Automotive telematics is viewed as a key differentiating parameter. Beyond the traditional safety and security and diagnostics, users expect an immersive connected experience, provided over a reliable nationwide network. Automakers, for their part, must serve the content and connectivity needs of the “Millennials.”
The requirements include head unit connectivity, with safety and security features built into the dashboard, and with the ability to stream driver-relevant content and services into vehicles remotely. Rear-seat entertainment—content physically brought in by passengers or streamed or downloaded from the head unit—must be supported.
Meanwhile, vehicles are expected to survive on the road for at least a decade, so telematics solutions must be future-proofed. And automotive suppliers do not use a standard operating system for their products, so the ecosystem is fragmented. Suppliers thus will need to evaluate the use of multiple hardware chassis to support both the proprietary components and the infotainment component.
Built-in vs. brought-in devices
Customers like choice, and the in-car as well as aftermarket options are proliferating. Few models, however, enable seamless interaction between devices. OEMs are pressed to ensure interoperability between the head unit and the multitude of consumer devices brought into the vehicle. They are pursuing a number of business models and connectivity options, and research suggests they will end up developing solutions based on hybrid approaches.
The embedded option using a cellular connection enables the highest level of service integration. This approach has traditionally been used for providing safety and security services but can also be leveraged for convenience, connectivity and infotainment services.
Aftermarket wireless options using nationwide cellular networks are available for existing on-road vehicles. But they require retrofit, and the personalization aspects and head-unit interoperability are limited.
Tethered options allow connectivity via Bluetooth, USB or Wi-Fi and, depending on the level of integration with head unit, enable the use of certain telematics content or features. But they lack the safety and security aspects available in the embedded model.
Verizon Wireless has worked on developing best practices for telematics. The components include:
• Safety and security. Traditionally, the primary function of connected vehicles was to collect location and diagnostic information and send it out to the relevant channels in the case of an incident. Next-gen solutions will reduce incidents by leveraging the collective telematics intelligence in the cloud.
• Privacy. Allowing customers to “opt in” will enable them to choose how and when they use services.
• Future proofing. When making their decisions for the 2014-2015 model years, OEMs should embed 4G LTE connectivity into their vehicles.
Seeding the telematics cloud
Consumers expect personalization of apps and other real-time services, regardless of the device. That will require a telematics cloud, which should include:
• Vehicle-related information. Data about the vehicle’s condition, its location and the driver’s behavior will support safety, security, diagnostics and situational awareness.
• Unified communications and IP multimedia services (IMS). By deploying IMS clients in vehicles, calls can be moved in and out of the vehicle with a touch of a button on the mobile device, thus eliminating the need for Bluetooth setup. This platform also enables enhanced infotainment and convenience features in cars.
• Telematics app platform (store plus policy framework). Because of the driver distraction factor, next-gen telematics and mobile apps will need to be environmentally aware, able to restrict functionality, and capable of taking into account the vehicle velocity and the location of the device relative to the driver.
• Device, SIM and connection management services. The cloud should have information that enables customer relationship management capabilities, provisioning, activation and unified billing.
About the author
Janet Schijns is vice president of the Business Solutions Group at Verizon Wireles