Vehicle efficiencies have always been a top priority for automotive industry stakeholders and vehicle connectivity is increasingly becoming an integral part of the same
Over the years, the software content in vehicles has grown significantly and IoT companies such as Aeris have been supporting enterprises that aim to embark on their digital transformation journey. Auto Tech Review recently met up with Sameer Mahapatra, Country Manager & VP, Sales – India & SAARC, Aeris Communications to understand more about how it is supporting diversified industries in monetising a successful connected vehicle programme, while delivering better driving and ownership experience.
Vehicles have evolved over the last few years. Customers are increasingly expecting their vehicles to offer newer experiences and OEMs are busy evaluating newer technologies that can offer better customer engagement. Aeris’ Mobility Suite provides a cloud-agnostic foundation that makes it possible for OEMs to get their state-of-the-art connected vehicle programmes to market in less than six months during their IoT journey with a global approach, multi-regional variation, and enhanced user experience at significantly reduced costs.
The suite offers a highly customised approach to an OEM’s specific requirements that goes modular down to the component level end-to-end, from edge client to data analysis and UI presentation. Additionally, the suite also includes software components for cutting-edge services such as vehicle sharing, over-the-air firmware updates and on-demand services such as repairs, refuelling and parking.
While seeking to diversify its capabilities in the connected car market, Mitsubishi joined hands with Aeris in 2018 to enable introduction of new features as well as reduce operational complexities. Aeris worked closely with Mitsubishi to introduce a cloud-based software foundation for its connected car programme ‘Mitsubishi Connect’ that served as a single point of contact managing all aspects of connected vehicle service delivery globally. Mitsubishi Connect offers a convenient and intuitive driving experience, while offering remote vehicle services along with safety and security that can be accessed through MY MITSUBISHI CONNECT mobile app or via Mitsubishi vehicle owners’ portal.
Aeris also joined hands with the Volkswagen Group in early 2020 to establish a new joint venture – Ventic LLC – to develop connected car technologies on a single platform for the auto giant. Ventic’s micro-services-based platform architecture will enable quicker introduction of newer technologies that will support Volkswagen’s position in the future of shared mobility, while preserving the ability to deploy solutions that differ based on region or the vehicle model.
Working as per the business requirements as well as geographical restrictions, the platform architecture supports mobility across cloud platforms with built-in system monitoring as well as operational KPIs. The Ventic device platform also offers a service delivery architecture that optimises end-to-end system – from telematics to wireless communication – thereby improving response time while addressing key concerns like hardware power management. Aeris will initially focus on VW brand vehicles in North America, starting with the launch of the next generation Car-Net in most MY20 vehicles.
As motorcycle OEMs are also not behind in the race of introducing connected vehicle technologies, Aeris Mobility Suite also comes pre-equipped with capabilities spanning safety and service such as remote diagnostics, automatic collision notification, maintenance reminders among others as well as anti-theft to create and evolve a profitable, connected motorcycle programme. Mahapatra said the suite requires customisation according to the markets, as there is a need to carry out 25 % delta job and not just build the platform from scratch.
SMART FLEET PLATFORM
Keeping a track on the entire set of vehicles is one of the biggest headaches for fleet owners and Aeris India introduced its Smart Fleet platform earlier this year to enable them manage the fleet on a single platform. Fully equipped with features such as live remote tracking & tracing of vehicles, map view of vehicles with status, easy navigation with route search, complete trip data analytics, remote control with geofencing & immobilisation, single view dashboard among others, the platform offers a range of subscription-based fleet management services to help maximise operational excellence, thus ensuring fleet efficiency. For facilitating quicker order placement, in addition to direct sales and channel sales partners, Aeris has also enabled the digital platform for order cycle management through Facebook, noted Mahapatra.
Over the years, Aeris has been helping CV owners of varied fleet sizes as well as personal vehicle owners with flexible commercial models, deployment capabilities and 24x7 multi-lingual helpdesk that enables them capture and use data from commercial cars and trucks along with private two-wheelers, three-wheeler and four-wheelers. During the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Aeris has also been supporting law enforcement and disaster management agencies across multiple cities in enabling minimum response time to crisis powered by faster mobilisation of police vehicles via live location tracking, enabling better coordination among police vehicles as well as faster action for crisis management.
The country’s fleet industry continues to grapple with a lot of difficulties with the logistics cost in India hovering around 14 % and fleet under-utilisation due to lack of data, vehicle safety and importantly, fuel theft. Fuel costs contribute over 50 % of the total cost of operations for a fleet operator and thus, Aeris also joined hands with Russia-headquartered Omnicomm to develop and add fuel monitoring solution in its portfolio of packaged IoT solutions in India. The solution leverages Omnicomm’s fuel sensors supported by fuel data processing algorithms, while optimising fuel management that enables fleet companies to reduce operational costs. The move complements the Aeris IoT suite and has opened up a new market segment in India and SEA market, observed Mahapatra.
Aeris created an IoT lab at its Noida premises around two years back, where its engineers have simulated a connected vehicle ecosystem that offered potential customers a hands-on-experience of Aeris’ set of services across connected vehicle services such as telematics. According to Mahapatra, OEMs are getting interested as there are a lot of use cases being presented, especially by the last mile delivery. He expects the EV market to adopt a better organised approach in coming years as well as witness better consolidation through connected vehicle solutions. As the market remains flooded with a plethora of non-standardised products, Aeris aims to introduce a high level of standardisation and create awareness about investing in software as a service while cautiously dealing with initial cost versus investment payback equation.
Telematics has been part of the automotive business for some time now. And Aeris India’s largest area of strength continues to be telematics as the segment contributes over 75 % of its business activities in India and SAARC region, while catering to OEMs, ride-sharing companies, banks and insurance depending on the use cases. The company had joined hands with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) last year, wherein the latter will be the infrastructure provider for the ‘Fusion IoT Network’ for connecting IoT devices across 2G, 3G, LTE, LTE-M, and NB-IoT while focussing on cellular connectivity, delivering security, operational efficiency, and customer choice with flexibility.
TEXT: Anirudh Raheja