The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is already a reality, not just related to the connected car. We are all in the era of digital transformation.
Yet for the global car companies, and their partners on the connected car platform, there are still unanswered questions when it comes to connectivity. How to plan for the future? How to use platforms so as to develop innovation? How to ensure data inter-connectivity across different intersecting business such as insurance, whilst ensuring privacy and data governance?
Software is ubiquitous. It is enabling every market and by 2020, there will be an estimated 25 billion-plus interconnected devices globally in the IoT. The vehicle OEMs meanwhile, are entering new territory when it comes to building out their expertise in data management. They need their connectivity solutions to grow, in terms of both geographic coverage and in the scope of services.
These challenges for global connectivity were discussed in a meeting recently hosted by Connected Car magazine. Even before hitting the road, the vehicles of the 21st century are going to be facing challenges for continuity of services, with issues related to manufacturing, subsequent shipment of vehicles around the world and wireless technology standards.
A car assembled in one country can be sold and used in another country. Then it can be driven across borders and across different mobile networks, different technology protocols. All the while it needs to stay connected.
Greg Ross, owner of Connected Business Innovations and former GM connected car executive, together with Talia Wise, Associated Vice President Marketing of Global Touch, discussed exactly these issues. If there is to be a data exchange, a company that will facilitate vehicle firmware and safety updates, insurance, shopping, entertainment and other content running over a smart vehicle hub, how should that be organised?
What kind of federated controls and standards need to be put into place for the handling and protection of the data?
“Connected car services are a big part of the projected revenues for the Internet of Things,” commented Greg Ross. “They are also fast-growing, and a very unique part that intersects with insurance.”
“The IoT is evolving many different markets, and as they grow they are going to inter-connect,” he added. “Another major issue is the lack of a standard protocol, which lends itself as an opportunity.”
The IoT can be fairly described as a revolution that is going to run across a whole range of industries, and the connected vehicle is no different. We commented in a previous blog article about connected car services adding up to a $2 trillion opportunity for monetizing data.
Mobility creating a new business space
Connectivity has the ability to disrupt just about every facet of that whole business as it emerges, from the way cars are sold, to related businesses like insurance, finance, repairs, vehicle recall and safety updates, in fact the whole of the vehicle experience.
“There are big investments going into this space with things like transportation-as-a-service, investments in insurance, investments in fleet management, fleet telematics and IoT infrastructure, not to mention the investments going into autonomous,” commented Greg Ross.
“It amounts to a huge, huge space that will very much affect the car business….But there are aspects of challenge. What you find as an OEM is that your needs are unique, and not entirely anticipated by the wireless network operators today.”
To consider just one example, the wireless mobile networks were originally planned for the major population centres, which is perfectly logical. But the vehicle OEMs, insurers and others need to plan for connectivity where the network isn’t so dense, and for road coverage.
A vehicle in motion can’t be rebooted
A car can’t be rebooted, like a smart phone or other device, if a problem occurs while driving. It requires much higher safety and security standards than a phone. Also, the lifetime of a typical vehicle is ten years, compared to two to three years for phone hardware.
Then there’s a need to consider other aspects that are unique to the OEMs, such as having dense connectivity around places of business like plants, ports and dealerships, to handle logistics or over-the-air updates. Looking ahead to the autonomous world, and the issues that 5G is designed to solve, all of those infrastructure requirements and data handling challenges are still a long way from being met.
Regulations related to the vehicles and insurance will not stay fixed, and yet there is a need to plan for OEMs to update and send enhanced services to vehicles over time.
“From the perspective of the wireless network operators, connected cars are relatively a niche,” commented Greg Ross. “The network providers are very much interested in this of course, with the kind of growth and innovation going on. But it is still small relative to what’s out there today [in terms of handsets].”
What is also unique about the connected car, is just the sheer diversity of things that are being desired, both by consumers and by all the industry players.
Firmware updates, recalls and many aspects of the ongoing user experience are all going to be critical for the automotive OEMs going forward. For the car makers, they are going to be looking for the optimum data reliability and predictability across their entire vehicle fleet, no matter where in the world. Then they need to guarantee this continuity of service over the whole future lifecycle of the vehicle.
For insurance, competitive aspects of the safety data, incident forensics, alerts and vehicle data are all going to become critical requirements for getting access to the vehicle.
There are very positive global forecasts for sales of the hard-wired connected, V2V enabled vehicles – estimated at 35 million in 2022 – which are the optimum platform for getting the most information out of the vehicle data bus.
But there is today still a huge opportunity for telematics after-market devices to create solutions.
“There are some limits to the data that you can get out of the existing data bus of the vehicle, which is one of the strengths of the built-in solutions,” commented Greg Ross.
“But aftermarket devices will continue to be a very significant part of the connected car universe….It is a world that is moving very quickly. Having a global platform that enables you to make updates, as the regulation changes, is a critical requirement.”
LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a unit of RELX Group, is a global data technology and advanced analytics leader, with customers in over 100 countries worldwide.
Follow these links for information on our Connected Car Team, the LexisNexis® Telematics Exchange or the LexisNexis Risk Solutions website for US insurance or UK insurance to find out more about how we support insurers.