In-car connectivity is increasingly being regarded by customers as standard in all but the cheapest of entry-level cars. Drivers and passengers expect to be able to detect vehicle repair issues, automatically book service appointments, subscribe to in-vehicle Wi-Fi and gain on-demand infotainment.
Responding to the market needs and expectations, the global automotive industry is demanding that its suppliers provide scalability, security and flexibility in the provisioning of connected car services to reach cars and drivers in new ways. One of the leaders in the field is Ericsson, whose Connected Vehicle Cloud received the accolade for the most innovative use of M2M technology that incorporates mobile communications at the 2014 Mobile Innovation Awards. The awards recognize new developments and achievements in the fast moving European, Middle East and African (EMEA) mobile solutions sector.
Ericsson Connected Vehicle Cloud builds on existing telecom network capabilities, and delivers dramatically improved quality of experience, creating new business opportunities for the automotive ecosystem and new machine to machine (M2M) revenue streams for operators.
Magnus Lundgren, Head of Connected Vehicle Cloud, Ericsson commented, “As communication changes the way we live and work, Ericsson is playing a key role in this evolution. The automotive industry is an increasingly global business, and connecting vehicles demands new, profitable and innovative business models that will leverage the potential of the automotive ecosystem with other connected industries. Ericsson’s Connected Vehicle Cloud is the single point of connection for vehicles in this evolving eco-system.”
As part of Ericsson’s transport and automotive product portfolio, Connected Vehicle Cloud is based on the Ericsson Service Enablement Platform. It is designed to meet the global automotive industry´s existing and future demands for scalability, security and flexibility in the provisioning of connected car services to drivers and passengers.
Ericsson employs more than 16,000 consultants and systems integrators who are available to integrate Connected Vehicle Cloud for customers. These service professionals ensure Connected Vehicle Cloud is in synch with existing transport infrastructure, vehicle fleets and the needs of vehicle occupants.
The Volvo Car Group pioneered the use of Ericsson’s Connected Vehicle Cloud to allow drivers, passengers and the car to connect to services available in the cloud some years back. It allowed occupants in the car to access applications for information, navigation, and entertainment from a screen in the car. At the same time, Volvo Cars was able to open parts of the platform to other players in the eco-system of the automotive industry. Content providers entered into agreements with Volvo and the other members of the ecosystem, like internet radio providers, road authorities, cities’ governments, toll-road operators and others.
Ericsson’s expertise includes helping companies monetize their subscriber assets. Modernizing operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS) capabilities, including service enablement, can play a large role in achieving this. Within OSS/BSS, the management of customer experience interaction with digital ecosystems is achieved in the service enablement domain. And it is through this domain that operators can achieve true agility in their offering. They can do this by offering their own customers a personalized experience, while at the same time leveraging the capabilities of external partners.
Ericsson says that with the example of a connected car that requires the cooperation of multiple stakeholders to deliver a seamless connected experience for the driver. The car can monitor, record and collect information on how the vehicle is being driven and relay these parameters to the driver’s insurance company. The parameters could include speed, deceleration, acceleration, direction, distance driven, and so on. Once this information is processed by the insurance company, it could enable a “pay-as-you-drive” insurance model that is based on actual driving behavior.
Ericsson’s leadership position in the OSS/BSS domain, and in particular service enablement is confirmed by independent analysts. The standardized solutions are open, customizable and support rapid time-to-market for new offerings. They are based on a common software platform that can re-use existing integrations and functional components. The solutions are backed by our professional services skills and unmatched experience of integrating IT and telecom systems that includes the network and OSS/ BSS.”
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Magnus Lundgren, Head of Connected Vehicle Cloud at Ericsson, what makes the Connected Vehicle Cloud so innovative.
Lundgren: Connecting the car with mobile broadband to cloud services has opened up brand new opportunities for the automotive industry. Now, instead of having a limited conversation with your car, like “where are you?” “open the doors,” or “turn on the lights,” the Ericsson Connected Vehicle Cloud has enabled even greater capabilities such as, “your car needs service, here are some nearby service centers and available time slots” or “here is an available parking spot, pay for it on the screen in the car” and even “I can deliver your online order directly to the trunk of your car”. Ericsson has truly shown that it has been able to innovate from the experiences of connecting devices and people from the Telecom industry to a whole new industry on a global scale. This was also recognized when Ericsson received the industry’s most prestigious award “Best Telematics Service Provider” award at Telematics Update earlier this year in Detroit, which recognized the company for the level of innovation.
AI: What expertise does Ericsson offer connected cars in terms of managed services?
Lundgren: We manage over a billion end-customers through our 24/7 managed services. It has been vital in our offering to the automotive industry that we have a service that is for the end-customers regardless of whether they are connecting to the cloud from North America, Europe or China. I think it’s also worth mentioning that the processes around managed services that we have worked on for a decade to fine tune in the Telecom industry has been a great asset to the automotive industry as well.
AI: What are some of the services Ericsson can offer in terms of helping OEMs, service providers and others in the connected car ecosystem monetize their offerings and services?
Lundgren: In the Ericsson Connected Vehicle Cloud we have the full stack of Business Support System (BSS) and Service Enablement services that we offer to operators of the world to monetize their offerings. Now, the automotive industry is able to do the same. Features include Identity Management, Partner Management, Service Exposure, Product Catalogue and Rating functionalities. These functions combined let you monetize your own business as an automaker, and also to expose business opportunities to other players in the eco-system to monetize.
AI: What are some of the issues in terms of security that have to be dealt with as far as the connected car is concerned?
Lundgren: Security is key for the connected car and Ericsson has worked very closely with the automakers in making the solution secure. This includes a combination of features and functions in the cloud and also inside the car