|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.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 876
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 684
"We are the public cloud providers. We are currently providing 50% of the resources they need for doing e-commerce business in China and we are hosting about 60% of mobile gaming in China," explained Yi Zheng, CPO and VP of Engineering at CDS Global Cloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 1,171
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 09:45 PM EST Reads: 1,237
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Dec. 8, 2016 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,670
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 8, 2016 09:15 PM EST Reads: 959
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Dec. 8, 2016 08:30 PM EST Reads: 1,891
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Dec. 8, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 331
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Dec. 8, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 392
"Qosmos has launched L7Viewer, a network traffic analysis tool, so it analyzes all the traffic between the virtual machine and the data center and the virtual machine and the external world," stated Sebastien Synold, Product Line Manager at Qosmos, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 06:45 PM EST Reads: 956
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:45 PM EST Reads: 951
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,726
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,822
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 2,255
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,851
"We are a leader in the market space called network visibility solutions - it enables monitoring tools and Big Data analysis to access the data and be able to see the performance," explained Shay Morag, VP of Sales and Marketing at Niagara Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 407
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Dec. 8, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,976
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 322
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 2,321
"We are a modern development application platform and we have a suite of products that allow you to application release automation, we do version control, and we do application life cycle management," explained Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,085