Unlocking the Value of Connected Cars with Identity

Connected Cars: Cost Savings and New Revenue Opportunities

Automotive OEMs want their brands to remain valuable in the minds of the consumer. A valuable brand needs to offer the driver a customized driving experience and a delivery of services that creates a strong relationship post sale.

As we discussed in Part 1, consumer expectations have changed due to their daily exposure to smart phones and modern consumer electronics. To remain competitive, automotive OEMs are innovating to make the cockpit of a car a connected experience. This connectivity not only allows a passenger to browse the web with in-car WiFi or serve media from their smart phone via Bluetooth, but it allows the OEM to deliver a range of services to the driver. Revenue opportunities from automotive service delivery platforms will come from a range of use cases.

Subscriptions to media, navigation and concierge services have already been offered. But by utilizing a known driver identity, the car can deliver offerings that will be increasingly customized. This not only increases the value of the service offering, but enables the OEM to differentiate their brand through an enhanced cockpit experience.

There is huge value to be unlocked in the digital assets created by operating a car. Predictive maintenance and diagnostics data can realize significant cost savings. Driver behavior and media consumption patterns are subsets of data that feed business models as diverse as insurance and advertisement scoring. The lifecycle of a car in events such as ownership change and the installation and servicing of genuine parts is valuable information to an OEM. Tracking these events requires a platform that secures the identity of the car and its supply chain, the owners and also secures the flow of the data.

Ride sharing is changing the buying patterns of automobiles. Technology has already changed how we consume transportation services, and the entire concept of owning a car in an urban environment will likely undergo a transformation in the near term future. For example, consumers will still want a customized driver/passenger experience in a ride sharing scenario. Imagine a car being rented curbside that automatically consumes the preferred media service of the consumer.  Identity will play a role in connecting human, device and app.

In the near future, cars will be connecting to smart city infrastructure and even communicate and collaborate with other cars. Fully automated driverless cars are on the horizon. This will require car/human/application identities to be managed across the automotive supply chain across third parties, supplying services including government jurisdictions. Identity security extended across these entities at scale will require a robust public trust.

The Challenge: Innovation Brings Complexity, Risk

All of this innovation brings complexity and with complexity comes a risk surface that needs mitigation. The security solution that will enable this innovation will need to seamlessly integrate into an already complex automotive supply chain involving many third parties. To protect automotive brands, safety will continue to be critical. A security solution will also need to work within a constrained computing environment and not affect overall performance.

The internal security risk of connected cars was addressed in Part 1 of this blog. Unlocking the value of innovative and new revenue streams and cost savings will also require a secure IoT ecosystem. This ecosystem involves uniquely identifying human owners and drivers, cars, car parts, government and many third party enterprises that are part of the pre-manufacture supply chain and post-sale service delivery.

The supply chain of automotive electronic systems has typically been based on vertical stacks of technology that do not interoperate. The number of managed identities needed to enable all of these opportunities will be the cross product of devices, people and apps. This will require an identity based security solution that offers scalability, flexibility, and it needs to begin as early as possible within the supply chain.

Unlocking the Value of Connected Cars with Identity

Starting from a public root of trust, managed identities can be provisioned to people and devices. Enterprises supplying services into an automotive ecosystem, including the OEMs can operate their own service gateways to manage identities related to their services. The public root of trust enables third parties to extend trust across the entire ecosystem.  In the supply chain, identities can be provisioned to pre-manufactured parts. Ideally, pre-sale device identities are provisioned as early as possible. Our next blog series will highlight the importance of securing the supply chain ecosystem for manufacturing environments.

Inside the car, automotive electronic controllers are increasingly designed with secure elements where credentials can be securely stored. Each car can have its own edge gateway separating the critical device network from the public internet and secure communication between the edge and cloud based services. Access to critical automotive functions is controlled through authentication and authorization. The lifecycle management of identities is enabled by software at the controller.

The most efficient and cost effective method of securely optimizing the value of the Automotive IoT ecosystem requires security to be baked in from the beginning of the supply chain. Bringing product to market securely requires an experienced security technology partner who is qualified in solving complex problems of scale and who is able to support an implementation for the long term. This will be a key success factor.