Carmakers Need a Global Approach to Derive Value from Data

The automotive industry is increasingly becoming an information industry.

Vehicle manufacturers need to be able to derive and use data to improve their business operations and enhance customer experience. At Automotive Techweek delegates and speakers explored the growing focus on connected vehicle data, how to use data to integrate it with the broader automotive V2X eco-system, and they discussed some specific use cases.

Olivier Leroux, CEO and president of Oasis Smart SIM, says there has been a growing interest in the value associated with V2X connectivity and this includes ADAS technology, which he suggests is a stepping-stone towards autonomous vehicles. Furthermore, the calculation of value in each vehicle is changing. Traditionally it’s been about the value of the steel, rubber, plastic, and copper wire used in the manufacturing of ach vehicle. Yet, value is now shifting towards the value of the software and content associated with it.

He adds: “With the connected vehicle, widespread embedded cellular connections are enabling new ways to inform and entertain drivers, as well as maintain the vehicles over their lifecycles. This is not only the view of vehicle makers since 47% of consumers would be willing to switch brands to access new and innovative connected car services. Younger drivers and large city residents see greater value in connected services over traditional factors. So, there is a real opportunity and challenge for OEMs to conceive their next-gen vehicles as an upgradeable software, that seamlessly integrate their existing digital life.”

In-vehicle experience

Avneesh Prakash vice president, mobility and MOVE at Tata Communications, finds that the market is being driven by the need for an in-vehicle experience – for the driver and for the occupants of the vehicle. Value depends on, for example, the passengers and on the geography of the market. However, common requirements are security and safety, and on the other side there is demand for convenience and luxury. Tata Communications therefore determines that value is created in five stages:

  1. Vehicle in research
  2. Vehicle in manufacturing
  3. Vehicle in distribution when it leaves the manufacturer
  4. Vehicle in dealership when it’s sold
  5. The vehicle on the road.

He explains that value is created at all of these stages. Each one offers an opportunity for data generation, data collation, consumption, and communication. “When we talk of data, there is a huge focus on telematics and infotainment data but there is also the communication data at the enabling layer”, he explains before commenting that the communications layer can enable vehicles to become software-defined, changing the cost and operating efficiencies of the whole software-over-the-air (SOTA) and features-over-the-air (FOTA).

Opportunities and reducing costs

It’s vital to keep vehicle safe and secure with the latest software patch. Without it there is a need for a huge recall of the vehicle which has a significant cost. He adds: “So SOTA and FOTA save on cost, and with real-time updates, they can drop new features in the car to improve and enrich the driver experience. This will include anything consumed in the vehicle as part of a subscription model. Each of the five stages need integrated data management across these five layers. They can collate useful data from telemetry or driver behavior.”

In his opinion, the value derived from data is forcing automakers to obsess with delivering the next best driving experience. With this comes the need to make their organization more efficient, more agile, and more managed end-to-end. This includes improving efficiencies on the manufacturing floor, taking advantage of smart factory use case with 5G private networks to make them more communicative. Subsequently, each vehicle will be born connected – remaining connected in distribution, and when it leaves the dealership as a connected vehicle.

“This enables the vehicles to get real-time data and information to improve manufacturing, and for multiple purposes – including to improve design features and enabling OEMs to be able to respond to customer needs faster, better, and quicker”, he says.

Leroux adds that the data derived from connected vehicles “can be used across the entire value chain, from vehicle development and production, through the dealer and reseller network, to sales and after-sales service”. This data can also be used to monetize services, and to create post-sale opportunities to deliver more services and content to each of their customers.

Communicate data

From Tata Communications’ perspective, the connected vehicle value chain involves the five stages and Prakash stresses that it’s also about being able to communicate data. This need is changing the paradigm for vehicle manufacturing because carmakers need to create new revenue pools and they need to optimize cost structures. Ecosystem players, such as content providers, realize that it’s all about revenue streams, which requires them to be able to gain data insights into what goes on in each vehicle to provide better content.

He adds: “For the financial players, although it’s wider than Usage-based Insurance (UBI), it’s about UBI and vehicle traceability – including driver behavior. You can track the data, track the health of the vehicle, and it’s about how the driver is driving the vehicle to provide better premiums.”

Value can be created through offering short-term vehicle leases and subscriptions too. He therefore predicts that the “timelines of the proliferation of connectivity in the vehicles over the next two to three years will see better models and more consumer choice about the types of vehicles available”. He, therefore, claims that this will change the entire commercial model of how you buy and use the vehicle will evolve and proclaims that now is the time for the connected vehicle.

Data centers on wheels

Leroux suggests that connected vehicles are data centers on wheels. After all, they collect data from multiple sources, “either for use across the vehicle bus itself, or for external transmission.” He says modern vehicles generate around 25 gigabytes of data every hour, and predicts that autonomous cars will generate even more data, up to 3,600 gigabytes of data per hour, according to expert forecasts. So, there is a significant opportunity to develop new use cases and to monetize them.

Prakash explores how the connected vehicle management paradigm is changing. To begin with it was about bringing connectivity to the car, and he thinks this will remain its foundation. Yet today it’s about creating commerce through the connected vehicle, and that does not involve discounting the requirement to safety and autonomy to the vehicle.

To address this transformation, Tata Communications has changed its business – moving from connectivity to a platform-focus as the foundation to driving data actionable insights. He explains this has a direct revenue impact that can be monetized by adding new features.

He adds: “We enable OEMs to stay connected with their customers, their drivers. The data insights can drive business use cases, and our platform is the Tata Communications MOVE platform, which is connected to 600 Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) around the world. This means a vehicle whose connectivity is enabled to a platform will stay connected, and it is locally regulatory compliant as data roaming is not allowed in some countries. We have a zero-touch capability with e-SIM, allowing to re-program it and change connectivity to a different provider, and then the data insights are on top of it.”

e-SIMs: Vehicle transformation

e-SIMs are changing the connected vehicle model. Leroux argues that this is because SOTA makes embedded cellular connectivity more essential as a way of maintaining vehicle security and vehicle relevance over the course of their lifecycle. He forecasts that the next five will lead to a connectivity transition, “from being a support for improved user experience to providing core, mission-critical functions for personal mobility”.

“The e-SIM comes with two important functionalities. Firstly, it is programmable from the Cloud. You have to create a specific secure private or hybrid cloud, where you can install what we now call subscription management software. These are either warehouses or gateways that allow downloads of the subscription into the device. This brings us to the second novelty: e-SIMs can run in a multi-subscription environment. You are not necessarily connected to a single network. Rather, you can also have multiple profiles on the device. The form factor of the embedded e-SIM also brings more security and reliability.”

Connectivity will increasingly shift from telcos to automakers and e-SIMs will become a vital cornerstone to creating derived value from data. Among the other factors discussed, Leroux believes e-SIMs will enable carmakers to address a global market.

However, as revealed by Prakash some of the opportunities they create will face regulatory obstacles. For instance, highlights Leroux, China, USA, or India will not let their data be deployed elsewhere. He advises carmakers to think both globally and regionally in terms of data deployment and management in order to derive value from data across the connected vehicle value chain.

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