Data centres: the engine for the connected car

By 2020, there will be around a quarter-billion connected vehicles on the road. That’s 250 million cars reserving park spaces, monitoring congestion hotspots and making suggestions to drivers about the best routes to take on the commute home. But whilst such technology will have a significant impact on driving down congestion, what we need to consider are the traffic jams this proliferation of data could cause.

When you combine connected car data with the rest of the Internet of Things, we can see just how vast this volume of data will be. In fact, ABI Research predicts that the IoT will generate 1.6 zettabytes of data (roughly 1.6 billion terabytes) in the next five years. A significant percentage of these zettabytes of data will find its way into a data centre somewhere and this essentially puts the data centre at the heart of the Internet of Everything. Therefore, it is important that we overcome any challenges that could hinder the seamless experience users will demand in the connected world.

Connectivity, of course, is big challenge we need to focus our attention on. Connecting cars to a city’s smart infrastructure can put an immense strain on the infrastructure and it needs to have the flexibility to deal with fluctuating flows of data traffic. Only the operators that can accommodate this demand will have the competitive edge, delivering the real-time, accurate service users will come to expect when trying to navigate through a congested city.

The second challenge we must address is latency. By receiving up-to-the-minute information, via a mobile app or the in-car dashboard, about the situation on the roads, drivers are equipped with the information and insight to make the most effective remedial actions whether faced with sitting in gridlock or the need to find the nearest fuel station.

A delay in getting this information to drivers is not only frustrating for the person behind the wheel, but also has significant knock-on effects for transport authorities managing traffic in cities and on the economy. Having a data centre located in near city-centre locations will prove to be a huge advantage here to ensure that drivers can take full advantage of the benefits connected car technology has to offer.

The Internet of Everything certainly has its metaphorical foot on the accelerator and as developments in the connected car space continue to gain pace, it won’t be long until such vehicles are part of our everyday lives. Making sure a foundational infrastructure is in place, to ensure robust data processing and the smooth running of connected devices, will be of paramount.