Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Bart Copeland, Andreas Grabner, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

How to Develop Apps for Vehicles

Peter-2.Rogers-2@cognizant.com
Author Peter Rogers
Principal Mobility
Architect, Cognizant
VisionMobile recently published one of the best reports on apps for vehicles that I have read (http://www.visionmobile.com/product/apps-for-cars-mileage-may-vary/).  It is frustrating with how difficult it is to actually get an app approved for use in a car. Here are some of the unique challenges:

·         Safety first considerations (like driver distraction)
·         Long sales and car vendor app approval process
·         Car vendor led UX and ideation processes
·         Low risk strategies for selecting apps
·         Deal negotiation skills requirement
·         Massive market fragmentation.

The analogy VisionMobile offers is one that I remember vividly myself. That of running a small mobile games company (back before the days of iOS and Android App Stores around ) and trying to get a deal with a telecommunications operator in order to convince them to distribute your app on their private App Store.  Often games and applications were embedded into the mobile devices and so you also had the option of trying to get a deal with a mobile phone company (which was equally as hard). 

With the lack of portability of Java ME, mobile device fragmentation and not having the right business skills to win a decent contract meant that the mobile app market was on its last legs before Apple saved the day with the App Store. This is sadly an analogous state of affairs with apps today designed for the automotive industry.

There are 5 ways to develop Apps for vehicels:
  1. Run Apps in the In-Vehicle entertainment systems (Blackberry QNX CAR, Windows Embedded Automotive, Linux Genivi and Android)
  2. Use a link to a smartphone (Airbiquity, OpenCar, CloudCar, SmartDeviceLink / AppLink, MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay, Google Open Automotive Alliance and Windows in the Car)
  3. Remote access to the vehicle through an API (OnStar, General Motors API, Ford Remote API, Airbiquity, reverse engineering of vehicle protocols)
  4. Access to data through the On Board Diagnostics port called OBD-II (Dash Labs, Mojio, Carvoyant and MetroMile)
  5. New and emerging initiatives (W3C Automotive and Web Platform Business Group and OpenXC)

Apple, Google and Microsoft are all making a strong play for a link between the vehicle and their smartphones (#2 above), and effectively using the car as a third party accessory. This actually has the strong benefit that you can upgrade both the hardware and the software easily. It also makes testing easier because you can test on mobile hardware using stubs for the in-vehicle APIs, as opposed to requiring test hardware for the In-Vehicle entertainment systems. 

If we look at the Insurance sector then we can see that remote access through an API or access through OBD-II is going to get better diagnostics for initiatives like pay-as-you-drive insurance (MetroMile). The W3C have a new HTML5 for Automotive initiative (http://www.w3.org/community/autowebplatform/) which doesn’t seem to have produced a specification yet. OpenXC is a hardware module which gives access to vehicle data much like OBD-II but it also offers pluggable open hardware modules.

I also wanted to mention Carvoyant (http://www.carvoyant.com/) which reads data from OBD-II using a Bluetooth dongle and then sends it to a smartphone which in turns sends it to their Backend-as-a-Service.

Carvoyant is a middleware platform providing development tools enabling connected car applications to become a reality for all the cars on the road today.  In plain speak, that means we provide the back end tools helping developers and businesses alike to take advantage of the opportunities a connected car promises to deliver.  Carvoyant services developers creating connected car applications (i.e. apps enhancing how cars interact with the world around us via an internet connection).  Additionally, our platform serves businesses using the connected car to better communicate their offers to their customers. As a Backend-as-a-Service platform Carvoyant breaks down the data silos inherent in the auto industry. Our system collects data from all makes and models of vehicles built since 1996 across a wide variety of hardware devices and sources. This data is normalized and provided to our customers via our API. Today developers are utilizing this data to create the most robust array of apps and services for the connected car. ”


There are five main routes to markets for vehicle apps:
  1. Pre-installation into a vehicle
  2. Through the vehicle manufacturer’s App Store
  3. Write an app that runs on a smartphone and integrates with a vehicle through their private SDK
  4. Write an app that uses OBD-II and requires users to purchase an OBD-II Bluetooth dongle and distribute via a standard App Store
  5. Write an app that uses OBD-II and piggy-backs on top of an over-the-top platform like Dash or Carvoyant 

The first two options require a deal with a vehicle manufacturer. The third option requires a deal with a vehicle manufacturer if you intend to use their private APIs. Only the fourth and fifth options enable you to avoid explicit approval from a vehicle manufacturer but that also means you won't get access to their marketing resources. 

I like the idea of using an OBD-II dongle in the vehicle to talk with the smartphone.  This in turn talks to a cloud service.  If Carvoyant / Dash start to see great success with this over-the-top model then hopefully they can grow the ecosystem. 

If the dark age before the Apple and Android App Stores have taught us anything it is that developers are the key to success and history does have a habit of repeating itself.

***********************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies
Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applicatio...
VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market. With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...
Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been ...
Companies today struggle to manage the types and volume of data their customers and employees generate and use every day. With billions of requests daily, operational consistency can be elusive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, will explore how a distributed systems solution, such as NoSQL, can give organizations the consistency and availability necessary to succeed with on-demand data, offering high availability at massive scale.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, de...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focu...
Security can create serious friction for DevOps processes. We've come up with an approach to alleviate the friction and provide security value to DevOps teams. In her session at DevOps Summit, Shannon Lietz, Senior Manager of DevSecOps at Intuit, will discuss how DevSecOps got started and how it has evolved. Shannon Lietz has over two decades of experience pursuing next generation security solutions. She is currently the DevSecOps Leader for Intuit where she is responsible for setting and driv...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes ...
Thanks to Docker, it becomes very easy to leverage containers to build, ship, and run any Linux application on any kind of infrastructure. Docker is particularly helpful for microservice architectures because their successful implementation relies on a fast, efficient deployment mechanism – which is precisely one of the features of Docker. Microservice architectures are therefore becoming more popular, and are increasingly seen as an interesting option even for smaller projects, instead of bein...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, it is now feasible to create a rich desktop and tuned mobile experience with a single codebase, without compromising performance or usability.
SYS-CON Events announced today Arista Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Arista Networks was founded to deliver software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data center and computing environments. Arista’s award-winning 10/40/100GbE switches redefine scalability, robustness, and price-performance, with over 3,000 customers and more than three million cloud networking ports depl...
Application metrics, logs, and business KPIs are a goldmine. It’s easy to get started with the ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana) – you can see lots of people coming up with impressive dashboards, in less than a day, with no previous experience. Going from proof-of-concept to production tends to be a bit more difficult, unfortunately, and it tends to gobble up our attention, time, and money. In his session at DevOps Summit, Otis Gospodnetić, co-author of Lucene in Action and founder...
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, will explain the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is r...