Mobile UC for 'Bring Your Own Car' Drivers

By Art Rosenberg November 15, 2012

It is time to recognize the need for UC-enabled “dual persona” applications for all types of mobile device interfaces, including built-in car dashboards. Aside from personal and entertainment applications, business applications fall into two basic categories, person-to-person communications and automated, Communications Enabled Business Process (CEBP) applications, all of which can be or will be “mobile apps” available through public and enterprise “app stores.”

All types of organizations are being challenged by this shift to application mobility for several reasons:

  • UC-enabled multi-modal communications and CEBP are more complex than the siloed, premise-based communications of the past.
  • BYOD, by both employees, business partners, and consumers, is adding to the complexities of different user interfaces, as well the loss of control over the end user mobile devices.
  • “Bring Your Own Car” (BYOC) for mobile apps to be used while driving, is becoming another contender for mobile apps, where “hands/eyes-free” user interfaces have to be easily accommodated automatically when needed.  
  • Legacy online desktop applications for workers must be converted to support wireless tablets, smartphones, and car dashboards, while online customer/consumer self-service applications must also do the same.
  • With application mobility, there is also a need for UC-enablement, which means that both input and output must be multi-media to support an end user’s current situation or status.
  • Since all applications are primarily software based, they will constantly be changing to dynamically support a variety of end user needs.
  • The above considerations are driving the shift of mobile applications to exploiting the wireless Web and hosted/managed application services.

Car Manufacturers View UC-enabled Dashboards as Competitive Feature

A recent announcement from the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) at its second annual summit, reported that its new industry standard, MirrorLink, which will transfer a user’s current mobile device user interface to a car’s dashboard entertainment control and display screen, is now being offered to third-party application developers. Although 80 percent of world automakers and 70 percent of global smartphone manufacturers are members of the CCC, “adoption of the standard has been slow.”

The CCC hopes to have mobile application developers certify their apps for “drive mode functionality” as a key benefit to mobile users who will be using their mobile apps while in their cars. This will be particularly important for all forms of text messaging to exploit speech recognition and text-to-speech while driving, as well as for interfacing with on-line applications.


Image via Shutterstock

The CCC standard should simplify how voice-to-text and text-to-voice multi-media interfaces work for various driver applications. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that functional mobile applications provided by auto manufacturers as options for different car models have to be identical. Just as smartphones can exploit personalized, mobile applications, so too, that personalization can be applied to car models.  

Business Communications Means Both Work and Commerce

The convergence of all forms of “business” communications, including both work and customer interactions with people and business process applications, will require that mobile endpoint devices support all of the above. The difference is “who” controls “what.” When it comes to mobility, the car has become a new endpoint for the drivers, and will probably become subject to enforcing driver safety rules, such as “hands-free/eyes-free” contacts while driving. That’s what they did with testing drivers who were inebriated.

UC has become important for both flexible person-to-person contacts, as well as for application user interfaces. However, both categories have to be broken down further in terms of control and responsibilities over contact accessibility and application access to a shared mobile device. Making mobile devices both flexible and secure means restricting the device to being used just for access through “thin” clients, not for storage of sensitive information. This is often described as “dual persona” controls over endpoint device usage; adding your car’s capability to access a variety of personal and business mobile applications means that your car must also be “dual persona!”   




Edited by Brooke Neuman
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