Microsoft Partners with BMW Brilliance Automotive for Connected and Data-Driven Manufacturing in China

Microsoft is partnering with BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA, 华晨宝马) to accelerate digital transformation for its production based in China. By adopting latest technology and industry leading IoT and edge solution of Microsoft, the cooperation will help in improving manufacturing processes, and meet the market demands with flexibility and efficiency.

“We aim to build a fully connected and data driven manufacturing environment” Said Alexander Angebrandt, CIO BMW Brilliance Automotive, “As one of the world’s top automakers, BMW is embracing technology innovation and digital transformation globally, and here in China. We think innovation as the future of automotive manufacturing industry and Microsoft is a trustworthy partner both in China and around the world.”

Microsoft, as a world leading technology provider and a long-term partner with BMW, is providing comprehensive IoT services and solutions including predictive maintenance through Microsoft Azure, the intelligent cloud service that’s available in world-wide regions including China. As a leading automotive manufacturer in the China market, BBA has made up a comprehensive roadmap for innovation and digitalization strategy get more flexibility in its operation to respond to increasingly diverse market demands. BBA’s cooperation with Microsoft begins with cloud-based IoT innovations to extract near-real-time insights and more granularity at scale from the factory floor.

The first step achievement of the cooperation is a solution called Plug & Produce, which integrates Microsoft’s Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) approach. It brings an app-store experience to BBA’s shop floor, enabling efficient management, add-ons, and deployment of assets and business logic at scale. There’s a selection of ‘apps’ that can be easily deployed to the shop floor with one click. For example, if you need to collect temperature telemetry from a welding gun, all you need is to deploy an app to a specific edge zone. Thanks to Azure IoT and Edge services, thousands of assets such as welding guns, cameras, robotic arms, and ‘apps’ are supported and can be easily configured for different car models that share the same assembly line.

In addition to in-factory scenarios such as Plug & Produce, Microsoft and BBA are also working together on modern workplace innovation. The pandemic impacted on-site technical communication between BBA and their experts in Europe. BBA adopted Microsoft HoloLens, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, and Microsoft Teams to realize two-way remote collaboration between remote experts and field engineers in a mixed reality environment, to share real-time video, audio and 3D information as well as files and desktop. This effort helped greatly reducing the respond time and travel cost. The same solution is now under evaluation for scenarios such as remote auditing and remote acceptance check of BBA and its suppliers.

“It’s really exciting to partner with BBA to accomplish its innovation strategy.” said Christoph Berlin, Partner, Industrial IoT and Strategic Engagements, Microsoft. “Digital transformation is accelerating in across many industries including automotive manufacturing, and Microsoft is providing the industrial IoT platform of choice as well as a range of innovative capabilities across a comprehensive portfolio of cloud, big data, IoT, edge, AI and mixed reality technologies. Our cooperation with BBA will serve as lighthouse to show how Microsoft empowers manufacturing industries to build business efficiency, resilience and innovation to achieve more. “

Microsoft will continue its cooperation with BBA in the future, to explore greater opportunities in BBA’s digital transformation, and more industrial scenarios in manufacturing by bringing BBA’s production to cloud.

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