Airbiquity: “Connectivity is quickly becoming standard”

Airbiquity: “Connectivity is quickly becoming standard”

What does your company do?

We believe the market has passed the tipping point for connected vehicle programs. Automakers are each deepening and broadening their commitment to connectivity as an essential part of their product’s value proposition. Airbiquity provides services and solutions to the automotive industry, integrating advances in software, smart devices, and wireless services with their core product—making good vehicles. Our private cloud, Choreo, offers automakers a scalable, flexible platform for delivering innovative applications and services that enable a vehicle to adapt to a driver’s connected lifestyle. We are a digital hub, operating OEM-customized and driver-personalized connected vehicle programs for automakers and Tier 1s.

How do you differentiate your offerings from competitors?

The complexity of automotive manufacturers’ connected vehicle programs is escalating rapidly. Integrating evolving ecosystems of consumer services, application developers, device manufacturers, wireless service providers, OEM back-office systems, electrical utilities, insurance, and leasing entities requires a resilient, scalable and adaptive service delivery platform.

For example, the idea of apps on the smartphone available through the vehicle’s smart display will inevitably become a reality, very likely in ways that differ by device or operating system. That’s work that is ongoing and we are participating in it and plan to adapt to the popular methods. What we are focusing on, though, is providing OEMs with the governance tools so that product managers can control the connected services lifecycle of the vehicle, regardless of device or operating system differences. The vehicle has to continuously adapt to fickle markets, hyper-personalized consumers, and the real-time enterprise to achieve real market success. In this use case, though, a mobile connected device of this size and weight can be a very dangerous device when operated inappropriately. It is a non-trivial and, indeed, existential task to integrate external information sources, device or cloud, with vehicle resources that are adaptive to changing vehicle conditions and governed across the vehicle life.

We see a near-term reality where automotive product managers define vehicles that are fun to drive and integrate smart mobile devices, their apps, and evolving mobile clouds into an OEM-controlled in-vehicle experience that enhances road safety and rewards driver best practices. Our customer relationships are based on two things: our ability to work within any OEM-defined supply chain and be a key contributor to the final solution; and, our experience designing, delivering, and operating connected vehicle programs for automotive manufacturers.

What partnerships are you currently forging? What industry milestone are you working toward achieving?

We continue to have discussions with a range of potential partners that touch on nearly every aspect of the connected vehicle ecosystem. The connected vehicle experience of tomorrow will not be built on rigid partnerships. Systems and platforms that enable automotive product managers to define the right connected vehicle experience for their product and target markets will, of necessity, need to adapt to a changing market. An open, flexible platform will enable partnerships to form as needed, based on value to the customer, who is more attuned to today’s hyper-personalized connected lifestyle. Our next big milestone will be celebrating 20 million connected vehicles on the road!

What trends do you see impacting the industry over the next two to five years?

Connectivity is quickly becoming standard for every consumer electronics device. Real-time information is given as essential to the lean operation of the modern enterprise. Absent such connectivity capabilities, any future product is likely to lose a very large percentage of potential buyers. Perhaps no product is as integral to so many lives and tasks as the car and truck. The coming years are likely to focus on in-vehicle infotainment governance models, smart device and cloud service integration, adaptive ecosystems for OEM commercial and consumer programs, and incorporating an increasingly complex mix of product customization and driver personalization into a connected-product lifecycle management discipline. (For more on personalization, see ‘How to customize telematics to meet consumer preferences’.)

There are comparisons from other technology product markets that provide context for what steps might be taken. Certainly the automotive market has unique attributes, such as product liability scope, but should still find analogies from markets with similar rapid change. In comparable market scenarios, those companies that chose a predominantly in-house approach typically stumbled as the market scaled, even if they were an early mover. The benefits to the automaker from connected vehicles in areas like product design and development, maintenance and warranty, and customer relationship management are really intriguing. Automakers that build connected vehicle attributes into their core brand value proposition sooner are likely to benefit most from this shift, though sustaining momentum through the second chasm, to achieve early majority adoption, is probably more important in a market the size and scale of automotive. Understanding customer experience and product performance—no matter how essential—does not mean building every required competency in each company. This makes less financial or common sense than aligning with trusted suppliers that possess needed competencies to enable the success of the whole product.

You are an integral part of our upcoming Telematics Detroit 2011 event. What key topics will you be discussing with the industry at the show?

Key themes at this year’s Telematics Detroit will be adaptive ecosystems, IVI governance models and product lifecycle management for connected vehicles. For example, if we assume that connectivity is becoming standard, then vehicle-as-product also quickly becomes vehicle-as-service, which has different lifecycle attributes. Lifecycle management of connected vehicle services brings opportunity with a healthy dose of complexity. Complexity, in that every driver is one half of a brand and product relationship, and each driver has their own mobile cloud and ecosystem of loyalty and service providers. The average person spends a few hours per day in the car. As a platform for mobility and convenience, the vehicle creates opportunity for the OEM to communicate with, and become an essential part of a driver’s connected lifestyle with regards to the car. This is true for both consumer and, increasingly, commercial markets.

For more from Leo McCloskey, see ‘Airbiquity: “Consumers expect services tailored to them from their selected information sources”’.

For all the latest telematics trends, join the sector’s thought leaders at Telematics Detroit 2011 in Novi, MI on June 8 and 9.

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