Cars could soon be an advertiser’s dream, and a passenger’s nightmare

23 Feb 2018

Image: Hadrian/Shutterstock

With so much spare time to be had in autonomous cars, advertisers are on a mission to occupy that free gap.

The internet of things (IoT) world has been both busy and self-reflective this week, especially as we gear up towards this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

In Ireland, rising star and darling semiconductor producer DecaWave recently announced a major round of funding worth $30m, creating 100 jobs at its global operations in the process.

However, there were questions over whether trusted devices are becoming obsolete.

In the light of events such as Meltdown and Spectre, many are worried about the integrity of their devices, and are wondering if the concept of a ‘trusted device’ is still useful.

Cars of the future will just be personalised billboards

The idea of a car taking us from A to B and nothing more is dead, and replacing it is a means for companies to target you with even more personalised advertising.

That’s according to Roger Lanctot, a consultant with Strategy Analytics who spoke with Bloomberg this week.

With cars now geared towards always being connected to the internet, companies such as Telenav are developing in-car advertising to appear on the screen.

The idea is that if your on-board computer recognises that you travel to one particular supermarket each week, a rival supermarket could try to offer you vouchers to get you to its store via an on-screen map.

“Carmakers recognise they’re fighting a war over customer data,” Lanctot said. “Your driving behaviour, location, has monetary value, not unlike your search activity.”

The end goal, he added, is to build a database of consumer preferences that would rival the data monetisation seen through online services such as Google and Facebook.

Volkswagen unveils first fully autonomous car concept

German auto manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) is aiming to put its diesel scandal behind it with the debut of its fully autonomous electric car concept, called the ID Vizzion.

The company’s ID concept series aims to build a number of cars that look like something out of Blade Runner, minus the ability to fly, of course.

With a 111kWh battery on board, the car could travel for a distance of 655km on a single charge on its most eco-friendly setting, with seemingly zero human controls built on the inside.

A ‘digital chauffeur’, commands to the car would be delivered not by a steering wheel or buttons, but through voice commands and gesture control.

VW aims to have 20 electric car models on the road by 2025, starting with its ID2 compact car in 2020.

There are now 41 NB-IoT and LTE-M networks worldwide

Access to low-power wide-area (LPWA) technology through the likes of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M is growing at a considerable rate, with the GSMA revealing that, so far, 23 mobile operators have commercially launched 41 mobile IoT networks worldwide.

This growth is supported by 34 IoT labs and an expanding community of more than 800 organisations. By 2025, there will be 3.1bn cellular IoT connections, including 1.8bn licensed LPWA connections.

“2018 is the year that mobile IoT networks will scale,” said the GSMA’s CTO, Alex Sinclair.

“We have seen huge growth in the availability of commercial networks in licensed spectrum, and anticipate seeing many more launches this year. This is underpinned by an expanding community of organisations developing innovative new solutions, and a number of IoT labs helping companies to test out new products and services.”

Qualcomm reveals its ‘IoT’ chip for drones and AI devices

Qualcomm’s latest processor, the Snapdragon 820E, has been designed with IoT in mind for drones and devices with AI behind them.

With four cores operating up to a frequency of 2.15GHz, the chip performs 40pc better than its own previous top-end chips.

Speaking of the chip, Qualcomm’s senior vice-president of product management, Jim Tran, said: “The Snapdragon 820E is a powerful and versatile embedded platform that is designed to support both complex connected computing and immersive visual graphics, while providing the ultimate in performance and power efficiency that is ideal for small-form factors and a wide variety of cutting-edge IoT applications.”

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic