Are Mobile Operators Ready for the Connected Car?

F5 Miniatur
Published October 04, 2016

Market Potential

According to Gartner, Inc., there will be 250 million connected vehicles on the road by 2020, enabling new in-vehicle services and automated driving capabilities. The connected car will be a major component of the Internet of Things (IoT), demonstrating the importance of 5G for a connected society.

Connected cars are already on the market and generating significant revenue for automakers and mobile network operators. Revenue in the connected car marketamounts to USD $8.011 billion in 2016 and is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2016–2020) of 27.57 percent in 2020. Most notably, AT&T recently reportedover nine million connected cars on its network at the end of the second quarter of 2016.

The increased consumption of in-vehicle services and new concepts of mobility will lead to new business models and effects across the important functional areas of automated driving, infotainment, telematics, and mobility services.

Connected Car Services

Mobile Services/Infotainment: New in-vehicle services and content consumption will greatly contribute to the need for wireless bandwidth and mobile network capacity. Passengers will require high quality connections for HD movies, gaming online, accessing company systems, interacting with social clouds, or videoconferencing. For these applications, vehicle occupants will expect a user experience comparable to their home or office networks. Providing acceptable quality of experience (QoE) with end-to-end latency and availability will become a challenge.

Telematics/Autonomous Driving: Telematics include navigation and communication of information related to road safety, traffic congestion, and security. Its main goals are vehicle safety, reduction of driver errors, better fuel economy, automatic crash notification, roadside assistance at the press of a button, providing routes around accidents, and auto-dials for emergency assistance. To avoid accidents and ensure safety for car occupants, sensing and mitigation will be critical. Pre-crash sensing enables vehicles to detect imminent collisions and exchange relevant data, allowing vehicles and drivers to take countermeasures to mitigate the impact of a collision. To ensure safety and reliability while operating as either a connected or autonomous (self-driving) car, low-latency communications among vehicles and with the infrastructure are needed.

Mobile Operator Services Delivery Requirements – Scale, Performance & Security

5G looks to be the enabler of wireless technologies to support high-speed, low-latency vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications for connected cars. In-vehicle services and automated driving capabilities can bring a number of benefits to users including improved safety, fewer collisions, less congestion, better fuel economy, and higher productivity for drivers and passengers.

Security and Privacy Challenges

Building a secure and integrated platform to achieve a profitable business model for automakers, ecosystem partners, and mobile network operators is a huge task. Deep partnerships will also be required to address day-to-day vehicle operations in order to deliver safe and secure apps.

The stakes are high when car occupants’ privacy and safety are in jeopardy, in case an unexpected event or system compromise should occur. Hackers not only can gain access to private data and systems information, they can also take control of connected vehicles and cause sudden movements to the car. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and malicious advanced persistent threats (APTs) could cause accidents and threaten lives.



To achieve the full market potential of delivering a seamless connected experience, mobile operators can become “solution integrators”—delivering the “connected car service” by building a safe and integrated platform with automakers and ecosystem partners.

High Performance and Programmability

Mobile operators will need to invest in solutions that can scale with high performance and availability. This will include implementing SW/HW platforms that can scale to billions of concurrent connections and support millions of new connections per second. These platforms must provide the security, scale, and performance required to handle sophisticated and emerging threats—mitigating potential attacks on car sensors, the DNS infrastructure, core network resources, and L7 services with visibility into applications.

Car occupants will expect the same quality of experience, privacy, and safety that they get with services at home or in the office. This means mobile operators will also need to steer and prioritize traffic according to applications. For example, an E911 call will need to be prioritized over an email download or car telemetry data being transmitted in the network.

Service agility will be key to introducing new revenue-generating services in the connected car ecosystem. The ability to simplify and automate provisioning and service upgrades is critical for agility. A programmable interface allows mobile operators to develop and tailor new services—and implement virtual network functions (VNFs) to seamlessly transition toward the 5G vision of connected cars. A comprehensive, interoperable NFV/SDN ecosystem with programmable, open APIs and advanced orchestration capabilities will enable mobile operators to scale their networks with more flexible and agile architectures. This, in turn, can allow rapid services delivery (and potential cost savings) in the connected car services ecosystem.