Ecosystem Opportunities in Automotive – QNX at CVTA

cvtaheader311Recently, the Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA) invited me to participate in a panel on emerging opportunities in the automotive ecosystem. Here’s the summary on the perspective I shared. I’ve included an elevator-pitch on QNX – so skip the first paragraph if you already know us.

We are a leading supplier of embedded software for in-car systems – including the operating system, middleware, and graphics – essentially everything you need to build open application platforms or closed purpose-built devices. Our customers are the tier ones building a variety of in-vehicle solutions deployed by car companies. These systems include telematics, infotainment, navigation, handsfree, connectivity modules and digital instrument clusters. (You typically find QNX products in the cab versus under the hood.) We’re production proven, shipping in over 7.4 million vehicles on a world wide basis.

Our perspective – everything is changing as the vision of the connected car becomes a reality. This will involve a massive transition and while having a pipe to the vehicle will solve a lot of problems, it will create a few as well. Connectivity to the cloud will involve a bit of complexity. And with complexity comes opportunity.

From our device-centric perspective, we see a new class of ecosystem developing – one that is all about the internet and enabling internet-based applications and services. But we don’t believe this will replace the existing embedded or onboard ecosystems. Rather, the new in-car solutions will be a hybrid of the embedded and internet experience – marrying onboard and offboard applications in a common platform. Connectivity enhances the in-car experience but does not ultimately change the nature of the system around safety, reliability, and persistence.

We think opportunities will exist for traditional embedded players, the internet ecosystem, and the companies that can deliver the internet experience in an embedded or auto-centric “package”.

Another area of opportunity lies in system partitioning. In-car systems are becoming increasingly complex and the variety of applications continues to increase. We see our customers struggling with decisions on what should run where. Do they put Bluetooth on the head unit, on a connectivity module in the dash, a gateway in the trunk or all three? What applications or portions of applications need to reside locally onboard versus remotely as offboard services?How do you integrate several systems and retain separate development silos?

The companies that find the right balance and manage the complexity of delivering applications and services safely without compromising user experience will win – whether they deploy a single box hosting all applications or a network of devices with applications partitioned across the various nodes in that vehicle network.

Finally, in the short term, we see an increased demand for services – our customers and their customers face increasing complexity, reduced resourcing, shorter times to market, and the need to adapt to and adopt new technologies (within an automotive life cycle). Companies that can help the tier ones and OEMs do this will ultimately be successful, so a services play is definitely in order.

Coincidentally, we think that QNX and our ecosystem partners in both the embedded and internet spaces are in a position to take advantage of the opportunities presented!

Written and presented by Linda Campbell (with input from Andrew Poliak & Andy Gryc)


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