Education

Connected World magazine

 
IssueMarch/April 2012
DepartmentCover Story
AuthorRémi Demerlé
 ARTICLE
 
The Challenges of Connectivity for Telematics
After a quiet period in telematics due to the financial crisis, automotive OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers) are accelerating the integration of connectivity into vehicles. On one hand, we can see that end users are asking for more Internet-based services or an app store in their car, especially in the premium segment; while on the other hand, public regulations are forcing car and truck OEMs to adopt more telematics and ITS (intelligent transportation system) applications.
After a quiet period in telematics due to the financial crisis, automotive OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers) are accelerating the integration of connectivity into vehicles. On one hand, we can see that end users are asking for more Internet-based services or an app store in their car, especially in the premium segment; while on the other hand, public regulations are forcing car and truck OEMs to adopt more telematics and ITS (intelligent transportation system) applications.

Considering public regulations, it’s high time for car OEMs that have not started yet to prepare plans for the adoption of ecall in Europe, ERA GLONASS in Russia, and mandatory antitheft systems in Brazil. And for the truck OEMs, it is time to consider how to beat the competition by integrating fleet-management solutions with truck telematics, enabling a greater uptime and a better driving experience. As opportunities arise for external actors to compete more with OEMs in providing telematics services for offering fuel efficiency, electronic toll collection, or car insurance services; these applications should not be ignored. The last market trend, but not the least, is application of connectivity for the first electrical vehicles, which is now spreading into the market.

Having a strong and proven experience in the rollout of connectivity for telematics in Europe, Russia, and America through partnerships with OEM customers like Volvo, Daimler, Scania, Nissan, and Renault, Telenor Connexion is listening to requirements from the automotive OEMs and from public authorities. The MNOs (mobile network operators) are invited to support the ecall requirements in the timeframe of late 2014-2015. Telenor is very active in participating in the HeERO (Harmonised ecall European Pilot) project, funded by European Commission, preparing and field testing the implementation of ecall requirements in radio networks.

As for other evidence of the evolution in telematics, one of the key requirements of the ERA GLONASS is that the IVS (in-vehicle system) shall have a SIM/USIM chip soldered so as to prevent the possibility of its extraction from the IVS for later use. Indeed, we fully support this because the key to success in telematics is in simplifying more and more the integration of connectivity for the OEMs and tier-one suppliers. What we engineered with Renault is a recent example of a similar effort of integration, pushed a little further. In this case we have participated in an innovative way to embed the SIM chip into the M2M module, reducing the number of parts and thereby simplifying the supply chain. It also solves the problem of robustness and security with a plastic SIM card. Automotive OEMs have specific expectations when it comes to durability, and we take that to heart.

After integration, the other success factors for telematics we learned are simplification, security, and flexibility. By flexibility we mean the business model of connectivity needs to be adapted to the end customer. Telematics service providers (TSPs) must be able to have different connectivity subscriptions befitting the telematics services. For a good design of telematics service with minimized operations, the solution requires a seamless flow across CRM (customer-relationship management) systems, platforms of telematics and content, and the M2M (machine-to-machine) platform of the MNO.

Regarding security, news was reported last summer of a hijacked car through means of hacking the SMS or the GPRS session. At Telenor Connexion we have some solutions to prevent these security breaches.

Contrary to a generic opinion, our vision for the future of telematics is not an endlessly growing heap of data traffic. We foresee a massive adoption in terms of total number of SIMs in the network with a very stabilized average consumption of traffic. We consider it important to separate the connectivity for car telematics services with predictable consumption from other services for infotainment or consumer services in the vehicle. Leave the big bulk data plan to the car owner to be supported with his or her mobile phone subscription. Don’t make them pay twice just for Internet access!

In a nutshell, what will really matter for automotive OEMs in the coming three to five years is to ensure a secured, flexible, and simplified usage of communication in their cars with a long-term connectivity option. In a few years, it will become natural behavior for end users to drive safe cars connected by an embedded SIM, keeping connected only when needed. It’s good to know cars do not need to be connected all the time!

Exceptions can be found for a stolen-vehicle tracking service or for geolocation of commercial vehicles. Secondarily, cars do not need to consume heavy traffic in order to deliver valuable services. Integration of smartphones can satisfy the high data volume demands. Telenor Connexion is happy to help automotive OEMs, TSPs, and tier-ones share this vision that embedded connectivity is here to enable more success of telematics for each OEM brand.
Rémi Demerlé has extensive experience in the telematics industry and is the expert on automotive and ITS for Telenor Connexion, 
www.telenorconnexion.com
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