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Scania's trucks enter the IT world

Scania's IT development company on Wednesday inaugurated its new facilities in Kista in the northern outskirts of Stockholm. Operations have had a flying start. Some ten projects have been initiated and Scania expects fast results.

"One of the leading principles of our development strategy is that we want full control of system design and system integration. These areas allow us to develop unique product with unique customer benefits," says Håkan Samuelsson, Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President at Scania. "We thus safeguard our leading position in heavy vehicle development.

"In the near future, IT-based services will become truck properties that are at least as important as fuel consumption and transport capacity. By picking up the spoken and unspoken needs of our customers in this area as well, we can create an even stronger Scania profile."

"Like other IT areas, the development of electronics and communication is very rapid in the transport business. The new company provides us with flexible spearhead competence in an environment with direct access to advanced R&D resources."

The company is located in Kista – Sweden's Silicon valley – where most of the large IT companies have settled. Among them are research units within Ericsson, with which Scania now runs new joint projects. The district is so hot that the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has decided to create a new campus and locate its IT research and education in Kista.

Since the company was formed in March this year, MD Peter Gillbrand has concentrated on identifying key areas to approach in the first place, making contacts and building networks in the new environment, as well as recruiting the special competence required. New perspectives are now opening:

"It is very inspiring to work with quick, future-oriented projects for what seems to be a traditional industrial company," says Peter Gillbrand, MD of the new company. "Within short, some of Scania's products will consist of services that are delivered electronically. This is what we are busy identifying, designing and developing.

"Our work is in the borderland between the truck industry, tele and data communication and the Internet. Together with Ericsson, for example, we are looking at the next generation of mobile data technology, where each truck is a fully integrated part of the transport company's communication system. Communicating will become as common and natural as washing the windscreen while driving or making coffee during a break.

"The new technology will enable us to build a continuous and individual relation with both customers and drivers. This holds unheard-of potential for increased productivity and security for them," says Peter Gillbrand.

Peter Gillbrand and his team will develop Internet- and WAP-based services using network technologies such as GSM, GPRS, UMTS and Bluetooth. To this will be added position-based services with the aid of GSM, GPS and the Orbcom satellite system.

The market for intelligent transport products and services is facing a boom. Within 15 years, the turnover is estimated at USD400 billion across the globe (source: ITS America), of which USD100 billion only in Europe (source: EU commission). Around 80 percent of the market is estimated to be within private enterprises, the remainder belonging to the public sector and the infrastructure.

Within fleet management the market for GPS-based solutions is expected to grow from USD200 million in 1998 to USD1,200 million until 2002 (source: USGIC, Strategic Group).

In conjunction with the inauguration, IT visionary Pär Ström presented his views on how today's companies have to revise their business methods to benefit fully from the potential of IT technology to establish direct relations with each customer:

"Traditional business logic separated sharply between products and services. The services were 'productified' to fit into the normal business," says Pär Ström. "Now products and services are gradually merging. Instead, the difference is how they are delivered. The unique properties of a product can be achieved physically as well as electronically.

For further information, please contact:

Peter Gillbrand, Scania Infotronics, tel. +46 70 8225969,Per-Erik Nordström, Corporate Communications, tel. +46 70 5535577