DigitalLifeDay India 2018 – An event to remember!

It was going to be the first ever and the largest one for sure! There was excitement in the air but there was also a big challenge ahead of us. DigitalLifeDay was making its way all the way from Germany to India – it was a huge opportunity waiting for us to inspire, innovate and inform 3500 of our colleagues about the mega digital trends going around in Daimler and the world in general.

The monsoon was around the corner and the weather was just perfect. As I walked towards the venue, at a distance, I saw a Mercedes-Benz AMG roadster being unloaded from the transport truck while a group of young engineers huddled around the machine clicking selfies and discussing the specifics. The Roadster roared en route to the parking area while chased by a pack of stray dogs as the entrance gate closed on to them.

I went to check if our communications campaign for the event had worked. Were there enough colleagues interested in this massive digital platform that we had created? However, I had nothing to fear. A few days ago, I went to watch a cricket match at the famous Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, and it was a similar situation here – a mile-long queue and an excited din! I knew why we chose Bangalore to host the largest DigitalLifeDay outside of Germany.

Bangalore – The Silicon Valley of India

For more than two decades now, Bangalore has swiftly evolved into a digital hub. The Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore contributes 38 per cent of Indian IT Exports. Not just that, it has become the city of startups, e-commerce companies, captive centers and the top IT giants of the world are housed here. And I think, that’s where the joke began, they say, that if you throw a stone anywhere in Bangalore, it will hit an engineer!

I looked at my watch and thought about the two big days – It had taken months of planning, there were going to be 3500 colleagues not just from MBRDI but also from Daimler HQ, and the other three Daimler entities we have in India. The showcase had 32 market booths that covered ideas we had selected from the 500 entries that came in for various internal Innovation challenges, prototypes from the Student’s hackathon we had conducted earlier this year  and a handful of thriving start-ups. All of them had innovative solutions that stood out like ‘Highly Automated Driving’ and ‘Content Aggregation for Connected Cars’,  their ideas – to address challenges in algorithm validation of Autonomous vehicle & providing solution to aggregate information intelligently coming from different content providers  respectively.

DigitalLifeDay is a platform which initiating various digitalization activities and digital transformation efforts across all businesses at Daimler. It means, we are designing not only the future of mobility but the our career paths as wel

My eyes roved on the 32 market stands with booth owners gearing up for the two big days ahead. To be part of this landmark event, the booth owners had toiled hard for months and went through a tedious process to scale the summit – of DigitalLifeDay India. In the far end, an enormous amphitheater was designed that could easily accommodate 1500 colleagues. I pictured the Colosseum of Rome in front my eyes

Innovation talks

At any prominent event, Innovation Talks always empowers us to think out of the box and also come up with new ideas. There were 27 planned for two days and the topics ranged from Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Data Culture, and Startup Journey to Electric Mobility.  It was impossible to attend all of them, the ones I did were inspiring, for example Ashley Marie Cashion from What3Words spoke about smart navigation where people can refer to any precise location – a delivery entrance, a picnic spot or a drone landing point – using three simple words. Made me wonder how fast can this system be available in a city like Bengaluru, where we all struggle to reach places every single day.

What would really catch attention, I anticipated, was the MBUX and AR/VR booths. MBUX was making its India debut while the curious began to make a bee-line to experience the futuristic technology.

How can I not mention about the workshops? The slots were sold out like tickets to a Hollywood blockbuster!

If I could recollect, the seats were block within few hours after opening registrations. The range of topics, right from the Social Intranet to Design Thinking, Robotics to IoT and 3D Printing – were running packed throughout the two days.

The excitement of keynotes from Ola Kaellenius and Jan Brecht were obvious. We had nearly 2000 people seated in the stadium we had created for 1500 people, they were literally piled up! And the message from the two keynotes were clear to our colleagues because, Ola emphasized on the ‘Need for Speed’ and Jan underscored on ‘Twice as Fast’ – to catch up with the world so quickly changing – the digital transformation across industries, competition and customer touch points.

Considering our 21-year rich history, MBRDI has evolved into a digital hub for Daimler. With 3500 colleagues, 32 market booths, 27 Innovation Talks, three experience zones, two powerful keynotes and one mega digital event – all with one objective, come together for digital transformation. Looking at the people, interested and immersed, I knew, it was the right platform for the right people.

Every event ends on a high, and I am sure, like me all other participants are inspired by all the information to innovate more and think out of the box. As I walk down the office, a week after the event, I can still hear talks around the corners, the overwhelming on LinkedIn and twitter for the event and I am grinning from ear to ear.



Ira Pradhan is part of the DigitalLifeDay India core team handling Communications and Event management.