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The Car in the Cloud

By Scott Frank, Vice President of Airbiquity.

This article originally appeared on M2Mnow.


One of technology’s hottest buzzwords – “cloud” – is quickly becoming attached to multiple industries, and automotive is no exception with connected cars being the latest connected “device” in the increasingly digital world we live in. With a prediction of a quarter billion connected cars on the road by 2020, according to Gartner, and the increasing amount of time we spend in cars every day, it’s no surprise there’s a growing awareness and interest in connected cars. Practically every automaker on the planet has introduced—or is working on introducing—connected car systems to provide their customers with the latest and greatest features and services like automatic crash notification (eCall), remote vehicle location identification (geo-fencing), vehicle usage profiles (trip reports), vehicle condition profiles (vehicle health), and infotainment delivery to name some of the more popular ones.

To make these useful services a reality for consumers, new cars will increasingly rely on innovative cloud-based technology for requisite tasks like vehicle connectivity to the off-board world and internet, two-way data and information transfer between the vehicle and the cloud, and reliable access to highly scalable data storage, processing, and analytics capabilities. Connected car integration of cloud technology is already in full swing. Ford, for example, recently announced an expansion of connected car services capability with the creation of the Ford Services Delivery Network powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. And connected car cloud platforms don’t only come from technology giants like Microsoft. Airbiquity, for example, has a connected car cloud platform called Choreo that provides service delivery for eight automotive brands and powers over six million vehicles around the world every day. As more automakers launch new cloud-based programs, and others evolve existing programs, it will become increasingly clear that cloud technology is the best and only way to power connected car programs today – and in the future.

Every automaker must fully embrace the cloud if they want to achieve faster program deployments to deliver competitively differentiated features and services to existing and prospect customers. The reason is because cloud technology is uniquely suited to efficiently configuring, scaling, managing, and dynamically updating connected car program features and services. Nissan saw this potential and seized the opportunity by using the cloud to deploy their NissanConnect with Mobile Apps infotainment program across more than 50 countries and over 20 vehicle models in just sixteen months. This kind of program deployment speed was unheard of prior to the introduction of cloud-based technology and service delivery capability.

Automakers aren’t the only ones that directly benefit from the connected car cloud technology – consumers will have many opportunities to derive value as well. Connected cars have the ability to provide a steady stream of valuable information about the vehicle and driver that can be used to enhance the consumer post vehicle purchase ownership and driving experience.By learning more about their vehicles the individual consumer driving habits and preferences, automakers will create highly personalized and relevant driving centric services and promotions with current and new third party partners like automotive dealers, online service providers, and brick and mortar retailers for oil changes, collision repair, parking, food, beverages, and other convenience items.