How a Connected Car Would Deliver Compelling Experiences

By Special Guest
Sabrish Surender, Associate Director at Virtusa
December 21, 2015

As car manufacturers embrace connected car technology, the car entertainment system becomes a “thing” that capable of communicating with other devices in the IoT. You can send a text to your spouse’s smart watch or instruct the smart thermostat at your home to switch on the air conditioner while you are in the comforts of your wheels and a block away from your home.

When it comes to the connected car experience, the opportunities depend on how interconnected the various parts of a car’s ecosystem can be made: the driver, the fleet, service centers, insurance providers, road side assistance, hospitals, other connected cars and devices. Adding voice commands to infotainment systems (ITS) opens up another level of interaction, where voice commands control daily routines.

To get this working, it is important to understand how various technologies are integrated to create a connected car experience. It all starts with the car manufacturers, who would ensure that cars have touch-enabled ITS, with internet connectivity. The Bluetooth system ensures a voice input to the ITS. Third party products will help build simple off-the-shelf APIs for AI-based Natural Language Processing systems.

The next step is to connect the car. There are cloud-based PaaS providers, who not only collect the data, but are also able to monitor, control and manage devices. This is where it gets interesting. The car driver can install an app that can be used for getting alerts on car maintenance, insurance renewals, roadside assistance, deals, alerts and car safety features. A car rental company or owner of a fleet can understand drivers’ characteristics and get fleet performance alerts. Other players in the value chain like the insurance companies, car service centers, manufactures of accessories, ad agencies and others can gain access to the information depending on the level of authorization provided by the car owner.

All of this required more than a PaaS layer. There should be a scalable IoT application layer (IoTA) on top of PaaS that can do the number crunching and prepare data, ready to be consumed by the ITS or the mobile app. An IoTA layer is provided with customizations by all major cloud service providers like Bluemix and Azure.

The use of analytics leads to interesting possibilities. Drivers can ask probing questions pertaining to a long drive like places of interest along the way, accommodation, food and probabilistic questions like how likely the car is to break down. The interconnection of smart things with IoTA, PaaS and AI makes the connected car a smart companion.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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