CII’s Connect 2017 discusses emerging trends in automotive E-mobility


By R. Natarajan, Mg. Editor & Publisher, MOTORINDIA

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) – TN Chapter and the Government of Tamil Nadu jointly organised the 16th Edition of CONNECT 2017, a two-day conference and exposition on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Chennai on November 6-7. The theme of the conference was ‘Intelligent Economy – Leveraging Technology for the New Era’.

From left, Mr. P. Ravichandran. Chairman, CII Tamil Nadu State Council, Mr. R. Chandrasekaran, Executive Vice Chairman, Cognizant India, Mr. T.K. Ramachandran, IAS, Principal Secretary – Information Technology, Government of Tamil Nadu, Dr. M. Manikandan, Minister for Information Technology, Government of Tamil Nadu, Mr. M.C. Sampath, Minister for Industries, Steel Control & Special Initiatives, Government of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Atulya Misra, IAS Principal Secretary- Industries Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, Dr. Sanjay Tyagi ,Director, Software Technology Parks of India, Mr. M. Ponnuswami, Vice Chairman, CII Tamil Nadu State Council, and Mr. K. Ramesh, Head TNSO – CII

Mr. R. Chandrasekaran, Executive Vice Chairman, Cognizant India, in his welcome address, said Connect 2017 reflected the growth in stature to become a big platform for connecting technologies. Currently the country is witnessing the fifth revolution, after the one in agriculture, industrial, digital, automation, etc. All this will only create more jobs. In Tamil Nadu, on an average 350,000 graduates are coming out every year. This constitutes 20% of the overall share of India. The State also offers several advantages, including domain skill knowledge in areas like the auto sector, healthcare, etc. In order to further attract major investments into the two sectors, he suggested Tamil Nadu Government should think of setting up an ‘auto tech city’ and a ‘health tech city’.

Mr. T.K. Ramachandran, Principal Secretary – Information Technology, Government of Tamil Nadu, in his special address, said since something exciting is happening in the IT sector every day, Tamil Nadu believes in an intelligent system as well as an eco system. The State ranks third in IT services, thanks to its good eco system. Besides, several automotive companies have developed their new product in and around Chennai. It is the only State which looks at other cities such as Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Madurai, Salem, Hosur, etc. to grow. With more SEZs coming up, Tamil Nadu tops the list in talent.

Mr. Arun Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Intellect Design Arena Ltd., gave an overview of the changing scenario in IT and other related fields.

Mr. P. Ravichandran, Chairman, CII Tamil Nadu State Council & President, Danfoss Industries Pvt. Ltd., in his address, said Tamil Nadu’s GDP is equal to that of Turkey and it may touch the UK GDP level in the near future.

Ms. Shilpa Prabhakar Satish, Executive Vice Chairperson, Tamilnadu Industrial Guidance & Export Promotion Bureau, Single Window Facilitation Office, Government of Tamilnadu, in her special address, said Tamil Nadu has digitized most of its services. As of October 31, the State has launched single-window portal covering 37 services across 11 departments. With several other key initiatives on the anvil, Tamil Nadu will become more vibrant than ever before.

A joint CII-KPMG study report was released on the occasion.

Dr. M. Manikandan, Tamil Nadu Minister for Information Technology, in his keynote address, spoke about the overall strength of Tamil Nadu as an industrial power.

Mr. M.C. Sampath, State Minister for Industries, in his special address, said Tamil Nadu leads in various sectors, including automobiles, auto components, textiles, IT, etc. It has also developed the Tidel Park and Ascendas Park fully devoted to the IT sector. With the Tamil Nadu Vision Policy of 2023, the IT sector will positively grow much further.

In a plenary session 2 on Panel Discussion on “Future Technology for the Intelligent Economy”, Mr. G. Srinivasa Raghavan, Executive Director, TVS Automobile Solutions, said the road transport sector currently faces several challenges like demonetization, changes in the Motor Vehicles Act, transition from Euro-III to Euro-IV norms, etc. In combination with mobility, the IT technology has become an innovation driver throughout the world.

As part of the Connect 2017, a session on “The Automotive sector – Intelligence Driving the Future” was also organized. At the session, Dr. K.K. Raman, Partner, KPMG India, said that by 2025 more than half of the population won’t own a car due mainly to the easy availability of hired cars such as Ola, Uber, etc. Also, the automotive industry has witnessed a technological changes such as Industry 4.0, 3D printing, autonomous and connected vehicles, IOT, robotics and automation, block chain, etc.

Mr. Rao Poduri, Chief Information Officer, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. (DICV), in his presentation, spoke about the future of the autonomous truck, improvement of supply chain, etc. DICV is looking at the technology that offers easy solutions. In India, it also woos financiers and bankers for increase in vehicle sales since truck owners and customers have greater thrust on them. As a 5-year-old company, DICV is very excited about the digital transformation taking place in India.

Mr. Raju Ketkale, SVP & Head – MFG Operations, Toyota, in his speech, said in the current global scenario, electric vehicles are going to drive the change because of their zero emission and zero accident. However, in India the EV technology is still in its nascent stage, and it is very expensive to produce EVs due to the higher cost of battery, etc.