From road to cloud: efforts and strategies harnessing collaborative automotive mobility management

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2013)


Purpose in short: New mobility demands generate tremendous impacts on the automotive sector – on productive organization, on markets, as well as on product policy. Whereas studies of the transition towards new kinds of mobility often focus on specialized (automotive) product policy details, e.g. concerning innovations in driving systems , this paper will propose the observation of the overall socio-technological interplay between mobility and communication as a yet underestimated but promising area of interest for researchers and practitioners in automotive technology and management.

Overview and approach in detail: The understanding of socio-technological interplay between mobility and communication, as proposed here, refers to the conception of co-evolutionary development of computing paradigms and mobility management paradigms within an online-based media ecosystem (Li et al., 2011; Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden, 2011). Today, the internet already has tremendous socio-economic implications (OECD ed., 2011), which will further rise with the advance of the “web of things” (WoT): The WoT extends the current conception of the internet with the ability of mobile devices and sensors (e.g. in automobiles) to monitor their environment culminating in increased coordination between things in the real world and on the web. Therefore, questions concerning the interrelatedness of communication and mobility management arise as some of current societies’ urgent challenges (Ganz, et al., 2011). The main driver of this emerging phenomenon is the convergence of (mobile) media usage by inexpensive, powerful, and ubiquitous devices, such as smartphones and tablets (DesAutels, 2011; Li, et al., 2011). For example, people in urban areas are using a variety of online information technologies today – devices, networks, services, and applications (“apps”) – in order to create personalized information systems. Furthermore, as location-based services (LBS) – which aim to use the location of people, places, and objects like cars to enhance interactions – grow steadily in popularity, they may foster users’ interactions with the surrounding urban areas (e.g. car-to-car-/car-to-infrastructure-communication). As social network sites (SNS) integrate LBS into their offerings, these services can couple social and locational information in real time (Humphreys & Liao, 2011). Finally, regarding cloud-based technology as one of the most recent computing paradigms (Venters & Whitley, 2012; Yang & Tate, 2012) and its growing importance in central aspects of every-day life, problem fields like accessibility, transparency, and trustworthiness will be addressed with special emphasis on the comparison of selected scenarios and case studies (Yin, 2003) from German automobile OEMs BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen.

Findings and implications: Consequences for a straightforward urban mobility management are derived from these observations. Specifically, it is shown: 1. The kinds of user-generated content (UGC) people create via social media and LBS referring to their mobility experiences. And, more generally, how people integrate (mobile) social media and LBS into the organization of their everyday mobility. 2. How the above mentioned organizations in the automotive sector therefore try to harness durable and beneficial collaborative UGC efforts and social media management strategies. In general, this paper aims at offering a systematic way of understanding and conceptualizing (mobile) social media, UGC, and LBS as an ecosystem of related elements which should be considered when observing actual efforts in sustainable urban mobility. Nevertheless, by such means of communication mobility providers are confronted with urgent questions of “compatible” interactional and organizational competence, which too often remain untackled. Therefore, recommendations will be given regarding how organizations should develop strategies for monitoring, understanding, and responding to different social media activities (Schueler, 2011) in order to contribute to innovative means of communication and mobility.


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