Google wins multi-year contract to store Renault's manufacturing data

Google will gather data from Renault factories, robots and supply chains as part of the multi-year cloud service deal. The company said it believes that manufacturing companies need a new platform to complement the assembly lines, the supply chains and other systems they already have.
By : Bloomberg
| Updated on: 09 Jul 2020, 01:04 PM
FILE PHOTO: Employees, wearing protective face masks, work on the automobile assembly line of Renault ZOE cars at the Renault automobile factory in Flins. (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Employees, wearing protective face masks, work on the automobile assembly line of Renault ZOE cars at the Renault automobile factory in Flins. (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Employees, wearing protective face masks, work on the automobile assembly line of Renault ZOE cars at the Renault automobile factory in Flins. (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Employees, wearing protective face masks, work on the automobile assembly line of Renault ZOE cars at the Renault automobile factory in Flins.

Google has won a multi-year deal to store Renault SA’s manufacturing data, marking the US tech company’s first major industrial cloud deal in France.

The Alphabet Inc. unit will gather data from Renault factories, robots and supply chains, the companies said. Google called the contract the largest of its kind globally, though both businesses declined to comment on how much Renault will pay for the cloud services or the length of the agreement.

“We believe that manufacturing companies need a new platform to complement the assembly lines, the supply chains and other systems they already have," Google Cloud Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kurian said in an interview. The Renault contract offers a chance “to improve manufacturing processes, industrial automation and adapted controls," he said.

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(Also read: Renault’s incoming CEO sees turnaround ‘surprise’ in the making)

Google is working to catch up to cloud rivals in big manufacturing contracts, pitching gains in efficiency and automation to cash-strapped firms. Its business ranks third in Europe behind leaders Amazon.com Inc. -- which has a deal with Renault’s rival Volkswagen AG -- and Microsoft Corp. It’s trailing in fifth position in France, according to Synergy Research Group. Synergy estimated Google’s global cloud share at 8% in the first quarter, about half of Microsoft’s size and a quarter of Amazon’s.

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An employee works on the automobile assembly line of Bluecar electric city cars at Renault car maker factory in Dieppe, western France.
An employee works on the automobile assembly line of Bluecar electric city cars at Renault car maker factory in Dieppe, western France. (REUTERS)
An employee works on the automobile assembly line of Bluecar electric city cars at Renault car maker factory in Dieppe, western France.
An employee works on the automobile assembly line of Bluecar electric city cars at Renault car maker factory in Dieppe, western France. (REUTERS)

On Tuesday, Google announced it had agreed to a 10-year deal with Deutsche Bank AG to provide cloud computing capabilities to the German lender. The deal was a notable win for Google as it tries to show that its cloud business can service the financial sector.

Renault is under pressure to cut costs after the coronavirus pandemic sent vehicle sales into a tailspin. Renault has obtained a 5 billion-euro ($5.7 billion) government-backed credit facility and is navigating the political minefield of possible site closures and thousands of job cuts in France. The carmaker didn’t comment on whether the Google deal will generate cost savings.

The Google deal offers “tremendous fuel for the improvement of our plants," Eric Marchiol, head of manufacturing 4.0 at Renault, said in an interview. The cloud contract will be open to partners, and the accord complements a deal the Renault-Nissan alliance has with Microsoft on connected car technology, he said.

(Also read: Google's self-driving sister, Waymo, gets first outside investors)

Google said the deal doesn’t involve their existing partnerships with Renault in advertising or with Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo. The data Google will collect won’t be used for the search giant’s other business such as advertising, Kurian said.

The increased reliance on US firms is stoking concern within Europe’s technology industry. French and German government ministers have called for more sovereignty over handling of industry data, but have come up empty due to the absence of equivalent hyperscalers in the region.

First Published Date: 09 Jul 2020, 01:04 PM IST
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