Sprint unveils Velocity Service Bus, puts your car's settings in the cloud

Many connected cars only take limited control through the internet -- they can receive directions and unlock doors, but rarely much more. Sprint is widening that scope by launching Velocity Service Bus, an upgrade to its Velocity infotainment, diagnostics and maintenance platform. The IBM-powered expansion adds that map delivery feature, but it will also sync cabin settings through the cloud: preferences like radio stations, seat positions and temperatures can transfer between vehicles. Naturally, this also makes it easy to customize the car's interior through a smartphone or another remote device. While drivers will have to wait for automakers to implement Sprint Velocity Service Bus, it may cure quite a few headaches for multi-car homes once it arrives.

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IBM and Sprint Velocity Drive Connected Car Into the Future

SAN FRANCISCO – MobileBeat 2013 – 10 Jul 2013: IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that Sprint (NYSE: S) is using IBM MobileFirst solutions to deliver a more personalized, responsive connected car experience. Through new enhancements to the Sprint Velocity drivers' mobile devices and customized to their specific in-vehicle infotainment, security and convenience feature preferences.

Sprint Velocity, an end-to-end mobile integration solution developed specifically for auto manufacturers, is a pioneering capability that enables automakers around the world to develop and market connected services for cars and passenger trucks. As part of this collaboration, Sprint becomes the first mobile carrier to use IBM MessageSight, an appliance designed to enable organizations to manage and communicate with the billions of mobile devices and sensors found in systems such as automobiles, traffic management systems, smart buildings and household appliances.

Based on IBM MessageSight, the Sprint Velocity Service Bus is a new communications architecture that lets smartphones, tablets and other devices communicate through the cloud. This new architecture, which is being launched today, enhances the Sprint Velocity platform by simplifying and speeding the delivery of connected car services. The result is increased flexibility for auto manufacturers and an improved driver experience that can anticipate needs and make consumers' lives easier and more convenient. For instance, in addition to instantly unlocking a car with a smartphone or tablet, an action that used to take 60 seconds, or allowing a dealer to proactively communicate service suggestions based on sensor readings, the new platform is expected to improve the consumer experience with features that are delivered more quickly and accurately. The Sprint Velocity Service Bus can now support enhanced services, including:

• Mobile Concierge Service: After finishing a meal at a restaurant and searching for a local coffee shop on a smartphone, the directions can be sent to the car's navigation system, so as soon as the driver turns on the car, the directions will be queued up and ready to go.

• Automatic Cabin Temperature Adjustments: Temperature sensors in the car automatically adjust cabin settings based on established driver preferences that are stored in the cloud. For example, using a remote auto start on an unusually hot summer day, when the driver enters the car, it will be just the right coolness.

• Preferred Alternate Routes: An internal navigation system captures route and travel preferences in the cloud and based on time of day and traffic alerts, can suggest alternate routes.

• Location Tracking: A smartphone app for the driver to quickly find his car, which can be helpful in crowded parking lots.

"With the adoption rate of smartphones steadily on the increase, users have come to expect their preferences to transfer from one device to another. Transfer of your personalization and customization settings to the connected car is the next logical step for automotive manufacturers looking to drive innovation in a very competitive market," said Bob S. Johnson, director of development for Sprint Velocity. "To make this a reality, Sprint Velocity is working with IBM to provide open access across a select group of platforms and partners so vehicles can seamlessly connect a wide array of services and mobile devices."

The Sprint Velocity platform currently offers in-vehicle connections such as music, news, weather, sports and other infotainment features, as well as security, navigation, remote connections for mobile devices, emergency services and engine diagnostics. With the Sprint Velocity Service Bus enhancement, preferences such as seat position, cabin temperature and radio stations are stored in the cloud and are updated and synched via the driver's smartphone every time the car is turned on. The cloud enables a user to port these preferences across multiple vehicles.

A report issued by the GSMA and conducted by research firm SBD cites that the global connected car market is predicted to be worth nearly $53 billion in 2018, up from $17 billion in 2012. In comparison with most of today's connected car solutions, MessageSight requires low bandwidth and offers the speed and scale necessary for automakers to easily and economically connect maintenance and operational sensors back to dealers, or link mobile devices, security, navigation and locking/unlocking capabilities.

Sprint chose IBM MessageSight to enhance its customized services by quickly routing information from the thousands of sensors in each car, while connecting and infusing that data with intelligence to improve decision-making. Using Sprint Velocity, automotive manufacturers can more easily integrate the complex components and vendor ecosystem relationships needed to provide in-vehicle connected services. IBM MessageSight is designed to help companies such as Sprint to quickly and easily set up these types of solutions and scale to the levels required for embracing the Internet of Things.

"Cars today have become mobile data centers on wheels," said Rich Stomp, managing director, IBM. "From recalling in-vehicle infotainment preferences to preferred routes, seamlessly integrating all of the customized services provided to drivers can be a complex task. In the era of 'you,' IBM MobileFirst solutions are a key ingredient in enabling companies such as Sprint to deliver solutions that help automotive manufacturers create cars customized for the individual – not the masses."

Built on the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) technology, IBM MessageSight is designed to complement and extend IBM MobileFirst solutions, enabling an organization to gain greater insights through real time events in order to create targeted mobile offerings, and manage and monitor mobile devices in real time. IBM MessageSight is capable of supporting millions of concurrent sensors or smart devices and can scale up to 13 million messages per second. The connected car is part of the machine to machine (M2M) space being targeted by mobile carriers such as Sprint.