Monday, 21 September 2009

Industrial commons & automotive social networking

I've been asked to contribute of a debate on 'green telecoms', specifically how the telecoms industry can enable other industries as they seek to reduce carbon emissions. A couple of thoughts I've had on the subject:

First, should the telecoms industry contribute to the industrial commons by making certain data available to all, in the same way that GPS signals are open to anyone with a receiver? Tom Tom's HD Traffic service is one service that makes use of data on handset movement to route traffic. Could this data benefit everyone, reducing jams and hence emissions?

Second, is there a benefit to a short range car-to-car communications system, a kind of automotive social networking that enables ECUs to communicate with each other? Besides the obvious benefits around collision avoidance, could such ad-hoc networking help manage traffic flow and even enable the sharing of services such as GPS routing and even in-car entertainment? Sounds interesting conceptually - the EU has even set aside frequency for it at 5.9GHz.

There's most definitely money in this for OEM manufacturers to put chips in every vehicle whether at build or as a retrofit. I also wonder whether there is a micro-payment model for exchanging access to services between vehicles. The challenge to this would be identity management, however accounts could easily be tied to vehicle registrations to get around this.

I'll feed back how the debate goes...

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