The Autonomous Vehicle and What It Means

Editor’s Note:

An automobile industry executive and subject matter expert, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote the article that follows this preface. It is in response to my June 2nd article that speculated on Google’s long-term plans for the autonomous vehicle. This article provides additional insight into the AV market with some excellent references, while having some more fun imagining the type of vehicles we may see in the future.

Graph showing evolution of the vehicle in the digital age.
Image courtesy of Michael Robinson and ED Design

This article also introduces images from ED Design’s Michael Robinson, a Hall of Fame vehicle designer and leader in “Experiential Design”. He is at the forefront of determining what autonomous vehicles (whether on wheels, rails or wings) will look like and their impact on society. He wants to ensure that, in addition to achieving a safety goal of zero accidents, the autonomous vehicle doesn’t kill the love affair people have had with their cars (check out the presentation he gave to the Passenger Experience Conference in April of this year).

More importantly, he wants the autonomous vehicle to be an extension of the future digital home; an environment that stimulates emotions and thoughts and not one that is simply a mobile couch potato transporter. As he points out, removing the steering wheel changes everything as far as vehicle design and he even suggests a scenario where regulators outlaw steering wheels and driver-less cars are mandatory in 2040 (coincidentally, the same year as my story takes place).

It is important for broadband providers to stay abreast of the direction of the AV market and the thinking of visionaries like Robinson and the anonymous author of the following article, as this mobile Internet of Things, known as autonomous vehicles, will have an impact on broadband networks at some level. Broadband providers will either find new opportunities in this arena or let the Googles of the world grab the opportunity.


The Autonomous Vehicle and What It Means by Anonymous Contributor from the Automobile Industry

Ever since the Google Car made its debut in May, we have been inundated with articles on the autonomous vehicle (AV), for good or for bad.

An image showing how swarms of insects and birds as an analogy for what autonomous vehicles will do in the future.
Image courtesy of Michael Robinson and ED Design

The fact of the matter is that the AV is here to stay. This is most definitely confirmed by Carlos Ghosn in his address to the French Automobile Club on Tuesday, June 3. Mr. Ghosn lauded the UN’s accomplishment of successfully pushing through an amendment to Article 8 of the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic which allows for AV driving if, and only if, AV “systems can be overridden or switched off by the driver.” In his address he stated that “the problem isn’t technology, it’s legislation, and the whole question of responsibility that goes with these cars moving around … and especially who is responsible once there is no longer anyone inside.”

Knowing that the AV is not going away, governments have begun addressing the AV legal framework, such as California in the United States. More recently, UK Science Minister David Willets has called for a change in UK road laws to accommodate the AV. Therefore, if governments are using monetary resources to develop legal frameworks, then the AV is not a passing fad, but a paradigm shift in the way we will live and view transportation for the next one-hundred years.

With that said, what the AV means to our way of life is very simple. The automobile will no longer be viewed as a status symbol because most people will not own automobiles. Instead, the AV will be looked at as a service. We will reserve our AVs through reservation service providers based on the litmus test of Time, Place, and Occasion (TPO). For example, I have made a short list of AVs which could be available based on a TPO for Yokohama, Japan:

  • No Thrills (Basic AV to get you to/from Points A and B. Has reclining sofa chairs and relaxing music and images so you can sleep well during the commute. Imagine going to work in an Enya video.)
  • Shopping Mall (Large Size AV with security compartments for valuables. Great for people who enjoy shopping at different stores but who don’t want the worry of getting anything stolen.)
  • Family Trip (For families who want to go somewhere for a weekend or holiday. Has essentials for short trips, such as refrigerator, food storage, Internet, DVD, and Radio.)
  • Work Commute (For people working during their commute. Has all the desk essentials, TV Conferencing Equipment, plus coffee maker, tea pot, toaster, and breakfast, lunch, or dinner foods)
  • Business Meeting (Same as Work Commute but a larger size AV arranged in boardroom style)
  • Car Pool (Same as Work Commute but a larger size AV so people have room to work and not disturb one another. Great for people working in the same office building or business area.)
  • Image showing what a vehicle might look like without a steering wheel.
    Image courtesy of Michael Robinson and ED Design

    Tea Time (The tea time AV could come in three sizes: S, M, L. It would be like a restaurant booth equipped with all the tea time essentials, such as water, pot, cakes, sandwiches, scones, and a variety of tea and coffee. For those traveling in Yokohama’s China Town, it could be equipped for Chinese tea time.)

  • Game Center (Japanese love to play video games. This AV could come in three sizes: S, M, L)
  • Karaoke Kar (A Karaoke AV complete with its own Karaoke system and beverages. For those at the legal drinking age, it would come with alcohol.)

And for the #1 Japanese AV……

  • LOVE MOTEL (Yep, You got it! A Japanese-style love hotel on wheels. Equipped with a waterbed and all the love hotel essentials. Need I say More.)

Are the Internet of Things (IoT) & Internet of Everything (IoE) the Same Thing?

Introduction:

For quite some time, Cisco and Qualcomm have used the term Internet of Everything (IoE) to describe what almost everyone else refers to as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Qualcomm says on its IoE web page

“When smart things everywhere are connected together, we will be able to do more and be more. This is the Internet of Everything (IoE), a paradigm shift that marks a new era of opportunity for everyone, from consumers and businesses to cities and governments….”

“Qualcomm is creating the fabric of IoE for everyone everywhere to enable this Digital Sixth Sense.”

Cisco defines the Internet of Everything (IoE) as bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries.

But is that the same as the IoT? And how do they both relate to Machine-to-Machine communications (AKA M2M)?


Network Gives Value to “Things” at Cisco:

Cisco devoted several sessions to the IoE at its flagship Cisco Live conference this week in San Francisco, CA:

  1. ITMGEN-4113 –  Delivering Value in an Internet of Everything World
  2. BRKNMS-2703 –  Managing the Internet of Everything
  3. BSAIoT-2400 –  The Transition to the Internet of Everything: Architectures and Use Cases
  4. GENKEY-2400 –  The Internet of Everything Ecosystem – Bringing IT and OT Together with the Internet of Things
  5. BRKIOT-2020 –  The Evolution from Machine-to-Machine (M2M) to the Internet of Everything: Technologies and Standards
  6. ATE-CL342 –  What Does the Internet of Things Mean to You?
  7. PSOIoT-2000 –  How will the Internet of Things Help your Business?

We liked this statement from one of the above IoT session abstracts: “The value of the Internet of Things is realized through networked connections of physical objects and devices. These connections are crucial for the transition to an Internet of Everything…”  But what exactly does that mean?

At Cisco Live, CEO John Chambers said the Internet of Everything (IoE) has changed the way the world looks at data and technology. Future IT industry growth will come from the IoE, which is generally referred to as the sharing of data between smart devices over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Chambers said:

“The simple concept, as you move forward with IoE, is that you have to get the right information at the right time to the right device to the right person to make the right decision. It sounds simple, but it is very, very difficult to do, and is almost impossible to do without our architecture….”

Mala Anand, Sr VP of Software and Service Platforms at Cisco, attempted to clarify the difference (from Cisco’s perspective) between the Internet-of-Things and the Internet-of-Everything at the Cisco Live session titled: The Internet of Everything Ecosystem – Bringing IT and OT Together with the Internet of Things .

Ms. Anand opined the Internet-of-Everything begins with the Internet-of-Things, which she explained is the movement driving connectivity into devices that were previously not connected.  “The Internet-of-Everything is a paradigm with a promise of business transformation at scale,” she said.   The “business transformation and value at stake” includes: asset utilization, employee productivity, supply chain/logistics, customer experience, and innovation.

Ms. Anand outlined three types of Internet-of-Everything connections:

  1. machine-to-machine, a.k.a. M2M (i.e. robots, sensors, etc.)
  2. machine-to-people
  3. people-to-people (i.e. social networking)

This world of IoE creates a different level of complexity with hyper-distributed environments, according to Anand.  She stressed the need to build a partner ecosystem that drives interoperability and support for a platform that can drive new sources of value and business models.  Indeed, Cisco partners Intel, NetApp and EMC also spoke at this Cisco Live session.

Anand reiterated previous forecasts made by Cisco executives – that the Internet-of-Everything will evolve into a $19 trillion market (“value at stake”) in the next few years.


IoT = IoE at Qualcomm?

During his opening keynote at TiECon 2014, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf made no such distinction between IoE (the term they use) and IoT (mainstream term).  Steve implied that Qualcomm believed that the Internet of Things (IoT) was the same thing as the Internet of Everything (IoE).

He said IoE was an extension of Qualcomm’s existing business as it requires both mobile connectivity and wireless LANs (e.g. WiFi, Zigbee, etc).  

Note that Qualcomm now owns Atheros Communications- a leading chip maker for WiFi and other wireless LANs.

“Qualcomm is building a portfolio of products to enable the Internet of Everything (IoE),” Steve Mollenkopf said.  “Scale is very important to deliver on the very large surface area that will exist for the IoE,” he added.

What about “wearables?” “Health monitoring and wireless healthcare in general is a great, but different opportunity for Qualcomm. What’s needed is for the health care industry to fully embrace innovation in the IT industry. The supply chain for wearables is an opportunity for Qualcomm,” Mollenkopf added.


IoT – A Top Disruptive Trend Giving Rise to Multiple Market Segments:

McKinsey Global Institute’s Disruptive Technologies report calls out the Internet of Things (IoT) as a top disruptive technology trend that will have an impact of as much as $6 Trillion on the world economy by 2025 with 50 billion connected devices! Many are predicting 20 or 25 billion connected devices by 2020.

For sure, IoT will be a huge market, but not monolithic.  Each vertical industry will have its own opportunities and challenges. Lack of industry standards, security (business), and privacy (consumer) are the biggest obstacles for IoT to overcome and be successful. These issues must be resolved for IoT to reach it’s promise and potential.

We’re still not sure if IoT and IoE are two acronyms for the same term or something different. We’ll let the reader be the judge of that.