Cool Tools for Building Telematics Cloud Apps for the Connected Car
Guest post by Anthony Fabbricino, Product Marketing – API Platforms at AT&T Mobility
The opportunities for connected cars are growing every day. AT&T added over 800,000 connected cars in the fourth quarter of 2014. AT&T expects to connect nearly half of new U.S. passenger vehicles in 2015, and to have more than 10 million vehicles on the network by the end of 2017.
Additionally, AT&T built its Drive Platform as a modular solution that can be easily customized to work with different automobile OEMs and global markets. The platform includes applications and services from companies such as Jasper Wireless, Glympse, QuickPlay, and Ericsson.
Telematics Cloud Apps vs. In-Vehicle Service Apps
One way for an application developer to identify opportunities is to determine which direction the data or content is going: in-vehicle services, content or data is being sent from the app to the car, and telematics cloud-based apps, which sends data from the car to an app.
In-Vehicle Services are intended to enrich the UI experience for drivers and passengers. Combining the capabilities of smartphones with dashboard displays helps improves the ease of using search, navigation, audio streaming, and communication in the car. Developers can also create new vehicle experiences for parking, fueling and charging, and remotely controlling their vehicle. One dependency for the adoption for these types of apps is that automobile OEMs need to ship new vehicles that integrate their head units with smartphone platforms such as Car Play, Android Auto, or Mirror Link.
This differs from telematics cloud-based apps, which use data sent from the car. These apps are intended for experiences and functionality outside of the car. There is a tremendous amount of diagnostic data (gas, brakes, lights), operational data (mileage, speed, location), and behavioral data that can be sent from the car. Usage Based Insurance is an excellent example that uses car data to benefit both drivers and the insurance industry.
On-Board Diagnostic Parts Offer the Keys to Building Connected Car Apps
Building telematics cloud-based apps is a huge opportunity for developers. One option for developers is to create cloud apps that will benefit dealers and service providers who help maintain vehicle performance. Other solutions that can be provided from a cloud platform include ride-sharing, monitoring family drivers, managing traffic congestion, or even rewards programs for eco-driving habits. Eventually, there will be mobile connectivity options that would integrate the car’s telematics control unit directly with the cloud, as in the example of the AT&T Drive Platform.
These telematics cloud apps can be targeted to over 160 million cars that are on U.S roadways today. All of these vehicles have on-board diagnostic (OBD-II) ports. There are a variety of devices that plug into the OBD-II ports to become the primary source for capturing and sending automotive data. AT&T is committed to supporting aftermarket connected car solutions through its retail relationships with VOXX and Mojio.
It is not enough to just send automotive data to the cloud; that cloud also needs to be stored securely and profiled to meet privacy needs. The cloud has to have computing capabilities to analyze the data and predictively determine events, and communication capabilities to deliver notifications and alerts. These notifications and alerts need to be sent to service providers, other vehicles, homes, and others devices.
Benefits to Building Telematics Cloud-Based Apps
Mojio offers a cellular-connected OBD-II device and has an open platform for developers with robust cloud APIs and services. As a sponsor for Mojio’s Hack Your Ride App Challenge, which was launched on June 16th, AT&T is looking for developers to include communication services such as speech and in-app messaging into their apps. Developers can also use AT&T’s ARO tool to improve the performance of their app in terms of data usage, latency, and battery life.
Some of the key benefits of building a telematics cloud-based app for the connected car include:
- Enabling more control over UI and distribution of the app because it can run outside the vehicle
- Allowing the car to act as a node in an overall Internet of Things solution – meaning the car can connect with multiple locations such as homes, offices, and multiple devices (wearables, sensors, and more)
- Offering a secure storage for personal and vehicle data
- Lowering the operation cost when using a third-party cloud provider.
Do you see additional benefits? Let us know!