|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 help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 19, 2014 03:00 AM EST Reads: 926
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
Dec. 18, 2014 09:45 PM EST Reads: 901
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...
Dec. 18, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,125
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Dec. 18, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 2,257
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,787
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,230
“We are a managed services company. We have taken the key aspects of the cloud and the purposed data center and merged the two together and launched the Purposed Cloud about 18–24 months ago," explained Chetan Patwardhan, CEO of Stratogent, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,193
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session a...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,283
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in San...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,351
As enterprises engage with Big Data technologies to develop applications needed to meet operational demands, new computation fabrics are continually being introduced. To leverage these new innovations, organizations are sacrificing market opportunities to gain expertise in learning new systems. In his session at Big Data Expo, Supreet Oberoi, Vice President of Field Engineering at Concurrent, Inc., discussed how to leverage existing infrastructure and investments and future-proof them against e...
Dec. 17, 2014 10:00 PM EST Reads: 1,389
"Desktop as a Service is emerging as a very big trend. One of the big influencers of this – for Esri – is that we have a large user base that uses virtualization and they are looking at Desktop as a Service right now," explained John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,509
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, 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. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the ...
Dec. 17, 2014 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,231
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core...
Dec. 16, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,291
SYS-CON Events announced today that Creative Business Solutions 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. Creative Business Solutions is the top stocking authorized HP Renew Distributor in the U.S. Based out of Long Island, NY, Creative Business Solutions offers a one-stop shop for a diverse range of products including Proliant, Blade and Industry Standard Servers, Networking, Server Options and...
Dec. 16, 2014 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,052
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. But what about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today's databases are anything but agile - they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application an...
Dec. 16, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,248
An effective way of thinking in Big Data is composed of a methodical framework for dealing with the predicted shortage of 50-60% of the qualified Big Data resources in the U.S. This holistic model comprises the scientific and engineering steps that are involved in accelerating Big Data solutions: problem, diagnosis, facts, analysis, hypothesis, solution, prototype and implementation. In his session at Big Data Expo®, Tony Shan focused on the concept, importance, and considerations for each of t...
Dec. 16, 2014 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,228
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 6,869
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial C...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,626
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal S...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,951