Verizon on Internet of Things, the connected car: Location is key

Verizon on Internet of Things, the connected car: Location is key

Summary: According to Verizon, the mass adoption of tech which tracks our location and changes our environment as a result is far closer than we think.

TOPICS: Innovation, Verizon
cred cnet
Credit: CNET

Verizon believes that the mass adoption of tech which tracks our location through Internet of Things connected devices is a reality far closer than we believe to be.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of connecting devices to the Web and to other appliances to make energy use more efficient, appliances more effective and to use data which makes daily lives more convenient. From smart fridges which alert you if temperatures drop too far to keep food fresh to coffee machines which automatically turn on when you wake up and vehicles that 'talk' to each other and share data, IoT is a fledgling industry with much potential.

Cisco estimates that IoT will generate $14.4 trillion in economic activity in the next decade. However, according to Kevin Link, senior vice president and GM China at Verizon Telematics, it is the bridge between IoT and the connected car which has the most potential in today's business environment.

"The intersection between IoT and the car is location. When you think about how people conduct their daily lives, there are hundreds of examples out there where people have created algorithms. If the car is a learning car, it would know in the morning and in the afternoon what I’m doing and where I’m going – ‘I’m going home or I’m going to work’ – and it would change my experience [accordingly]."

For example, if your location is 'the car,' then that connection to a smart home would mean lights could turn off automatically, thermostats could be turned down, and appliances stopped. If the car learns your daily patterns, then it could estimate how far away you were from home, and change appliances in turn -- for example, turning your thermostat back to your preferred level, or turning the coffee maker on in time for you to arrive.

Link says that we are closer than we realize for this vision to become reality, due to the fact that many changes which need to be made are software-related rather than hardware-based. However, there are still challenges for automakers to overcome in terms of creating standards for interoperability, compatibility, safety and security.

On Tuesday, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) joined US President Obama at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, VA where the President underscored the importance of using connected car technology and the research of new vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication technology. The President believes that V2V and V2I could be used to improve the future safety and mobility of our cars, as well as reduce time, waste and fuel.

However, while the convenience of having your coffee turn on as you drive home is an interesting idea, privacy concerns are another factor. Link mentioned the concept of a student's phone automatically turning on silent and back to normal settings based on whether the child was in school or not -- and there is something less than palatable about the idea of being so obviously tracked. In a time where surveillance and tracking has caused public outrage -- the NSA scandal case in question -- the concept of your daily habits being stored and used by IoT firms will not be to everyone's taste.

"We want this to be safe," Link said. "We don't want people to be able to look at other people's security cameras, or change the lighting in someone's house or car [...] so we've got some things to do, but most of it is software related."

Topics: Innovation, Verizon

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  • Devils Due

    There was an old Star Trek episode called Devils Due in which a modern people voluntarily reverted to a simpler agrarian society. Maybe a blueprint for what we might do? I love tech and I do think that automobiles should be talking to each other to avoid the many thousands of needless deaths, but perhaps a coffee pot should just be a coffee pot. Too much tech might just lower our quality of life.
    • There was also the NCIS episode

      where the car killed the technician by someone overriding the program. :-)
      Tony Burzio
    • Devils Due

      I agree with you. Even though I have an ebay store as my source of income, some things are too much. In my small town 4miles x 11miles our power went out Sunday night. It was kind of refreshing. I got out flashlights for the family and we played flashlight tag and hide and go seek.
  • Which person do they track?

    I haven't determined what I think / feel about the privacy issue. But I do wonder how the home is going to know which family member's location to follow to determine all these automatic lights on & off and thermostat ups & downs and such.

    It's 7pm. Mom's getting groceries while Susie's at ice skating rehearsals (and they usually go out to eat afterward)and they won't be getting home until 10pm. Dad's not in the state so must be on a business trip. So lights can stay off at the house until 9:45pm'sh. But the lights on the iguana's cage need to stay on until 9pm. Oh! Dad's trip has been cut short and he managed to get an early flight back tonight and is approaching the house at 9:15pm. Seems like the software will need to take into account a LOT of variables.
    • It is simple

      Each person will be "chipped" and the system will have unique programming for each chip. If no chip is detected then everything will be powered down to minimal usage state. ;)
      • RE: It is simple

        I don't think people will want to be chipped. Besides, it won't be necessary. The computer will simply see you and know who you are, just like a human servant would. If it needs to know your location, it can check with other computers on the network, assuming you want your location known.
        • Ha! No, its not simple its rediculous.

          While Im sure Verison is right that we are closer to solving the technical side of the issue, the fact is, as they have apparently stated their thoughts on how it would all work above, they are clearly either not speaking about a great deal of the dynamics that would need to be resolved or they have lost touch with reality.

          There is no easy way to solve the problem of the endless permutations of human social dynamics that do not make a simple self acting automated "life" work away on its own, through mostly internalized learning, and not requiring constant human generated input to tell the system what to do right now and what not to do right now and what to do or not do later.

          The rather overly simplistic method Verison seems to be ascribing to, that your car can be a key factor in the automated life system learning by where the car is, thus informing the rest of the system how to behave based on where you are, given that's where the car is. On its own, without a whole pile more...this is pure lunacy.

          Let us consider the endless parade of human dynamics that bring any number of new social situations, or different social situations into play, that any such system would have to have some direct human instructions input to cope with the situation, if the system wasn't able to "learn" what was going on that day otherwise.

          1. How many people LIVE in the house? How many have cars? Today little Jimmy is home sick from school, so Mom decides to stay home too, but Dad goes to work and Jimmys older sister still goes to school that day. One kind of situation that throws the normal routine completely out the window, but easily happens.

          2. In the Smiths house, five people live there, only 2 have cars. One of them does contract work and finds themselves in and out and all over the place any hour of the day, night or week. Grandma Smith and Uncle Peter come to visit and stay for a week.
          Its a mess unless this computer system can figure out who's who when and where and why it should do different things and when.

          3. People come home early sometimes, they leave late, many do not have cars, cars break down, cars get stolen, cars get into accidents, computer systems break down, people have friends over, people get baby sitters, people have pets, people sometimes get pet sitters, even house sitters. Its a mess. How does the automated life system account for all these variables?

          4. People break routine purposely all the time. Sometimes with great reason. Without direct input from a human, how does the system know that you don't want the normal routine run when you just decided this yourself minutes ago? The notion that many people have a fairly regulated routine the system can learn is a fallacy. I know many people in fact who have only minimal routine in their life and more frequently end up with some significantly different patterns throughout most days.

          5. We live in a modern world now where the masses of time challenged people who live in downtown urban cores might benefit the most from some kind of automated life system. Yet, its these very downtown urban cores that discourage driving to local places that can be easily reached by public transit. And for many in these areas, even if they do have a car, they often will refuse to drive, given ridiculous traffic problems and horrendously expensive parking charges. In other words, there will be plenty of people, probably a fantastic many who MIGHT have benefited from such a system but if the system exists it cant rely much on a car that dosnt exist or finds a lot of its life parked in an underground lot at some condo.

          I think its a very reasonable question to ask as to how big a part of the system is car location going to be in directing the system how to behave, when it appears to me that many of the above situations clearly illustrate that sorting out the various social situations, car location will provide little to no assistance in telling the system what to do now and what to do next.

          The above article says "The intersection between IoT and the car is location".

          "If the car learns your daily patterns, then it could estimate how far away you were from home, and change appliances in turn -- for example, turning your thermostat back to your preferred level, or turning the coffee maker on in time for you to arrive."

          Good heavens. There has to be so much more to it than "where the car is", its hardly worth mentioning the "where the car is" part of the equation. After all, for anyone with such a system who dosnt even own a car, or only drives for random personal purposes, "where the car is" will probably have either nothing or almost nothing at all to do with how the system works for you in life.

          By time such a system is in existence that can operate in any intuitive way on its own and can adjust properly for the frequent above noted kinds of situations, I suspect the fact that your car will be able to tell your automated system where it is will have only the smallest part to play in the over all dynamics of the systems operations.
          • Beautiful!

            Excellent points all around, Cayble. There are so many variables in our lives as people that having all these possibilities is something that sounds wonderful on a whiteboard, but in practice could just as easily be more trouble than it costs.

            The ultimate end of the road is two coinciding problems: tech that's smart enough to know when to turn the lights on and adjust the thermostat, knows enough about your household to be VERY dangerous.

        • Infrared tattoos...

          ... or invisible nano-spray tattoos are more likely than chips, but the most likely alternative is a "housekey" that is tuned to your body (smell, or some metabolic fingerprint).
  • imagine a smart road railway

    Some blue-sky thinking about when the Internet of Things knows where cars and trains are:
    Suppose a train track were built alongside an interstate highway so that the train car floors were level with the roadway, and near it, like a subway train and platform. Traveling on the track is a train consisting entirely of flatcars. A smart car drives up to the platform-roadway edge, synchronizes speed with the train beside an open parking spot on a flatcar, and smoothly parks on the flatcar. The smart car engine shuts off, and the car and occupants are transported long distances. The train never has to slow down. Leaving the train could done by a forklift that slides the car out over the road, the car spins up its wheels and is placed on the road, or otherwise at designated stations where all smart cars quickly detrain simultaneously. Trains haul a ton of freight a mile on a teaspoon of diesel oil. Imagine the fuel savings and convenience of driving like this. (Convenience stores on the train?)
    Also possibility is smart cars linking to form a 'conga line' of cars on the highway, for considerable reduction in aerodynamic losses, dynamically unlinking and relinking when a car has to join or leave....
    • Interesting.

      Somethings much like that could probably work.
  • "IoT will generate $14.4 trillion in economic activity in the next decade."

    Not in the USA as long as the existing telecom cartels have their stranglehold on the internet. It is one of the few areas of high-tech where the costs increase every year and performance barely advances if not deteriorates (as TWC has done for me this year).

    Verizon may be looking forward to the day where consumers are paying $1000/mo wireless bills again, as their car and smartphone gleefully uses your account to send spy information about your every move to Verizon, who then sells it to multiple data brokers for even MORE money. You will unknowingly consent to it all on page 472 of the mandatory EULA you must now sign just to buy a smartphone of any kind.

    As long as the American infrastructure is held hostage by these few greedy and unscrupulous corporations, the "next generation" will end up happening overseas long before we even get a taste of it.

    But they do have the latest in "cramming" and "spamming" technology ...
    terry flores
    • Hmmm, then how come

      The US had a large commercial 4G LTE network long before Europe.

      Too bad our greedy and unscrupulous government wastes so much money and resources on making wars, propping up other nations, regime building, etc.

      They have been allocating money for years on a network for public safety and first responders, yet they still have nothing built. In the same time frame, those greedy corporations built 3G and 4G networks across the country.

      I know your faith in govt is unlimited--until that person from the other party gets elected!
  • i dont want a permanent car gps.

    As for my mobile phone... 90% of the time it sits on the table motionless sometimes even dead unless I need it to call someone if the power is off or I'm out. No I don't need it at the gym... don't need to text in the locker room... or many other inappropriate situations... other times its off until needed. I can get my voice messages in email.

    I'm not a post modern techno slave and have no desire to be profiled by marketers for their targeted pitches or tracked for other purposes. I have a standalone GPS for navigating from A to B if necessary although I still know how to use a map and compass and sometimes its actually better.
    • the worst part is

      no one will ask you what you (or me for that matter) want.

      there will be no 'unconnected' option. unconnected cars will disappear the way of wired phones.
      • There will always be the "unconnected car"

        The problem with "unconnected cars" at that point is that they'll be associated with illegal things, and "because f'k you that's why" is not a reason that the general public will see as a reasonable answer to why someone wouldn't want their car to be sending back their location.

  • Which is why

    I don't own a smart phone and the GPS is disabled. I use the phone only for talk and txt. My partner and I both drive cars without elect. bells and whistles and will continue to do so as long as we can keep them on the road.

    It's not because we do illegal things, it's because we feel that government and corporations have no business knowing what I do and when I do it.
  • I Hope It Isn't All That Close

    Tech has a lot of potential for good. It also has a lot of potential for bad, mostly in the privacy arena. For example, we know that any police officer with a subpoena can turn on your cell phone and listen in on conversations around you (I've been on mobile operators' police interface websites). We know that Google reads your GMAIL. We all know that street cameras can record our every move.

    In the case of the connected car, suppose we want precise control of who our car is "talking to" and when. There would be great safety with this technical advance but I really don't want my car reporting back to my insurance company or telling the police what speed I'm doing. What's next, your car won't start unless you insert a credit card to pay for a fine the CAR thinks you owe? I don't want people knowing where I am at any given minute. I think that, if my next car has this, I'm going to disconnect the antenna. And I DO NOT want my car sending me relevant advertisements or automatically driving me over to a store because it thinks I need something (or IT needs something like an oil change).

    I think people want to be in control of their own lives and their possessions,; not the other way around. Today, people are using all of the tech we have not realizing that they haven't read the terms of service and privacy policies and have no clue what is really happening to them.
  • Cars are not command centers

    Cars are not command centers and coffee makers have start timers built right in them. F#$@ cooperate greed and there greed to control and know everything we do. Want to know why prices are so F&^%*% High?? we have to pay for over priced products to fill the advertising budgets....We have already paid at the register people. Look at the price of cereal again bet ya half the price is for commercials on Saturday morning cartoon shows...
    • buy store brands

      and you'll skip paying for ads.

      but the big(est) part of the problem is the consumer - that would be us. the consumer happily throws his/her money at any new shiny thing. The consumers will come in in droves and buy every new talking car. and the corporations will be happy to oblige and to serve to the immature tastes of the general public.

      so, hold on to your virtual seats - you soon will be taken for a ride.