The exponential growth of in-vehicle connected devices is a driving force behind automakers’ interest in collecting, storing, distributing and analyzing the volumes of diverse data sets being collected from connected car technologies (e.g., Wi-Fi, IoT, telematics). The best results in terms of deriving value from this data can be achieved by balancing the needs for interconnecting physical infrastructure assets within the digital automotive service chain and that service chain’s capabilities for transforming machine data into useable information, which must comply with industry security and privacy regulations as it performs each of these roles:

>> Connecting sensors and machines with IoT gateway solutions

>> Establishing a transport network for sending data to physical and virtual IT infrastructures, such as the cloud

>> Implementing turnkey analytics, data visualization and business intelligence tools

>> Delivering product and services innovation and ideation based on business intelligence from these tools

>> Supporting business model innovation based on the collected intelligence

The mountain of big data being generated by these connected cars capabilities offers insights into both vehicle (diagnostics, wear, maintenance, defects) and driver (location, usage patterns, driving history) information, often in real-time.

The IHS Automotive study estimates the potential value from big data assets in the connected car industry sector at $14.5 billion or more by 2020. However, this figure remains academic unless the data can be monetized to achieve its real business value and goals. To balance the sheer volume and cost of collecting and managing connected car data against its potential value, automakers need IoT and big data strategies and the mechanisms for realizing value from that data close to its collection point throughout the vehicle lifecycle. This requires fast, direct and secure interconnection that is proximate to data collection, storage, distribution and analysis points.

A respected Equinix colleague, Michael Winterson, nails it in his assessment on the actions the IoT automotive world needs to take:

To manage this huge volume of data, it will require a robust IT infrastructure that:

>> Allows for acquiring and analyzing the reams of data

>> Makes it possible to prioritize and act on the data that needs to be reacted to in real-time

>> Ensures that personal data on location and movement is stored and processed in a secure environment, bypassing the public internet

>> Ensures continuous, high-performance and fast connection to access clouds, networks and partners – whether a car is driving in Frankfurt or Sao Paolo


What Michael lays out suggests huge challenges for the IoT automotive industry, as traditional IT architectures are not built to guarantee this high level of interconnection and data exchange. Strategically located, global interconnection hubs are required to collect, store, process and analyze data, while establishing access to that data between businesses, networks and clouds. And all this must happen while providing real-time responsiveness, the highest security standards and robust reliability. Direct and secure interconnection to customers, suppliers, partners, and network and cloud provider ecosystems worldwide requires a global interconnection and colocation data center platform that can meet all these criteria.

Here is where companies like Equinix come into play. Equinix not only provides strategic counsel to automotive manufacturers on building robust IT infrastructures, but we also offer the vendor-neutral colocation and interconnection services that they urgently require. This includes helping them develop and deploy an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) strategy for interconnecting people, locations, clouds, data and an exploding number of “things.” An IOA framework prescribes establishing distributed IT at a company’s digital edge, where commerce, population centers and digital ecosystems meet. As an interconnection and colocation hub for some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers and emerging IoT technologies, we understand the challenges around building IoT automotive system, interconnection and big data storage IT infrastructures, and we provide solutions that play a vital role in the advancement of the connected car industry.

By Luke Harrison - Principal Global Solutions Architect - Equinix

CES 2020