Like many sectors, the automotive industry’s needs have changed dramatically in recent years, now heavily focused on technology.
The key objective for manufacturers, as well as the car dealerships who service the vehicles, is to focus on delivering a seamless customer experience to maintain a competitive edge. Hand in hand with technology advances, car dealerships need to ensure they have sufficient connectivity to keep up with the sheer volume of data refreshes. Much of the data required to stay up-to-date is downloaded from the manufacturer’s cloud set up, introducing a new security threat vector.
Vast amounts of data processing
Technological advances help make modern cars more efficient, reducing emissions and fuel consumption. There is also the safety aspect as technology systems such as cameras, radar and sensors provide essential safety features. These include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking.
Features such as in-car entertainment systems, navigation and smartphone integration are also standard in many vehicles. This improves the driving experience and makes it more convenient for drivers to access information and stay connected while on the road.
Modern vehicles are full of data sensors, measuring and monitoring everything from the wear and tear on your brake pads to your fuel efficiency and mapping software. When you take your car in for a service these days, your vehicle will more than likely need a substantial data refresh. Huge volumes of data are downloaded to complete the various upgrades required, depending on the specific service being performed.
Data refresh examples on vehicles
Just like with any software, vulnerabilities and bugs can be discovered in a vehicle’s software. Software patches are released periodically to fix these issues and ensure that the vehicle remains secure and reliable. The car’s onboard computer system, also known as the Engine Control Unit (ECU), may require updates to its software to improve performance and address any ongoing issues.
Firmware updates can also improve vehicle performance, add new features and fix bugs in the software. They are required for various components within a vehicle, such as the transmission, infotainment system or other electronic modules.
Navigation maps are constantly changing, with new roads and landmarks added all the time. Map updates ensure that your vehicle’s navigation system has the most up-to-date information available.
Sensor calibration updates
Vehicles rely on a variety of sensors to operate safely and efficiently, such as the anti-lock braking system (ABS), stability control and cameras. Calibration is essential to ensure that these sensors are working properly and providing accurate data.
A system reset may be required to clear any error codes or faults that have been detected by the car’s diagnostic system.
Autonomous cars can collect vast amounts of telematics data, such as driving behaviour, vehicle usage and location. All of these features can improve the car’s performance and reliability.
The importance of network connectivity
With the increasing use of technology in the automotive industry, dealerships must have adequate bandwidth to handle the traffic generated by these systems.
There has been a dramatic change in the data requirements in recent years. It used to be simply small data upgrades, mostly on CDs in the boot of a car.
As the volume of data generated by car dealerships continues to grow, they require faster and more reliable internet connectivity to keep up with the demand.
Cheap ADSL/FTTC products may have been sufficient in the past, but they are not capable of delivering the high-speed connectivity and low latency required for real-time data updates and other critical activities. Gigabit leased lines are the minimum requirement in order to download the data in time, every time.
Gigabit leased lines
These offer a dedicated connection that can support high bandwidth applications and data-intensive processes. They give car dealerships the bandwidth to download and upload data quickly and efficiently, without experiencing slowdowns or interruptions. The longer the download takes, the longer the service takes, meaning less cars serviced per day.
Whilst leased lines are more expensive than traditional broadband services, they offer faster speeds, better reliability and dedicated bandwidth. The connection is not shared with other users and provides a more consistent performance.
Because data is moving from one data centre location to a dealership, it increases the risk of being hacked, so security protection for the connection is critical to protect against unauthorised access or theft.
Car dealerships hold a lot of sensitive data, including customer information and financial records. Robust security measures – including virtual private networks (VPNs) or SDWAN, dedicated private circuits, firewalls, end to end encryption, access controls and intrusion detection systems – can help protect data from cyber threats and address any known vulnerabilities.
Many on-board systems in modern cars have been vulnerable to hacking. For example, it was discovered in 2016 that a sizeable proportion of 100 million Volkswagen Group cars sold since 1995 can be unlocked remotely by hackers. The problem affected a range of vehicles, including VWs and models from the company’s Audi, Seat and Skoda brands. A homemade radio costing about £30 was the only hardware an attacker required to access the system.
How Securus can help
As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovation and improvements in the automotive industry.
Overall, upgrading to a Gigabit leased line is a smart investment for car dealerships who want to keep up with the demands of the digital age. They also provide their customers with the best possible experience.
Securus understands the requirements, and we have been rolling out Gigabit internet to our customers for years. We assess your current usage and determine the appropriate level of bandwidth required. You may also need to consider upgrading your equipment or investing in dedicated network infrastructure to handle the increasing demand for data updates.
If you would like to find out more about how Securus can scale your network connectivity, give us a call on 03451 283457, or visit www.securuscomms.co.uk.