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AutoGuard: Keeping your Car Safe from Hacks

Like everything else in the forthcoming Internet of Everything era, cars, which today already rely heavily on digitized systems, are well on their way to connectivity with their surroundings. This is a welcome development. Already we have Bluetooth (radio to cellular) to help us speak hands-free while driving and GPS to keep from getting lost. In the near future, two communicative cars on a collision course could take preventative measures to avoid a crash. So the future looks bright. Our cars are essentially mobile computers on wheels, and our driving experience will be richer and safer as a result.

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But there is a danger lurking, and it can’t be ignored. Think about the early days of networked computers. As long as computers were networked only with one another, there was little to threaten their security. But once computers connected to the Internet on a large scale, viruses, Trojans, and all sorts of nastiness were introduced into the world. These threats are manageable, but they do need to be managed.

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Mercedes Improves Customer Service Through Video

July 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm PST

Have you ever put your car in for service and it came back with a ‘door-ding’, or some other damage? Now, to be clear you probably can’t be 100% sure it didn’t happen in a car parking lot, or was it kids being too rough with there toys?  And where did that scratch come from on your newly delivered car -- was it already there? Who knows?

Well, if you were dealing with Mercedes-Benz Czech Republic (MBCR), you might find out!  Located in Prague, MBCR employs 400 people, and sells, services and supports Mercedes-Benz vehicles throughout the Czech Republic.

Mercedes Reference

Mercedes success story -- click picture to view pdf on Cisco Case Studies  Slideshare site

The subsidiary was eager to maintain its excellent standard of service. One issue that was a constant source of customer complaints was vehicle damage. Customers were sometimes wrongly accused of damaging cars when the cars had been scratched or dented in transit. Damages could  also occur in the showroom or repair center and be wrongly ascribed to customers. MBCR had an analogue camera system in place to cover these incidents, but the pictures that it produced were of poor quality. In many cases, identification of number plates and faces was not possible. Administrators also could not easily locate the footage that they needed, and recordings only stretched back two days.

After investigating various offerings, MBCR decided to select a Cisco® closed-circuit TV (CCTV) over IP solution from its trusted service partner Clarystone.  Capable of monitoring multiple sites from a single location, the security solution allows administrators to:

  • Access live video anywhere over the Internet
  • Locate specific dates, times, or incidents in video archives in seconds
  • Cost-effectively add new cameras and video storage

Exterior cameras film cars being loaded into the showrooms and record details of every number plate. If a vehicleMercedes Quote is scratched in transit, the cameras record the incident. This arrangement helps ensure that customers are not wrongly blamed for the damage. Interior cameras film the reception, showroom, and repair center areas. Any accidents or incidents involving theft or vandalism are instantly captured. Customers who leave their vehicles for servicing or repair can rest assured that they are now covered for any loss or damage.

miklemenI asked Michael Klemen -- Cisco Executive Automotive Manager in Europe (EMEAR) where video was going in the automotive industry and he said:

“New digital tactics are becoming more important to the auto industry in all areas,. As this matures the appetite for video content is growing at an insatiable rate: Show it, see it while being connected is important – digital dashboards, I-Services Kiosks, configuration & visualization from Car Design to Sales, After Sales services is what everyone builds into the value chain today !”

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Making the Roads Safer Through the Internet of Everything

Over a decade ago, I started thinking about what life would be like with connected cars. Erratic drivers, speeding tickets and unfavorable weather could be avoided while driving. I read an article recently that takes a more in-depth look at the future of connected driving titled, Big Data: When Cars Can Talk by Jeff Bertolucci of InformationWeek. It begs the question: how can connected roads, cars and drivers make for a safer traveling experience?

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“We Want More Automated Cars” Cisco Consumer Experience Report shows

May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am PST

Cisco Consumer Experience Report for Automotive Surprises Many: Consumers Desire More Automated Automobiles, According to the Cisco Study

I was fortunate enough to lead the Cisco team that looked at consumer experiences in the automotive industry, and the results were eye-opening. For those of you that didn’t know, the study surveyed more than 1,500 consumers across 10 countries. The global report examined consumer preferences of technology used when buying and driving an automobile. Consumers also identified preference for car dealers/manufacturers to provide a more personal driving experience, and their trust in future automotive innovation.

CCER SummarySome pretty interesting results emerged. Prior to purchasing a vehicle, consumers prefer to begin their process online. That’s not too surprising to most of us, since you’re reading this blog online right now, so you yourself are fairly comfortable with online research, I assume! But many had issues trusting the information on the manufacturers’ web sites.

  • Most consumers begin their car purchasing process online: 83% of global consumers prefer to research online for information on a car, versus only 17% of consumers that prefer to call or go to dealership.

We were also educated on what mattered most to consumers. Consumers desire a more automated way to track car gas and maintenance costs:

  • Impact of gas prices on customer experience: 52% of consumers want to track gas prices from a vehicle.  Gas-price tracking was the highest priority, compared to 46% of consumers wanting to track insurance prices, 35% wanting to track roadside assistance availability, and 32% wanted to track recall information.

That was a little different to how folks wearing a manufacturing hat actually thought. Most manufacturing executives (57%) thought that auto manufacturer information is most important for consumers to track!

Consumers are also more willing to trade personal information for customization, security and savings:

  • More Personal Security and Customized Cars: 60% would provide biometric information such as fingerprints and DNA samples in return for personalized security or car security. 65% would share personal information such as height/weight, driving habits, entertainment preferences if this allowed a more customized vehicle and driving experience.

“The survey shows consumers’ comfort with technology and need for immediate information whether they are researching, buying, driving or servicing their vehicle. While consumers in diverse parts of the world may expect very different experiences, their technology demand is more positive than many manufacturers imagine. Many consumers are just waiting for manufacturers to respond with better car buying, driving and service experiences augmented by technology.”

Peter Granger, Senior Industry Marketing Manager, Cisco Products Solutions Industry Marketing

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Social Innovation Summit: Where Business Innovation Meets Social Transformation

December 3, 2012 at 5:15 am PST

The Social Innovation Summit takes place this week on December 4 and 5 in Mountain View, California. This annual gathering brings together corporate, investment, government, and nonprofit leaders to explore the strategies and business innovations that are generating social transformation.

At Cisco, we apply the same technology, expertise, and partnerships we use to help our customers to also help transform lives, communities, and the planet. Through the collective power of human and technology networks, we believe we can multiply our impact on some of the world’s most pressing problems — while strengthening our business.

This “shared value” approach is reflected in the Social Innovation Summit, where other corporations, nonprofits, investors, and government agencies will describe how business innovations and creativity are enabling social transformation.

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