Irish-based software specialist Cubic Telecom offers connectivity solutions to companies such as Volkswagen Group, Panasonic and Harley Davidson. CEO Barry Napier says the company has simplified the connectivity process and overcome the technical, legal and regulatory challenges faced in different markets. He explained how in an interview with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Olive Keogh.
Who or what is driving the connectivity agenda?
There are two very different types of use-case scenarios. The first involves consumers who want instant connectivity across their world because they can’t live or do business without it. Millennials need three things: oxygen, water and connectivity. The second relates to the car manufacturers because connectivity has the potential to create a direct relationship between them and their end customer for the first time.
Could you elaborate?
Traditionally, there has been little or no direct contact between manufacturers and car buyers. Connectivity will change this. It will enable manufacturers to see all the data being generated by their cars in real time such as what options a customer ordered and whether they are using them. Connectivity also greatly increases what manufacturers can offer customers. It’s no longer a case of options being ordered in advance and added during production. Connectivity means cars will come pre-loaded with the software to enable all the vehicle’s possible functions. Consumers can decide now or in a year’s time what they want to activate and pay for either through their dealer or directly to the manufacturer.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for connectivity?
People think it’s simple because they are surrounded by it in their everyday lives. The difficulty comes when you try to globalize it. It has been proved that Wi-Fi is not a secure connectivity solution. It’s exactly the same with the car. You need a secure channel. But when you go from country to country or from Asia to America to Europe the mobile network spectrum bands are completely different.