March 05, 2015

Connected Car Opportunities Hit The Fast Lane

How data will be driving our cars.


If CES 2015 is any indicator, this is the year of the connected car. From Mercedes-Benz’s self-driving concept car to Audi’s Piloted Driving technology, demonstrations from virtually every major automaker captivated audiences. Automakers’ visionary approach even extended to advanced in-car systems that collect and process data to create personalized experiences and integrate with the connected home.

Treating the car as a huge source of data, many types of suppliers are looking for ways to utilize this data to bring added value to consumers. Leading OS developers, for example, are aggressively seeking to integrate the connected car into their respective ecosystems, viewing the auto as a device to deliver personalized services. Likewise, equipment manufacturers are exploring their own business strategies, partnering with service providers to launch connected car products and services.

Technicolor approaches the car as an extension of the home – a mobile device moving into and out of the home – as well as a pathway to other solution verticals. Technicolor’s initial approach was unveiled at CES 2014, where we showcased a Citroen C4 Picasso interacting with the home. Working with Continental, we moved to the next step at CES 2015 with our Copilot digital assistant, part of our “IZE” smart home solution. We showed an on-board Continental head unit interacting with such home devices as door cameras, smoke detectors and smart locks.

Of course, home devices can use data from a car; but cars can also use data provided by these devices to deliver new digital lifestyle services. “In-car” home services, and “at-home” car services will deliver significant added value and new revenue streams for car manufacturers, OEMs and NSPs.

Open ecosystems

Technicolor believes that market acceptance of connected car opportunities depends on open systems and interfaces. That’s why the company is a founding member of the AllSeen Alliance, a consortium whose objective is to promote and ease the open Internet of everything. The AllSeen Alliance brings together companies from different sectors including Microsoft, Sony, Panasonic, LG, Cisco or Qualcomm as well as such key equipment manufacturers as Harman and Bosch.

The Technicolor contribution to AllSeen includes Qeo, our open source cross-ecosystem software language for connected objects. The Qeo communication framework enables devices and apps of all brands and ecosystems to interact, making it possible to invent new use cases regardless of the technologies, formats, standards or OS used.

Qeo provides the framework for our new IZE digital life dashboard solution, which comprises several applications among which the Nurse, the Doorman, or the Guard. Each delivers a service to simplify the digital life. The new Copilot application is dedicated to the connected car.

Context-based services

Copilot offers several innovative service options. For example, the IZE Doorman application can transfer the voice and/or image of a home visitor to Copilot. The application can then activate the car’s speakers, screen and phone to deliver the audio/video and establish communication. Or, as a vehicle approaches home, the application can alert a connected thermostat, which can set the temperature accordingly. What is more, because Copilot is context based, the thermostat can be programmed to adjust to traffic conditions or other delays. The application uses the estimated arrival time to send information to the thermostat at the right time.

Additional usage examples include on-board notification of children’s safe return home or entertainment transferred from the hard drive on a home set-top box to passengers’ tablets.

Partner network

At the same time as we develop such innovative connected car services as Copilot, we are working with automotive partners to explore such auto-related opportunities as content services, hardware and software, and applications.

We continue to build additional partnerships with OEMs and Tier1 players, to explore and develop the best ideas. Thanks to our iterative innovation approach, ideas are implemented quickly; we develop concepts until they are fully viable, enabling our partners to develop their connected car approach and solutions.