German software giant SAP eyes gains from connected cars

October 23, 2018 06:01 CET

German software giant SAP plans to become an even bigger player in the fledging connected car sector. SAP is working in two areas. The first is capturing data from fleets of 100 to 1,000 cars to provide insights a fleet manager can use to make business decisions. The second is allowing drivers to pay for parking or fuel without ever getting out of the car. SAP Chief Expert Connected Vehicles Heino Kantimm shared more with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Olive Keogh.

What is SAP’s involvement with connected cars?

Our interest is in how data generated by sensors in the car is processed and this very much depends on what the car is connected to. If it is connected to other cars, then the challenge may be to put together data from different car brands to get a shared view of the road conditions.

What happens if it is a car-to-infrastructure connection?

Then it’s about how you could use connectivity to create something, such as more intelligent traffic flows in cities. If it is car to driver, then it may be about connecting the driver to third-party businesses. This will often involve a money flow, for example, for parking or refueling.

Do you have specific areas of focus?

We have two key areas. The first is where the business challenge would involve a fleet of maybe 100 to 1,000 cars that continuously produce a lot of data. Our role could be to capture this data and create an IT platform able to process it in real time and create insights a fleet manager can use to make business decisions. The second is where the driver is connected to something, such as a parking garage or fuel station. The aim is to create an experience where the driver does not need to pull a paper ticket when entering a parking garage or go inside the fuel retailer to pay with a plastic card. Instead, he can authorize the payment from his car.

Heino Kantimm: “When connecting cars you quickly get into questions of who really manages the customer relationship.”

Who are your customers?

Our market is broad, but would include automakers, fuel retailers, parking companies and other mobility and connected car service providers such as rental car companies and toll operators. We already have long relationships with many of them.

Where does the revenue-generating potential lie for connected cars?

In areas such as aftersales connectivity. This is where companies such as telecommunication firms or insurance companies enter this market by putting a device into a car through which they can get access to data and, in turn, can make offers to their customers that are somewhat related to mobility.

What are the biggest challenges in the connectivity sector?

When connecting cars you quickly get into questions of who really manages the customer relationship, who manages the data and how providers of services can collaborate for the benefit of our joint customer? That is not easy. Almost every player in this industry is asking for and offering to collaborate, but we have not yet seen a real breakthrough on true collaboration in the connected car space.

Connected vehicle boss

Name: Heino Kantimm
Job:Chief Expert Connected Vehicles, SAP
Age: 47
Started current job: 2012

Who owns the car’s data?

The car manufacturers would claim it’s their data because it’s generated by their car. The drivers would claim it’s their data because they own the cars. Then you have the Tier 1 companies that provide the sensors who might want to do something with it. Ultimately, I think it’s about the driver giving others permission to use the data in certain circumstances. This is happening today, but in the future we will see it in a much more detailed and transparent way. Today when you buy a car you sign a document that says somewhere that the car manufacturer may access data from the sensors. In the future this may be much more explicit with drivers agreeing that their driving behavior, for example, could be shared with an insurance company that can then provide them with lower premiums because of the way they drive.

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