In June 2016, Audi launched a European connected car solution, enabling drivers to use features such as navigation, route guidance, information services and an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot service. Cubic Telecom is powering this connectivity solution, and is leading the way in network, SIM and platform infrastructure for the connected car market.
The first data connected car was introduced to the market in 1996 by General Motors. This technology was very limited and only available on high-end models at premium prices. As technology has developed and the throughput speed has increased for cellular networks, the demand for such services has increased dramatically. Auto brands are keen to have this technology trickle down throughout their entire range of vehicles.
Global vehicle sales in 2017 exceeded 79 million. With a variety of brands now developing and offering connected services, it can be assumed that in the coming years this type of connectivity will become the expected norm.
With Cubic’s highly versatile end-to-end solution offering a global footprint and low-cost connectivity, it is at the forefront of the connected car space. This statement is reinforced by the commitment the Audi and Volkswagen Group have given by enabling Cubic’s solution to be utilised across its models in the Global Market. Working with this calibre of brand has now attracted many other potential customers, not just in the automotive space, but in entirely different industries that require mobile IoT solutions.
The IoT market is growing at a breath-taking pace, from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020. This market evolution has been shaped by rapidly changing customer requirements, pricing and expectations. Secure yet interoperable environments are in huge demand. To deliver our global clients a solution that can provide for and adapt to this environment Cubic has kept an open mind and flexible outlook on what it can develop.
Cubic has built its own highly scalable, 4G capable core network. This has been developed across multiple points of presence (PoPs) around the world ensuring class leading network redundancy. Its global network infrastructure provides customers with local breakout to the internet in key market locations. This provides low latency and high throughput rivaling local mobile network operators (MNO) data speeds.
Cubic Telecom’s in-house developed Java applet on the SIM, allows a fully customizable profile of international mobile subscriber identities (IMSI) that can be used in multiple countries. When the SIM card is powered on in a new territory, it learns which country it is in and the list of available MNOs from the radio network. The profile is pre-programmed on the SIM to select the desired IMSI to use for each country globally. This IMSI switching can take place seamlessly when a car crosses a border into a new country, enabling high network availability for the customer. This allows the automotive and IoT device manufactures to install one single type of SIM card in every product, regardless of the final country of registration.
Cubic’s platform currently offers two distinct functions; a business-to-business (B2B) integration with the automotive manufacturers, and a business-to-customer (B2C) portal enabling service management for end users. Integration with the automotive manufacturer enables a number management system to link SIM ICCID, VIN and IMSI numbers for administration and provisioning clarity. Cubic have also developed a portal where the end-user can register their car and top-up the in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. This portal allows the separation of bills between a car manufacturer and an end user.
As Cubic continues to grow, the need for reporting becomes more prevalent. In an age where data is king, Cubic provides its customers with class leading data analytics services. This information helps our customers, such as the Audi and Volkswagen Group, add value to their solutions for drivers. Having this capability also allows for applications such as fleet management at the enterprise organization level.
Throughout the last nine years in business, Cubic has forged many strong partnerships with the largest MNOs around the globe. These longstanding relationships have allowed Cubic to negotiate attractive rates for third parties roaming into MNO networks. Cubic has also built up a portfolio of sponsored IMSI ranges from multiple Tier 1 MNOs, meaning Cubic can offer a flat rate for data usage across multiple territories to automotive and IoT customers avoiding poor user-experience scenarios such as bill shock.
One SIM – Global connectivity. Cubic’s product is a combination of on-SIM software enabling connectivity via a local mobile operator back to Cubic’s own Core Network all feeding into the Platform. Cubic’s extremely powerful business intelligence suite has access to all relevant data along the path.
Since its inception, Cubic has built upon its GSMA industry relationships all over the globe enabling the integrations to local MNOs. These integrations vary according to local market and regulatory conditions. Once these integrations are agreed legally and commercially, the agile and flexible environment in Cubic allows for solutions to be brought to market at a fast pace. In the summer of 2015, the first 16 LTE integrations were brought online. The engineering team completed these integrations within nine weeks, giving Cubic the largest independent LTE footprint in Europe at the time. Since then a steady flow of new partners have been added, with the work continuing indefinitely.
The two main pillars behind all this work are the engineers designing and implementing the changes and the technology underlying it. Cubic has built up a team of industry leading experts in its SIM, Platform, Testing and Engineering departments.
The technology and tools powering the solution are always from our trusted Tier 1 suppliers. Cubic views each supplier as a partner sharing in the success of the expansion of its offering, not just a vendor from whom to purchase. This enhanced relationship has led to much improved buy-in from the suppliers. They offer a greater deal of flexibility in their approach to offering Cubic solutions based around the world and are happy to join us in celebrating the successes.
Technology is key to the business. To continue delivering products that the customer wants, it’s vital that we promote innovation across all areas of the company. Developments in technologies such as eUICC – where Cubic recently participated in a successful subscription management swap procedure in China with Valid and China Mobile – demonstrate Cubic’s agility to be at the forefront of innovation in the telecoms industry.
eUICC is a new SIM card technology that allows the storage of multiple MNO SIM profiles on a single SIM card. This allows the end-user to change carrier without having to physically replace the SIM card. The subscription management transfer takes place Over-The-Air using a Subscription Manager Secure Routing (SM-SR) node. The MNO transfers their SIM card profiles to the SM-SR using a Subscription Manager Data Preparation (SM-DP) server. Cubic’s platform manages this complex procedure for the customer, ensuring their data connectivity solution is highly flexible. This new take on SIM card technology is fast becoming a leading preference for the M2M and automotive industries.
Cubic’s continued success can be summed up in one word.
The people, the solutions, the technology and most importantly the attitude have always remained agile. The market never stands still so you can’t either.
The telco market is changing at breakneck speed with IoT creeping into all facets of our daily lives. This growth will continue exponentially over the coming years and we must embrace it. We can do our best to anticipate where it will lead but can never be certain. Only through constant communication with customers and suppliers and persistent market research can you gauge the trends.