IoT Blog
IoT Blog

The New Car Sharing Economy

by Benoit Tournier, Director of Marketing, Transportation

As urban density increases, so does traffic congestion, pollution, and the cost of inner-city parking. Transportation authorities in large cities have already turned to car sharing as a way to augment public transit, while urban dwellers who only need a vehicle for a few hours each week see car sharing as a viable alternative to traditional car ownership. Enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT), car sharing has emerged as the latest disruption in the automotive industry.

Some automotive manufacturers are building vehicles with factory-installed telematics for the car sharing market: Daimler for its own venture running the car2Go service, BMW for DriveNow and ReachNow. Aftermarket solution providers are also competing with telematics and application platforms. Some rental companies are going after service revenues by setting up subsidiaries that run car sharing services, such as Hertz with Hertz24/7, and Avis which acquired Zipcar. These compete with private companies such as Invers, Zazcar, Getaround, as well as companies operating under public/private partnerships with city transit authorities, such as VuLog (Evo Car Share) in Vancouver, Canada.

Usage models for car sharing have become increasingly sophisticated, progressing from round trip, where drivers must pick up and return cars at the same location, to free-floating, which allows drivers to pick up and return anywhere within a given geographical area. To compete effectively, car sharing companies need to provide maximum convenience for customers – ideally a free-floating usage model that covers a wide geographical area.

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While car sharing applications are well-suited to the IoT, there are still a number of challenges when it comes to meeting connectivity requirements for a free-floating usage model. Shared cars must be connected 24 x 7, whether they’re being driven through tunnels, underground parking garages, or urban canyons. Signal loss could mean slow response times to emergencies or theft. If customers leave cars in cellular blind spots, companies incur the cost of locating and driving cars back to a viable location. Cars with unreliable connectivity mean lost revenues, since customers won’t be able to book those cars.

Companies need a single solution that can deliver seamless, business-critical connectivity over a wide area, in all countries where their business operates. Sierra Wireless offers compelling advantages for car sharing solution providers:  

  • eUICC-compliant modules that come pre-certified with major network providers, enabled for multi-operator coverage.
  • Smart SIMs with patented ‘smart steering’ functionality that attach to the best available network, for seamless multi-operator connectivity across network types and cellular provider boundaries.
  • A fully-integrated IoT management platform that handles end-to-end security, over-the-air updates, and network subscriptions, providing flexibility to select the most appropriate mix between CAPEX and OPEX to match revenue streams.

By working with Sierra Wireless, solution providers and car sharing companies eliminate the need to source multiple MNOs, SIMs, connectivity agreements, and management platforms. They reduce time-to-market, simplify deployment and maintenance, extend coverage and ultimately, maximize revenues.

Read our whitepaper to learn more about our vision for the car sharing market.

Start with Sierra to disrupt the Automotive market.