Despite European roads being some of the safest in the world, each year tens of thousands of people are killed in traffic accidents. To tackle this, the EU announced that from April 2018 all new cars sold in the region will need to be equipped with eCall technology; a ground-breaking in-vehicle safety system expected to save thousands of lives a year and mitigate the severity of tens of thousands of injuries.
In the event of an accident, eCall automatically phones the emergency services with satellite-based GPS location information and can include details on whether the car’s airbags have been deployed. As a result, it is set to dramatically reduce emergency response times by as much as 60% in rural areas and 50% in urban locations.
The legislation is another example of how connectivity in cars is being utilised to improve, and even save, the lives of consumers. In addition to supporting mission-critical applications such as eCall, adding connectivity to cars can significantly boost vehicle and business efficiency and can make the lives of fleet staff and employees easier by facilitating improved communication. It also enables critical vehicle information to be gathered for usage-based insurance, helping insurance providers to enhance their relationships with customers while creating a better overall car ownership experience. When added to the fact that automotive manufacturers such as Audi are introducing music streaming to in-car media services, it’s clear that driving is rapidly evolving.
But for the connected car’s full potential to be realised, seamless cellular coverage is essential. By providing access to reliable connectivity, automotive manufacturers will be empowered to launch a whole host of exciting new connected services such as GPS or music offerings, while enabling mobile operators to unlock valuable new revenue streams. Insurers also stand to benefit, thanks to the reliability that seamless connectivity brings and the sophisticated data and analytics it can provide.
However, this connectivity needs to be available on a global scale. In Europe where cars frequently cross from one country to the next, not offering global connectivity prevents drivers from utilising all of the connected car’s features when they travel abroad. Swapping SIM cards and logging on to different networks in different countries is inconvenient and expensive. Offerings such as our SIM for Things, which supports cross-border coverage and functionality in one single SIM solution, will help drive the widespread adoption of connected cars. BICS’ extensive global footprint means we can provide seamless cellular connectivity across six continents, while offering the widest and most advanced library of API capabilities, making it easier than ever before to deliver connected car functionality on a worldwide scale.
Global connectivity offers a wide array of benefits to both consumers and enterprises, and will power the introduction of new and innovative features to our cars. Staying in touch and accessing media services whilst on the road is great, but improving the safety of drivers and passengers, and tailoring insurance plans for end-users, will be truly revolutionary.
An article by Mikael Schachne, VP Mobility Solutions at BICS