Having successfully deployed connectivity services for the likes of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover, Transatel has launched a global cellular connectivity platform specifically designed for motorised vehicles.
Part of the NTT Group, Transatel offers eSIM-capable, cellular technology for the global internet of things (IoT) connectivity area. Its IoV (Internet of Vehicles) Connect, system aims to solve some of what the company describes as vehicle manufacturers’ greatest challenges that are currently not being addressed by the market. And this is a market that is taking off. Recent research suggests there will be 83 million 5G-connected cars on the road by 2035 as next-generation networks become more pervasive.
Transatel’s IoV Connect system is said to take advantage of its experience in launching mobile business-to-consumer offers around the world, which has run to over 20 years. IoV Connect offers professional tools and insights covering pricing, marketing, billing, customer experience, customer care and regulatory compliance. It also offers a fully rebrandable service for onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, complete with marketing and user support services.
Available in platform-as-a-service (PaaS) mode, the system is claimed to have a key differentiator, with mobile network operator (MNO) selection at network level. Any addition, removal, change of host radio network anywhere in the world is programmed at network level, and thus implemented instantaneously, not requiring complex over-the-air SIM profile update campaigns. A further key differentiator is said to be user management technology, for which Transatel said most connected car platforms come unequipped.
In a bid to reduce complexity within IoV applications, the platform requires a single integration to cover over 160 countries (to date) and caters for vehicle manufacturers wishing to avoid the cost and/or complexity of multiple integrations with mobile network operators. Transatel regards most existing IoV platforms as feature-rich but limited in that they rely on aggregating multiple mobile network operator profiles, leading to vehicle manufacturers establishing service agreements with MNOs. In the case of IoV Connect, Transatel acts as the MNO and manufacturers only need to sign an access agreement, thus reducing complexity.
Bertrand Salomon, Transatel
Due to configuration at network level, any switching of underlying host radio networks, or any new connected vehicle feature developed, is instantly made to vehicles across continents. Moreover, configuration at network level means an end to potentially costly changes in mobile network operator, feature updates or over-the-air campaigns to reconfigure SIM profiles inside vehicles. It also obviates the need to drive vehicles to dealers to carry out such updates.
One fundamental area which Transatel says it has been long concerned with is security for IoT applications and realising the intrinsic requirement for this in connected vehicles, has developed a system that it asserts provides airtight connectivity within IoV Connect. This has three levels: as a licensed operator without spectrum, Transatel has its own non-geographic mobile network code (MNC) with underlying resources inaccessible from the exterior; all software and firmware updates are not conducted via the internet; SIM profiles are embedded with security keys for authentication purposes, to further shield vehicles from unwanted intrusions.
Commenting on the launch, Transatel co-CEO Bertrand Salomon said: “I’m excited about this launch because it’s the result of years of observation and exchanges with the industry, and years of hard work. IoV Connect can turn any complex, global connected car project into a manageable enterprise with clear milestones and beneficial outcomes. By making things simple and global by design, we help manufacturers focus on their core activities and gain global economies of scale.”