SAP and BMW Team Up on Cars via “Internet of Things”




At the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014, SAP and BMW announced the development of technology infrastructure for in-vehicle mobility services. The research prototype is based on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform and will provide personalized services to drivers based on their exact location and route. This collaboration brings SAP one step closer toward making its vision of the connected car a reality. The project is part of a joint “The Internet of Things” research initiative of SAP and BMW Group Research and Technology.
 
The cloud-based platform from SAP serves as a link between BMW and external partners that provide services such as parking, fuel, beverages, and food. Information from the various partners is aggregated in a virtual marketplace that, in the future, could allow BMW to give passengers and drivers contextualized and personalized offerings via the in-car dashboard or mobile device. The SAP back end enables service providers to combine services and create new offerings tailored to the preferences of particular drivers and passengers.
 
Together with BMW Group Research and Technology, SAP has developed a prototype for parking and retail “couponing” use cases. Based on the driver’s profile and vehicle location, the system provides an appropriate space close to the driver’s destination. Once the parking space has been selected by the driver, the location is transmitted to the navigation system for routing guidance.
 
In the “couponing” use case, the driver receives information on deals based on his or her current location, selected route, and individual preferences. To help avoid distractions while driving, the driver can control the frequency in which the deals are displayed. Deals can be bookmarked and, as in the parking use case, the store location can be transmitted directly to the navigation system for routing guidance. The selected coupon is sent to the driver’s smartphone and can be redeemed immediately at the point of purchase.
 
It is not clear yet whether SAP is vying for the In-Car Entertainment (ICE; a.k.a., IVI as in In-Vehicle Infotainment) market where Apple, Microsoft, and BlackBerry are already competing. These vendors provide platforms to run electronics (via voice recognition if required) for the car such as heat, lights, sounds, mileage, hooking to OnStar-like car safety and navigation capabilities, etc. If SAP can move into the car platform market, the company might worm its way there into more automotive enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) deals as well.
 
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