DEARBORN, Mich. — April 29, 2005 — Today at the Microsoft® Global Automotive Summit, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates teamed with Microsoft Corp.’s automotive team in announcing the Peak Performance Initiative, designed to help the automotive community accelerate insight through advanced analysis services, drive innovation through collaboration, and improve performance via increased visibility into operations across the automotive supply chain. Microsoft’s Automotive and Industrial Equipment, Automotive Product Unit and MSN® Autos, along with its auto industry partners are delivering mission-critical solutions to the automotive industry focused on four areas: new product development performance, operational performance, supply chain performance, and sales and customer service performance.
Based on extensive research and feedback from auto industry partners, customers and industry experts, the Peak Performance Initiative employs a number of key Microsoft technologies — including the Microsoft .NET Framework, Microsoft Office 2003, including Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server 2003 and Microsoft Office Project Server 2003, Windows Server (TM) 2003, Microsoft SQL Server (TM) 2000, Windows Mobile (TM) and MSN — as well as a variety of open industry standards designed to provide a streamlined and cost-effective opportunity for the automotive community customers to take full advantage of their legacy investments. By leveraging Web services to connect key systems, customers and organizations across the automotive supply chain, the Peak Performance Initiative fosters collaboration between teams and helps remove the barriers that stifle innovation and competitiveness in the automotive community.
The initiative is being launched with the support of more than 25 global industry partners, all of which have committed to delivering automotive solutions and services that align with Microsoft’s initiative to improve insight and innovation across the automotive supply chain. These companies include Accenture, Actify Inc., Activplant Corp., Active Web Services, AIM Computer Solutions, Avanade, Capgemini, CoCreate Software Inc., Dassault Systèmes, eBots Inc., EDS, GE Fanuc Automation, Genzlinger Associates Inc., HP, ICONICS, Immedient, Infosys Technologies Ltd., JAAS Systems Ltd., Microvision Inc., Orlando Software Group Inc., Powerway Inc., PTC, The Reynolds and Reynolds Co., Siebel Systems Inc., UGS Corp., vSync and WhereNet Corp.
The Microsoft Platform: Foundation for Improved Communication and Collaboration
The Microsoft platform provides a breadth of technologies that enable improved communication and collaboration across the automotive enterprise; it also offers robust security and a reliable foundation that industry partners can use to bring to market solutions that address specific industry needs.
“The automotive global supply chain is under constant pressure to drive costs out of their business while improving the overall quality of their products and customer service. Consequently, identifying and investing in technologies that improve communication and collaboration across their business to achieve these goals are of paramount importance,” said John Fikany, general manager for the Automotive and Industrial Equipment Industry Solution Group at Microsoft. “Microsoft’s automotive group is focused on working with its industry partner ecosystem to deliver solutions that help customers leverage their existing IT infrastructure to realize peak performance across their operational functions.”
Microsoft’s Peak Performance Initiative will focus on delivering solutions that address the following four key areas.
New Product Development Performance
With engineering and design teams scattered around the globe, the collaboration and free exchange of technical specifications, 3-D drawings and new product designs must be truly seamless for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to further shrink the product development cycle. Microsoft’s new product development performance focus provides an important foundation that helps the automotive value chain more rapidly take ideas from the drawing board and bring them to production. For example, Microsoft Office 2003 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 use Web services to help teams share and collaborate on product and design information. Automakers, suppliers and dealers are also implementing Microsoft Office 2003 applications to manage schedules and resources and Project Server 2003 to automate project management capabilities.
Transforming raw plant floor information into usable intelligence is the primary goal for any plant floor manager forced to wade through thousands of machine-generated data points. Microsoft’s partner solution set facilitates plant floor operations by embracing prevailing standards such as OPC to promote interoperability across the plant floor environment without lengthy implementation timetables. Managers can streamline and enable greater visibility into plant floor operations by using SQL Server 2000 to capture and store plant floor data and almost instantly transport that data to SharePoint Portal Server 2003.
Supply Chain Performance
Removing obstacles that hinder the direct flow of information gives manufacturers visibility across the supply chain and enables them to realize near-instant reconciliation of raw material and finished goods inventories, further optimizing operational efficiency. Microsoft industry partners are helping automotive manufacturers see deeper into their supply chain, leveraging the latest technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) to provide manufacturers with real-time information that can impact product delivery schedules. To support these innovations, automotive manufacturers are leveraging Microsoft technologies such as SQL Server 2000, to capture data, and SharePoint Portal Server 2003, to distribute data to the appropriate business line managers.
Sales and Customer Performance
The sales and customer service performance initiative embraces the seamless communication between manufacturers, dealers and their customers by providing a flexible infrastructure with enhanced security that links manufacturers and dealers together to deliver greater value to a more demanding and informed automotive consumer. For instance, dealers using Microsoft technologies such as .NET, Windows Server 2003 and BizTalk® Server 2004 can quickly notify a salesperson from a dealership when a promising lead has been assigned. Likewise, ensuring that customers who buy a vehicle at a dealership return to that dealership for all their future automotive needs is critical for dealers to thrive in today’s hypercompetitive automotive environment.
Microsoft in Automotive Assets
Another area where Microsoft is helping OEMs and suppliers achieve peak performance is in automotive electronics, specifically in-vehicle technologies. Today, Microsoft is announcing the official name of its mobile in-car software platform and reference design. Previously referred to by its code-name, “T-box,” Windows Mobile for Automotive will be the latest addition to the Automotive Business Unit’s family of products. Windows Mobile for Automotive fulfills an industry need for a consumer electronics gateway that delivers a range of benefits for automakers, suppliers, drivers and passengers. It is scheduled to be available next year.
Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit is collaborating with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., ScanSoft Inc., Siemens AG, SiRF Technology Inc., Xilinx Inc. and Magneti Marelli Holding SpA to develop a flexible, low-cost telematics system to be integrated into every new Fiat Auto car. Based on a reference design defined by Microsoft and Fiat Auto, the system will incorporate key aspects from each collaborator, including a chip set, processors, a telecommunications module, a speech engine and hardware development. Windows Mobile for Automotive will define Microsoft’s standard platform for quick-to-market, low-cost telematics systems.
Microsoft’s Peak Performance Initiative employs open industry standards and Web services, as well as several manufacturing-specific standards such as OPC, ISA-99, ISA-95, RFID, OAGIS and those promulgated by UCCNet to provide the automotive value chain with a flexible architecture that optimizes use of its legacy infrastructure. With a focus on established, industry-approved standards, the Peak Performance Initiative drives simplicity, consistency and true choice throughout the solutions ecosystem.
Microsoft intends to invest more than $6 billion (U.S.) in research and development (R&D) this year on technologies that fulfill its evolving vision for the future of computing. The company also has created an internal group focused on understanding the long-term vision of its companywide R&D efforts and deciding how these efforts apply to vertical industries, such as automotive. The group is playing a key role in demonstrating how innovations based on Microsoft’s current and future technologies can come together to meet evolving business needs.
About Microsoft in Automotive
Microsoft has been working with the automotive industry for more than a decade. In manufacturing, Microsoft works with industry-leading partners to develop solutions based on Microsoft technologies that enable OEMs, suppliers and customers to improve efficiency, effectiveness and knowledge across the business. Through business applications, .NET technologies and enterprise platform support, manufacturers are able to accelerate time to market, collaborate globally with engineers, reduce costs by leveraging the power of the Internet, and increase visibility into their production and supply chain processes.
From an in-vehicle technology perspective, Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit works collaboratively with the auto industry to deliver technology designed for advanced in-car information, navigation and entertainment systems. Microsoft technology is on the road today in 25 preinstalled and aftermarket devices from 13 world-class automakers and suppliers, including Acura, BMW, Citroën, Clarion, Fiat, Subaru, Honda, Hyundai, DaimlerChrysler, Mitsubishi, NexTech, Toyota and Volvo.
MSN Autos, launched in October 1995, is one of the world’s largest networks of automotive buying and ownership services, visited by more than 12 million consumers each month. From product reviews and surround video features to new- and used-car pricing, MSN Autos helps consumers find the car they love, at a price they can afford. With details on more than 10,000 vehicle makes and models, and 70,000 used vehicles, visitors can research and compare, identify local dealers, and receive instructions for post-purchase service and maintenance. MSN Autos has a network of more than 7,500 affiliated dealers nationwide.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft, MSN, SharePoint, Windows Server, Windows Mobile, BizTalk, Windows and Navision are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp., Microsoft Business Solutions ApS or their affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.
Microsoft Business Solutions ApS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.
Automotive Industry Support for Microsoft in Automotive Peak Performance Initiative
“As a leader in providing digital design communication solutions on Microsoft platforms and technology, Actify’s goal is to help manufacturing enterprises leverage and extend access to 2-D and 3-D design information — both internally and across the supply chain — to increase productivity, reduce costs and, ultimately, bring products to market faster. We are committed to Microsoft’s Peak Performance Initiative to help bring enterprise communication and collaboration to a new level.”
— Randy Ochs, President and CEO, Actify
“We’re fortunate that many of our automotive manufacturing clients are very interested in our recently introduced Activplant Performance Management System for their manufacturing facilities. The early interest we’re seeing is a testament to the ability of our system to drive new levels of manufacturing excellence. By choosing to develop on Microsoft .NET, we are able to deliver a system that can effectively draw and aggregate data from multiple installed solutions and applications to help manufacturers make the most of their legacy investments, and also help them achieve an entirely new and unparalleled view of how they’re performing and where they can make improvements.”
— Dennis Cocco, President and CEO, Activplant
“Automotive OEMs and suppliers are under tremendous pressures to improve performance in a highly competitive, cost-sensitive environment. To succeed, these companies are looking for solutions that cut across and integrate the entire value stream. In support of Microsoft’s Peak Performance Initiative, we are coupling Microsoft technology with Avanade’s holistic enterprise expertise to meet the challenges of the automotive industry. Avanade’s solutions enable collaborative product design, demand-driven lean manufacturing and supply management, global sourcing, and global operations management.”
— Michael Merfeld, Solution Director, Microsoft Business Solutions, Avanade
“Today, both OEMs and suppliers are facing many challenges. As is evident in its automotive vision and strategy, Microsoft has identified where the industry is feeling the most pain and has been working with the right industry partners to deliver solutions that will help companies overcome these issues. Whether these performance issues stem from the supply chain, product life-cycle management, sales and marketing, or operations, Microsoft and its industry partner ecosystem can deliver business and IT solutions that will help these companies succeed.”
— Jim Sourges, North America Automotive Leader, Capgemini
“Automotive suppliers design more products and components for new vehicles every year. This growing responsibility brings a new level of complexity to coordinating projects. Suppliers now have to think about international design and manufacturing locations and meeting faster project schedules with lower costs as automotive manufacturers cut development cycles. OneSpace.net offers the automotive community a collaborative PLM application for working effectively across the supply chain, helping companies overcome the challenges of distributed design while increasing the performance of new product development.”
— William M. Gascoigne, CEO, CoCreate
“V5 PLM solutions fully integrated with Microsoft platforms enable automotive companies to reduce total cost of ownership and benefit from high and rapid return on investment. Our PLM solutions provide value for a wide and varied installation base, which includes OEMs such as DaimlerChrysler and Toyota Motor Corp. as well as a wide range of suppliers.”
— Joel Lemke, President and CEO, Enovia Corp., and General Manager, PLM Americas, Dassault Systèmes
“In today’s highly complex marketplace, it is critical that manufacturers have the tools and systems that encourage innovation, and the collaborative environment that is needed to better compete in a global marketplace. Microsoft’s Peak Performance Initiative enables the collaboration required to improve operational efficiency — from the plant floor and across the entire supply chain. EDS works closely with Microsoft to leverage key technologies, systems and processes so automotive clients can respond quickly to customer demand and lower their operational costs.”
— Darl Davidson, Vice President of U.S. Manufacturing, EDS
“As one of the largest manufacturers in the world and an automation solutions provider, GE understands the need for technology that enables peak performance. Our alliance with Microsoft and new Gold Certification enhance our strong technology foundation to develop joint solutions that serve the critical needs of the automotive industry, reducing warranty costs, improving traceability and genealogy, and increasing productivity with expert sequencing and flexible manufacturing.”
— Rich Breuning, Director of Automotive Market Solutions Development, GE Fanuc Automation, a unit of GE Infrastructure
“Microsoft Peak Performance technologies provide a superb foundation for Genzlinger’s enterprise business management software, the Genzlinger Repetitive Manufacturing System. Designed to improve operational efficiencies and the bottom line for automotive suppliers, the Genzlinger system is built on the Microsoft platform and utilizes SQL Server, .NET and Solomon Financials in an integrated approach to managing all enterprise resources.”
— Karen Strichartz, President, Genzlinger Associates
“The next generation of vehicles relies on more intricate electronics and software, and as a result OEMs must now manage highly specialized automotive supply chains. To meet our customers’ most demanding technical requirements, HP and Microsoft work together to help automotive companies achieve an adaptive supply chain and reach their peak performance to stay ahead of the competition.”
— Neal Elgersma, Director, Worldwide Automotive Industry, HP
“To stay competitive, automotive manufacturers are looking for better ways to develop compelling products and accelerate time to market. Immedient’s CPD solution provides a collaborative environment integrated with project management, workflow and enterprise data access tools to streamline the product development process across the entire organization.”
— Rob O’Dell, Solution Vice President, EPM Practice, Immedient
“Infosys and Microsoft together bring innovative technologies and integrated services capabilities to deliver tangible business value to automotive customers. Our key solutions for automotive product development reduce process complexity and enhance interoperability, leading to lower cost and faster time to market. Infosys and Microsoft continue to explore opportunities to empower automotive customers to achieve peak performance.”
— Franco Gonsalves, Vice President and Head, Automotive and Aerospace Industry Services, Infosys Technologies
“Now more than ever, the automotive industry is under tremendous pressure to reconcile the many factors that inhibit peak velocity of the supply chain. Our solutions embrace Microsoft’s Peak Performance Initiative by helping automotive manufacturers bring products to market faster, improve global value chain performance and comply with the ever-changing requests of their customers.”
— Fred Szumlic, Vice President, JAAS
“Using Microsoft’s Windows® CE .NET operating system coupled with Windows Server 2003 and Windows Terminal Services, Microvision deployed one of the world’s first low-cost, high-performance wearable thin-client computer with a unique head-worn, see-through display, the Nomad Expert Technician System. By enabling substantial improvements in productivity and profitability in the service operations of automotive dealerships, the Nomad System and the Microsoft platforms are helping our mutual customers realize the peak performance they require to stay competitive and profitable.”
— Rick Rutkowski, CEO, Microvision
“Powerway synchronizes the activities of individuals who as members of a supply community are responsible for a product development process that culminates in the ideal vehicle launch. Microsoft’s Peak Performance Initiative allows Powerway to leverage the Microsoft stack to confidently deliver a high-security and scalable product that can be affordably deployed throughout the global, automotive, multitier supply network.”
— Rick Ringlespaugh, Vice President of Business & Process Development, Powerway
“Automotive companies worldwide recognize the importance of PLM in responding to the challenge of developing increasingly innovative products under stringent cost and regulatory pressures. PTC supports Microsoft’s Peak Performance Initiative by providing solutions on a Microsoft stack to reduce the TCO to the automotive market. Together with Microsoft, PTC is dedicated to bringing real solutions to solve the product development needs of the automotive market.”
— Dhiren Verma, Director, Automotive Product and Market Strategy, PTC