Connected cars are a rich source of valuable data
Connected cars are a rich source of valuable data
( Source: Public Domain / Pexels)

DATA MONETISATION IoT data is the golden oil of connected mobility

Author / Editor: Cate Lawrence / Florian Richert

It’s been said that data is the new oil. Connected cars are effectively computers on wheels, generating data, a highly valuable commodity which in the future may be more valuable that the physical car itself. It’s data that can improve products, inspire new business cases, identify the need for change, and spark new innovations and future technology.

Car data can offer more than a physical ‘under the hood’ checkup, as a connected car tracks the health of the various car components (and in the future, the health of the car’s passengers. Such tracking can catch the need for repairs almost before they occur, preventing future costly repairs.
Data can provide insights into the responsiveness of a car to various terrain and weather, including the impact of the weather upon brakes, lights, windscreen wipers, and tyres. Advanced mapping, Infotainment systems and digitized services not only provide navigation and entertainment respectively, but offer valuable insights to commercial providers of ‘Mobility-as-a-service’ subscription offerings The routes travelled by a car tracked through navigational systems can be a critical commodity for traffic managers, parking providers, city planners and those looking to open new bricks and mortar businesses. Data is also generated when cars communicate with the vehicles and infrastructure around them (V2X), useful for smart cities and traffic management use cases.

The data deluge of autonomous vehicles

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, predicts that the averagely driven car will churn out 4,000 GB of data per day - and that's just for one hour of driving a day. So it’s clear that the value of data is infinite in that it can be shared and sold between different people for an infinite number of combinations and purposes.
I recently spoke to a company that is targeting the peak of the data deluge, Otonomo. Each day, Otonomo makes available over four billion connected car data points, from millions of cars in over 70 countries. The resulting normalized data, which meets data privacy regulations, enables auto and auto-adjacent service providers to power traffic management, mapping, parking, smart city, EV management, financial services and many other solutions.
The company was founded in 2015, has over $82 million in funding, over 20 patents pending, and offices in Israel, San Francisco and Frankfurt Am Main. I spoke to Jodi Joseph Asiag, Head of Content and Communications to find out more.

Making Connected Car Data Useful

According to Jodi, “Otonomo started when its founders saw that there was all this car data being created that wasn't being fully leveraged by OEMs,other enterprises or the public sector. The founders truly believed that the whole auto ecosystem, including the driver could benefit from the vehicle data in new and exciting ways.“Jodi attributes this dissonance to two things. The data itself wasn't really designed for organizations other than the auto manufacturers, as it was mainly generated to evaluate and improve products. When the sensors were first put in the cars, today’s auto-adjacent services were not yet being considered.
Jodi notes that an additional challenge, that still exists today, was that “every make and model of car has their own set of data attributes and dictionary. For example, if you are looking to create a parking application, you probably want data from different OEMs and different cars from those OEMs. That poses technical and business challenges. In addition to securing agreements with the several OEMs for their data. The app developer would need to build a technical environment to clean, normalize, and enrich the vehicle data from all those OEMs, as well as to build tools to ensure that the data is secure and privacy compliant.

Here Otonomo adds value to the automotive ecosystem, we do the heavy lifting. We have built relationships with over a dozen OEMs and developed an advanced data platform which delivers easy access to rich vehicle data. With Otonomo, the app developer, fleet owner or traffic management solution provider only needs to implement one integration and leverage one data dictionary.”
In order for it to be effectively used in apps and services, data in its raw format requires additional processing. Connected car data must be:

  • Acquired, cleaned, secured, and stored in a secure system
  • Normalized to a consistent format understood by mobility services
  • Analyzed and reshaped for signals and insights to be actionable
  • Restructured to meet the consumer privacy preferences and expectations

Today, Otonomo works with 12 OEMS and has a slew of commercial agreements with a diverse set of data consumers. Critical to their DNA is protecting driver privacy and securing the data, while also facilitating data sharing which helps OEMs achieve additional value from the data generated by their vehicles.
In regard to data privacy, all of Otonomo’s data control complies with GDPR and other data privacy regulations. They provide auto manufacturers with tools that enable OEMs to manage access to driver data by specific companies or services, at any time, through a simple web/app interface.
There are strict procedures in place to ensure that data providers and consumers are carefully matched and that the vehicle data is used in accordance with the specified use cases agreed upon.

Otonomo’s new self-serve data platform.
Otonomo’s new self-serve data platform.
(Source: Otonomo)

Introducing Otonomo’s Self-Serve Platform

Otonomo recently released a Self-Serve Platform and API, which provide hassle-free, online access to real-time and historical, aggregated connected car data - an industry first. Access to data is provided via API, visual query builder, and geo-fencing user interface.
Jodi asserts, “ If you want innovation, in this emerging market, you need to have access to the juice, you need to have access to the data. So, if someone wants to create the next Waze, Mobileye or Spiffy, or be part of smart cities that are cracking the code to manage and reduce congestion and pollution, they need access to high quality vehicle data. The idea behind the self-serve platform is to remove barriers between you, the developer, researcher or analyst, and the data - not only technically but legally. Most startups don’t have the legal wherewithal to negotiate each and every OEM for the data that they need.”

With Otonomo’s self-serve data tools, there is no lengthy legal process, no complicated data extraction tools required and no cost for the first month. Now, in minutes, analysts, developers and project leaders can access and use rich connected car data.”

Data point reporting in defined spaces.
Data point reporting in defined spaces.
(Source: Otonomo)

Ortonomo is also very happy to see academics working in traffic management and smart cities using their data. Jodi shared: “We embrace the whole idea of data for good. We really think that the best way for this whole ecosystem to move forward is to have more people using data and more people seeing benefit from it. It just inspires more innovation.”
Collecting data is nothing new, but turning it into a usable format to facilitate actionable insights is critical to advance mobility aspirations - from autonomous vehicles to micro mobility and fleet sharing and create the impetus for mobility innovations of the future.