Car data is more profitable than the car itself. By 2030, connected vehicle data could add $400 billion in value for automotive OEMs and industry players. With car data monetisation opening up exciting new opportunities for stakeholders, tomorrow’s mobility landscape will be centred on services that can manage and understand big data intelligently. To discuss transformations on the horizon for connected vehicle data, Richard Springer (Head of Commercial Strategy at Cubic Telecom) joins tech journalist Adrian Bridgwater in our “In Conversation With” series…
We’re putting a huge amount of technology into modern vehicles. How much car data is expected to be generated?
At the moment we are probably under a terabyte per day being produced by cars, but eventually that will grow to four terabytes in the next couple years, driven by the massive amount of computers in vehicles. Today’s cars have about 40 or 50 electronic computing units (ECUs) — that’s going to grow to a 100 ECUs in the future. ECUs are measuring everything from fuel levels to tire pressure; they are used in a significant way to gather, distribute, measure and track data. Tesla is the best example at the moment, and they are trying to use fewer ECUs with each unit doing a massive amount of work. The new age electronic vehicles will start being more efficient with their software and more efficient with their data management. The data and performance enhancement that can be driven by having ECUs across the vehicle is significant. We’re going to put ECUs in as many places, measuring as much as possible. This will give OEMs the ability to improve performance, improve costs in vehicles, and enable more safety features for the end user.
With all this data being produced, is there a particular type of information stream coming from our vehicles that you find most fascinating?
There are three strands here that fascinate me. First is consumer behaviour — the vehicle is going to move from transport into a connected device. The possibilities in terms of how consumers use applications in the vehicle becomes fascinating. Second is the aspect of how people use it as a transport mechanism. For example, if we start understanding the flow of traffic in cities, we can start impacting how we lay out infrastructure and move people around. Third is the device itself — we can enable improvements by understanding factors like fuel consumption based on other components in a car, along with many other valuable insights. These three tiers are all going to be interesting.
How do the OEMs react — are they receptive to having this huge new software layer that they’re going to work with?
OEMs are very good with data in day-to-day operations, from supply chains to production lines — data literacy does exist in this arena. But they never really looked at the end product beyond servicing, so once it has been moved on, that’s often the end of the line. Cubic Telecom is going in and saying “actually, that’s not the end of the line” because that’s just when the real data starts being produced. So the fundamental understanding of this helps them improve their product. I think OEMs are excited about the the potential. That’s where Cubic’s connected software solutions start showing OEMs the benefits of data and its potential to transform their understanding of the product and how to refine it. I think OEMs see that now and recognise the value in it.
Is data farming or data ingestion part of Cubic’s core competency — to be able to extract all that information and bring it upwards to a level of analytics?
In effect, a device that goes from manufacture to being connected could have 50 different players in the ecosystem. Cubic itself sits in the middle of this ecosystem of multiple players that includes mobile network operators (MNOs), OEMs, and all other IoT players. We command a very unique view with all the information flowing in from multiple sources. At Cubic, we can ingest the data, making sure to pull it in effectively, manage it and store it. We farm this data to extract its most valuable insights and present it to the people that need it. Finding the value in data is one of our core skills.
Is that the capability of Cubic’s Insights solution — knowing what to do with raw data to provide a better user experience?
Part of our fascination in this area revolves around what is possible. Cubic’s Insights solution takes all the big data being produced by vehicles and combines it to provide information to the key decision makers, from performance to end user functionality. Our Insights product takes data points from a number of players in the connected device and vehicle ecosystem. We can combine it in a way that is presented back to the manufacturers to help them understand their product — and the product the end users are getting — in a much better way. Insights gives this lens or picture that the manufacturers haven’t had before.
Watch on-demand: “In Conversation With” Cubic Telecom’s Richard Springer and tech journalist Adrian Bridgwater