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IBM recently announced increased client adoption of its cloud computing software and services with more than 20 million end-user customers worldwide, making it among the world's largest providers of cloud-based solutions. While IBM's cloud nomenclature tends to focus on business process management and collaboration for the enterprise, increasingly IBM's connected planet theme is encompassing embedded concepts across multiple vertical industries, including transportation and, specifically, connected vehicles.
The types of vehicles - as well as the infrastructure required to support the efficient operation of these vehicles - differ among the various modes (e.g., air, rail, road, sea, etc.) of transportation. However, the basic dynamics of an increasingly complex transportation ecosystem remain. And, as technology and transportation infrastructure developers consider the future of these interconnected systems, VDC feels a key inflection point in transportation evolution has now been reached.
Among IBM's initiatives for capitalizing on (1) the commercial intersection between information and communications technology adoption, (2) mobility, and (3) the transportation segment, are the processes for enabling connected vehicles. With that, IBM's strategy for engaging this industry segment is primarily from the position of a consultant, trusted advisor, and as a systems integrator - ensuring stakeholder objectives are aligned, and the hardware and software elements are propely tested, integrated, and remotely managed.
To further ensure consistency with its global services delivery methodology for connected vehicles, IBM has developed its Advanced Mobility Framework - a mapping of key stakeholders, required infrastructure, and available services - as illustrated below:
While VDC sees IBM Global Services among the worldwide leaders promoting the connected vehicle concept, as well as its range of services that are marketed, sold, and delivered into this market segment, the full promise of such transportation innovation has not been fully embraced on a truly global scale.
With the possible exception of several Western European nations (e.g., Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland), consumer resistance to electric vehicles, automakers' relatively slow adoption of in-vehicle mobile technology, inadequate legacy transportation infrastructure, and competing government funding priorities have all conspired to delay widespread smart transportation initiatives.
Yet, VDC believes the promise (both economic and environmental) of such transportation innovation is tangible and, therefore, represents a viable long-term business opportunity for many embedded hardware (e.g., Analog Devices, Infineon, Freescale, NXP, etc.), software (e.g., Microsoft, Wind River, QNX, etc.), and services (e.g., Accenture, IBM Global Services, etc.) entities through this decade.