Crain Communications, MSXI combine to produce inaugural TIM Detroit mobility, technology event
Technology in Motion (TIM) launches this September with the goal of creating the largest mobility and technology exhibition in North America and showcasing Detroit as a hub for research and development. Created from a partnership between Crain Communications and MSX International, TIM’s aim is to demonstrate the capabilities within Michigan’s auto industry, while highlighting the history – and future – of the Motor City.
“The mobility conversation is obviously a global one, but there is a great opportunity for Detroit — which is doing so much for research around the mobility space — to own this conversation,” said KC Crain, President and Chief Operating Officer of Crain Communications, which publishes Automotive News and Autoweek, among more than a dozen business-to-business titles. “Whether you’re Toyota or Nissan or Volkswagen, some of your largest R&D facilities are in Michigan, so it absolutely just makes sense that all of these conversations happen here.”
TIM’s inspiration was driven by the experiences of Crain Communications and MSX International in the automotive industry. “A group of leaders in the city decided that we need to have a better platform for really cementing Detroit as the hub of the conversation around mobility,” Crain said. David Graff, MSXI’s Vice President of Sales and Retail Network Solutions, said the three-day mobility exhibition and conference was created out of a desire to reunite Detroit with cutting-edge automotive technology. “Seventy percent of U.S.-based auto-tech happens within 100 miles of Detroit, and 61 of the top 100 suppliers have their headquarters in Detroit,” Graff said.
“The truth is that a lot of the tech that is developed in California is ultimately readied, tested and deployed in Michigan… TIM offers a platform for bringing together the best thought leaders from Silicon Valley and Detroit, as well as putting Detroit back in the driver’s seat when it comes to innovation in automotive technology,” Graff said.
The exhibition will feature displays from established automotive and technology leaders such as General Motors, Nissan, Lear Corporation, and Dassault Systèmes as well as startup mobility companies. TIM will also feature pitch competitions and a hackathon competition, and a section of the exhibition will be dedicated to a STEM Careers Showcase, combining interactive exhibits with informational programming for high school and college students. “There is a battle for talent. Everyone is going after the best and brightest, and what we are trying to say is that if you are a young engineer, or developer, or finance professional, and you want a high-tech career, it is right here in the automotive industry in Detroit,” Graff said.
A separate conference will focus on four automotive trends: autonomous/electric vehicles; mobility solutions; connected cars; and the digital consumer experience. Scheduled speakers include Matt Simoncini, Lear’s President and Chief Executive Officer; Rachel Bhattacharya, Maven’s Director, Commercial Programs; and Jerry Lavine, Magna’s Vice President of Advanced Product Development; among many others. “There are a lot of conferences that talk about connected, autonomous, shared, electric, mobility at state levels and at federal levels,” Crain said. “But nobody has created a platform to have everybody participate in the conversation.”
The final component of the TIM exhibition and conference is a downtown Detroit experience. “The really exciting thing is when people leave Cobo Hall, (Quicken CEO) Dan Gilbert and his team at Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans are going to help us put on the largest urban autonomous drive and they’re going to have a mobility parade,” Crain said. “It’s really going to be a big party.” He said Detroit belongs in any discussion of the automotive industry today – and into the future.
“If there isn’t collaboration between the automakers, suppliers, city and state — or even between state and state — it’s going to be a lot more difficult to get a lot of this technology in the mainstream,” Crain said. “So it is by far the most important time to be talking about the future of mobility.”