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Car access via smartphone

Porsche Holding Salzburg and Telekom Austria Group have announced a cooperation in the area of the Connected Car: The Dibox lets car owners and third parties collect data on driving performance.

The Dibox needs a CAN connection to monitor drivers and their cars (Photo: Dibox)

DIBOX, A SMALL DIGITAL BOX, IS INTEGRATED into the vehicle and connected to the CAN network. It allows car owners to collect data via their smartphone. Where is the car? Are the doors and windows shut? Are the lights off? Vehicle owners can answer these questions via the Internet using the related app on their smartphones. The platform lets users also compare their driving performance profile with others and compiles a personal logbook.

The box functions as an open platform for future applications and services. It can be accessed and used by mobility service providers and freelance programmers. As a result, third party providers can develop apps and services on this platform using the available data. This data could include, for example, information on fuel consumption, speed, and individual driving behavior.

Connected Cars are a significant driver for growth. According to a publication of Berg Insight (“The Global Wireless M2M Market, August 2014), a total of 68 million M2M (machine-to-machine) devices were ordered globally in 2013. By 2019, this is expected to grow to 208 million devices. In addition, 176 million M2M connections were cumulatively registered worldwide until the end of 2013 and this number is expected to increase to 599 million until the end of 2019.

The Dibox needs a CAN connection to monitor drivers and their cars (Photo: Dibox)

Data protection

Data protection has become a major concern when it comes to Connected Cars. Dibox is based on a data security concept which has been awarded the European Privacy Seal by Europrise. For this certification, the manufacturer proved that the system complies with EU data protection law. Customers, such as insurance companies or providers of traffic information services, may use the service in order to receive relevant real time information about a vehicle - provided that the vehicle owner consented to this beforehand. According to Europrise, customers can be sure that processing of real time vehicle data is in line with the provisions of EU data protection law.

Customers have full authority over the sent data. Each single feature can only be activated upon prior approval by the customer and data transmission can be discontinued via an online portal at any time. Business customers can use functionalities in coordination with the works council, which ensures privacy protection for company car users.

The manufacturer and supplier of Dibox is the Austrian company AMV Networks. The platform is based on the AMV System and the corresponding software works, to some extent, like a clearing house. Data, which is read out in the car only upon prior approval by the customer, is sent to the AMV System anonymously and forwarded to Porsche Informatik only with the driver’s express consent, where a connection between the vehicle and the car owner is ultimately set up. Users remain anonymous and their data is neither stored by AMV nor by Porsche Informatik.

Solution for fleet managers

Currently, the Dibox app is compatible with iOS 8.1 and later versions as well as Android 5.0 and later versions. Since the beginning of this year, the platform has been available to order as a new car accessory for selected car models of the brands Volkswagen, Audi, and Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge. Other group brands will soon follow. In the second quarter of 2015, the box will also be available for retrofitting into any VW, Audi, and VW Light Commercial Vehicles models which possess a CAN network. The platform will be first made available in Austria. Since both involved companies currently operate in numerous European markets, a joint market expansion is planned.

Individual solutions for fleet customers are planned as the data can be integrated into single fleet management systems. Vehicle fleet managers for companies or associations, such as emergency service and fire-brigades or private security companies, can receive real-time information about the vehicle location or about upcoming service and repair dates. No information about location data is disclosed to vehicle owners by means of the web portal. This means that vehicle owners may not track routes of other drivers by means of this portal.

Telekom Austria Group M2M will be responsible for equipping the Dibox platform with Telekom Austria SIM chips, and will also provide necessary IT systems for administration and billing purposes. An objective of the partnership between the two companies is to offer customers a range of application possibilities that can be selected and combined via Dibox. The companies aim to make the necessary infrastructure available.

“The trend towards the interconnection of machines, objects and vehicles - the so-called Internet of Things - is unstoppable and increasingly gathering momentum, opening up new application opportunities in a many areas of life. Telekom Austria Group’s extensive ICT competence combined with Porsche Holding Salzburg’s automotive know-how and sales power provide the ideal basis to turn our Connected Car vision into reality”, said Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Telekom Austria Group, about the cooperation with Porsche Holding Salzburg. Alain Favey, CEO Porsche Holding Salzburg continues “The new Dibox helps to democratize the Connected Car. With Telekom Austria Group as our partner we guarantee first class connections and an open platform for future developments, both content wise and geographically."

In September 2011, Telekom Austria Group M2M was set up as a competence center for machine-to-machine communication. Since then, the company has developed and marketed connectivity services along with solutions in the area of asset tracking and fleet management, insurance telematics, industrial automation and remote maintenance, smart metering and energy efficiency, as well as connected consumer gadgets.

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AMV Networks
Porsche Holding
Telekom Austria