Click here to close now.


Apache Authors: Liz McMillan, Craig Lowell, Jim Scott, AppDynamics Blog, Dana Gardner

Blog Feed Post

How to Develop Apps for Vehicles
Author Peter Rogers
Principal Mobility
Architect, Cognizant
VisionMobile recently published one of the best reports on apps for vehicles that I have read (  It is frustrating with how difficult it is to actually get an app approved for use in a car. Here are some of the unique challenges:

·         Safety first considerations (like driver distraction)
·         Long sales and car vendor app approval process
·         Car vendor led UX and ideation processes
·         Low risk strategies for selecting apps
·         Deal negotiation skills requirement
·         Massive market fragmentation.

The analogy VisionMobile offers is one that I remember vividly myself. That of running a small mobile games company (back before the days of iOS and Android App Stores around ) and trying to get a deal with a telecommunications operator in order to convince them to distribute your app on their private App Store.  Often games and applications were embedded into the mobile devices and so you also had the option of trying to get a deal with a mobile phone company (which was equally as hard). 

With the lack of portability of Java ME, mobile device fragmentation and not having the right business skills to win a decent contract meant that the mobile app market was on its last legs before Apple saved the day with the App Store. This is sadly an analogous state of affairs with apps today designed for the automotive industry.

There are 5 ways to develop Apps for vehicels:
  1. Run Apps in the In-Vehicle entertainment systems (Blackberry QNX CAR, Windows Embedded Automotive, Linux Genivi and Android)
  2. Use a link to a smartphone (Airbiquity, OpenCar, CloudCar, SmartDeviceLink / AppLink, MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay, Google Open Automotive Alliance and Windows in the Car)
  3. Remote access to the vehicle through an API (OnStar, General Motors API, Ford Remote API, Airbiquity, reverse engineering of vehicle protocols)
  4. Access to data through the On Board Diagnostics port called OBD-II (Dash Labs, Mojio, Carvoyant and MetroMile)
  5. New and emerging initiatives (W3C Automotive and Web Platform Business Group and OpenXC)

Apple, Google and Microsoft are all making a strong play for a link between the vehicle and their smartphones (#2 above), and effectively using the car as a third party accessory. This actually has the strong benefit that you can upgrade both the hardware and the software easily. It also makes testing easier because you can test on mobile hardware using stubs for the in-vehicle APIs, as opposed to requiring test hardware for the In-Vehicle entertainment systems. 

If we look at the Insurance sector then we can see that remote access through an API or access through OBD-II is going to get better diagnostics for initiatives like pay-as-you-drive insurance (MetroMile). The W3C have a new HTML5 for Automotive initiative ( which doesn’t seem to have produced a specification yet. OpenXC is a hardware module which gives access to vehicle data much like OBD-II but it also offers pluggable open hardware modules.

I also wanted to mention Carvoyant ( which reads data from OBD-II using a Bluetooth dongle and then sends it to a smartphone which in turns sends it to their Backend-as-a-Service.

Carvoyant is a middleware platform providing development tools enabling connected car applications to become a reality for all the cars on the road today.  In plain speak, that means we provide the back end tools helping developers and businesses alike to take advantage of the opportunities a connected car promises to deliver.  Carvoyant services developers creating connected car applications (i.e. apps enhancing how cars interact with the world around us via an internet connection).  Additionally, our platform serves businesses using the connected car to better communicate their offers to their customers. As a Backend-as-a-Service platform Carvoyant breaks down the data silos inherent in the auto industry. Our system collects data from all makes and models of vehicles built since 1996 across a wide variety of hardware devices and sources. This data is normalized and provided to our customers via our API. Today developers are utilizing this data to create the most robust array of apps and services for the connected car. ”

There are five main routes to markets for vehicle apps:
  1. Pre-installation into a vehicle
  2. Through the vehicle manufacturer’s App Store
  3. Write an app that runs on a smartphone and integrates with a vehicle through their private SDK
  4. Write an app that uses OBD-II and requires users to purchase an OBD-II Bluetooth dongle and distribute via a standard App Store
  5. Write an app that uses OBD-II and piggy-backs on top of an over-the-top platform like Dash or Carvoyant 

The first two options require a deal with a vehicle manufacturer. The third option requires a deal with a vehicle manufacturer if you intend to use their private APIs. Only the fourth and fifth options enable you to avoid explicit approval from a vehicle manufacturer but that also means you won't get access to their marketing resources. 

I like the idea of using an OBD-II dongle in the vehicle to talk with the smartphone.  This in turn talks to a cloud service.  If Carvoyant / Dash start to see great success with this over-the-top model then hopefully they can grow the ecosystem. 

If the dark age before the Apple and Android App Stores have taught us anything it is that developers are the key to success and history does have a habit of repeating itself.

Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies
Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Electric power utilities face relentless pressure on their financial performance, and reducing distribution grid losses is one of the last untapped opportunities to meet their business goals. Combining IoT-enabled sensors and cloud-based data analytics, utilities now are able to find, quantify and reduce losses faster – and with a smaller IT footprint. Solutions exist using Internet-enabled sensors deployed temporarily at strategic locations within the distribution grid to measure actual line loads.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.