Carmakers Seek Revenues as Software Providers

Automakers are joining the ranks of software providers in a bid to take a slice of the data cake the connected car can provide.

That’s the opinion of Cubic Telecom which points to the move by carmakers to deploy the embedded SIM (eUICC) into their products so that the vehicles will now be able to switch network providers depending on the country they are in. Garry McQuaid, chief commercial officer at the company, told TU-Automotive that this is a “hugely important standard for the auto industry, as it breaks the SIM card lock in. All the major SIM card providers have signed up to the open standard.”

With every new product launched by automakers attracting an IoT savvy consumer base, connected car sales are rising rapidly, with 72.5M units expected to be sold in 2023, up from 24M in 2015. It means that 69% of vehicles sold will be connected to the internet, constantly supplying automakers with data on our driving habits and infotainment choices.

McQuaid said Volkswagen is undergoing a huge digital transformation in order to adapt itself to the changing technological landscape. “VW is, very quickly, transforming itself into a software company, moving from combustion engines to a digital company with its own software expertise,” he added.

In practice, this means VW can use OTA updates so the owner doesn’t need to take the car into a service center to be updated. Instead it can download and install its own updates automatically, much like phones or computer operating systems have been doing for years. It has other benefits for the customer too, mostly surrounding the infotainment system.

“Owners can stream web radio, or services such as Spotify or Apple Music. Previously, they would have needed to connect their phone and play over Bluetooth; a connected car with onboard internet makes it so much easier,” McQuaid said.

“The other big benefit of connected cars is the ability to receive real-time traffic updates, correct to the latest minute, much like you’d have on Google Maps. Previously this would update quite slowly and there was a good chance by the time you’d reached what the navigation system said was congestion or an accident, it would have cleared. Because a connected car can update itself continually, this is no longer a problem.”

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