Business

Sprint partners with IBM for real-time communication in connected cars

IBM is partnering with Sprint Velocity to “drive connected cars into the future.” The joint endeavor will bring IBM’s data management technology together with Sprint’s connected-car platform to create a faster, smarter in-car communication system.

Sprint made the announcement at the MobileBeat event in San Francisco today.

Velocity is for automakers that want to integrate connectivity into their vehicles. It serves as a foundation for services like navigation, music, weather, and temperature adjustment. Sprint rolled out Velocity in 2012 through a contract with Chrysler. This partnership with IBM will enhance Velocity’s capabilities so it can remain competitive in an increasingly crowded field.

The enhanced platform is¬†Sprint Velocity Service Bus and is based on IBM’s MessageSight. Sprint is the first mobile carrier to use IBM MessageSight, which is a messaging appliance that helps organizations manage the flood of data coming from Internet-connected sensors and devices. The Internet of Things is opening up a whole new world where everything can be a connected device. IMS Research estimated that there will be 22 million web-connected devices by 2020 and these devices will generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day. IBM built MessageSight as a tool to process it.

Using MessageSight, Sprint Velocity will be able to deliver a “more personalized, responsive connected-car experience.” Drivers will be able to integrate their cars with their phones and customize features like seat position, temperature, and radio station. All that information will be stored in the cloud and updated and synced with the drivers phone, even if the car is off. Improved features include the mobile concierge service, automatic temperature adjustments, preferred alternate routes, and location tracking, and all of this data transfer will happen in near-real time.

Connected cars are generating a ton of buzz right now. They are one of the hottest trends of 2013, and major car manufacturers, telecom, and technology companies are throwing millions at it. Mobileye raised $400 million earlier this week for its driverless car technology, and Google has been working on self-driving cars for years now. Intel formed the $100 million Intel Capital Connected Car Fund last year, and just about every major car manufacturer is working to bring connected cars to the market. Research firm SBD predicts that the global connected car market will swell to nearly $53 billion in 2018, up from $17 billion in 2012, and consumers buying a new car will soon expect that it can be controlled from their smart phones.

Telecom and technology companies stand to benefit just as much as the manufacturers, and competition on all ends is fierce. Verizon shelled out $612 million to buy Hughes Telematics in 2012 to gain a greater foothold in the connected car market and AT&T announced a partnership with GM’s OnStar service in February. Sprint has had a tumultuous year with all the SoftBank-Clearwire-Dish drama, debt woes, and potential bankruptcy, and this deal could help Sprint gain an edge, and lead to a strong revenue stream down the road.


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