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How Telcos Can Fuel Connected & Autonomous Mobility
Advancements in connected and autonomous vehicles promise to improve road safety, decrease pollution and enable faster and more cost-effective transportation options. Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology is set to revolutionize the mobility ecosystem. But the future of autonomous vehicles is not just about the self-driving capability – it involves a wide-ranging, interconnected ecosystem, including cities, transportation networks and various services. Many of these existing and future technologies rely heavily on the critical telecom network infrastructure, which must be ready to embrace this digital transformation and drive new service opportunities.
Below, we highlight three key opportunities for telcos in the connected and autonomous mobility space.
Monetizing Legacy Telecom Networks, Infrastructure & Expertise
There are many ongoing development efforts and trials for V2X technology all around the world. While full vehicle autonomy is still some years away, there are a range of connected assets that have already been deployed that are useful today and whose impact will grow exponentially as V2X matures. For example, existing telecom networks, such as 4G/5G, LTE Cat-M and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN), are powering the collection of data around city infrastructure, parking, commercial vehicle fleets and environmental conditions related to weather or air quality.
Between fiber, towers and equipment cabinets, telecom providers currently have existing infrastructure assets that can give them a head start in this space. Meanwhile, public sector entities have the right-of-way over land for transportation purposes. There is a clear and present opportunity for these two groups to collaborate and share assets, harnessing the existing infrastructure, creating mutually beneficial business models and accelerating time-to-market.
However, for the connected vehicle market to thrive, drivers need to trust its security and reliability. Telecom providers are in a great position to offer their extensive experience in deploying and managing secure and reliable communications. Not only are they capable of securing their own networks, but they can collaborate with other industry stakeholders to provide end-to-end cybersecurity assurance, new network deployments and management.
Fostering Partnerships and Data Sharing with the Public Sector, Automotive & Other Industries
Short-range direct communication occurs between the vehicles themselves (V2V), vehicles and infrastructure (V2I), and vehicles and pedestrians (V2P). Cellular V2X (C-V2X) operates in the internationally allocated 5.9 GHz band, independent of cellular networks. It is the long-range communications – where C-V2X enables vehicles to receive information outside of the local context (e.g., weather, upcoming road conditions, special offers and services) – that require the use of conventional mobile networks, referred to as V2N. Thus, telecom operators have the unique opportunity to be at the center of enabling wide-area communications and the exchange of data that can enable a variety of innovative vehicle and passenger services.
V2X builds upon the services already offered in the connected vehicle today, including insurance, telematics, vehicle diagnostics, navigation and in-car entertainment. Telecom operators must build upon pre-existing partnerships and should establish new relationships with automotive OEMs, insurance providers, commercial fleet operators and content and gaming providers, but also public sector and public safety entities. The rollout of 5G is set to create significant breakthroughs in the level of innovation for both vehicle technologies and services. Industry bodies like the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) are helping to bridge this gap between automotive manufacturers and telecom providers. A true collaboration is needed from both ends to revolutionize the vehicle ecosystem and its interaction points, and telecom providers need to be able to justify the network investments through the creation of these partnerships that leverage their networks and platforms and create new, monetizable services.
Building Out New Infrastructure, Digital Business Models & Revenue Streams
One of the driving forces behind the success of the connected car today is eSIM technology. eSIM technology – supplied by telecom providers – is more secure, tamper-proof, easier to manage (by reducing the logistics chain) and more durable, as there is no interaction between the user and the device itself. eSIM is not required in the C-V2X communication, but it is critical that telecom providers can enable that kind of seamless user experience for the future of V2X.
Many of the existing and new V2X services will require high-capacity, low-latency and highly reliable networks. This is why 5G is absolutely critical in driving the success of C-V2X. Time-critical services can be supported by edge computing. Network slicing is another tool that allows telcos to provide virtualized end-to-end networks that can be set up for certain use cases or industry segments. Deploying and operating private networks is a similar concept meant to ensure dedicated and secure communication. Finally, C-V2X will be able to leverage millimeter waves (above 20 GHz spectrum) that will be used by 5G mobile networks to facilitate high-volume data transfers and support low-latency wide-area networks that can support use cases such as assisted driving. Telecom operators have a real opportunity to drive new revenue through innovative V2X services, build digital equity through V2X for underserved communities and tap into carbon trading initiatives around the globe.
Telecom providers should be focused on putting their stake in the ground for enabling the future of mobility. As vehicles move closer to full autonomy, consumers will be looking for more optimized transportation as well as the fuller range of value-added services. Telecom providers, leveraging their existing assets and experience, must therefore nurture both new and existing partnerships and build out essential network and platform capabilities to enable the future of V2X services. While this will drive innovation at scale for V2X, it will also open new revenue opportunities and unlock the value of their infrastructure in the process.
Discover how EPAM’s Vehicle-to-Everything expertise can support the innovation of autonomous vehicles to create interconnected ecosystems.