HARMAN & AT&T’s Connected Car Partnership: Modularity to Answer Future Needs of Connected Cars

HARMAN & AT&T’s Connected Car Partnership: Modularity to Answer Future Needs of Connected Cars
The future of the automotive ecosystem is heading toward the integration of multiple domains, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and V2X communication. The integration and shift in focus will make software-defined cars to be the essence of connected cars in future. Moreover, as the eco system expands, the market would notice extreme competition from both proprietary and open source solution providers.

The refresh cycle of Telematics hardware has drastically evolved from a 5 year to 2 year timeline. OEMs have invested billions of dollars in creating a platform which addresses consumer needs and maintains brand differentiation. The development cost incurred here is the result of developing the same solution from scratch for every model refresh. Additionally, creating one such platform is time consuming.

This has led to development of in-house expertise to drive ownership of the data and provide greater leverage, brand value, user experience, and ultimately, value-added services. OEMs need a platform and design where they can upgrade just one component which will allow them to offer newest technologies with their car upgrades.

The landscape of Tier 1 is drastically changing from past. Earlier it was integration and provision of a solution to customer, but now it is more a custom design of systems starting from modems, antennas, software, and cloud services. This has called for the need of modularity and standardization.

Google's Open Automotive Alliance noticed approximately 50 OEMs and 20 technology partners promoting Android auto. The GENIVI Alliance has been working on open source software architecture for infotainment and it features compliant solutions from major Tier I companies such as Aisin, Continental, Delphi, HARMAN, Magneti Marelli, and Visteon.

Qualcomm recently partnered with Google and mentioned plans for an Android Nougat-based car platform. The open source solution is expected to tap into body and vehicle related data to create new software-defined models.

The News: Partnership between giants – HARMAN & AT&T
Along with AT&T, HARMAN is creating a generic Telematics platform which will appeal to most of its customers and is pre certified with latest requirements, developed and ready to be adopted in the vehicle development platform – aiming to reduce the time to market for the OEMs.

The telematics control unit will be a part of AT&T’s Mobile Broadband Accelerator program – which already has partners such as Telit and Sierra Wireless offering components for development of connected car solutions. AT&T’s certification program ensures availability of tested, off the shelf solutions which will serve as base for connected car offerings.

“This domain is fast changing and every OEM requires changing their solution frequently, so instead of going through the cycle of development of new hardware again, they could adopt the generic platform.” – says Vishnu Sundaram, head of Telematics at HARMAN.

“Apart from hardware it will allow HARMAN to bundle the entire connected car solution. This appeals smaller OEMs who are in their first or second generation of Telematics where they don’t want to go and source each and every component. If we could offer the entire package of hardware, connectivity, cloud, services and software – this reduces their time to market and adds significant value for them.”

There are a lot of partners for the MBA program, chipset providers, module providers, and telematics providers – the goal is to leverage the synergies and innovation from all the participants. HARMAN, who is the pioneer with its modular Infotainment platform (VW group), aims to build Telematics solutions involving the components from existing MBA partners –using pre certified and pre developed products.


Friday, September 9th 2016
Liana Colombelli & Krishna Jayaraman

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