KDDI, Orange start engine on connected automotive IoT services

In a move that will allow Toyota and Mazda the ability to offer connected car capabilities in vehicles sold across Europe, leading Japanese telecommunications service provider KDDI has selected Orange Business Services to provide a customised internet of things (IoT) platform for the Japanese automotive manufacturers.

While mass commercialisation seems a long way off for autonomous vehicles, the market has huge potential. The latest DossierPlus report from Statista predicted that by 2030, a 10th of vehicles worldwide will be self-driving, and the market volume of fully automated cars getting into gear by this time is expected to be worth $13.7bn.

Looking at which regions are driving autonomous vehicles, Statista pointed to autonomous vehicle (AV) test pilots in California, and the fact that Beijing and the city of Hamburg have also set up infrastructure for the testing of geo-fenced driverless vehicles. It predicts that Hamburg will see autonomous public transport begin in 2021.

Assessing where the predicted revenues are likely to be sourced, the report stated that with an estimated market size of US$1.161tn, robo-taxis are projected to become the top use case for driverless vehicles.

In the new partnership, the Orange solution will initially enable the Japanese automotive manufacturers to offer connected services across 63 European countries/territories, via Orange cellular connectivity. The Orange Business Services connectivity management solution integrates directly into KDDI’s own platform and is said to provide secure, reliable IoT connectivity for Toyota and Mazda to enhance the driver experience through advanced services. Cloud connections are made using Orange backbone networks, offering, said the telco, high-performance and secured interconnections between the parties’ platforms.

Connected IoT services are paramount to enhance the drive experience for our customers,” said Ken Sakai, managing director of KDDI Europe. “The bespoke Orange IoT platform provides new levels of convenience in terms of personalised services to Toyota and Mazda across Europe. This allows their drivers to benefit from the very best in safety, security and in-car experience.”

Valerie Cussac, senior vice-president of smart mobility services at Orange Business Services, said: “Today’s most innovative car manufacturers are leveraging IoT to deliver on the drive experience consumers are demanding. Following extensive consultancy and a pilot with KDDI, we have delivered on a tailor-made IoT platform that will enable innovative connected services to provide drivers with enhanced levels of safety and convenience.”

The partnership between Orange and KDDI comes just as rival telco Vodafone released research showing that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced almost all businesses to change their working practices and priorities in a matter of weeks, with more than three-quarters of adopters increasing the pace of internet of things (IoT) projects.

Vodafone Business said enterprises were seeing IoT as an essential element of being future-ready, enabling new ways of working with the benefits clearly outweighing the risks – so much so that 73% of firms said organisations which failed to embrace IoT will fall behind within five years.

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