Although autonomous driving is becoming a new reality, digitalization is not limited to the road; the railway industry has also been working on new digital solutions to provide real-time services for its customers.

Self-driving cars have already moved from fantasy to actuality; Uber is testing them in Pittsburg, Google is doing the same in California and Arizona. Massachusetts-based tech firm nuTonomy is driving its test-fleet around streets in Singapore. In the trucking and transportation sector, platooning will soon become the new standard, allowing driverless trucks to be connected one after another.

So it was only a matter of time before railways became interested in the new digital reality. Already this includes tracking freight transport services in real-time for the industry sector and entertainment services for private customers.

Like their street-based competitors, railway companies like Deutsche Bahn AG are currently testing fully automated rail vehicles for public transportation. Deutsche Bahn AG alone will invest more than 100 million Euros in venture capital for the development of new data driven solutions. The financial injection will provide support for start-ups and entrepreneurs between now and 2019.

Inspired by the digitalization credo “Industry 4.0,” Deutsche Bahn has launched its “Mobility 4.0” strategy for future and set out the guidelines for how to translate its business models into modern-day customer solutions. The Mobility 4.0 strategy illustrates very vividly the obstacles that traditional enterprises have to tackle in order to survive in the digital age.

These are:

  • Inflexible IT infrastructure
  • Data silos
  • Outsourced IT know-how

Building software skills and expertise is core to surviving in the digital world. Becoming a digital enterprise can be achieved by applying the know-how to generate customer-centric services. Established companies are building up software know-how and are acquiring software companies to accelerate their digital transformation by injecting software innovation capabilities into their core business areas.

To become a company with digital capabilities is a transformational journey, but the faster it happens, the better. Together with Deutsche Bahn’s Chief Information Officer, Dr. Eberhard Kurz, and other industry stakeholders, we are excited to discuss the opportunities for the railway industry through new digital business models at the 5th Railway Forum in Berlin on the 30 August.

Serving over 2,1 million customers per day, Deutsche Bahn AG knows what it means to analyze data. And as software has become a business differentiator, data becomes a core part of the business.

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