It’s sometimes difficult to clearly recognize the exciting trends that are featured at Mobile World Congress (MWC), especially for attendees that are navigating the massive influx of companies and people expected to attend. Regardless of whether you’re in Barcelona or at your desk, however, there are four crucial trends concerning connected cars that will emerge during the event.
Trend 1: Focus on (better) connectivity
It is a no-brainer. Connectivity is critical to ensure that connected car services are performing and providing the right experience. Doing so, however, requires the intelligence to improve the user experience by providing the autonomous assistance needed to extend business and personal activities in a mobile environment without requiring extensive user engagement. As such, there are a number of technologies that will drive cost-effectiveness in the total system.
Virtualization and cloud will be used to optimize computing resources, and edge computing will enable better application performance, while using the CPU and GPU in a more cost-effective manner. DevOps will enable efficient and effective time to market, while cognitive-based operations will help predict and correct deficiencies in network performance.
Advanced operations services and systems will use natural language processing and bots to drive automation, while systems integrators manage the technology for the manufacturer, including negotiating for network services from carriers. Meanwhile, carriers will play a key role to ensure that their networks recognize the performance requirements of the advanced services, while also providing the bandwidth, latency and availability required for connected cars.
Trend 2: Focus on partnerships within the ecosystem
As the connected car space continues to mature, the different players involved in the ecosystem must partner and recognize the value provided by each other in the ecosystem. For instance, automobile manufacturers must create and develop the conceptual roadmaps of services for their various types of consumers, such as delineating between commercial, sport, luxury and other types of user and personas. These roadmaps will combine with business requirements to create a profitable and realistic launch of these services in respective markets.
Another focus for manufacturers is providing the advanced services that will drive connectivity requirements. These are critical for enabling connected car services independent of where the end user is located and provide all aspects of end-user touch points — from services and applications to billing and identity management. Meanwhile, carriers must provide the required network services and operations systems to recognize the individual application and service requirements while also translating them into cost-effective and performant network services over mobile networks. This includes all of the performance requirements for handoff of connectivity between carriers as the end user requires seamless mobile services.
Systems integrators must provide the aforementioned service enablement platform to set up and bill for the service, as well as providing a DevOps pipeline to push the application to the end computing systems in the consumer’s automobile. 5G and related technologies, including multi-access edge, 5G core and access network performance configurability, will accelerate these new services more cost-effectively. In their central role, integrators will enable both the carrier and the manufacturer to play their roles in providing better connectivity to the end consumer in line with the services they require or desire in their automobile.
Trend 3: Focus on OTT players
A large part of any modern software-based transformational initiative includes cloud-based development environments that are accessible to development firms and independent software vendors. Over-the-top (OTT) players will continue to play a key role in providing the platform and infrastructure required to deploy parts of next-generation applications. Carriers also have a role, as they provide a mobile edge ecosystem with the horsepower to enable the performance of the application in automotive use cases.
OTTs also can continue to host the parts of the application that are not real-time intensive and do not require specific network and compute performance requirements provided by mobile edge or 5G-based network slices.
It remains to be seen whether OTTs will move to the role of mobile virtual network operators for advanced connected car services, which they are quite capable of doing when given access to the subscriber and partnering with the automotive manufacturer.
Trend 4: Focus on the systems integrators
Next-generation automotive applications and the transformative services they provide to the consumer will create a highly competitive marketplace. Additionally, these applications and services will change how consumers assess an overall brand. Consumers will no longer solely base their car-buying decision upon the automobile, but also the ability for the automobile to provide next-generation services and experience.
As such, there is a need to create partnerships with automotive manufacturers to design next-gen services. Systems integrators will be key to this ecosystem of partnerships, enabling manufacturers to improve customer experience and provide higher-value automotive experiences to the consumer. An effective systems integrator will white label its services so the end consumer experiences the complete technology as a service provided by the automotive manufacturer.
Additionally, systems integrators should design services that ensure the experience is tailored to the direction and business requirements of the automotive manufacturer. Among their key roles are ensuring that the auto manufacturer’s services are differentiated from other connected car services and in line with the manufacturer’s brand positioning and end-user requirements. Systems integrators also need to provide communications-focused IT infrastructure that will identify the user, associate the user with the services purchased and control access to the multi-carrier networks.
While there will be many exciting announcements that come out of Barcelona next week, we believe connected cars will garner a great deal of this attention. Not only will these four trends underscore the connected car industry at this year’s MWC, but they will do so for years to come.
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