How the Internet of Things is transforming the automotive industry

Director, Global Automotive Solutions, IBM

As recently as five years ago, vehicles were merely a means of transportation, but today cars have become the ultimate connected device. By 2020, 90 percent of new cars will be enabled through extensive connectivity platforms. Automobiles that are increasingly intelligent are changing the concept of mobility to consumer-driven preferences that extend beyond the vehicle itself.

As the boundaries of the auto industry blur and as new competitors enter the fray, the traditional industry participants are learning to thrive despite technological disruption. Electronics, telecommunications and insurance companies as well as emerging start-ups are joining the race to find new ways to attract and excite consumers to elevate their experiences with cars.

Connectivity is just the first step in providing a new experience. Many companies can enable connectivity, but just how useful is connectivity without the ability to derive new insight? Many opportunities remain untapped as connectivity and the Internet of Things expands. The key building block comes from volumes of data flowing from one point to another. This data volume remains the most pressing challenge for the auto industry: tapping into this data, combining it with other information and uncovering actionable insights through cloud operations and investment in building new business models that generate value for customers. Here’s a look at what to expect in the immediate future:

The search to build creative applications with this data that can be sustained through business models and enable new value streams is just unfolding. Automakers are recognizing that a successful strategy is one that can be utilized across a variety of transformative scenarios. Automakers need to consider several features. technology infrastructure

  • Secure two-way vehicle communications through a hybrid cloud that scales to tens of millions of vehicles across the globe
  • Globally distributed cloud data centers that are in compliance with consumer privacy laws, which vary internationally
  • Per-vehicle pricing to alleviate large up-front costs

The platform

  • Delivered through a cloud-based, hybrid cloud-based or on-premises solution
  • Built on open standards supporting a range of industry protocols and integration with third-party services
  • Supplies a rich set of analytical tools to handle data streaming, modeling and reporting along with image and natural-language processing

Large use-case portfolio development flexibility

  • Designed to enable a nearly limitless set of use cases through V2X electronic data interchange
  • Utilized in a recipe-based interface that quickly wires together data, logic and business rules
  • Sophisticated automotive use-case solutions such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and detailed, multilayered map technology with support for multiple vendors, providing real-time insights on vehicles and usage for autonomous driving


  • The ability to quickly showcase advanced technology, appealing to today’s consumer and balancing time to market with the latest technology
  • Integration across the platform, use cases and infrastructure to deepen the overall touch points for consumer engagement

Activities at IBM Research over the past several years provide core geospatial analytics for the connected vehicle, and actively integrate three key big data velocities: real-time, near-real time and deep predictive analytics. With over 30 patents and patents pending, this library of services is continuously expanding to support IBM’s clients in connected vehicle and adjacent markets. IBM Research and IBM Internet of Things division are constantly teaming to commercialize the library of services from IBM Research.

IBM is engaged with many partners across the automotive industry to deliver leading-edge connected vehicle solutions that provide automakers the tools they need to help ensure they can implement a successful connected vehicle strategy. Look for IBM at the 66th International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany in September 2015.