alcatel-Connected-Car-2-1024x768We have seen publicity from IBM about how they are working with the automotive industry (both OEM's and suppliers) to created the “Connected Car” It is all about using big data, cloud computing, mobile and social to change the way the automotive industry does business. They have discovered that the “Internet of Things” is laying in wait under the hood or behind the dashboard for sharp businesses to take advantage of. Sensors, processors and actuators are laying in wait to be harvested for their data. Then we have cell phone links, streaming satellite media and advanced navigation services. A vehicle is now as well connected as the driver's home is. Let's take a look at some of the projects underway:

PSA Peugeot Citroen and IBM are working together to integrate the massive amounts of data from cars, phones, traffic signals and other sources, then analyze it in real-time to offer a range of "connected services" to customers.

IBM big data and analytic software enables BMW to improve manufacturing and service. Problems are corrected without delay. They can predict and anticipate maintenance needs, reducing the number of shop visits and speed repair times.

Other companies working with IBM include Ford and Continental AG (integrating mobile services), Fiat, Chrysler (global IT infrastructure/services).

But, the most interesting is the “Battle Of The Dashboards”. We recently wrote on Apple's bid to run away with this juicy plum. Entering this battle is Sprint Velocity. They are developing a comprehensive in-car infotainment and telematics architecture aimed at automakers. Velocity provides to automakers the core technology on which to build infotainment and telematic systems. It includes: rolling Wi-Fi hotspot through an embedded modem; vehicle locking, unlocking and start; 911 assist; infotainment and streaming music; and cloud-connected voice-activated controls.

Sprint Velocity is device-agnostic, supporting iOS and Android. This allows consumers to bring any device they choose into the car. That’s been an issue for all automakers. Information on apps and lower-tier developers have not been announced, but that decision will be left to Sprint’s automotive partners to decide, because of security and safety concerns. But a “Software Development Kit” (SDK or “devkit”) is in the works to allow creation of applications. The whole idea is that standardized architecture supporting much of the automotive industry would solve some issues about which platforms to focus on. Simply, the less platforms, operating systems and apps you have, the more time and money you save!

Sprint Velocity is using IBM software to give the platform greater speed while using less bandwidth. Preferences such as seat position, cabin temperature and radio stations are stored in the cloud, and are updated and synced via the driver's smartphone every time the car is turned on.

All automakers are very interested in getting information about customers’ cars for diagnostic and repair purposes. Sprint Velocity links automaker, the dealer and the driver. It is agile and scalable platform. Upgradeability of an embedded system is a significant requirement because the consumer electronics market moves at a much faster pace than the systems developed and deployed by automakers. Imagine! Your in-car connectivity is the GREATEST; the next day, you’re dealing with an outdated system that won't work with the latest and greatest smartphone or tablet.
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