CAF spoke with Peter Virk, Vice President, IVY Product & Ecosystem, BlackBerry to find out how the wallet of the future could be the vehicle and how it can help fleet managers effectively and safely analyze in-car data, along with tracking payments for services such as fuel, tolls, and parking.

The concept of the securely connected vehicle was recently advanced with a partnership between Waterloo-based (Ontario) BlackBerry's new intelligent vehicle platform (BlackBerry IVY), and California-based Car IQ to deliver a new in-vehicle payment system – a Cloud-connected mobile wallet enabling in-car payments from a vehicle's dashboard. It provides the potential for vehicles to securely make transactions, while fleet managers can securely access vehicle data from multiple sensors to enable actionable insights. 

"We leverage machine learning and AI to provide trusted, connected solutions – the key to our IVY platform is the security element," says Peter, adding that IVY is a joint venture with AWS, and is built on BlackBerry's QNX capabilities for surfacing and normalizing data from automobiles, together with insights gleaned from AWS's expertise in machine learning and IoT. In addition, BlackBerry has partnered with California-based Car IQ to leverage IVY's in-vehicle edge computing to develop a payment system for connected vehicles and fleets

"Basically, a digital fingerprint is created for each vehicle," Peter explains. "For example, the vehicle can connect securely to an approved bank, and then validate and pay for many services frequently used by fleets, such as fuel, tolls, insurance, and maintenance. It means that fleet managers can move away from individual smartphone apps and physical credit cards, and no longer have to deal with a multitude of service providers and merchants." 

The IVY platform enables individual identification of the vehicle and the driver, along with geo-location. It can be enabled across a multi-vehicle fleet and, coupled with Car IQ's payment authentication technology, will allow the driver to fill up or charge the vehicle, while the information is fed back to the fleet manager.

"IVY helps join all the ends together in a secure manner," says Peter. "It can identify that this approved driver, in this vehicle, at this location, and with this verified amount, can make a payment. The exact use case will depend on the end customer and can be provided in the background or via an in-vehicle screen. The fleet manager can choose the interface, and the app provides onboard backend and pre-authorization."

IVY is also uniquely scalable, which means it can be personalized by fleet managers to suit their fleet drivers, vehicles, and operations. 

"The IVY ecosystem that we are building is an industry movement that needs to take place," says Peter. "With cross-platform software compatibility that can be tailored to the demands of OEMs and individual fleets, IVY is an industry-wide solution. We've not only worked to normalize the vehicle data and make it safe and secure, but the IVY platform is also unique in that the fleet manager or OEM can decide how much information and insights to take off-board the vehicle and place in the Cloud."

In addition to this new partnership with Car IQ, which will simplify and secure payments, IVY provides a secure way for fleet managers to access a fleet vehicle's data from cameras, odometers, GPS, and other sensors, to enable actionable insights. Vehicle data can include information about braking, acceleration, ABS events, cornering, and diagnostics. In addition, vehicle applications can monitor items such as driver attention, the use of in-vehicle features, and the number of occupants. The platform runs inside a vehicle's embedded systems, although it can be operated and managed from the Cloud, providing future opportunities for the delivery of new functionality and features to fleet vehicles. 

While IVY can be personalized by OEMs and included with new vehicles, there may be additional steps for older vehicles used by some fleets, as Peter explains: "It depends on the vehicle's age and the current level of software and hardware. If fleets have older vehicles – such as ones manufactured 20 years ago – they may need to fit additional hardware or software, ensuring the IVY platform has access to the necessary data points from the vehicle. We can think of IVY like a middleware software app that connects to vehicle points, funnelling the data aboard or into the Cloud and then deriving insights."

Peter adds that BlackBerry is looking for global partners to provide local knowledge, in locations including North America, Asia, and Europe. 

"IVY provides insights and the control options to choose which partners to work with, as fleets do now, yet offers a practical and secure future-ready approach to payments and data management, " says Peter. "It can also unlock potential new revenue streams, reduce costs and improve fleet operations with enhanced data."

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