IBM boosts connected car data analysis with service launch

Big Blue's new cloud-based solution is aimed at improving automotive data analysis and providing drivers real-time services.

IBM has launched a new cloud-based service specializing in connected car data in order to improve real-time services and data analysis.

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Revealed on Tuesday, the New York-based firm said the new service, IBM's Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive solution, will assist automakers in turning driver and vehicle data into something tangible and useful in the modern business realm.

Data collected from individual sensors -- including environment insights, driving patterns and vehicle condition -- as well as third-party information, such as traffic conditions and accident alerts, will be sent to the cloud and analyzed for the benefit of drivers and companies.

Big Blue says the service can transform data into "actionable insights" for vehicle maintenance, real-time diagnostics on engine trouble and guiding drivers to the most efficient traffic routes.

According to Telefonica's 2014 Connected Car Industry Report, the connected car -- a vehicle networked to the Internet in some way -- will achieve mass-market penetration in the next few years and the overall number of vehicles with built-in connectivity will increase from 10 percent of the overall market in 2014 to 90 percent by 2020.

As connected cars become mainstream, not only do automakers have to consider the security of their vehicles, but automakers have the opportunity to put data gathered by their vehicles to good use.

IoT-based data analysis can improve driver services but also be a means to improve business practices through detecting patterns in driver behavior, feedback, common vehicle issues and where improvements can be made. This, in turn, can improve the profit margins of automakers in the future.

IBM says the automotive solution, available on IBM Cloud's SoftLayer infrastructure, "provides driver, vehicle and environmental insights through analytics" by tapping vehicle sensors and geolocation data collected in cars.

Third-parties also come into play, such as parking providers, which can give drivers tips on daily conditions while they are on the road.

"With the significant increase in connected cars, automotive manufacturers have the ability to take near-real time data and put it to good use for drivers in a variety of ways -- from finding the nearest parking space and most efficient route, to maintenance alerts that help drivers expect the unexpected," said Dirk Wollschlaeger, General Manager, Global Automotive Industry at IBM.

"By combining data directly from the car with other sources, the insights derived through the IBM IoT for Automotive solution have the potential to change how we interact with our vehicles moving forward."

The automotive solution builds upon IBM's new Internet of Things unit. IBM launched the unit on Monday this week, saying that the unit is part of a $3 billion investment in industry-focused uses for IBM's cloud, analytics and cognitive computing technologies. Former CEO of the Thomas Cook Group, Harriet Green, has been given the post of general manager for the new unit, which has been launched alongside a new education division.

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