IoT Myths vs. Realities: Test Your Connected Car Knowledge

By Special Guest
Shaun Kirby, Director of Automotive and Connected Car, Cisco Systems
May 01, 2017

Connected cars are expected to represent nearly one-third of all vehicles sold this year, and more than half of all vehicles sold by 2020, according to a recent 451 Research report. Despite the looming influx of connected cars on our roads and highways, there are countless misperceptions surrounding these vehicles – which are perhaps the ultimate “things” in the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT).

So, how much do you really know about the connected car? Are connected cars safe? Are automakers innovating fast enough? Is the data they collect secure? Test your knowledge and see if you can separate connected car myth from connected car reality.

1. Myth or Reality: Sure, we can secure enterprise IoT devices, but the connected car is a completely different beast. We’ll need major technology breakthroughs to keep connected cars safe.

Answer: Myth. The same, proven technologies that secure enterprises are applicable to the connected car. There is no need to invent the wheel (so to speak). For example, an Internet Protocol (IP) over Ethernet backbone architecture for in-vehicle networking is a major step toward holistic connected car security. All communications are standardized and pass through the backbone, allowing the network to analyze and control traffic with security technologies like access controls, key-based authentication, Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS), encryption, firewalls and more. We are seeing automakers working closely with high-tech companies to adapt these proven enterprise technologies to help secure connected cars.

2. Myth or Reality: Automotive manufacturers are well on their way to realizing the highly automated vehicles we read about in the news every day.

Answer: Myth. Don’t trade in your old vehicles just yet. Although the market is rapidly growing, not all automakers are innovating as quickly as they could. Progress is hampered by a collection of isolated, heritage in-vehicle networks, a burgeoning architecture of individual computers and sensors, and bandwidth limitations. To bring the full potential of connected cars to fruition, new sensors like Lidar (which senses the vehicle’s surroundings), radar and video cameras need to send gigabits per second of information through the vehicle; and increasingly powerful processors are required to make sense of this information. Luckily, new architectures for in-vehicle networks, like IP over Ethernet, will help put automakers on the fast track to the connected vehicle.

3. Myth or Reality: Infotainment (like streaming music and video, obtaining real-time traffic updates, or seamlessly integrating your phone or smart watch with your dashboard) is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to the connected car’s capabilities.

Answer: Reality. While these capabilities are great, there is so much more to the connected car than infotainment. Many connected cars already provide predictive maintenance, driver-assisted and highly automated driving, and software-defined vehicle personalization. Some are beginning to introduce “en route” services like immersive video conferencing and collaboration, as well as frictionless commerce. Imagine how convenient it will be for your car to anticipate and fulfill your need for food, for example, by interacting with smart infrastructures, such as fast food restaurants and café parking lots that sense and respond to your approaching car.

4. Myth or Reality: Consumers have such a negative impression of the connected car due to privacy and security concerns that it will be difficult to change their minds.

Answer: It’s true that consumers have expressed concern over the connected car (in a 2016 survey, 62 percent of consumers said they feared that connected cars will be easily hacked). But, it is a myth that alleviating their fears will be a daunting task. By introducing secure network architectures, automakers can ease concerns about these vehicles and help consumers focus on all the benefits of connected cars. At the same time, automakers will be able to address consumers’ privacy concerns at a very granular level. Drivers will have options for governing the kinds of information they provide and how it is used. And, by securely collecting that data, automakers can deliver more personalized driving experiences to their customers based on preferences and behavior. The willingness to give up a little bit of data will go a long way.

5. Myth or Reality: The burden of keeping my car secure falls mainly to the automaker.

Answer: Myth. The automaker is just one player in an ecosystem of technologies that contribute to connected car security. New vehicle sensors and parts, applications and cloud services, and even highway and municipal infrastructures arise every day, making each member of the ecosystem responsible for keeping the connected car, its drivers, its passengers and their data safe. These members include the multiple tiers of suppliers, dealerships, developers of aftermarket devices and services, regulatory bodies, and even other industries creating IoT devices and services that interact with connected cars. Security is a supply chain-wide issue and must be treated as such.

How did your knowledge stack up? If you were surprised by any of these answers, it’s a great time to brush up on connected car technology and become acquainted with the exciting benefits – from safety to convenience – these vehicles have in store.

About the Author: Shaun Kirby is the Director of Automotive and Connected Car Product Management at Cisco Systems, where he is leading the design of tomorrow’s connected vehicles. Prior, Kirby served as CTO of Cisco Consulting Services and was responsible for sensing and evangelizing the key technology trends that will disrupt and transform the business world – including the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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