Where Will Telcos Find Roles in Connected, Autonomous Vehicle Ecosystem?

What are the opportunities for telecom companies in the new mobility ecosystem based on connected and autonomous vehicles? Much could hinge on how successful access providers are in creating new roles in the applications and services portions of the ecosystem (either by organic growth or, or more likely, acquisition).
Almost nothing is certain about internet of things, much less the roles internet access providers will play in the ecosystem. That some amount--perhaps a significant amount--of incremental access revenue will result is a given.

In connected cars, passengers will likely continue to rely on mobile connections or car entertainment systems (or both) to stream content and access information. But the bigger opportunity lies in owning the infotainment and navigation services, which could reach about $40 billion in revenue globally in 2020.

Some are optimistic, arguing that telecom companies are well positioned--beyond connectivity--to leverage billing, payments, analytics for planning and optimization, and asset management services. Of course, we have heard that argument many times before, and not so much has actually happened.

Fleet management services, including automated fleet scheduling, dispatching, and tracking as well as assisting in managing the rapid anticipated growth of autonomous fleets, also is seen as an area communications providers might supply.

If that seems unlikely, consider the way other access suppliers (such as cable TV companies) now own content assets and the networks to deliver content; own telematics services or home security operations.

Much could hinge on the way new IoT systems develop. In the autonomous vehicles space, for example, it might make a great deal of difference whether core functions are self-contained in each vehicle or rely on vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. That could affect the size of the communications services opportunity.

Deloitte’s analysis has found that the breadth of future mobility use cases requiring connectivity is expected to generate data traffic of roughly 0.6 exabytes every month by 2020—about nine percent of total US wireless data traffic.

Deloitte also estimates that data traffic associated with mobility and transportation could grow to 9.4 exabytes every month by 2030.

But leaders at the biggest tier-one providers might also hope to assume additional roles in the content and applications portions of the ecosystem.

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