The Connected Car Puts New Demands on IT Infrastructure
The connected car is no longer the stuff of science fiction. The showcases at CES and other events this year make it clear that the technologies needed to maintain connectivity between in-car systems and the surrounding environment are ready for prime time.
At this point, all that’s needed is the infrastructure to support this level of data interactivity. Not only must a critical mass of vehicles be outfitted with digital processing and data-delivery technology, but these same capabilities must be integrated into traffic lights, railroad crossings and even roads themselves. Cars also need to be tied to massive processing infrastructure that encompasses the latest in predictive analytics and high-speed networking.
Partnering on the Connected Car
A recent PwC study revealed more than 90 percent of the innovation taking place within the modern automobile is happening in electronic systems, IoT Journal reports. This trend increases partnership between automakers and firms specializing in digital technologies, such as chip designers, software makers, mobile support developers and embedded systems vendors. Much of the action lately has centered on digital monitoring and control technologies — these, according to Syntel interim CEO and President Rakesh Khanna, have only just begun to exhibit their true potential to reimagine virtually everything we thought we knew about driving and transportation.
To accommodate both digital-native consumers and government mandates to improve traffic safety through vehicle-to-vehicle communications, car designers are implementing automation and self-control into onboard computing systems and linking them to the same infrastructure that supports big data and the Internet of Things. In this way, automakers hope to enable a safer, more enjoyable driving experience, while at the same time reaping upwards of $1.5 trillion in services-generated revenue.
However, none of this will happen without substantial improvements to data center infrastructure. The IT sector is quite different from the auto industry and requires a closer relationship with users. The cloud can be a tremendous asset in this transition, in terms of both its scalability and its ability to boost interactivity and lower costs by quickly delivering the latest software and service solutions.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Because transportation is such a dynamic process, the auto industry will have to lend its support to an entirely new layer of data functionality on the network edge. New generations of micro data centers hold the potential to provide real-time turnaround for critical data. According to MarketsandMarkets, the micro data-center market is on pace to grow from $1.7 billion in 2015 to more than $6.3 billion by 2020, a nearly 30 percent compound annual growth rate.
Connected and Smart
At the same time, the connected car will require a great deal of cognitive analytics and machine learning capabilities on the back end. IBM recently teamed up with Esri, a international supplier of geographic information system (GIS), to deliver maps, data, geospatial tools and other analytics services in distributed cloud architectures. The platform supports applications far beyond the connected car, but by gaining access to Esri’s global library of base maps, weather data and other sources of information, car designers can deliver a more predictive and adaptive user experience.
While we clearly already live in a connected world, digital services have only just begun to influence our daily lives. Before long, virtually everything we touch may be linked to a global data network. It stands to reason that cars will be part of this revolution, with in-vehicle technologies that provide convenience, safety and expanded functionality we can’t fully comprehend today. In a few short years, we could be wondering how we ever managed without them.