Webinar: From Product to Platform: Transformation in the Global Automotive Industry

From Product to Platform: Transformation in the Global Automotive Industry

Moderated by:
Janell Townsend, Professor and Chair of Management & Marketing
Oakland University

Amit Kapoor, Senior Vice President of Global R&D, Continental  
Anja Schulze, Professor of Technology and Innovation Management
Swiss Center for Automotive Research, University of Zurich  

Vitaly Ponomarev, Founder & CEO, WayRay

Emerging from the disruptive market forces of the twenty first century, the global automotive industry has become synonymous with more than just mobility. Advances in technology and the transformation of systems are enabling innovative products that allow vehicles to serve as platforms for other products; vehicles are becoming “living rooms on wheels”. Heritage brands are racing to compete with relatively recent market entrants who have refined over the air vehicle software updates that are used to optimize a vehicle’s performance. These developments are creating customer experiences that transcend transportation forms, connecting consumers to a myriad of product and brand extensions that generate consistent cash flows. As the digitalization of mobility products and over the air technology will allow consumers to extend the life of their hardware (cars, trucks, CUV’s, SUV’s, etc.), original equipment manufacturers will rely increasingly on subscription-based services that generate recurring income, as well as other technology based products to support their revenue streams. Considering that the automotive industry’s market sales are forecast to be US$3.8 trillion in 2022* and accounts for 3% of global economic output**, the implications for value chain members and stakeholders around the world are significant.

With a panel of global experts from both industry and academia, this webinar will explore the types of product possibilities that are emerging, the nature of the companies that will compete in this emerging space, and the implications for associated industries and supply chains.

Questions the panel will consider include:

What types of products can we expect to see in the near term and farther into the future?

What types of new features and enhancements will automobiles be able to receive during their lifecycles, but after deployment into the field?

Will regions of the world adopt similar technologies? That is, will there be standardization of protocols and service products across geographic markets?

What are the implications for emerging markets versus developed markets?

Will consumers readily adopt these new technologies, products and business models? Will they believe it makes their lives easier, more convenient, and more comfortable relative to the costs?

Will it help or make it more difficult to achieve customer satisfaction and enhance brand loyalty?


Thursday, January 27, 2022
11:00AM -12:00PM EST

About the Speakers

Janell D. Townsend, Ph.D.

Janell D. Townsend is a Professor of Marketing and International Business, and Chair of the Management & Marketing Department at Oakland University, in Rochester, Michigan, USA. Dr. Townsend also teaches marketing strategy in the Masters of Science in Engineering Management program at TU-Wien in Austria, and with the Chair of Technology Innovation Management at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. She has also taught at Michigan State University, Wayne State University and was honored to serve as the Hedi Fritz-Niggli Visiting Professor of Business at the University of Zurich. She earned her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Marketing and International Business.

Dr. Townsend is a recognized expert in global marketing strategy, with interests falling within the nexus of branding, innovation, and globalization of the firm. Her research has appeared in top tier business journals such as the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Marketing Letters, Journal of International Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, Industrial and Corporate Change, Journal of Business Research, International Marketing Review, and Thunderbird International Business Review, among others. Her research has received commendations and awards for their contributions from top national and international conferences, including from the American Marketing Association and the Academy of International Business. She has served as a chair for a number of annual conferences, including Product Development Management Association (PDMA), the European Marketing Association, and the International Motor Vehicle Program (now PVMI, part of the Mack Institute at the Wharton School). Townsend serves on the editorial review board of the Journal of Product Innovation Management, and edited a special issue on innovation in the global automotive industry.

Dr. Townsend regularly consults and collaborates with major global automotive OEM’s, suppliers, and market research firms on research projects, and coaches executives as they deal with transformative strategic issues. She has also served as an expert witness in legal cases involving marketing and innovation issues with automotive and related products.

Professor Townsend has professional experience with Clarion Corporation of America, Intel, and Unisys, among others. She actively serves the academic and business communities through work with research, program, academic, student oriented, and professional development organizations. Dr. Townsend has also served on the board of directors for non-profit organizations, such as the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation, Let’s Build Character Career Development, and PDMA’s Academic Board.

Amit Kapoor
Senior Vice President of Global R&D


Anja Schulze,
Professor of Technology and Innovation Management
Director, Swiss Center for Automotive Research (swiss CAR)
University of Zurich
Dr. Anja Schulze is a professor of Technology and Innovation Management at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Schulze studied Business Administration at the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Nuremberg, Germany and the Kelly School of Business in Bloomington, IN and earned a doctorate in technology and innovation management from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. She was a visiting fellow at Bocconi University, Italy, held a postdoctoral position at ETH Zürich, Switzerland and a Professorship by the Swiss National Science Foundation at the University of Zurich.

Her current research interests include digital innovation, crowd sourcing, and business ecosystems with a particular focus on the automotive industry. She heads the swiss Center for Automotive Research (swiss CAR), the Community ‘Mobility’ of the Digital Society Initiative at the University of Zurich, and is a member of the Program for Vehicle and Mobility Innovation at the Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Frequently, she publishes reports on Switzerland’s automotive supplier industry.


Vitaly Ponomarev
Founder & CEO

Vitaly Ponomarev is an international technology entrepreneur, investor, mobility enthusiast, and biotech evangelist with ties to Switzerland, Russia, and EU. He is known for founding and leading deep-tech company WayRay as chairman and chief executive officer. Ponomarev is also the founder and visionary behind Centaura, a research organization working to fight aging by developing novel interventions for human lifespan extension.

Ponomarev founded WayRay, a holographic AR technology company, in 2012. Since its inception, Vitaly has led WayRay from startup to global deep-tech company valued at US$500M, according to TechCrunch, with about 250 employees and offices in the USA, Europe, and Asia.

Over three funding rounds, Ponomarev raised about US$100 million for WayRay from Alibaba Group, Porsche AG, Hyundai Motor, JVCKENWOOD, China Merchants Capital, and other investors. Numerous global automakers have collaborated with WayRay on multiple projects, amongst them Porsche, Hyundai Motor, Rinspeed, and Honda. The company has also won prestigious industry awards, including the Grand Prize at the 2017 AutoMobility LA Automotive Startups Competition and the People’s Choice Award at Startup Autobahn 2018.

Vitaly Ponomarev became a Harvard Business School alumnus after completing the Executive Education Program in 2019. While attending HBS, he created Centaura, a truly ambitious and industry-disrupting project developing novel gene therapies platform.