People gravitate toward Artificial Intelligence wen thinking about software and technology in regards to the automotive industry.
"Self-driving cars is what gets the public excited," Gunner Technology Vice President of Product Development, Jeramiah Anthony, said. "That's not what we do. Could we? Maybe with a billion dollars and nothing else to focus on for a few years."
Still, while AI gets all the attention, the more immediate opportunities are with IoT or the Internet of Things.
"Regulation is going to hold back self-driving cars for a while yet," Gunner CEO, Cody Swann, said. "Sure. Some states will allow self-driving cars, but will still require drivers to be focused on the road. It's not like people will all of a sudden become more productive and be able to pop open their laptops and start working while the car does all the work."
But IoT is available now and already having a positive impact.
"We can build a device that consumers can plug into their car and never have to worry about ever again," Anthony said. "With that device, we can tell you how to save gas, open your garage door when you're within a quarter mile of your house. Turn on the house lights. Notify someone if your vehicle leaves a certain area.
The possibilities are endless."
That said, IoT is not easy to work with.
"First, how do you handle this massive amount of data?" Swann said. "Think about it. Your car sends about a book's worth of data every five to 10 seconds. Now multiple that by your customer base, so say a million. You better be ready to scale."
If teams aren't careful, the cost of bandwidth for all that data can get expensive quickly, too.
"Then there's the question of updates," Swann said. "With a web app or mobile app, that's easy. We just push an update to the cloud or App Store and it's automatically downloaded on the user's device. But with IoT, we have to deliver over-the-air firmware updates in a lot of cases, and if you have a lot of devices in the wild, managing those updates can get difficult fast."
That said, IoT isn't the dominion of only large companies with deep pocketbooks.
"Heck, we built little devices for a local mechanic," Swann said. "The device tracks mileage and sends a notification to the owner's phone when it's time for an oil change. When the owner acknowledges it, the mechanic gets a notification and schedules a time for the driver to bring the car by."