|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|March 29, 2014 05:15 PM EDT||
At the Geneva Motor Show Apple officially launched its new "CarPlay" product for cars, to some excitement. Apple has enlisted a number of big name auto manufacturers into the program, so you can expect to see CarPlay in your new vehicle sometime soon.
But what's new here? At first glance this is just a computer company providing its interface expertise to car companies, just like the deal between Microsoft and Ford that was announced way back at CES 2007. The list of features - entertainment, maps, messaging, voice control - looks very similar. So what's different, and why is Apple coming along seven years later?
I'm only guessing... but it seems rather obvious that it took some time for the car companies to realize that their traditional approach to in-car electronics was doomed. When in-car entertainment consisted of a combined radio and CD player, the car companies were within their comfort zone. Entertainment was just another module to be plugged in on the production line. But as soon as the dashboard started to contain software, the car companies obviously struggled. The navigation and entertainment systems hard-wired into cars were, and still are, a whole lot less functional and more klutzy than the equivalent apps available on smartphones and tablets.
The Ford arrangement with Microsoft brought in outside expertise to the design of an in-car system. But the mission was misdirected. Microsoft Sync gave us a version of Windows designed specifically for cars, and ran inside the car's dashboard computer. But what we all wanted and needed was different: we just wanted to plug in our smartphones.
With a smartphone or tablet safely cradled, a power supply, and an interface into a sound system, we have everything we need, already there in a compact and familiar Internet-connected package: stored music, online streaming, radio stations, navigation, reminders, address book, social networks... and so on. We don't need another device built into the car; we need the ability to use the device that's already part of our everyday lives. Apple realized this too, and maybe it took a while to convince the car manufacturers to face this reality. CarPlay provides that ability to plug in, and adds some usability features that, we are told, will also make it easier and safer.
Google seems to be headed in the same direction with their Open Auto Alliance, announced at CES 2014. While the press releases are a bit vague it's clear from this picture that this too is not Android built-in to the car, it's Android brought into the car in the form of a tablet that can be plugged in.
With Apple and Google aligned in concept, this has to be seen as a major shift in the car industry. Now those of us who regularly use rental cars, share cars with others, and use Zipcars can simply bring our entertainment and information with us.
Is it also, as suggested by at least one observer, the start of a "Smart Car War" to win space inside cars, with Google and Apple battling it out? Perhaps, but maybe not more than they are battling it out already. What we have here is actually a pretty simple idea, already implemented in a half-baked way by anyone who has used a smartphone for navigation, information and entertainment while driving a rental car or a borrowed car, in preference to digging out the car manual to work out how to use the moronic built-in GPS. What Apple and Google will give us is a safer and tidier way to use our own devices. The interface between the tablet and the car is also fairly simple, although not necessarily standardized. It seems to me that since smartphones are becoming more important in peoples' lives than cars, the auto manufacturers cannot afford to partition their target markets rigidly so that (for example) only iOS users can buy a BMW, and only Android users can buy an Audi. Moreover, many families contain a mix of devices and people sometimes change brands when they buy new devices. Will we have to buy a new car when we buy a new smartphone? Probably not.
The Smart Car wars are more likely to be around Apple and Google trying to maintain exclusivity, when it is clearly in the interests of the car companies to have a generic interface that can allow any device to be plugged in. Already we see that the "alliances" are not exclusive, with Honda, GM and Hyundai in both camps, Apple and Google. (Ford is also there with Apple, but is also now working with Blackberry, which seems not only to be a deliberately contrarian move, but also leaves Microsoft out in the cold in this market, for the time being.) We can assume there will be push-back from the car companies against any solution that limits their target market, or that increases costs by creating a need to provide different interfaces as options. Moving towards a single standard interface for all devices wouldn't be technically difficult, although that's no reason to be confident that it will happen soon. While we're waiting for standardization to happen, we can look on the bright side: here's another business opportunity for someone, because Amazon will sell adapters.
What both Google and Apple are hinting at though, is something even bigger than entertainment, and something that demands new capabilities and new products, not just a better way of using existing mobile devices. This is the incorporation of smart devices into autonomous car management. In discussing this, we need to keep driver and passenger features separate from car management features. Driver and passenger features - entertainment and information, essentially - are what Google and Apple are addressing in their recent announcements. But we can be sure that both companies see this as a way to get under the hood, and the ultimate aim is to deliver real built-in automotive management, which is not something you want or need on your smartphone.
Apple and Google want to create "Internet of Things" technologies for vehicles. These are technologies and features that aim to make driving safer, more fuel efficient and less stressful, such as systems that will allow cars to communicate and interact with each other and with external traffic management systems to reduce congestion and delays; systems that can sense the presence of other cars and act autonomously to avoid accidents; systems that could override driver commands in accordance with user-defined policies for safety and fuel consumption; systems that can enable cars to group into ‘platoons' or ‘road trains' which reduce accidents and cut journey times. Road trains have another advantage: the driver can kick back and watch a movie or visit Facebook or make a business call or two: the tablet will be right there on the dashboard.
In this new world of connectedness and fluid partnerships and services, the pace of business model shifts and service complexity is rising to a level unlike anything we have seen before. Monetizing the IoT opportunity requires a billing and partner settlement platform capable of supporting today's business model while easily adapting and future-proofing tomorrow's.
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 1, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 758
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 1, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,028
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 1, 2015 02:21 PM EDT Reads: 525
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 1, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,241
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
Jul. 1, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 762
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 1, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,128
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
Jul. 1, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,940
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
Jul. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 915
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
Jun. 29, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,699
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jun. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,190
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jun. 29, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,537
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jun. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,239
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Jun. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,259
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Jun. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,247
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jun. 26, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,124
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jun. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,036
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jun. 25, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,191
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, and the “Third Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place June 7-9, 2016, at Javits Center in New York City. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Jun. 22, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,834
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Jun. 20, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,902
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
Jun. 15, 2015 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 4,150