We at Star are partnering with a worldwide consumer electronics brand with the goal of building a white-label, industry-agnostic ecosystem for managing connected devices remotely. Our vision includes delivering connected devices software updates over the air (OTA) and gathering critical data points from devices.
With this product, we expect to build a trust-based relationship between Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and their end-users, thus encouraging user-centric product delivery and enabling growth opportunities through new business models for key players.
The ecosystem we are developing incorporates the following:
- Hardware design and manufacturing
- Connected devices software
- A cloud solution to perform the heavy lifting of communicating with the device — sending and receiving data to/from the device
- Deep expertise in building connected ecosystems, which is crucial for the integration path with OEMs and delivery of a customizable solution on top of an existing platform
Initially we focused mainly on the automotive use case, given the expertise of both parties working on the solution and also existing high demand from automotive OEMs. From the very beginning, we tried to understand industry challenges and asked the following question:
“How might we use remote device updates to disrupt the industry?”
In an attempt to answer this question, we drafted six key statements on the role of the product we are creating:
- The connected car trend is unstoppable. The significance of vehicle connectivity is growing for the consumer. Users are willing to pay more for connectivity, which creates a diverse range of built-in services and safety improvements for end-users. Systems that enable comfort and safety through connectivity are complex, requiring the careful design and management of frequent software development cycles. Numerous suppliers provide systems and related software within a single vehicle. Therefore, the goal of managing connected devices software updates, their versions, and dependencies, will be one of the most complex tasks for the platform we are developing.
- We need to lower the cost of managing software efficiency for the device. Real-time OTA system updates drive value for both the OEM and the consumer. They mean fewer trips to the vehicle service center, a reduction of warranty issues, assistance with vehicle recalls and avoidance of bad headlines with destructive noise in the media.
- Agility and flexibility for OEMs. Remote device updates allow automotive companies to adopt the “agile mindset” and not just create software, but make it part of a dynamic product built around users, which OEMs can continuously revise and improve. Due to this paradigm change, we can reduce the automotive development cycle, allowing the incorporation of real-time user feedback.
- Added value for device owners and revenue streams for OEMs. Using OTA, the manufacturer can add features after the hardware has left the dealership and implement updates later to meet evolving user needs. Consider a consumer who wants to enhance their audio system, enable/disable service subscriptions or request an increase in horsepower from 200 to 300. OTA updates allow the user to get customized benefits and open up business opportunities for manufacturers and third parties.
- Improved customer satisfaction. Users save time by not bringing their vehicle to the service center. They receive the latest safety or functional updates without being involved in the process. Users get on-demand, in-vehicle services – the same experience as on their mobile phones.
- Continuous monitoring of the vehicle’s behavior after software updates based on data received from the device. For OEMs to close the loop after the update, it is crucial for them to be able to remotely monitor the vehicle’s behavior to analyze the impact, usage patterns and any potential negative side effects after the update.
As the speed of technology changes in the connected world, and in particular its acceleration in the automotive industry, we at Star, along with our partners, believe the question is no longer whether there is a market fit for our product. Instead, it is how quickly and to what extent new trends and players can emerge and capture new sources of revenue that this ecosystem brings to the table. And in our case, the sky is not the limit, as long as there is connectivity there!