The Mobility, Technology and Safety symposium kicked off in style as delegates from around the country gathered for the what was a first of its kind in Australia. Initially mingling with each other and absorbing the impressive displays, demonstrations and information from our sponsors, delegates could sense that something special was in the wind.
In the morning session key note speaker, Ian Christensen Managing Director – iMOVE Australia got the ball rolling by painting the big picture as he outlined the major transport and mobility trends that are impacting our industry. Initially, many in the audience wondered where Ian was going, but as the presentation unfolded it was clear he was setting the scene for what was to become a riveting day. This was just what we were looking for as the intention was to progressively drill down to greater levels of detail. Ian discussed the growing congestion issue in our major cities, highlighted the cost to our economy and indicated the sort of projects that iMOVE will be working on over the next decade to redress the situation. Solutions may include: car sharing, ride sharing and multi-modal options, many of which have become possible on the back the latest technology.
Ian’s presentation was the precursor to the first discussion panel where he was joined by Geoff Gwilym – VACC, Mario Dimovski – Tradiebot Industries and Samantha Cockfield – TAC. Whilst there was universal agreement that congestion is the biggest single issue impacting our mobility and the efficiency of our transport systems, there was much debate about what the real solution will be. However, it was recognised that the problem will get worse, or even much worse, before it gets better – a sobering thought for all of us in collision repair.
Immediately after the lunch break, delegates where “exposed” to Stu Atkins, internationally-renowned presenter and self-declared digital entrepreneur who delivered an insightful view of how the connected world in which we live presents us with so many opportunities to market our businesses and enhance our brands. Stu not only informed us about digital trends, industry disruptors and the pros and cons of ‘big data’ he also entertained us with his own relaxed and engaging delivery. He summarised the topic by giving the audience a ‘to-do’ list that will add immediate value to their businesses.
Just as the delegates were absorbing this exposé, Giles Wallis National Marketing Manager – Bosch Automotive Aftermarket Australia demonstrated why their tagline is ‘Invented for Life’. Giles’ presentation began with an overview of the megatrends and illustrated how Bosch was at the forefront of technological advancements in the automotive industry, collaborating with at least ten global OEMs in the development of their technology. His presentation, which went on to cover the connected environment, electrification and automation really set the scene for the final panel discussion.
Barry Edney – ICE dialled in from Amsterdam and joined Rob Bartlett – Suncorp, Mark Czvitkovits – I-CAR, Bernadette Gigliotti – CEAV and Darren Todd – Bosch to discuss both todays and tomorrows technology and how it will impact our industry. It was clear that the technology is advancing at such a rate that we can barely keep up – although compared to what is coming, what we have now is relatively straightforward. However, the discussion turned to the challenge of how best to ensure our future technicians have the required skillsets with Bernadette making the salient point that the industry is now complex and high-tech, attributes that are highly attractive to the next generation of tradespeople – we as an industry need to find a better way to market these benefits.
The symposium wrapped up with the comment that it was the sponsors who got behind the initiative, the speakers and panellists who contributed and the delegates who were in the room who are the real beneficiaries and those that will make the difference.
We were really excited to bring this event to the industry and were thrilled by the level of engagement – the conversation has now begun, and we look to build on it as we move forward.
Look for the full report and lots of pics in the September issue.