BARCELONA—How do you know connected cars are actually smart? One piece of the puzzle is making sure they can talk to all the other connected vehicles, devices, and establishments around them.
The SAP Vehicles Network has been around since 2015 doing just that. Built on the SAP Cloud Platform and part of the SAP Leonardo IoT portfolio, the B2B network is designed to connect participating companies. This occurs through automated data exchanges and transactions for services such as food, gas, navigation, parking, and digital payments.
The network and open marketplace includes car manufacturers like BMW, Toyota, and Volkswagen, fuel companies such as Shell, car rental companies like Hertz, parking companies around the globe, and a slew of other tech, payments, and services providers. This year at Mobile World Congress, SAP announced three new partners in the vehicles network: Mastercard, Here, and Postmates.
“We’ll be working with Mastercard specifically leveraging tokenization services to secure payments,” said Heino Kantimm, SAP’s Chief Connected Vehicles Expert. “Then on the other side we can tap into the Mastercard merchant network and merchant inventory on the supply side. We’re building out a network of networks.”
Kantimm explained that the Here partnership adds holistic traffic navigation and mapping to the network. The mapping data will integrated with searchable points of interest from other companies in the marketplace, be it parking lots or gas stations.
Then there’s Postmates, which has already been dabbling in the autonomous car market. The courier app falls more on the supply side of the marketplace, bringing in a network of food retailers and delivery services.
Another example Kantimm gave of how the network can function is with SAP’s own expense tracking app, Concur.
“People are driving around on either private or busines trips. If it’s professional, then parking, fuel, food services…you ideally want a way to conveniently expense that, which is where Concur comes to the table,” said Kantimm. “Imagine you purchase gas for your car on a business trip. So because the network works with Concur, the car will make sure the expense is automatically pushed through with an integration into the app.”
While there are several car manufacturers in the network, Kantimm said he doesn’t see automotive companies as the only target market. The telco companies building network infrastructure to keep cars connected and the payment providers enabling contactless transactions; they’re all part of what is ultimately envisioned as an automated fabric for self-driving cars that consumers won’t even need to notice.