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Impact of M2M, small data on auto industry

Posted: 21 Mar 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:machine-to-machine communications? mobile network? eCall?

The second hand car market will also be affected. Soon it will be possible to test the truth of the classic salesman's line about a car that has had 'one careful owner'. Historical data on acceleration and speed will quickly identify when it's been in the hands of a boy racer. All of these innovations have the power to positively affect the way people drive, reduce speeds, extend the life of cars and create a more considerate approach to fuel consumption.

Relationship with the consumer
Normally, when a car leaves the showroom floor the dealer will only see the vehicle again when it is in need of a service or repairs. M2M can help establish a stronger relationship between the driver and the dealership. The connected car allow dealers to add a range of services and interactions that will enhance the connection they have with the consumer, enabling them to differentiate their offerings from their competitors.

For example, automotive manufacturers can co-operate with partners to deliver infotainment services such as video, music and applications via the mobile network directly to the car. Consumers will soon come to expect additional services such as vehicle theft tracking, breakdown services and remote unlocking if they have misplaced their keys as part of a sales package.

The dealership could also use diagnostic information sent from the car to identify engine problems remotely and warn driver when there is a fault, prompting them to come in for a service. This evolved relationship is beneficial for everyone in the value chain. The car dealers and OEMs are able to create new streams of revenue and the consumer is able to benefit from tailored additional services.

Public sector use
The public sector will also be looking to see how M2M enabled cars can help them improve the services they provide. Once the roads are filled with connected cars, the data they generate will be able to provide a wide range of anonymised traffic information that will help them better understand their motorway networks.

Real time, detailed traffic information based on vehicle speeds and braking data will enable drivers to stay up to speed with the current state of the roads and help civil authorities take action when needed, diverting traffic quickly to alternative routes to ease congestion.

Road-level information relayed from the cars will also enable better support during adverse weather conditions. ABS and vehicle stabilisation information will help identify patches of black ice on the roads. Gritting trucks can then be deployed more accurately and effectively, saving the tax payer money and ensuring maximum safety.

Vehicle suspension data collected from cars will also be able to help authorities detect faults in the road before they develop into potholes. This means that they can be dealt with quickly before they are large enough to cause damage to vehicles and endanger lives. Roads should also close less often and for shorter periods of time, minimising disruption and cost.

The future for M2M
The technology already exists to make these services a reality and over the next few years, as OEMs produce the next generation of cars, we will increasingly see M2M services become a key part of their offerings. OEMs will also begin to use the data gained from previous M2M enabled models to enhance the performance of the next rage of cars.

M2M has the power to revolutionise the automotive industry, changing everything from driver behaviour to the way cars are bought, sold and produced. Once all cars are M2M connected the possibilities are endless, presenting an exciting opportunity for software and hardware engineers in the automotive world.

About the author
David Levine is the Global Head of Automotive Business Development and Strategy within Vodafone's MachinetoMachine (M2M) organisation. He leads a team of highly-experienced individuals responsible for setting and delivering on Vodafone's global strategy in the ConnectedCar space and brings a myriad of experience from the automotive and emerging technology worlds.

Prior to Vodafone, David was the European Head of Automotive Business Development at traffic-information company INRIX (formerly ITIS) and was the Managing Director of the German traffic business ITIS Deutschland. David joined ITIS from Hewlett-Packard where he spent 7 years in a variety of mobile technology positions; laterally as part of the CTO organisation running a joint-venture with Nokia in Europe.

David has a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Manchester and an MBA from the Manchester Business School.

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