Industry panel analyses connected car security and app ecosystem


Consumer adoption of connected cars will not be achieved by a ‘killer app’, but leveraging platforms to create a ‘frictionless’ driving experience, according to an industry panel including AT&T and General Motors.

The discussion, which was hosted by Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider Jasper in San Francisco and also included representatives from ChargePoint and LoJack, examined how the IoT is enabling the connected car ecosystem.

Win Williams, VP IoT solutions at AT&T, argued “there’s a little bit of something for everybody” with connected cars, stating the market will grow gradually through a layered approach to security, lower connectivity costs and longer battery life as opposed to one event which will kickstart the industry into the mainstream.

Security was a key feature of the conversation, with a proactive, instead of a reactive, approach advocated. Emad Isaac, senior vice president and CTO of LoJack, said: “As long as there’s a lock, there’s going to be a lock pick. A security perimeter is not good enough anymore; it’s more about knowing when you’re going to be hacked and reacting to it, and then moving from the reactive to the proactive state.”

Despite there being no ‘killer app’ according to the panel, the growth of the connected car industry will still draw parallels with the smartphone revolution, according to Ajay Agrawal, CTO of ChargePoint. “Software is transforming the car in the same way it changed the phone,” he said, “turning what was once a static experience into a personalised, smart and responsive one.”

The panel argued that within five years, “most” new vehicles will be connected in some shape or form, and expressed optimism over the future. “It’s all about personalisation,” explained GM’s Steve Schwinke. “When you get a new car, you want to make it your own. Now with connectivity and IoT, you can give your vehicle digital tune-ups, personalise it at will and make it your own.”

Industry research on the predicted growth of the market has not been unanimous, but the signs are generally pointing in the same direction. Juniper Research argues by 2019 20% of passenger vehicles on the road will be connected, while the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders say by that year the development of driverless vehicles will move into the third level of ‘conditional automation’ – in other words, a lot of the work will be done by the car, but the driver would have to be alert and take control if something went wrong.

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