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Mobility as a Platform

August 19, 2020 - Martin Morgan

Martin Morgan, VP Marketing, discusses the recent Toyota and AWS collaboration and highlights the opportunity for mobile service providers

Toyota and AWS recently announced that they were partnering to expand Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform. This platform is an “ecosystem to help Toyota engineers develop, deploy, and manage the next generation of data-driven mobility services for driver and passenger safety, security, comfort, and convenience in Toyota’s cloud-connected vehicles”.

This is all about collecting, managing and analysing data from connected vehicles to deliver a range of benefits to Toyota and their customers.  It’s not only about using data to help with design and development but also for offering contextual services such as car share, rideshare, full-service lease, and consumer services such as proactive vehicle maintenance notifications and driving behaviour-based insurance.

Connectivity is vital to collect all the data required to fuel Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform and deliver the downstream benefits. In fact Toyota said in the press release on this announcement that “Connectivity drives all of the processes of development, production, sales and service in the automotive business”.

Can you see what’s missing here?

The telecoms service providers who provide the very connectivity on which the connected car business is built seem to have been overlooked here. This could have been a good opportunity for a global telecoms service provider, or at least the leading service providers to work with Toyota and AWS to ensure that telecoms services are a leading component in the Toyota Mobility Services Platform. This goes way beyond ‘best effort’ connectivity. You could roll out the discussion about 5G service slicing and building sub slices for low latency services provided by Toyota. But it’s more than just talking about guaranteed QoS for services delivered over 5G. Network quality needs to be managed beyond best effort across 4G as well. This needs network policy control to ensure that the right level of connectivity is being provided for the right services. Then there’s real-time data collection. Telecoms service providers have collected vast amounts of mobile data in real-time for years. They know how to collect and manage data, and feed third party systems – at scale. A tier 1 customer of Openet collects, processes and manages 27 billion events per day. It’s a bit like an oil refinery approach to data. It has to be collected, managed, refined and prioritised and fed into real-time analytics and automated actionable systems.

There’s also customer experience and engagement. All mobile service providers have apps to engage with their customers. The opportunity is for car companies, like Toyota, to work with the service provider to get real estate on their app. Mobile service providers’ apps have come a long way in the last couple of years and many offer 3rd party contextual services – usually as part of an upsell or loyalty scheme. Why not work with the connected car companies to offer the consumer based services such as behaviour based insurance? Talking of which, how are the insurance companies going to charge for behaviour based insurance? I’d guess there would be many different variables (location, time of day, speed, etc.c). Mobile service providers have charging systems that use different variables to calculate service charges. These could be used to calculate behaviour based insurance.

Connectivity is the backbone of Mobility Service Platforms, like Toyota’s, and there is an opportunity for service providers to work with partners like Toyota and AWS to ensure that connectivity is not a service that is taken for granted. It needs to be viewed as a service on which any businesses’ mobility platform is built and as such the quality of connectivity can make a significant difference. It’s more than just ‘vanilla, best effort’ connectivity. The use of data management, policy control, real-time charging and customer experience management can all help the telecoms service providers add value as many enterprises look to develop and roll out mobility service platforms. 5G will take these opportunities to a new level and service providers have a significant opportunity to work with new partners, like automotive companies, both as customers and partners, to ensure that they take a central role in the 5G value chain.

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