Clinton Bonner: He's like, dad, you know about the, you know, Porsche or Porsch-a, however you say it, like, 911? I'm like, I'm like, yeah, dude, I'm 45 years old. I certainly know about the Porsche, you know? 911.
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Clinton: Welcome to Catalyst, the Launch by NTT Data podcast. Catalyst is an ongoing discussion for digital leaders dissatisfied with the status quo and yet optimistic about what's possible through smart technology and great people. Be sure to subscribe on your audio feed and spread the good word around these worthy discussions. Today, I'm very excited to bring on Clemens Conrad, the practice lead for the Future of Mobility at Vectorform, which is an amazing part of Launch by NTT EData. Clemens is an EV early adopter and an ecosystem strategist, and while we canvas some history of EVs today, more importantly, you know, stick around because we're going to understand the key technologies driving the future of EVs, and why Clemens believes the impact goes far beyond the highway, and directly, quite literally, into our homes. Clemens, welcome to Catalyst. Excited to have you on here for the first time, man. How are you doing today?
Clemens Conrad: Oh, so great, Clinton. Thank you so much for having me, and what an intro. Hopefully I can deliver on that one. Thank you so much.
Clinton: (Laughs) I'm sure... I'm sure you can. You know, hey. Kind of a self-described EV enthusiast and, like, an early-stage or early-edge adopter for the technology, and a futurist within the space. So let's start there. What does that mean? Are you just talking about, like, you know, for the audience, is an EV early adopter a fanboy of the technology? Or, for you, is it more meaningful to be kind of on that edge and really experimenting with the technology and the ecosystem?
Clemens: It's actually both, I think. Like, You got to be a fan of things that you do, right? So be, like, really enthusiastic. And being, like, super engaged and believing in what you do. So basically that translates into fanboyish. And basically making that your job. And I feel so honored to be paid off what I love to do. So... I think the key, why I did that, is also, like, back in the day... So, you remember those Saturday morning cartoons? The Jetsons, Futurama, flying cars?
Clinton: Of course. Yeah.
Clemens: Have you seen a gas station in those things? Like, floating in sky?
Clinton: No. No floating gas stations. Not even... not even in The Fifth Element, I don't think.
Clinton: I don't think I saw the car refuel in The Fifth Element.
Clemens: (Laughs) Exactly. So, all those things I always wanted to see and dig into, how could we make that future vision dreaming a reality? So that got me into technology. So, my background is computer sciences. I studied that in Germany. Came over to the USA in 2007, joined Vectorform as the creative director, and then, yeah, throughout the years did a lot of super interesting things with my amazing, amazing team and teams across the internal ones and also on the client side. And nowadays I'm the Practice Lead. Practice Lead Movements, as you said, like, the future of mobility. So that's where we are leveraging our amazing teams across our organizations to bring the best industry solution and experiences to our clients. And we're not just focusing on the automotive area, but also maritime aviation and aerospace, because we believe once you have insight in how all those industries are moving, with those cross-industry insights, you can actually make an impact on your clients. Like, with a different view. And bring those best practices from other areas into the game. The reason why we call it also movement, not just mobility. It's... It's such a big shift in the industry, right? So when you look at what's going on over the past five, ten years, all the industries that I mentioned are moving so big and bold into the area of electrification and sustainability. So it's not just the mobility service that we have, like, the practice of mobility, it's movement. It's affecting so many aspects of their businesses. Hardware companies need to become software companies, and software companies need to become hardware companies. So we're not looking at those things as industry-focused, but more ecosystem-focused. Kind of like what Apple and Google and Microsoft are doing in the big tech on the West Coast, or globally. So, we apply the same thinking of ecosystem plays for our customers to unlock new ways of revenue streams, and just like, to expand their business in new ways.
Clinton: Yeah. And I think that point of view, again, is... it's different than what you see out there, and it allows for, well, some of the stuff we're going to talk about. But it really allows for, like, your team to really just be on the creative edge at all times and, and, just have a very strong point of view also. You've been there 16 years doing that professionally. You also, again, the fanboy and the early-edge adopter of being an EV enthusiast and documenting your travels and your experiences with EV and the ecosystem also. But take us back. So, you get to Vectorform. What's some of the earlier work that was really opening up your eyes around the, this EV... not just the vehicle, not just in-vehicle, but the birth of this ecosystem?
Clemens: I would say it's like, three or four key moments in the career. So, I joined Vectorform 2007. So that's around, around the edge of... Remember, like, the iPhone was announced January I think? I think in July.
Clinton: Totally. I remember... I remember what he looked like holding it up onstage.
Clemens: Yep. (Laughs)
Clinton: And, yeah, I... Burned into the memory, in a good way. Yep.
Clemens: Yeah. And so we were like, man, that's a, that's a mantra shift. Smartphones have been around, like, phones have been around for a long time. But now Apple's coming out with that great of a new device. So, we're in Detroit. Auto City. So, we, of course, trying to, like, figure out, okay, how can we use this as a new mantra in the automotive space. So we talked to our great friends at Chrysler, back in the days, nowadays Stellantis, and pitched the idea, like, how could we use that as the digital key fob? So what if we use the iPhone to unlock your car? To have your windows rolled down. Control the climates. All those things that nowadays are kind of like table stakes.
Clemens: We explored that back in the days, like, 2007, 2008, was released at the Detroit Auto Show with great success. And, like, more like a concept study. But as you see, like, concept become reality. And I think the key moment too, was just a year later when we worked on the Chrysler 200C EV and had the opportunity to build the HMI, like, the human-machine interface. So basically, having all the... all the displays controlled and shaped the way the design team at, at Chrysler and Vectorform envisioned it, with organically shaped items. With multi-touch controls, voice control, all those amazing things. And that was EV. So we said, okay, with all those software functionalities that we're about to have in the next 3 to 5 years, that's amazing. Let's push what's possible in that space. So even, like, put like little displays in the door opener to control windows over there via a display and not via a button. So, it's been a wild ride. And I think from the first moment, controlling the vehicle from the outside with the keyfob, with the digital keyfob, and now with the key moment, too, controlling the inside, it's kind of like blending those two items. To me, that was the starting point of, what if? So, there are so many aspects of the software-defined vehicle that has not been explored back then, right? So what kind of software stack do you need? And another key moment was then, back in 2000, I think like '14, we worked with Google X, the Google X labs, with the Google Glass.
Clemens: Yeah. So we were fortunate enough to bring those Google glasses. I think we had like 30 of those on, on site, to bring those to Germany, to BMW. So we worked with BMW in the garage on the new BMW i8 to visualize then, to the customer, how the car is built, where the powertrain is, what kind of powertrain it is, what kind of features the car has. So you look through Glass onto the car. We used Metaio, which was bought by Apple, for object tracking. So just basically overlaying a 3D model onto your physical model, and truly understand how that works. So now we have three components. We have the interior-exterior controlling of the system, then the understanding, the learning aspect of it, and using real-time for the first time in that context. And that's where we're like, okay, wait a minute. So we're using real-time engines for a long, long time, for, like, immersive experiences in the AR space and the VR space, worked with HTC early on. So we have access to tech before it comes out, which gives us a great edge over competitors.
Clemens: So that's where we said, okay, we have to do something really compelling with all those items. The smartphone, to control a car, to have HMI capabilities, and then real-time engines.
Speaker1: And, you know, starting back in like, '07, '08, to digitize the fob, like you said, as one of the early things to say, okay, here's, here's some clear value. I've got to imagine though, too, even though I'm sure, like you said, it was a success on the show floor and you're showing it out at some of the larger, you know, car industry events that are, that are big fanfare events. I'm still sure there was people, like, shrugging, being like, "why do I need that?" You know, like, I've got the physical fob, why... "Why would I ever?" Right? So your, your team is going out into the beautiful path of what if, and realizing that a first feature is not your end result, right? It's a, it's a first feature to explore what's possible in this new...
Clinton: ...This whole new paradigm. I've got to imagine, though, you did, you did run into some of those, "I'll never need that." Is that, is that truthful or more people open to the, the experiment of mashing, mashing things up together?
Clemens: So, I think because the mobile phone became so ingrained into everybody's life, that you kind of expect to have that as your natural extension to whatever you're interacting next with. So, for example, smart homes, you want to do lights via your smartphone or via voice. So just like, making sure it becomes a natural extension into your physical world. So using that as a jumping-off point, like a natural interaction with everything surrounds you. And the cars, nothing different, right? So, the car should be integrated into your lifestyle. And back in the days we didn't have Uber either. So how can we use smartphones to order our cab nowadays? Super natural. How can we order food? Super natural via Uber Eats.
Clemens: How can we enable the gig economy? That was an interesting one. It's a great example, what we've done with Rivian back in 2016. So, Rivian came to us in 2016 with an amazing opportunity to reimagine what an EV could be. And helping their business team to explore various concepts. Or what-if. So, really like thinking big and understanding what the platform, what they're building could do. So, not to go into too many details, but it was just an amazing opportunity to bring our HMI capabilities to play. So, built the instrument cluster, the head unit, and then also the mobile app to see, hey, if the car can be accessed from anywhere in the world, if I can be a gig worker, what can I use it for? So, exploring the business aspect of what an EV platform could be. A delivery platform, an adventurous platform, anything, basically, you can imagine and see what makes the most business sense. So, we built a couple of use cases and business cases to showcase the value of such transactions. And, as we know, Rivian nowadays, they are an amazing outdoor enablement automotive company.
Clemens: And then the other part is the... the van, to deliver packages, the last mile delivery truck. So it's just like, great to see how we use different types of technologies to, to make a model in the making useful and showcase and preview to the investors, what if, what could be. And that was a fantastic opportunity to work across multiple teams, tapping into the canvas to bring the HMI to life, the first HMI to life. It was just great opportunity, and thankful for, for that.
Clinton: Yeah. And so, I could see Clemens, obviously, folks listening on audio can't. What's cool is you can see Clemens getting all in the feels in a good way.
Clinton: In his shoulders, like, lighting up and smiling about this work. And the piece that really comes through for me too, is like, yes, beautiful truck and all those things. But in 2016, you're doing the, the business model exploration at that time, saying, hey, we also know there's a future of work wave coming, that the gig economy and people that, independent contractors, these worlds will mesh. We don't know exactly how yet, but there's an opportunity to explore, how do we look at a new interface and a new platform to serve what is a burgeoning, growing part of the economy? And that, to me, is like, it's not secret sauce. That's not the right term. It's just the foresight and the type of work that your team engages in that I think could excite anybody and say, look, we can get ahead. You're not always going to hit. Of course. It's innovation. There's risk, it's innate. But, the process of having a real mature way, and a team to work with, to say, we want to explore what we don't know yet. We see megatrends happening. What does that then look like? And that's some of the cooler stuff that you're sharing with us today, too, Clemens. So, and then, my... I always call it this, my layperson viewpoint of EV is probably 99% of people's perspective, right? Like, hey, I look at it and say, Tesla changed the game. You know, that's my, my outside-in. I'm not an EV expert. But to me, what really wasn't in the, you know, in the ether, if you will. It wasn't, it wasn't a huge thing yet until Tesla did their thing and kind of showed, showed the world that scale what this, what this could be all about. While that might be a simple look at it, let's put it that way, I do want to ask you, what's your take on Tesla? Did they really change the game? Were others changed the game beforehand? And if it was Tesla, what was the breakthrough, you know, one or two, that really pushed beyond the modern car and, and that now has become the platform that we're all, you know, understanding and working on?
Clemens: Do you know when Tesla was incorporated or founded? What would you guess?
Clinton: I think it was... I would guess... '02?
Clemens: Oh, so close. '03. You're good. (Laughs)
Clinton: Okay. Alright. That's not bad. Yeah. So, closest without going over. Price is Right rules, I nailed that. So. That was a while ago, yeah.
Clemens: Yeah, it was a while ago. But also, the company didn't become really profitable until recently, right? So, it shows how long that path is to be a viable player in that space. And they did earn money in different ways than producing just the cars. Like, like the cars didn't make them money in the, in the initial run. And then, just like, with the mass production, they, they finally made that switch, and now have, I think, 25% profit margin, which is insane in, in our industry.
Clinton: (Laughs) Yeah. Not too bad.
Clemens: Yeah. Gives them some, some leeway. But I think Tesla is definitely the nowaday, great great player. But when you... when we go back a little bit in history, they're not the first one doing EVs. So even like, Ford. Back in, I think, 1914, did the Model T electric.
Clemens: Then in... BMW was, I think, like, 1991? Was a four seater, had, even, like space for luggage, had a 100-mile range in 1991. So that was good. And then GM came around in 1996 and continued to explore the electricity platform a little further. That's just a little further. Then, I think in 2002, made the breakthrough in releasing the Skateboard platform, which is basically also used by Tesla as the EV platform. So how is the configuration of a scalable platform based on electricity doable? So, kudos for GM, pushing that one. But as you see, it's even like, with, with major companies doing a lot of research, providing great thought leadership, it's not always falling into the... into the bucket of immediate success. So it's a hard path that you have to carve out, and a lot of things need to align. And you gotta think about your different, your business a little bit differently, and see, where can you unlock the value? Where can you monetize aspects of your, of your company, and how to fund basically the next round of innovation? And I think Tesla was great in a marketing, raising money also in the public market, building a huge fan base. Committed, really passionate people, buying into the mantra. And I think what they did, from a boldness perspective, you asked, like, what was the differentiator of them?
Clemens: 2012. For me, that was the first time I sat in the Model S, like, on a long-term trip, etcetera. They had that, remember, like, that vertical screen?
Clinton: Yeah. Sure.
Clemens: Everybody was like, oh my God, how can you put, like, a 17-inch screen in your vehicle?
Clinton: (Laughs) Yeah.
Clemens: No knobs, no nothing. And we know it's not the best user experience. You gotta have some physical elements, like, control vehicle. But in just, like, that bold move, also, here, having a huge screen and really showcasing the software-defined vehicle and what it could be, autopilot, all those, all those visions that were projected in a really believable way. And then also, showcasing the visual fidelity, using 3D engine to showcase your car in a beautiful way, but not just using 3D engines to power the visuals, but also taking all the data that the car's gathering from lidar, radar, et cetera, to make sense of the environment, to, to process all the data that's coming in, and then making sure the car understands the environment. Similar to what a human would understand the environment to look like, right? So it's just like, that bold usage of more power chips, powerful chips in the vehicle to enable 3D engine usage, to, to, in general have a really modern tech and software stack in vehicle, and with, with those things in place, you can just simulate your environment. You can place so many various elements to ensure your car can grow with you. It's not just like a one and done, it's enabling to do over-the-air updates. Tesla I think, was the first one doing that at scale.
Clemens: So it's just, like, really amazing to see how changing the software stack, leveraging those 3D engines, kind of what you know from the video game segment, I think Tesla is using Godard, and there's other engines like Unreal, Unity out there. They're coming from the video game industry, and they are used to deliver box-to-software, to deliver features and new features to the game constantly. Not just, like, once a year, twice a year, but really enhancing the product over time and making sure it always stays relevant and amazing throughout your ownership. So, and I think the one item that is interesting to me is that Tesla already published the business case, what the company will be all about in August 2006. So when you think about it, like, they had a public, on their website, what they will become, what their focus is, how they want to scale the business. Every single step was laid out for everybody to see. So basically, using, using the the high-luxury model to fund the next more main transportation. But then, the ultimate goal for Tesla was always making the switch to sustainable transportation. So, the car is more like a vehicle to get there, but not the end goal. So, the car is a part of the ecosystem that we mentioned earlier. So, how can you spin off more products, more services, around that key mantra of sustainability? Making sure we leave the planet better than we found it. And I think that's the key aspect, why Tesla is also so successful in the market, because they're not just focused on a vehicle, they're focusing here on the sustainability aspect as a whole.
Clinton: Yeah. And I think the blend of that, and certainly being a big, a big allure for, for many, and then also just a vehicle that was just, you know, is what it is. In many ways, more beautiful and more, just, more powerful. Like, the things of like, oh, you can't have an EV, it's not going to compare. And they were like, well, you know, hold my beer type thing.
Clinton: Like, nope. And I remember very, very vividly, I was at, ex-CEO that I used to work with and he had a Tesla. This is, you know, several years ago. So like, mid, mid 2010s. And we're up in a cabin of his in New Hampshire. We had, like, a team meeting up there. We wake up the next morning, we're doing breakfast, and he's like, he's like, oh! They just pushed an update, over-the-air update. I'm like, well, and I was like, well, what comes with it? And I'm thinking, like it's near Christmastime, so they've done those kind of cool map things where, you know, you can follow Santa's sleigh and stuff like that. He's like, oh, it looks like about like an 8% range gain. I'm like, what do you... what do you mean? My Tesla just got about an 8% boost in its, in its range. I'm like, I'm like that's it. Over the air. He's like yeah, that's it. You know, certainly eye-opening. I was a little late to that one, personally, but I was experiencing it real-time, what it meant to get a, a legitimate over-the-air update of, like, substantial value from a software push. And it's also no shock, Clemens, that, you know, Tesla gravitated towards visualization, right? Like, okay, if we visualize this in a more meaningful way, that gives the individuals more control or more understanding of how their relationship with the car could drive better performance and drive sustainability and drive understanding of data, so you could, you could kinda live that mantra, kind of no shock that they found success in that 3D visualization piece and really, really got the awe factor, but also the value of people being like, not just cool. It is cool, and it's actually hyper-useful. And that's always, seems to be a winning blend, over and over again. And I think it's a real nice, nice way to go into the next part of the story, too, because you mentioned earlier, you mentioned the Unreal Engine.
Clinton: So, you know, Tesla modernizes the in-vehicle experience. The iPhone on wheels, as you've said before to me in conversation, the over-the-air updates and all these advancements. And it's... And again, it's software-driven, it's very, very revolutionary. So then, what did other companies do, from a software perspective, understanding that, hey, Tesla might be sprinting out and have a bit of a, a bit of a lead and a core advantage. What did other companies then do to say, okay, look, we not only need to catch up, but we gotta compete. You know, not just get on par, but try to surpass what they've done and accelerate the market even further. So, I'm sure there's some, you know, look at the EV market as it is in 2023, or at the end of 2023. You cannot go one NFL Sunday, one ring of commercials without seeing some new EV that just hit the market with a major manufacturer, a traditional manufacturer. So what happened there between when Tesla makes it very popular? And then how does the rest of the industry catch up? What are some of those catalysts?
Speaker2: So, with Tesla being, like, so quote-unquote "ahead of the game," you've gotta find ways, to your point, how to catch up, right? So, doing the same thing again doesn't give you, like the, the edge of catching up. You gotta rethink, how do you structure a business? What is my team capable of? What software stack are we using? So, when we see a lot of big change in the industry where, from traditional software, they are going really into the weeds of traditional and accelerated modernizing software development approaches. Godard's engine, as I mentioned, is not the only one. You mentioned Epic. Unreal Engine is one, Unity is another great one. So those engines, just like, putting those into your framework, gives you a really great edge to, not just do the concept design anymore in those engines and test everything out, but actually deploy those in pre-production, production, vehicles and being, basically, able to push all those great features that you mentioned over the air. So, it's a shift from traditional, kind of like, outdated software to items like Figma. Huge, huge tool in the design community. Adobe is trying to acquire them for $20 billion so that shows you how much value they see in that toolset. And we're using that that tool passionately over the past, I think like, three or four or five years, because it enables global distributed teams to work, kind of like a multiplayer approach, in the same environment. Having the same insight, what's going on on this platform? What's going on in this platform? How are our features translating from brand to brand? Having a single source of truth. And also, with the advancements, even, like, in Figma, being able to pull in, like, token systems to make sure you can scale a design system super fast across multiple brands, programmatically and procedurally. It's just, it's such a gain in speed, coupled with the flexibility of the, of those real-time engines, that you have a winning team, basically. So there is great software out there, like Kanzi is a great one, Qt is a great one. It really depends where your team is at already and what they're using, and we can certainly come in, assess how you're approaching software development, and then provide you tools that bridge specific toolsets to give you that edge, to go to market faster, to skip, basically, production cycles, making sure the designers automatically have, has everything in the real-time engines, or in your stack, and then push deploy. So it's amazing what we are building with our partners. Can't talk about too much yet for the next EVs, but what we released two years ago with Epic Games... So Epic Games came to us and said, hey, there's that big need in the market to exactly enable what you're talking about. So let's team up and build the HMI kit and simulator tool. So basically, what it enables to take all your great assets, put it into the real-time engine, Unreal. From a design perspective, no need to be already familiar with that. So, basically minimizes the jumping-off point from an old-school set into your new real-time set. Testing your designs, and then basically finding an environment where you can simulate all kinds of case, use cases. Stop sign acceleration, day and night mode, et cetera. So everything in that package comes with it for free. Just go to the marketplace, download it and test it out. And then, we're here to help you to get speed to, like, again, implement it into your system, into, integrate it into your environment, to see those results in real time. No code required. So it's a fantastic tool to test your HMI out as fast as possible.
Clinton: Now, you have Tesla. They... They help to cause this major disruption. They're doing it. They're doing it through visualization. And then, again, empowering individuals to understand their relationship with their vehicle in a different way, for a different goal of sustainability. Use... Like, literally using the vehicle to drive that, that goal. And then you have a game company. Like, Epic Games, come in and say, wait a second. Like, we have a technology that can be applied in a near-field way, and take it out of the consoles, or out of, you know, out of streaming, et cetera, et cetera. And reapply what's already been, what's already been worked on, because at that point it becomes a platform. And you could have developer experiences and allow people to come in, understand it right away. Like you said, build the right tool sets in, you know, in congruence with... other technologies like Figma that deliver design systems and tremendous scale. And, the ability to then accelerate the market, it's not out of nowhere, because it happens over and over and over again in innovation tales...
Clinton: ...But it's out of somewhere, usually unexpected, right? It's like, oh, Epic Games is now a player. Now they're here and they're very serious, and people are getting around the Unreal Engine, but in a brand new way for vehicles. And I just find that whole arc extremely, extremely... well, satisfying in some odd way, but also just fun to kind of keep thinking about, hey, we're always being disrupted. There's always net new players, and sometimes they're going to... actually very often, they're going to come from those near-field people who have a technology and they can reapply it to another emerging space, because they're smart. And because they're, honestly, they're having conversations with folks like you and your team and saying, how would we reapply this? There's things mashing up together, this event is happening. Help us reimagine how to use this, this platform. And that's a super cool, super cool space. I love hearing that, Clemens. Then there's the continuous evolution of, how do you... Okay, we reimagined the car. It is software. We're pushing over-the-air updates. We're getting beautiful visualizations. We are changing the game, if you will. And then there's further extensions. Then there's other opportunities to keep using digital experiences to promote advocacy, and digital experiences that blend with this thought of ownership. What else are you seeing out there that's just, you know, that kind of almost completes the story of this transformation of what was a very traditional industry for about 100, 100 years? What else is happening that I think folks might find fascinating?
Clemens: I think as a two-prong way... So, the first one is the sustainability aspect, like how the car becomes a software key in your smart home, or in your energy life cycle, so to say.
Clemens: But before we go there, I think the other amazing use case of those 3D engines is just, like the ecosystem itself of a digital asset, as you mentioned, like, the way you can reuse and re-leverage those digital assets is just plentiful. And that is baseline for business models as well. So, from a consumer perspective, when you go onsite, online, trying to configure your car, you don't have to reimagine or, like, recreate tons of visuals just for that. So you don't have to go out anymore to shoot your car, or to have a video production team going out and doing, like, those expensive shoots. Just use real-time engines. Unity bought Weta. Unreal has great video production studios. So that's where, you can actually build all those assets now in those real-time engines, for your end consumer configuration. So even, like, the consumer can put it on the driveway, see how it looks like. All with the same assets. So, the same asset that's in your visualization, the HMI, with some tweaks, basically it's in your driveway. So it's just like, the repurpose of a asset that brings so much value into the game. You can even like license your model into games.
Clinton: Oh yeah, heck yeah.
Clemens: Gran Turismo. (Laughs)
Clinton: My kid's still a big, you know, Rocket League guy. And he's, and...
Clemens: Right. Yeah.
Clinton: So, licensing into the games. Which is kind of cool, because, cyclical, taking it, you know, getting it into consumers' hands and taking it from a game platform, then, into a vehicle platform. And then, yeah, it's actually going back into games, whether that's Fortnite or Rocket League...
Clemens: Exactly, yeah.
Clinton: And, and, what does it do, of course? It grows net new fans. They become aware. They become like, oh I didn't know this thing, I didn't know this brand existed. I didn't know this type of shape and vehicle and model existed. And all of a sudden, like, you're creating these fanboys and fan girls, fan people, that you would never have accessed. But a really cool, cyclical, you know, tale right there, Clemens.
Clemens: Exactly. And then, even, like, from a commercial point of view, like, just think about... In the Covid times, I think that was a huge accelerator. People were not able to come to the office to understand, okay, how is the new product look like? How can I work on that one? Can you help me to understand what it is? So we use, now, our 3D experiences to showcase, okay, here's how you exchange this module for this module. Or here's how the explorer view of that powertrain, et cetera, looks like. Just to onboard your staff, and for the maintenance aspect, for example, or even, like, product design, to showcase the power of that cyclical, yeah, 3D asset or digital asset. And the other one is even, like, one step further. So we are designing the HMI in those systems. But how about putting that in the cloud? And then having AI simulating use cases? Is it breaking down here? Is it breaking here? What else can we do? And we know with generative AI, let gen AI produce the backgrounds for your instrument cluster depending on your mood. Depending on your environment. Depending on the biometrics that it picks up from you. There's so many opportunities right now to leverage the virtualization of things, the digital twinning of things. So that's why I think it's also amazing to be part of NTT and Launch by NTT Data. It's just so many teams working in those verticals where we can bring the ninjas, basically, together to help wherever you are in that journey.
Clinton: Yeah, I love, I love some futurecasting that you're getting to there. And that's, to me, some of the most exciting stuff is just, again, it's that Venn of what if, where you're looking at new technologies coming online and becoming prevalent and really maturing before our eyes, and then creating these use cases to just accelerate the adoption, accelerate the usefulness. And that's what you were just, just getting at there. And you hinted at, previously, Tesla is not one to hide their ambitions, right? In 2006 they said, here's the plan. (Laughs) Like, like, you could believe it or not, you know, investors and everybody else, but this is where we're going. Sure, things might change and pivot, but vision-wise, in 2006, you know, 18, 17 years ago, we are going this way. And I think Tesla is still doing that. And as you said earlier, their goal was always sustainability, and using a vehicle, literally, to drive towards that. Now, how does the ecosystem evolve further? So it's not just the car, not just the road, but how do we complete the circle back to their ambitions around sustainability?
Speaker2: I think that's where it crosses those industries that I mentioned also in the beginning. It's not just a car company, you're going into the utility space. And just understanding that we don't have fossil fuels for eternity. And I quote Musk, I think he said, the sun has been pretty reliable showing up every day for the past billion years.
Clemens: So, like, I think will be around for another 4 or 5 billion years. So let's just use that very reliable employee to harness what it provides: free energy. It's our mission to capture that free energy and make it available across the board. So, just putting out a product like a solar roof, and capturing that energy, putting a power wall into your home to store that energy and distribute it back to your car if it needs, or have your car powering your home in a case of an outage, or take your car elsewhere to power another car, power another building, to really stabilize the grid, right? So, making sure you're not producing the energy far away, transporting it to where you need it, it's really supporting the local utilities, nationwide utilities, to make sure energy is accessible at all time. Driving down the costs, because it's a long-term play, not just, like, quick point solution. It's really, like, the mission of, let's work together. Let's produce all those elements to, yeah, make energy accessible everywhere. And useful. And I think also, even, like, going one step further, of virtual power plants. So, once you're, like, in that ecosystem, for Tesla, for example, they have now the solar covered. They have the storage covered. They have the vehicle covered. Once you have all those elements in place, it's called VPP, virtual power plant. It basically gives you access to monetization of your energy. Traditionally, when you have a solar system, you get credits from your utility company. But now Tesla comes in and says, we are buying the energy from you. You get credits, you get cash. And when you think further than Tesla selling that to other... back to the utility, or to other areas that need that energy and that, in that time, so they make money off of you and off of that partner. But any other company, and we know that from GM with their electric unit, or business unit, they're basically following the same footsteps. And more companies need to pursue and work together to enable those ecosystems where it can earn credits, where we can use those credits to pay for parking, smart parking. You just drop your car off, it drives automatically into your parking garage, pays with a mobile payment of your car, et cetera. It's just like, that ecosystem of monetization in every single touchpoint. Either way, vehicle to grid, or vehicle to vehicle, V to X, where it's just an untapped market right now. It's where the next big disruption will come.
Clinton: The place to land it for me is, we got software companies that became car companies. We got game companies that ended up embedded in millions and millions of cars across the world. And we got car companies evolving into what become energy creators, and giving individuals agency over, over their energy future. And if you look at any spike in human history, accessibility to inexpensive energy ends up with very, very strong human progress across the board, whether that's education or the way the money could flow. Just opportunity for areas of the world that, that haven't quite had it the same way we have yet in the Western world. Access to individual, cheap, or, you know, at least inexpensive energy is a game changer for humanity. So while it could be sustainable in one, call it even traditional, at this point, like, in a green sense, that's great. But how about human progress through access to your own agency to own and drive your own energy? So there's a lot of foot here, Clemens, is what it boils down to, right? (Laughs) It's way more than meets the eye. And that's kind of the point. And, you know, if folks want to have futuristic discussions with you and your team at Vectorform, which again, is a part of Launch by NTT Data, how do they reach out to you to say, look, I know there's disrupts around the corner. I want to be a part of shaping that and getting ahead of that. So what's a really good way that folks could find you and reach out?
Clemens: Shameless self plug. LinkedIn, obviously.
Clinton: Got you, yeah.
Clemens: But we have an amazing website, launched by NTT. So, just link it here in the podcast, and then reach out to that one.
Clinton: A little self-serving for us there, but I'm... Which is fine. It is launch.NTTdata.com. I'm more interested in people that are like, hey, I want to talk with Clemens. Like, you, as the individual. Like, hey, you're the one who's done this before. We see that things are going to get continually mashed up in a positive way. And, yeah. So, Clemens Conrad, exactly how you think it sounds there, right? Find him on LinkedIn. And Clemens, before we go. Anything else? Any other parting words you'd leave, you know, leave the audience with?
Clemens: One thing. The energy prices in Germany are, right now, due to war in Ukraine and other areas, at $0.50 per kilowatt hour. So, in the US we have $0.11, or I have a rate that is at $0.11. So basically, to make sure you're not exposed to shortage of energy, you have to be proactive. And build those solar panels on your roof, or whatever your community provides you. Just to be independent of those geopolitical areas, too. So I think that's a great tidbit too. And then, be a user of your product. So I'm, I'm flying to Germany on a regular basis to drive the Asian EVs. So BYD, NIO, all those guys, they're coming to the USA, and it's just such a great experience to see, okay, how... what's their angle? What's their user experience look like? How do they business differently? I'm just saying, the new house in Berlin, the flagship's over four stories. I haven't seen anything like that. So, it's just like, being the user of your product, and be curious what the competitor is doing, and how can we do something that new based on those insights? So, be adventurous, be out there, connect with colleagues, connect with others to drive innovation, and leave the world better than we found it. Because that's... We don't want to put that on our children's shoulders. They will have enough to do with AI and all the things that are happening here. So... (Laughs) Let's not be energy one of their problems.
Clinton: Love it. And that's a great place to leave it. Clemens. So thank you. A huge thanks to Clemens Conrad for joining us today on Catalyst and sharing your expertise, and the future casting into this really fascinating space. And, you know, just, it's... Love, love, love when we can have guests like you come on that have done it and also have a purview as to what's next. And that's the kind of conversations we love having on Catalyst. And in this studio, we believe in shipping software over slideware, that fast will follow smooth, and aiming to create digital experiences that move millions is a very worthy pursuit. So please join us next time as the pursuit continues, on Catalyst, the Launch by NTT Data podcast. Thanks, Clemens.
Clemens: Thank you so much, Clinton and team. Thank you.
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