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Car manufacturers could use big data to inform urban planning once connected cars reach critical mass, Telefonica's automotive specialist has revealed.

Car manufacturers could use big data to inform urban planning once connected cars reach critical mass, Telefonica's automotive specialist has revealed.

Big data and the Internet of Things are being explored by car manufacturers who are looking for new revenue streams, Pavan Mathew, head of the connected car division at Telefonica, told ComputerworldUK.

“Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are looking at this as a big opportunity in terms of connecting with the consumer in an ethical manner that benefits all parties involved,” he said.

Mathew, who has almost 20 years’ experience in the automotive industry at Onstar and General Motors, said that the link between vehicle data and urban planning is being considered as a serious business opportunity.

“I call it ‘in the conference stage’ meaning that at many telematics conferences I’m seeing more and more representatives from urban planning and regulators asking to work together.

“When I left Onstar there was a very surface-level discussion of this. You probably won’t see it commercialise in the next two years, but it is coming and it is becoming a key topic of discussion.”

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Churn prevention

Mathew used the example of a lease-car to show how manufacturers will be able to keep customers using their cars for longer.

“Today I have a leased, connected vehicle and as I approach the end of its life an offer can be sent that will allow me to stay with that OEM. Without that connectivity they will not have that intelligence,” he said.

Improved business intelligence will also improve manufacturers' relationships with dealers across their markets.

Dealerships tend to make more money on servicing rather than selling vehicles, Mathew said, adding: “But if you have connectivity, you know what maintenance is needed so OEMs can drive the consumers back to the dealership after the warranty period, which makes a significant difference on the dealership model.”

Mathew works with Telefonica to develop telematics for the car industry including connectivity, data, instant servers, data storage, analytics and the potential for Groupon-like offers relevant to a consumer’s location.

Many telcos are looking into ways to expand their revenue, including O2, which announced it was moving from "minutes, texts and data" into the IoT space.