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No Kidding, 2G for E-Call

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junko.yoshida
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Re: What connectivity does this in-car phone NEED?
junko.yoshida   7/24/2013 10:28:09 AM
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Points well taken. But that doesn't really explain why, then, GM is putting LTE modem in their cars...

 

DMcCunney
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Re: What connectivity does this in-car phone NEED?
DMcCunney   7/24/2013 10:52:23 AM
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Er, which cars?  Somehow, I doubt that will be for every GM model.  I haven't looked, so I don't know what use cases GM foresees, or how they plan to market it, but I'm confident they will try to position it as a differentiator and a reason to buy a GM car over another brand.

I also suspect that inclusion in European cars was more a matter of government mandate than marketing choice, and it was a case of "The government says we have to do this.  What's the cheapest way to comply?"

 

Frank Eory
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Re: Missed opportunity
Frank Eory   7/24/2013 1:21:55 PM
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"why not just release a carrier pigeon from the trunk in the event of an accident".

Or just skip the whole cellular thing and instead have a CB radio and a voice synthesizer that repeats "help! I've been in a car accident!"

junko.yoshida
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Re: What connectivity does this in-car phone NEED?
junko.yoshida   7/24/2013 2:10:17 PM
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DMcCunney, this is what GM CEO said in June. (It's in the second page of this story)

 
Every brand we offer -- from Chevrolet to Cadillac -- and nearly every vehicle we sell around the world will soon offer 4G LTE, starting next year in the United States and Canada. It's a global rollout because that's what customers want -- and we have the scale to deliver.


DMcCunney
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Re: What connectivity does this in-car phone NEED?
DMcCunney   7/24/2013 2:25:37 PM
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this is what GM CEO said in June.

Okay.  Thank you, Junko.  That answers one question

I'll be curious to see how GM positions this, and what they will suggest buyers will be able to do with the capability.

And it brings up another question: what will that 4G LTE device connect to?

My existing cell phone connects to a carrier on a contract.  If I buy a GM car with  4G LTE connectivity, it's certainly not going to connect to my existing carrier under my existing contract.  To use it at all, I'm looking at getting a contract for it, with precisely what I can do with it determined by the contract I get.   If I choose not to get a contract for it, it will be unused and unnecessary, because there will be nothing  to connect to.

Though I suppose GM might get into the carrier business, cut a deal with a major provider to resell airtime, and offer connectivity and a contract as part of the purchase, with a monthly cost tacked onto my car payments.

At least I wouldn't worry about battery life... :-)

Bert22306
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Re: What connectivity does this in-car phone NEED?
Bert22306   7/24/2013 3:35:42 PM
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I don't think this 2G/LTE makes any difference, actually.

GM's OnStar system, as of the mid 2000s, uses the Verizon 3G network (Verizon adopted CDMA when it went to 2G, so that the 2G service could be carried on the 3G bands). Originally these OnStar systems used analog cellular. So now GM is saying they are migrating to the LTE standard. (My question will be, are they going to provide update kits for their 3G systems? Or just leave those cars high and dry, as they did with most of the previous analog OnStar cars?)

If the US Government wanted to meddle in this, they could easily mandate systems like OnStar from all manufacturers. No big deal. It doesn't matter what "G" they use, as long as that G standard is supported by cell carriers. I mean, it's not like you need huge bandwidth for these functions, right? The only thing the system has to do, to fulfill the govt mandate, would be to signal that an accident has occurred, give the location, and provide voice service from an operator.  That can be done with ANY existing cell phone standard, as long as towers supporting that standard exist!

mhrackin
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EU Standards are the reason!
mhrackin   7/24/2013 3:44:17 PM
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The E-call initative in EU started well over 10 years ago. The first try couldn't agree on standards after several years of meetings.  The committees were disbanded, and new ones formed around 2007-8.  At that time, even 3G coverage was spotty in much of EU (remember all of the "newbie" countries added in the late '90s and early in 21st century).  Thus, 2G was the common choice to ensure good geographic coverage.  Personally, I suspect by the time the 2015 mandate is supposed to be in effect, it'll be pushed out at least 2 additional years for many reasons (and there may be a lot of "2014" models still in production, as the smaller manufacturers are dragging their feet on implementation).  That's one of the problems with the EU standards process (aside from the fact that the bureaucrats who create them are generally divorced from political realities).

junko.yoshida
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Re: EU Standards are the reason!
junko.yoshida   7/24/2013 5:18:04 PM
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mhrackin, thanks for the background. Much appreciated.I hear you -- especially on those lengathy process. 

But you don't think eCall is actually a good idea for consumers?

junko.yoshida
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Re: What connectivity does this in-car phone NEED?
junko.yoshida   7/24/2013 5:26:50 PM
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DMcCunney, my understanding is:

In the United States, GM will newly partner with AT&T (NYSE:T), which will provide LTE connectivity for the OnStar platform.

GM clearly doesn't see LTE-based OnStar to offer just the roadside services.  

It hopes that it will enable faster data download speeds to support infotainment services such as streaming video to vehicles, dealer-to-car communication, usage-based insurance and in-vehicle advertising, etc. 

In other words, the company expects to create more opportunities for revenue streams from their OnStar program. That, I must say, is pretty visionary -- it goes well beyond just meeting the eCall mandate. 
.




Bert22306
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Re: What connectivity does this in-car phone NEED?
Bert22306   7/24/2013 7:39:28 PM
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I think the EU mandate would read either that the safety system should be based on "at least 2G" cellular (assuming 2G is being retained in Europe for the forseeable future), or it could mandate that this safety system be stand-alone. However, it wouldn't make sense for a government to mandate fancy entertainment systems in cars, which might drive the minimum standard to LTE. Individuals can pay out of pocket for that, if they wish, rather than expecting the taxpayer to foot the bill.

GM's OnStar system is installed in all GM cars, however you aren't required to pay for the service. Plus, there's no government mandate here. So whatever future revenue streams GM plans to get from it are only GM's business. The taxpayer is not subsidizing any non-essential infotainment niceties.

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