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"Focus on the Future" Conference Series Examines Current and Future Trends in Information Technology in the Auto Industry

August 13, 2008

Conference on future IT trends in the auto industry kicks off Sept. 17

UMTRI's Automotive Analysis Division is launching the "Focus on the Future" Automotive Research Conference Series on current and future trends in information technology in the auto industry. In each of five all-day conferences, U-M researchers and industry executives will bring you up to date on a variety of important topics affecting the auto industry, as well as provide expert opinions about its future direction. Topics will include:

  • The transformation that information technology is providing within the company and within the vehicle
  • The challenges facing companies as they market new powertrain technologies
  • New manufacturing processes and technologies
  • A current update and forecast on China's automotive industry
  • Company strategies and the forecast of future powertrains

The first session, "The Business of IT: Transforming the Organization and the Vehicle," takes place on September 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Michigan League Ballroom on U-M's main campus.

Though information technology (IT) has lost some of the attraction that generated so much interest at the turn of the century, automotive companies have continued to try to leverage what IT brings to the company both internally and within the vehicle itself. This conference will help bring you up to date on how IT is currently being used to transform companies internally and also within the vehicle itself. U-M and industry speakers will also focus on the future direction of IT in the auto industry.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Bruce Belzowski, UMTRI assistant research scientist, will introduce the key issues and moderate the conference.

Transforming the Organization

  • M.S. Krishnan, professor in the U-M Ross Business School, will present "The New Age of Innovation." He'll describe the new business models, enabled by IT, that will transform the company and the relationship between the vehicle and its owner. He will draw on his new book, co-authored with C.K. Prahalad, entitled, "The New Age of Innovation."
  • Jeff Liedel, chief strategy officer IS&S at General Motors, will present "GM's Innovative IT Strategy" and discuss GM's future direction.
  • Steve Nykerk, solutions specialist, PLM Business Solutions, at IBM Global Services, will present "The Benefits of PLM: A Cup Half Full." He will reveal the results of IBM's recent global benchmarking study on product lifecycle management (PLM).

Globalizing IT

  • Greg Martin, Director IS&S Strategy and Planning, General Motors, will present "The Globalization of IT" and address its challenges.
  • Bill MacFarlane, CIO of Continental AG, will present "Mergers and Acquisitions in a Global Organization: IT Challenges." He'll describe the IT transitions that companies must make during M&A's as well as while globalizing their organizations.

Transforming the Vehicle

  • Ralph Robinson, UMTRI research scientist, will present "The Vision of Vehicle Infrastructure Integration." He will talk about the IT-related opportunities that are being developed within the vehicle for both safety and business.
  • Jason Flinn, assistant professor in the U-M Department of Computer Science and Engineering, will present "Pervasive Computing: The IT Breakthrough Needed for Pervasive Computing in the Vehicle." He'll discuss his research with Ford Motor Company focusing on pervasive computing within vehicles.

Registration is $200 (free for UMTIR-AAD Affiliate Program members, U-M staff members, and U-M students). The session is sponsored by Hewlett-Packard.

Other dates and topics for the series are:

  • November 10, 2008: Developing New Powertrain Technologies for Drivers: What Are They Willing To Buy and How Do We Know?
  • February 11, 2009: Advanced Manufacturing in the Automotive Industry: Game-Changing New Processes and Technologies
  • April 16, 2009: Inside China: Understanding China's Current and Future Automotive Industry. Sponsored by the U-M Center for Chinese Studies.
  • July 15, 2009: Powertrain Strategies for the 21st Century: How Are New Powertrain Technologies Affecting Company Strategies?

This conference builds on the success of the China Automotive Conference this spring. All conferences will be held on the UM campus at the Michigan League Ballroom. Watch for more detailed announcements as each conference nears.

To make a reservation, please contact Ms. Lee Burge at 734-936-2723.

To sponsor one of the conferences, please contact Bruce Belzowski.at 734-936-2704.