Harj Dhaliwal

Harj Dhaliwal

1. 5 years from now, how do you think digital transformation will affect your industry business operations?

Hyperloop marks a seismic shift in the history of transportation. In this new industry, AI and software development meet mass transportation. The entire Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) system runs on highly sophisticated software. It is in this that digital transformation has affected our industry.

For the lay person, the internet is the perfect analogy. Broadband revolutionized the speeds at which people connected. Initially people thought in terms of using the internet to simply speed up what they already did. Over time, it spawned an industry so large that we now refer to it as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hyperloop is an extension of the same principle and will change how people live, work, and connect as much as the railroad did in the late 1800s or the internet in the late 1900s.

The use of AI and computerization will run and facilitate hyperloop’s operations and seamless door-to-door passenger travel. These digital aspects will be instrumental in delivering VHO’s effortless passenger transport. This digitization also allows hyperloop to deliver exceptional service for high-priority, on-demand goods -- at a cost closer to trucking and at the speed of flight. By utilizing capacity for both passengers and palletized freight, hyperloop can revolutionize supply chains, support economic zones, and create global megaregions.



2. Digital Transformation is an ongoing phenomenon. Your thoughts?

Digital Transformation will inevitably be an ongoing phenomenon as new disruptive technologies emerge. A key to surviving will be a company’s abilities to leverage and enable new and existing technologies, as well as invest in people who can identify and solve pressing issues as well as creating lasting, impactful change.



3. Over the past few years, which other sectors have been able to successfully migrate operations into digital space according to you, and what lessons would you want to take away from them.

Some key players in the cargo and freight industry have been able to successfully migrate operations into digital space, as we’ve seen through the implementation of AI in this industry. We recently announced the launch of DP World Cargospeed, a global brand for hyperloop-enabled cargo systems operated by DP World capable of supporting fast, on-demand, direct delivery of high value light weight time sensitive cargo. Designed to provide exceptional service for high-priority, on-demand goods, DP World Cargospeed systems will deliver freight at the speed of flight and closer to the cost of trucking.

AI and machine learning technology has been instrumental in helping us solve a pressing issue of not only getting goods from A to B faster and cheaper, but ultimately revolutionizing supply chain-manufacturing. A hyperloop-enabled supply chain can help reduce finished goods inventory by 25%, cut required warehouse space by 25%, and shrink inventory lead times. This can add up to far more than the savings in transportation costs, especially for high value and time sensitive products.



4. What is the most significant challenge in digital transformation across industry?

Digital transformation will not look the same across industry for two reasons – (1) Each organization has their own unique problems that need to be addressed, and (2) A digital solution that works in one specific industry won’t necessarily work in another.

AI will be an important component to the hyperloop industry, solving an array of challenges and creating others— like displacement. People are key to digital transformation. Technology alone cannot drive change. It will remain important to train and educate young people on how to engineer for the future. At VHO for example, we’ve gathered together some of the brightest minds in engineering, equipped with a technical arsenal capable of solving the most complex problems ever seen and ones we’ve never even conceived of, AI could not replace these minds. So, the challenge will be how do you educate future generations for an unforeseeable future? Ingenuity, creativity and the ability of the human mind to create elegant solutions to tough challenges will be pivotal to digital transformation.



5. How do you think participants will benefit by attending the third edition of DIGITRANS 2019?

An opportunity to engage across industries to discuss challenges and solutions to digital transformation. It’s also an opportunity to meet some really cool companies paving the way.



6. Would the conventional way of measuring the performance of your industry change with a Digital adoption and transformation?

Given that the hyperloop industry is new, we are currently meeting with experts around the world to develop a conventional way of measuring performance, as well as regulating—of which much will be computerized. We know that the highly sophisticated VHO systems will achieve better performance than traditional high-speed rail for less cost, a large component of that is thanks to AI.

VHO’s space saving design can be elevated above or below grade, lowering environmental footprint and securing right-of-way. In addition, its autonomous, upgradable systems will improve performance and extend lifetime capacity -- lowering entire lifetime costs far below high-speed rail.



7. What happens to the People, would the Oldies fit in well with the Millennials 😊 and what happens to the culture of the organization then?

To reiterate, people are key to digital transformation and technology alone cannot drive change. Within every organization, it is imperative to have people who believe in technology disruption and who are brave enough to take on not only the challenge of actually moving forward that kind of organization-wide implementation but also the challenges that come with that implementation. The culture will be one of collaborating and working together to reap the most value out of that technology. An intrapreneurial mindset—someone who takes risks in their own work to drive better outcomes and thinks outside of the box—will help individuals, Millennials or Baby Boomers, thrive in the age of digital transformation.



8. Who is your competition in your industry?

Virgin Hyperloop One is the acknowledged leader in developing a fully functioning hyperloop system. In this exciting new industry, there are some interesting players in the US and Europe.

However, I’d argue that all we have to do is look at the facts. The fact is that our Devloop test track in Nevada was completed and tested in 2017, while other hyperloop companies are just starting to build their first test track now. This puts us roughly two years ahead. In May 2017, we were the first company in the world to conduct a full-scale hyperloop test. In December 2017, we completed our third phase of testing, achieving test speeds of 387 kilometers per hour. We have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and expertise over these years of development and testing.



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