Or how the connected car ecosystem eclipsed the great pyramids of the automotive supply chain.

Did you ever stop to think about what makes connected cars connected? Different people will have different answers to this question.

Those with a telecoms or networking bent will say its the mobile networks that connect the cars. Some might extend that to WiFi if they know that some cars can connect to WiFi hot spots. Others will expand on that and go into further details about how the mobile network only connects the cars to the cloud – and even then there are many more network hops to get to the cloud based connected car service providers. But it doesn’t stop there – most cloud based service providers don’t actually provide any business services – they are usually the technical services middle men, orchestrating even more connections to third party service providers for Breakdown Call, Emergency Call, Stolen Vehicle Tracking, Weather at your location or destination, Free car parking spaces, Advanced navigation information.

So what makes the connected car connected?

It’s all of the above but even that is only how you implement connected cars once you have decided what to connect them to.

In reality it is people that make connected cars connected, people that build relationships between vehicle manufacturers and services providers, people that decide they are going to build the most compelling app store ever with the ultimate lock–in to keep their customers coming back for more, people that cut deals to decide who will be in this app store or have access to that content feed…. And it is people in automotive manufacturers that decide which apps get access to the crown jewels of data from the car with all its sensors.

The leaders of the key companies that play in the connected car arena – and it is an arena (think gladiator) – are deciding how they are going to increase their share of the pie, or at least move up in the pecking order.

The automotive industry has been going a long while and the traditional pyramid style supply chain has served it well for a long time. It will still serve it in its traditional areas of competence – building mechanical transportation machines… but the new software and content as a service ecosystems that have been brewing in mobile phones and other devices have now spread to the car. They even differentiate cars now sometimes more than the engine.

We’ve just published a BearingPoint Institute paper that explores the challenges facing automotive manufacturers today in the area of connected cars and suggests 5 ways they can change their game to get with the programme and find their place in the ecosystem before its too late. Check it out here > http://inst.be/008CCE


  • Author
    Mark Burnett, Head of Innovation and R&D
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