mannheim. After working for the Boston Consulting Group for over 13 years as a consultant, he has been working at Cisco for 11 years before joining TÜV SÜD.
TÜV SÜD joins “Charter of Trust” for a secure digital world
Caption: Dr. Dirk Schlesinger(CDO)
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