By Roy Cooke

The car industry, like many other industries, is undergoing massive transformations. The excitement about autonomous vehicles is real and within sight, with many manufacturers announcing that the production of self-driving cars will occur by 2020.  

A precursor to this self-driving cars is the increasing rise of the connected car. The connected car revolution is already well underway, with GPS technology, smart sensors and other technology increasingly being provided in new cars. This revolution is already transforming the car industry in much the same way smartphones transformed telecommunications.  

A connected car is one that can connect wirelessly to other devices within and outside of the car. While most new cars have embedded connectivity, existing cars need an aftermarket connectivity solution. As privately owned vehicles become connected to each other and to external infrastructure (for example traffic and parking management systems), car data can now be collected and shared.

Cars have about 20 computers generating a massive amount of data. This includes data about how the car is being driven, who is driving and the location of the car – all in real-time. This type of data can help businesses monitor driver behaviour, including fatigue and fraud; and it can help educate users on how their driving style impacts the health of the car and their environmental input. Until recently, this data remained largely inaccessible. With increases in technology and innovators driven to find a solution to enable businesses and private owners to take control of their data and use to increase safety, save money and understand their carbon footprint, businesses and consumers are set to benefit from the collection of their data from now and increasingly into the future.

Last year, Business Insider estimates that of the 1.2 billion cars on the road today, approximately 50 million have some form of connectivity (ranging from simple GPS tracking to embedded connectivity platforms) with 20 million people using it.  Global technology research company Gartner estimates that by 2020 one in five cars will have connected services (250 million cars), this is a six-fold increase from 2015. Combine this with aftermarket solutions addressing the 1.2 billion cars on the road today, and the amount of car data that will become available is truly explosive. Through a recent comprehensive study, global management consultancy McKinsey & Company estimated that this car-generated data could generate $450 to $750 billion worth of new revenue streams globally by 2030 for advertisers, telecom providers, manufacturers, dealers and other auto-related industries.  

This opportunity has prompted industry players to build new business models and revenue streams to monetise car data. The car data monetisation opportunity begins with an environment in which car owners, whether businesses or consumer, believe that there is something of value in it for them and that the cost is worth the benefit. The McKinsey study revealed that, in general, users are interested in data-enabled features that make mobility safer or more convenient and save them time or money. However, the car-owner will largely dictate how these evolve. Today’s user is acutely aware of the value of their personal information and will only allow access to this data if in return they receive some tangible benefits.

Insurance and finance companies, public road safety authorities, used car sellers, repairers, car dealers, and car part providers will all need to develop their unique use cases that leverage car data to provide a personalised, contextual service offering to the customer. The sharpest and most insightful analysis can only come from good-quality, high-value data, particularly if using machine learning and artificial intelligence. But today, access to good data sets is limited as car manufacturers do not share this data, posing an immediate challenge. Tapping into the existing car market, as opposed to only focusing on new cars, may be the only effective way to develop a robust data set. Smart companies have already started to tinker and test and will keep refining their formulas as more data become available to derive better outcomes such as more personalized insurance premiums, streamlined bookings with service centers and predictive maintenance alerts.      

However, developing a robust, scalable connected car solution targeting the aftermarket first, and new cars in the future, is complex and difficult. The data needs to be extracted in a secure, compliant manner, particularly given the high-importance of privacy. This data needs to be normalised, curated, enriched, de-personalised (as required), analysed and made available to interested parties, such as insurance companies, in a simple, seamless manner. In addition, there are a large set of required functionalities, such as anonymisation, policies, auditing, billing, and management which makes such projects almost impossible.

This is exactly the problem that iungo is trying to solve.

We have developed a complete technology solution that enables car owners to seamlessly connect their car with a cloud based solution. This solution curates, enriches and analyses the car data and makes it available to a new ecosystem of related providers to seamlessly use this data to improve and innovate their existing suite of services, while maintaining customer privacy and security.  Additionally, users will also be able enjoy new services such as remote crash detection and parental controls. iungo simplifies the increasingly complex process of sharing personal information by managing consents in-line with local privacy laws in a secure and managed way, which enables full control and visibility into where and how data is consumed.  

In short, iungo enables a connected car solution that helps make driving cheaper, safer, smarter, cleaner and easier! Users can access new services such as parental controls and remote crash detection. Tracking and reporting driving style can improve fuel efficiency, reduce accidents, and their carbon footprint. Insurers can provide usage based or on-demand insurance products. And this data could be used to close the information asymmetry inherent when selling a used car. Features such as predictive and/or remote diagnostics can reduce breakdowns.  At a macro level, aggregated data will allow for better infrastructure planning, reducing road congestions. The possibilities are real and exciting.

Since its inception in early-2016, iungo has developed its technology, including its hardware, cloud services and data solutions, through rigorous testing with pilot partners.  Having secured its initial investment round from a strategic partner, iungo is excited to soft launch in Australia and in active discussions with several launch partners.