Iran’s 1st 4G-Enabled Car Emerges

Iran’s 1st 4G-Enabled Car EmergesIran’s 1st 4G-Enabled Car Emerges

Not one to settle on pushing its competitors into the dust in terms of Internet speed, MTN-Irancell, Iran’s second largest mobile network operator, has announced it is moving into new territories.

On the sidelines of the recent 21st edition of the Elecomp electronics festival in Tehran, the tech company showcased what could be Iran’s first 4G-enabled car, using a technologically upgraded Ssanyong’s Korando as an example, Asre Khodro reports.

According to the local car website, the vehicle is not a fully commercialized partnership yet, but a broad conceptual idea that shows what can be done when using the concept of “Internet of things” as its main base point and working in conjunction with car companies.

A company spokesman said as part of the company’s push into new machine-to-machine technologies–initially reported on Saturday in Financial Tribune–the car exemplifies what could be done if companies team up to offer a new range of services through IoT.

M2M refers to technologies that allow wireless communications with other devices of the same type, whereas Internet of Things describes how Internet is moving to the atomic level. The spokesman noted that the system hooks up with Irancell’s 3G and 4G networks, giving the driver further information on traffic and other car-related issues.

Such technological upgrades to vehicles, the spokesman added, can be retrofitted to any vehicle. Hence no need to sell your current vehicle, with the car brand on show being a possible collaborator if taken to market.

The system at Elecomp was fitted with a generic, double-din head unit that had an Irancell SIM card fitted into it. The system also works in the Persian language, suggesting the input coming from local computer programmers.

Android computer-derived head units are nothing new, with many versions being available in the after-sales market over the past few years. However, what makes Irancell’s offering different is that for the first time an Iranian telecoms company is looking into the wider Internet of Things in a very public arena.

  Where Could This Go?

As international reports have revealed in recent months, cars are fast becoming the next hot ticket in terms of connected technology.

Electric vehicle companies and online services internationally such as Uber hope to exploit such a change in people’s relationship with moving vehicles.

Car companies are also having to buy into the new wave of connected cars with the recent purchase of Nokia’s Here Maps by Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Audi as an example.

  How Does It Work?

Linked to the cloud by way of wireless technologies, smart chips, onboard computers, mobile apps and connected vehicles are driving new business models and disrupting old ones, including the car industry.

The cloud-connected car is part of a trend fueled in large part by consumer demand. In a 2014 report by McKinsey & Company, more than a quarter of car buyers in the US said Internet connectivity is more important than features such as engine power and fuel efficiency, marking a large shift from previous generations’ wants.

In the next five years alone, the number of connected cars may exceed a quarter of a billion worldwide, according to estimates by the American research company Gartner.

Carmakers across the globe have already made 4G wireless Internet available in new cars and the feature may well become standard in most models by 2020.

The combination of WiFi and IoT technology paves the way for a rich collection services for drivers and passengers, such as enhanced sat-navs, real-time traffic and parking information, streaming infotainment and integration between dashboards, smartphones and wearable devices such as health trackers and smartwatches to name a few of the possible opportunities.

  MTN’s Wider Goals

MTN, the South African-based mobile network, as part owner of Irancell, has signed contracts with leading technology manufacturers to spearhead such IoT/M2M services globally.

As the company notes in a summer press release in collaboration with ZTE, IoT and M2M technology will drive business growth in sectors such as banking, transportation, energy and public services in the Middle East and Africa.

The report goes on to say MTN Group has already developed a clear strategy to contribute to this growth, as well as an extensive range of IoT/M2M products (the connected car as one) from connectivity, managed connectivity and end-to-end solutions, designed to provide services for businesses, government and the end user.

The telephone network, however, did not discuss whether it would be teaming up with Iran Khodro or SAIPA to create a new generation of IoT /M2M vehicles. If they did, it could radically transform how people commute in congested cities like Tehran.