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Ericsson, Partners Want to Increase Network Capacity

by Justin Tejada
The most valuable asset for connected car manufacturers -- as well as the providers of the technology that goes into them -- is the vast amount of data that the vehicles generate.

OEMs can learn invaluable information about their customers' driving habits, informing how they design, market, sell and service their vehicles. Data from connected services like navigation or music streaming can also be leveraged in a variety of ways to help improve the consumer experience.

The industry, however, should not take it for granted that this data will be handed over on a silver platter. The recording, transmitting, analyzing and storage of this huge amount of data requires an infrastructure that is both vast and complex. For the foreseeable future, it's not something that any single company will be able to effectively handle on its own.

It's an issue that companies have started addressing through collaborations, specifically by pooling resources to ensure that all of them will be able to offer adequate data-based services to customers.

It was recently announced that Denso, Ericsson, Intel, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), NTT Docomo, Toyota InfoTechnology Center and Toyota have formed a group named the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium. Their goal is to develop a shared ecosystem to support connected car services.

"The consortium will focus on increasing network capacity to accommodate automotive big data in a reasonable fashion between vehicles and the cloud by means of edge computing and more efficient network design," the companies wrote in a joint press release. "It will define requirements and develop use cases for emerging mobile devices with a particular focus on the automotive industry, bringing them to standards bodies, industry consortiums and solution providers. The consortium will also encourage the development of best practices for the distributed and layered computing approach recommended by the members."

The establishment of the consortium isn't the only partnership Ericsson has forged recently. The company also teamed up with Zenuity, a joint venture between Volvo and Autoliv that was formed this year to develop driver-assistance and self-driving systems. With Zenuity, Ericsson will build an end-to-end platform incorporating everything from IoT connectivity to autonomous functions called Zenuity Connected Cloud-Powered by Ericsson.

"With a strong focus on increasing safety through [Advanced Driver Assistance Support] and [Autonomous Driving] software and functions, our unique expertise in ADAS and autonomous technologies combined with Ericsson's technology leadership in complex connectivity solutions is a win-win for the entire automotive industry," noted Zenuity CEO Dennis Nobelius.

As the announcement of the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium states, the foundation of the consortium is the belief that data usage and data generation by vehicles is about to explode. Some estimates show that the data volume between cars and the cloud will grow a stunning 10,000 times in the next eight years, reaching 10 exabytes a month by 2025.

For those counting, an exabyte equals 1 billion gigabytes.

Currently, the infrastructure that exists for vehicle-cloud interaction is nowhere near where it would need to be to support that amount of data. By teaming up, these companies are acknowledging that building a new infrastructure is something that none of them can do on their own.

In fact, it's also something that even this consortium of companies won't be able to do by itself.

"In the coming months, the aforementioned companies will initiate activities to invite relevant global technology leaders and expand the consortium," reads the press release.

Expect more partners to come onboard soon, as companies will want their voices heard and needs met as the data infrastructure of tomorrow is planned and built.


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