Like many telecommunications companies, Deutsche Telekom is seeking new ways to drive revenue and business growth. One of those initiatives, the “connected car” program, is being driven by the company’s T-Systems unit, which delivers information and communication technology (ICT) solutions.
As Thomas Wieger, solutions architect for T-Systems International GmbH, explained to WSO2Con US 2013 attendees, connected car is a modular, service-oriented architecture (SOA) based platform that integrates vehicles with the Internet and enterprise processes. For instance, trucks can be connected with a back-end infrastructure, or fleet management software can be used to monitor vehicle maintenance and driver efficiency. Electric vehicles, which are also growing in popularity, also require technology such as mobile applications that provide monitoring and control of energy usage.
“The great thing about connected car in the activities here is that it leverages all capabilities of Deutsche Telekom,” Wieger observed. “So we can provide connectivity, especially mobile Internet; we can provide worldwide operations in our data centers; provide platform development with T-Systems system integration; and application management with T-Systems. All these capabilities are already in place and we want to put these together to do new and exciting things.”
Seeking a Single Platform
T-Systems has several types of clients for its connected car business, and several use cases—for example, big car manufacturers want to provide mobility service to their fleets, and auto dealers want to improve customer satisfaction by remotely diagnosing car problems.
However, Wieger told attendees, “If we do everything like a solitary project, we would get a lot of different software with different components. We would be reinventing the wheel, re-developing the same component over and over again.”
Instead, Wieger explained, T-Systems recognized early on the need for a single platform to enable solution development and services across all of its customers and services, using common components as well as a modular, SOA.
Open source middleware at the core of the platform was a requirement, Wieger observed, since T-Systems was building a platform to serve millions of cars and customers and wanted to avoid the burden of licensing costs. In addition, the company wanted the ability to troubleshoot and fix solutions on its own if the vendor was not addressing the issue.
Working with WSO2
T-Systems first decided to work with WSO2 in 2011 after evaluating WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and choosing the software for its scalability and cost-effectiveness. Today, everything in the connected car platform is connected to WSO2 ESB, Wieger said.
“One ESB is used as a device gateway or vehicle gateway for data from the car; all that is exchanged between the embedded side and the backend side goes through the device gateway,” Wieger explained. “We are also using the ESB for integrating all services in our platform, so all end user services and platform services are using the ESB to work together, and we also use the ESB for integration of third-party content end services.”
In addition to WSO2 ESB, T-Systems also uses WSO2 Identity Server for access management—since security is a high concern for many customers, WSO2 Application Server to host services in the connected car platform, WSO2 Business Activity Monitor (BAM) for monitoring and control, and WSO2 Governance Registry.
With an eye to the future T-Systems is currently evaluating WSO2 Complex Event Processor (CEP), Wieger said; “It’s very interesting to have fast reactions on events from devices—to get continuous streams of data in the backend—so we can react on data.”
“Using the WSO2 middleware with components that we have enhanced for the domain of connected car, we have an operating system for connected car solutions,” Wieger concluded. “We have the first cornerstones of our platform already in action and running, and are enhancing it continuously to implement the vision”
For more information about T-Systems development of its middleware platform, view Wieger’s WSO2Con 2013 presentation.