As an unabashed car guy, it's as though I am living at the end of times. Just as today we only have equine enthusiasts lovingly tending to horses and steam engine enthusiasts maintain a few miles of track for the trains they dote on, so too, I suspect, in a short few years real cars will only be found in the garages of enthusiasts. The up and coming generation shows little interest in motor vehicles and even the latest television advertisements promote items like cup holders, Bluetooth connectivity and iPhone jacks long before they mention anything to do with engines and drive trains. Drive through any suburban streets and just look at how many folks are bent over, under an upturned hood, happily networking as they discuss the merits of an engine's air intake.
At a time when the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine communication (M2M) are gaining considerable business mindshare, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone that there is a serious discussion about Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) networking. The premise here is that if our cars know what's happening all around us – including what's transpiring several cars ahead of us – everyone will enjoy a safer driving experience. According to an August 18, 2014, news release by the NHTSA Proposes Mandating V2V Communications, "The Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration has put out an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) proposing to require all new passenger cars and light trucks be capable of talking to each other to help avoid and mitigate crashes. NHTSA concludes that, without a mandate, the market would not develop on its own, or at least not fast enough, because there would not be any benefit to early adopters."
Given this, it then becomes obvious that should the NHTSA have its way in the U.S. because of the size of the market, communities everywhere will face a number of challenges – and it's all about monitoring. Shortly, we will see a raft of solutions coming to market focused on monitoring of moving objects (cars equipped with V2V communications) that will be available to industries as diverse as insurance, shipping, local and regional government authorities not to mention a whole raft of new legislation – "your V2V solution failed to notify my vehicle in time and I crashed!" Not to mention, "your software was back-level and didn't recognize my latest protocol!" Or worse, "your car didn't even acknowledge me!"
For the NonStop community, from just a few exchanges I have had to date, the number of transactions this will generate – even if mostly short lived (if we ignore, for the moment, Big Data eventuality) there will be interface / integration opportunities everywhere. Passing Starbucks – head for the drive-thru as it already knows what you want and has it ready! Heading for a traffic light and there's no cars on the cross street – change the light and expedite the journey. Tolls? Charge them to your credit card – all right, this is already a fact of life for many of us. However, anticipate a flood of new toll road offerings as tax opportunities are realized.
For many within the NonStop community, NonStop has always been about supporting a M2M interface – after all, at the end of the communications line was another computer albeit of much smaller capacity. NonStop communicating with an ATM complete with an integrated PC was just another example of client / server computing and has been treated as such for decades. From the earliest deployments, lose the communications line and the ATM still performed basic functions. On reflection, NonStop has thrived in a M2M world and this has been reiterated numerous times on discussion groups at sites like LinkedIn. But wait, as the commercials remind us, there's more …
For the NonStop users of Prognosis, many of the capabilities that new solutions will be promoting will be simply variations on the monitoring already being done – events will be generated by a new category of client devices. The lowly automobile! There's little to differentiate cars of the future with what we see from the ATMs we rely on every day. As a piggy-back technology, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see more ATMs becoming the next generation of "hot spots" monitoring car movement automatically. At the very least, it might prove advantageous for V2V to piggy-back on the network infrastructure that has been rolled-out over the past couple of decades in support of ATMs.
Business insight is a key attribute of Prognosis but this will shortly be complemented with traffic insight, even driver insight. The real holy grail of business insight has always been determining behavior to better focus critical business resources to capture sales opportunities. There is a lot to be said in support of tacking this into other, adjacent industry verticals and V2V looks as though it will be touching on much of what we have in place today – if we don't elect to ban driverless cars outright and eliminate programs to help improve driver safety, then V2V is inevitable even as it plugs a specialized need in the M2M marketplace.
So serendipitous that after all these years our data center consoles and dashboards may shortly be a collage of real dashboards and the real time monitoring familiar to every data center operator will reflect more closely a world that gave rise to much of the jargon that's now used within the data center. "Scratch", "Secure," and "Protect" may mean something more readily identifiable with driving than at any time in the past. Prognosis has been at the heart of operations for as long as it has as it has provided operations and business personnel with the insight they need to stay in business and it's no small stretch to imagine this insight into business, and indeed behavior, being a logical starting point when it comes time to monitor traffic on a scale NHTSA imagines when V2V has rolled out.
If we truly are heading to driverless cars on our nation's roads, much of the infrastructure in support of V2V will need to be in place if only to allow the likes of me to keep driving my polished piece of antiquity. Unidentified moving object may not be commonplace in the future, but UMOs will still need to be accommodated. Dashboards overseeing transactions that are such an integral part of Prognosis will light up whenever UMOs traverse a monitored space (ignoring the input from other vehicles, or far worse, have no capacity to send or receive) and with a tendency for transactions to eventually touch a NonStop system along the way, this new family of transactions can only fuel added realization of the value that comes with Prognosis.