IBM INDUSTRIES AirWire Technologies

Debashis Bagchi | President & CEO

PODCAST SERIES

IBM Industries

EPISODE 01

AirWire Technologies

In this episode:

Episode 1 of IBM Industries' podcast series explores how AirWire Technologies was able to incorporate their specialized connectivity solutions into modern automobiles, enabling an IoT-connected driving experience with the help of an AI assistant named Jarvis. Host Ron Felice asks AirWire CEO Debashis Bagchi why making driving better was important for his business—and how IBM Cloud Garage and Watson made it happen.

PODCAST SERIES

IBM Industries

EPISODE 01

AirWire Technologies

Note: This podcast was created to be heard, rather than read. Please listen to the audio version, which includes subtle, important emotional characteristics not clearly defined in this transcript. The speech recognition software and human transcription used to generate this version are liable to produce erroneous or incomplete representation. Please refer to the corresponding audio before quoting this transcript in publications.

Debashis Bagchi / President & CEO

Debashis Bagchi | President & CEO

As President & CEO, Mr. Bagchi brings 25 years of startup experience in the wireless, telecommunications, semiconductor, software and gaming industries as a businessman, entrepreneur, strategist and inventor.

Debashis Bagchi LinkedIn
Ron Felice / Automotive Architect

Ron Felice | Automotive Architect

Ron is the Automotive Industry Architect for IBM’s Watson Internet of Things organization. Ron is a 15 year veteran of the automotive industry, having worked as a software engineer and systems engineer on a variety of vehicle subsystems.

Ron Felice LinkedIn

Connecting the World One Car at a Time

by Gerardo Gonzalez and Ron Felice, IBM | Original article published

Connected vehicles are finally coming into their own and establishing themselves in the marketplace. Today, about 35 percent of new vehicles are connected to the internet. They’re packed with sensor technologies that monitor driving, safety and vehicle health conditions. By 2020, enhancements for internet-enabled vehicles are expected to be among the top downloads from app stores. It’s an exciting, emerging space to provide new value, transform the consumer’s experience and open new revenue streams.

But what about the hundreds of millions of vehicles that will remain on roads for a long while yet that are not connected? The last serious estimate of the number of cars on the roads globally was 1.2 billion. It’s also estimated that there will be a quarter-billion connected cars on the roads by 2020. That still leaves about a billion cars that are not connected.

Making connections happen

Figuring out how to bring connected vehicle services to this vast population of disconnected vehicles presents an exciting opportunity. AirWire Technologies, leveraging its Connected Car OBD Solution, is working with IBM to implement its connected car and IoT services platform powered by IBM Watson IoT for Automotive. AirWire’s connected car cloud services work in conjunction with its proprietary Connected Car OBD solution.

The AirWire connected car device attaches to the vehicle’s OBD II port. This port is available on any car newer than 1996. The device provides uninterrupted connectivity through an advanced 4G LTE network. It seamlessly uploads important vehicle data to the cloud for analysis, enabling apps and services for the consumer’s smartphones and other mobile devices. The device also acts as a hotspot, enabling wireless Internet inside the vehicle without having to stream data over Bluetooth through the user’s smartphone.

AirConnect IoT Eco-System

Vehicle owners can analyze vehicle performance, driving efficiency, driving safety and vehicle health information using AirWire’s connected car cloud services. The AirWire cloud services model enables our operator partners to enter the vehicle IoT space seamlessly, quickly and with minimal network effort. Airwire’s device and the Personal Assistant App for connected cars and IoT services on IBM Watson platform is a voice-activated personal assistant in vehicles. It is AI-enabled as it recognizes previous travel patterns and asks relevant questions to help drivers with a variety of needs from routing to commerce to understanding the surrounding environment.

Car interior

The AirConnect app acts as a personal assistant to drivers, and allows them to use voice commands to communicate with their vehicles.

What do you think?

Where do you feel the true differentiation exists in Personal/Virtual Assistants for a vehicle?

Compare your results

See what other respondents thought was the true differentiation.

  chose natural language recognition
  chose network capacity and speed
  chose question and answer capability
  chose friendliness of Virtual Assistant

Natural language recognition

Natural language recognition helps foster a real relationship between virtual assistants and their drivers. With the help of ever-advancing software, this relationship grows in sophistication as the driver is able to communicate naturally wiht the assistant without touching screens or usign specific words or phrases to get results. The driving experience becomes easier and safer as less time is spent dealing with navigation and distractions an connected apps add more features. Learn more about how seamless natural language recognition technology increases the ease, safety and fun of getting around.

Watch the video

Back

Compare your results

See what other respondents thought was the true differentiation.

  chose natural language recognition
  chose network capacity and speed
  chose question and answer capability
  chose friendliness of Virtual Assistant

Network capacity and speed

Network capacity and speed are crucial components to the seamlessness and accuracy of virtual assistants. The lack of powerful, consistent mobile connectivity reduces the accuracy and speed of directions services, creating uncertain and dangerous driving scenarios—complete with road rage. A slow network also reducs the capacity of the assistant to provide connected app features such as recomendations, traffic condition updates and re-routing, and can negatively affect billing service delivery. See how powerful networks are just as important to the safety of the virtual assistant as it is to its cost-effectiveness and fun.

Watch the video

Back

Compare your results

See what other respondents thought was the true differentiation.

  chose natural language recognition
  chose network capacity and speed
  chose question and answer capability
  chose friendliness of Virtual Assistant

Question and answer capability

Drivers are increasingly looking for connected app advancements in their automobiles.The "question and answer" capability of the virutal assistant is at the core of its usefulness to drivers on the go. Drivers need to be able to ask the assistant to provide information and the assistant needs to be able to answer the request with correct information in a timely way. When the assistant fails to respond to queries during driving, the lack of functionality results in a frustrating and less safe customer experience. See how response-enabled assistant are core to the app-like driving experience demanded by changing marketplace.

Read the blog

Back

Compare your results

See what other respondents thought was the true differentiation.

  chose natural language recognition
  chose network capacity and speed
  chose question and answer capability
  chose friendliness of Virtual Assistant

Friendliness of Virtual Assistant

The perceived friendliness of any virtual assistant is the sum of a combination of factors like tone of voice, gender and even accent, but the reality of this perceived friendliness is built on trust—the ability of the assistant to provide the information requested on time and without error. For IoT-enabled cars to make drivers comfortable and feel safer, drivers need to feel that the assistants "know" them. Current advanced sensors and software monitor the car, the car's surroundings, and the emotions and behavior of the driver. All this adds up to a virtual assistant that's not only on point—but nice about it, too. Learn more about how caring cars improve the ease and safety of modern driving.

Watch the video

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IoT for Automotive

IBM’s IoT for Automotive provides a purpose-built, connected vehicle solutions that is designed to handle high-volume, high-velocity data consumption and analytics that the automotive industry demands. It’s well suited to pair with AirWire’s offering to give drivers comprehensive information about their vehicles. IoT for Automotive also bundles services such as driver behavior analytics to score and provide feedback on driving performance.

“Our partnership with AirWire enables the data collected through their in-vehicle connected car device into a cloud platform harnessing the power of cognitive computing to connected vehicles, sensors and systems that comprise the automotive IoT space, helping transform how vehicles are owned, operated and maintained,” said IBM executive, Dibbe Edwards, vice president for Watson IoT Connected Products.

“AirWire is excited to partner with IBM, an established leader in the IoT space, enabling our connected car and IoT services platform through IBM’s innovative IoT for Automotive solution to connect vehicles over any network in any part of the world. All of our operator partners, automobile OEMs and vehicle owners will benefit from the power of IBM IoT for Automotive to help them connect vehicles in the IoT space,” said AirWire CEO, Debashis Bagchi.

Global pilots starting soon

AirWire is initiating pilots globally of the AirWire connected car and IoT services platform powered by IBM Watson IoT for Automotive. The initial targeted pilots will be in India, Philippines and the U.S. A worldwide launch follows soon thereafter. The AirWire Connected Car app “AirConnect” acts as a personal assistant to the drivers and allows them to communicate with their vehicles using voice commands.

Look for availability of the app soon in both IoS and Android versions. Find more information about Airwire please visit their site. To find out more about IBM’s IoT for Automotive, visit our site as well.

Gerardo Gonzalez, VP Sales, AirWire Technologies
Gerardo Gonzalez
VP Sales, AirWire Technologies
Ron Felice, Automotive Architect, IBM
Ron Felice
Automotive Architect, IBM

Key points

Ron: Hi this is Ron Felice with IBM, and joining me today is Debashis Bagchi from AirWire. Deb why don't you, introduce yourself to the folks-

Debashis: Sure-

Ron: And tell us a little bit about AirWire.

Debashis: Sure, sure. This is Debashis Bagchi, I'm CEO of AirWire Technologies, uh, we are basically a connected car and IOT personal assistant, cloud services company, and we are enabling this unique personal assistant that will allow, people in the vehicle to, to make their driving and the user experience around it , very comfortable, and make that driving process very easy and their lives a little simpler.

Ron: Well that's, that's incredibly interesting and, I know that that's not really where you guys started, right. So why don't you give us a sense of where you started and kind of how you walked that path, what the journey was like to get there.

Debashis: Fair enough. We started out as a unique antenna company and what we were looking to solve with that was the ability to provide very robust connectivity, so that we can enable a lot of these value added services over wireless networks. And that led to us creating a very unique antenna and a very small form factor that allowed these mobile routers especially Wifi-based mobile routers to provide very robust connectivity for a lot of the services that people wanted to take advantage of. And primarily it was video streaming that kind of led to this development. And once we had that, we basically enabled it, and a lot of the router manufacturers in the process figured out that even though we were providing the differentiation for these router manufacturers we weren't really getting the value from the business aspect about what our product was, and what we were enabling.

We knew we had to transition from just being an antenna provider to building products. And right around the time, uh, we were looking to transition, LTE was becoming a very strong conduit for delivering broadband services and that led us to creating a mobile router with our antenna solution. And then, as we were working with, with a mobile operator out of India, in the process of doing this, they wanted to enable hot spot capabilities inside the vehicle, and from there this simple mobile router, basically transformed into a connected car device , and that basically led us to developing our connected car and IOT cloud services based on IBM Watson, and we call this a personal assistant Jarvis. Jarvis basically allows us to make people's lives a little simpler, and provide a very important and strong, value added capability inside the vehicle.

Ron: Well the, that's quite a journey that you, uh, you guys have undertaken here. So just briefly, about when did you guys get started, and you know, why? What was the impetus, really to, to move you forward into the space?

Debashis: Sure. So, the goal that we set out in terms of solving a problem was to provide uh, very robust connectivity for, for high quality video delivery.

Ron: One of your key areas of focus was around this transition of connectivity from home to vehicle, but then also outside of both home and vehicle.

Debashis: That's right.

Ron: Right-

Debashis: Exactly.

Ron: There’s been a shift, right. As, as you mentioned Jarvis, is this personal assistant, has, has now become this very strong area of focus for, for you.

Debashis: Yeah. That's right.

Ron: Can you explain, or describe the moment when that shift occurred? When you realized that you had to sort of reprioritize, and this became kind of that key differentiator for you?

Debashis: Fair enough. So, basically what, what we learned as we were developing our product, and as the LTE networks were becoming more and more robust, and especially with 4G LTE now, pretty much readily available all over the world we came to realization that now, that the connectivity is in place, and especially with our unique antenna solution present in the device that plugs into the onboard diagnostic port of the vehicle we had one aspect of it capable. And now that we have the ability to collect the data and to send that data to a cloud, we needed to make sure that, that we enable a very intelligent cloud service that can take the data from the vehicle, make sense out of it, do some very creative analytics on it, and then provide based on that information, provide these value added services that the users can actually use to make their lives a little bit simpler.

Ron: But as you look at the journey thus far, what are some of the hurdles that you've experienced, maybe the technology related obstacles that you've run into, perhaps?

Debashis: Sure. One of the issues that we ran into and, and this is as we were working with some of the operators. One of the things we realized was that even though we had the physical device that plugged into the vehicle, the issue that, that we faced was that we didn't have a cloud service that was intelligent enough to take all that data off the vehicle, make sense of it, and, and provide it in a package that the user would be able to use it, make sense of it, and actually get hooked onto it. And, and that basically led to creating Jarvis, and part of that process was also internally in our organization to make people understand that something like Jarvis is very essential in the world that we live in today. It's no longer a novelty or something nice to have, but in fact it's a necessity, in order to actually connect the vehicle with everything else that is connected in our lives.

Ron: Yeah, I'm gonna go off script just a little bit here, because I want to kind of dovetail onto that, cause you mentioned, you know trying, trying to sell that to folks. And I think, as we look at the, the notion of assistance in the marketplace today we have, we have many examples that we can look at, we can point to-

Debashis: Right, right.

Ron: And say, here's where it's been done. What were the selling points as opposed to saying hey we're, we're bringing this virtual assistant to market. They'd say yeah well it's been done, right. How were you able to create some excitement specifically around what you were doing, and, and differentiating that from the rest of the players in the market?

Debashis:Sure. Very simply put, when you are going out to a particular destination, and in the process you find out that you have to make a stop somewhere in the middle, which is off script. And, and now in any vehicle that has a navigation system uh, it's actually very difficult to change that direction without pulling over and typing in the new address, or somehow make the vehicle understand that you have to make a stop in the middle. So with Jarvis being there, I mean all you have to do is let Jarvis know that you need to stop at a second location before you get to your final destination. And, and having that capability, it not only, allows you to pay more attention to what you should be doing inside the vehicle, which is driving, but it gives you a certain amount of comfort level that even though you are alone driving in that vehicle, but you are really not alone, because Jarvis is there should you run into any issues. And, and Jarvis can actually provide you some very unique help that you wouldn't have without Jarvis enabled.

Ron: Obviously some very strong selling points in, in this case.

Ron: As part of this journey I know that you've been working with, IBM's Cloud Garage team. Can, can you give us a sense for how that collaboration has, has worked and, and what you see in term of, of that set of capabilities, and, and that team as a competitive advantage in this case.

Debashis: So, working with the garage team it has been a very, very pleasant experience. Especially the skill level of the people involved, their creativity and their capability to see things beyond the obvious, it definitely has helped us in creating Jarvis from the standpoint that Jarvis is gonna be very unique, very simple to use, and, and can handle pretty much everything a user would need while driving in the vehicle.

Ron: Excellent. It sounds like a really good group to have behind you when you're trying to bring something to, to market very quickly.

Debashis: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Ron: I'd certainly like to thank you for joining me today.

Debashis: Thank you, Ron.

Ron: And, it's been a pleasure to speak with you.

Debashis: Same here, same here.

Ron: And look forward to continuing the relationship, and the collaboration.

Debashis: Absolutely. And we couldn't have done this without IBM, and the IBM team here, so.

Ron: Thank you very much.

Debashis: Thank you.

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