Connected Cars: IoT Disrupts The Once-Humble Automobile

Tom Raftery

Lately, it feels like we’re living in an episode of “The Jetsons.”

Cars aren’t exactly whizzing through the air like they did in the early ‘60s Hanna–Barbera cartoon, but they’ve come a long way from the once-humble machines they used to be.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is helping us unlock an impressive array of features that will transform how we use, view, and interact with our cars.

Recently, I sat down with Laurens Eckelboom, vice president of Connected Vehicles at SAP, on my IoT Heroes podcast to discuss how the future of automobiles is unfolding right before our very eyes.

Your days of long searches for a parking spot are over

One of the first topics Laurens and I tackled on the podcast was smart parking.

With an IoT-enabled device connected to your vehicle, you can gain instant access to a large inventory of parking spaces, reserve a spot, and even pay for the space ahead of your arrival – all from the convenience of your smartphone.

Whether you’re visiting a crowded mall around the holidays or attending a jam-packed sporting event or concert, this smart parking feature will help eliminate the headache of long searches for a parking spot, offering unimaginable ease.

No-hassle fueling is now a reality

Another way IoT is reimagining the automobile is by simplifying the fueling process.

IoT technology can now alert you when your vehicle is low on fuel, identify nearby gas stations, and direct you to your desired fueling location via GPS. This increased connectivity will even allow you to pay for your gas without so much as reaching into your pocket for cash or a credit card.

Plus, because all this data is stored in the cloud in real time, this is particularly helpful for business travelers, as they no longer have to keep track of this information manually. Details of their journey, including miles traveled and fuel purchased, are computed automatically – or “automagically,” as I put it to Laurens during the podcast.

All that’s left for a business traveler to do at the conclusion of a trip is submit her expense report to the company’s accounting department with the simple push of a button on her smart device.

These companies are ushering in the future of connected cars – today

At the recent Mobile World Congress event, SAP announced that it’s partnering with Concur, Mojio, Hertz, and Nokia to make life easier for drivers through the power of IoT.

Mojio provides a connected vehicle platform and Web app powered by a vehicles network solution that will help T-Mobile customers in the United States and Deutsche Telekom users in Europe to benefit from the smart parking and fueling capabilities highlighted above. Concur software will handle the trip reporting and travel-related expense processes.

Leading rental car company Hertz is collaborating with SAP, Nokia, and Concur to bring drivers the ultimate vehicle personalization experience. Laurens says that with IoT, Hertz can customize everything from the seating to the music.

So if Laurens is renting a car, for instance, the vehicle could communicate with his smartphone to get information around his preferences. It would then adjust the seats to accommodate his 6-foot, 4-inch frame and turn the radio dial so he could listen to his favorite tunes from the ‘90s.

Connected car innovation is just beginning

This is just the start of the upheaval we are about to witness. IoT is disrupting the once-humble automobile with parking, fueling, and expense management services today. And with the advent of autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing services, as well as the electrification of the transportation fleet, the industry will be nearly unrecognizable in the coming years.

Listen to the full podcast and read a transcript of my conversation with Laurens at the IoT Heroes website to learn more about IoT’s impact on the automobile.

For additional information on the SAP Vehicles Network, visit SAP.com, and make sure to follow @SAPLeonardo for all the latest IoT news.

Learn how to bring new technologies and services together to power digital transformation by downloading “The IoT Imperative for Discrete Manufacturers: Automotive, Aerospace and Defense, High Tech, and Industrial Machinery.”

Explore how to bring Industry 4.0 insights into your business today by reading “Industry 4.0: What’s Next?”


Tom Raftery

About Tom Raftery

Tom Raftery is Vice President and Global Evangelist for the Internet of Things at SAP. Previously, Tom worked as an independent analyst focusing on the Internet of Things, energy, and clean technology. Tom has a very strong background in social media, is the former co-founder of a software firm, and is co-founder and director of hyper energy-efficient data center Cork Internet eXchange. More recently, Tom worked as an industry analyst for RedMonk, leading the GreenMonk practice for seven years.