The concept of a connected car first emerged in sci-fi movies and sitcoms years ago. Remember ‘The Jetsons’? The 1960’s animated series revolved around the then-futuristic concept of connected devices. The show’s opening sequence where George Jetson drops his family to their destination in a flying car and later converts the car into a briefcase showed how our lives could one day be transformed by technology.
While flying cars are still a futuristic concept, in some way we have arrived in the Jetsons’ era where a whole bunch of smart, connected devices are becoming an integral part of our lives. Cars in particular, with the embedded Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and intelligent applications built-in, are not just redefining the driving experience and but also reshaping the future of the urban landscape.
As consumers embrace these new vehicles, the Indian connected car market is witnessing substantial growth and is projected to be worth USD 32.5 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 22.2 percent. In addition to transforming driving, this burgeoning market offers several opportunities for businesses – retailers, insurers, entertainment businesses and of course the carmakers themselves – to leverage the huge volumes of data generated and captured by connected cars to achieve new levels of customer loyalty and open up new revenue streams.
Multiple opportunities for multiple players
Connected cars harness the power of IoT sensors and connectivity, processing huge volumes of data every moment. Swooping down on the valuable insights offered by this data, car manufacturers are now turning their attention to developing a car’s ability to connect with other vehicles, intelligent transport systems and smart city infrastructure. Through this vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity, it is possible to truly transform the driver experience.
Imagine driving to work, and your car alerts you to a great breakfast deal, based on your previous purchases at your favourite coffee shop, and then suggests a new route so that you’re able to make it there before you’re due at the office. Or, imagine not having to worry about remembering to pay for parking, as your car will take care of the payment automatically when you arrive at a parking lot or drive off.
Analysis of data collected by the connected car enables retailers and other businesses to provide their customers with new, highly personalised and targeted services, by decoding behaviours and preferences for customising content and products. The outcome? Enhanced brand loyalty, a stronger competitive position, and new revenue opportunities.
Advanced technologies offering an edge to players
To enable connected cars to communicate with other vehicles and the wider IoT ecosystem requires seamless, reliable connectivity. This is where the edge-to-cloud-connected, embedded SIM or eSIM will offer an edge to automakers. As the name suggests, eSIMs are built in the vehicle at the factory.
One key benefit is that they are not tied to a specific mobile network operator like a traditional SIM, enabling automakers to choose the network provider that best meets their needs at the best price point, after the car has left the factory. This flexibility often leads to cost savings.
Crucially, from a maintenance perspective, eSIM enables automakers to securely and remotely provision software updates over-the-air (OTA), without any disruption to the driver – while ensuring vehicle reliability and safety. There are many value-add telematics-related services that can be offered to augment maintenance further across the lifespan of the vehicle, all enabled by eSIM connectivity, including insurance and breakdown services and remote diagnostics.
Securing connected cars
As more and more data is being sent and received by different connected car applications every second, security becomes a critical consideration for car manufacturers. There is a need to protect data both in motion (i.e. as it travels on a network to the cloud and back) and at rest (i.e. within the vehicle, on the eSIM).
To ensure the security and integrity of data for telematics, infotainment, vehicle safety systems and V2X applications, automakers are increasingly adopting private mobile networks, complemented by a global, virtual private mobile network. By connecting the eSIMs inside vehicles with this type of encrypted, private, mobile-edge-to-cloud connectivity, they are able to protect cars and drivers from cyber-attacks.
Also read: Auto Expo 2020: Make any car a connected car
As connected cars steadily gain momentum, businesses and technologies of all kinds become linked through an interdependent ecosystem. This leaves automakers with two choices – embrace collaboration with the wider IoT ecosystem and the new business models and new revenue streams it enables, or risk becoming just a ‘box’, a provider of commoditised hardware. Their future success – even survival – depends on embracing this transformation.
Connected cars are just one example of the massive changes that mobility and IoT innovations are enabling in how businesses operate, how they interact with their customers, and how people engage with the world around them. While the picture painted in the Jetsons might still be some years away, it is clear that it is within the realms of possibility. However, for it to become a reality, it requires a collaborative effort – by the technology industry, manufacturers of all kinds of ‘things’, and the public sector – so that everything in the world can become seamlessly and securely connected.
Author: Amit Sachdeva, Global Head – Business Development, Mobility & IoT, Tata Communications
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not represent those of The Indian Express Group or any of its employees.
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