|Issue:||Europe II 2014|
|Topic:||Connected Vehicles? Bring your own SIM|
|Author:||Dennis Juul Poulsen|
|Title:||CEO & co-founder|
Dennis Juul Poulsen is CEO and co-founder of Tweakker, a leading mobile connectivity firm established in 2009. Mr. Poulsen began his career as product manager for mobile device intelligence company Mobilethink. In 2009, he was appointed manager for products and communications by Tweakker. Subsequently he became the director of sales and product, and then Tweakker’s CEO in 2011.
As a business development, sales and management oriented executive, Mr Poulsen has broad experience within the mobile industry, including international B2B sales at executive level. His focus revolves around developing disruptive cloud technologies and products for the mobile provider & consumer space. He enjoys working with start-ups and established companies that aim to capture market share or seek to broaden their market scope by re-positioning their brands and products.
Mr. Poulsen holds a BsC in Information Studies & Organizational Anthropology, Aarhus University, Denmark, as well as an MsC, Science & Information Technology, from the same university.
Connected cars will soon become the norm, and are already sold at the luxury end of the market. Cars will become smartphones on wheels, finding parking spaces, advising on cheapest petrol in your direction of travel, or informing the driver on how long before the traffic lights will change. Service connectivity must be ubiquitous, even when crossing borders, and should also be portable, so new owners can be connected to their own network provider. M2M sensors will be built-in to connect cars or embedded in clothes and jewellery, so that apps can be activated via Internet-of-things wherever you are.
Billions of dollars are being invested in what is seen as the next digital playground – the connected vehicle. Central to the mass roll-out of new and subsequently used connected vehicles is not just the sticker price, but connectivity solutions, allowing your humble, network agnostic SIM card to access the Internet from your vehicle at anytime, from anywhere worldwide. Vehicle manufacturers believe that smartphones will change the way we use our vehicles. Already giant strides have been made in making them safer, more efficient and more fun to be in, thanks to device technology.
The first solutions hitting the European market this year will be luxury cars with in-car telematics and infotainment systems, such as those being provided by TeliaSonera to Tesla for the Nordic markets. BMW has also announced plans to further enhance its ConnectedDrive infotainment system with the latest updates focused on improving the level of online-based in-car services.
Then, in January this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it was announced that the next generation of Audi and Telsa automobiles would become more like smartphones on wheels thanks to AT&T. Audi’s 2015 line-up of A3s and all Tesla models will soon be connected to AT&T’s wireless network, the same one currently used by phones, tablets and computers. Audis will be on 4G LTE, while Teslas will operate on 3G. Audi sedans will feature displayed navigation, connect to 7,000-plus Internet radio stations and will read things like news headlines, Facebook posts and Tweets aloud. Passengers will also be able to connect to the car’s Wi-Fi and be able to stream high-definition video on up to eight devices.
Initially, the market will be driven by large telcos who have the cash available to invest in these initial offerings, but their solutions are expensive, and expensive solutions breed expensive products. A huge chunk of the connected car market will eventually be based on more cost-efficient vehicles interfacing with the Internet. Premium mobile service providers will try and control the market, but price will prevail in the long run. Just as we have seen with conventional mobile operator services across the world the last 10 years. However, the transition from contract to BYOS (Bring Your Own Service) driven connected cars will most likely happen over much shorter period of time due to growing numbers of small budget/eco friendly cars being sold across not only Europe but most of the world. Trust me, they will not come with a contract based mobile subscription service. It is more a matter of how long it will take before this car category will offer connectivity as standard equipment.
What this means is our smartphone app-culture infiltrating the dashboard – from a parking space finder to a way to get coupons for local restaurants, or directions that can pop up on the windscreen. It all relies on the car being connected to the Internet, allowing all this information to arrive without too much searching or button pushing and a lot more focus on voice commands.
At present, connected car headlines often focus on the in-car use of social media, integrated internet radio or clever ways to use voice commands. However, the Internet could be used for much more simple – and practical – things. Apps already exist that show local petrol stations and their prices, allowing drivers to keep going for a few more miles to save a few pence a litre when filling up a car. There is also an app to find a car parking space in some major cities, using electronic sensors, or analysing an aerial view of local street spaces. Car park firm NCP has both an iOS and Android app for this.
Perhaps more interesting are the things you never knew you could find out. When stopped at a traffic light, a pop up message on the dashboard will let drivers know how long they’ll have to wait until the lights change. This is not a cheap business. It is thought billions of pounds have been spent so far on the development of these services.
By 2020, US$600 billion (£380bn) – or 20% of the value of new connected vehicles – will be able to be attributed to “our connected life” according to some research firms. Intel alone is investing US$100 million in the next five years in companies that can speed up the adoption of connected cars. By the end of 2014, every vehicle sold will offer some sort of connectivity. Some companies are spending around a third of the budget for designing a completely new car model just on the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and the in-car technology around the system.
If all this IVI information becomes even easier to access in-car, the question arises: is there an even greater risk of distraction from driving? Safety concerns are being addressed with a mandatory sensor which calls emergency services in the event of an accident. Entitled eCall, all new cars will be fitted with such a sensor by 2015 under an EU legislation scheme.
It is not just on-road safety that is causing developers headaches. If there’s a data system in a car, technically someone could hack into it by intercepting wireless messages between the car and the network. Connected cars will have to be released with appropriately designed security to prevent hacking.
New and used vehicles
As we enter the connected car era, it must be remembered that a very large chunk of the market will be infotainment systems fitted in second hand cars and used trucks. This means that when someone buys a used vehicle, they’ll have to bring their own SIM card to activate it. The card needs to be network-agnostic, capable of connecting to any network in Europe as cars/trucks pass through various countries. The EU’s work on eliminating mobile roaming charges across Europe will certainly help speeding up the development of the connected vehicle, especially in more mature European markets such as Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
Smartphone connectivity app
An instant connectivity app for the connected car is now available and has to be seen within the framework of the Internet of Things, where all M2M devices can be connected by the tool. According to research firm Gartner, around 30 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. They will vary in size and functionality and the majority will be mobile related, whether it’s your connected car or connected body that will have a host of M2M sensors embedded in the clothes and jewellery we wear. This technology took three years to develop and has already been tested by over one million Android users, and more than four million connections have been made via the app. All that M2M device makers need do to get users online and using OTT services is to embed the app in their M2M devices and they’ll be immediately connected to the internet and will continue to do so even as they pass through different networks and frontiers. The Internet of Things will have a profound impact on the world economy with some experts are predicting a global business worth US$1.9 trillion by 2020.