How will the Data generated by Driverless Cars affect server hosting companies? We asked one.

Following The Drum’s recent Driverless Car edition at the beginning of March, we spoke to Matt Gardiner, director of sales & service for Melbourne to talk about what the data being produced by driverless cars was likely to mean for server hosting companies.

How do you view the advent of driverless cars and the data it will serve changing your business?

Driverless cars are built on large amounts of detailed and complex data gathered via on-board sensors, cameras and tracking technology. It’s vital that this data is stored in a secure location, where it can be accessed instantaneously on request. And that’s where we come in. Our business is benefitting from the growth in big data, and technology such as driverless cars will only increase the requirement for our hosting, storage and backup solutions.

Could that data be a game changer for automotive brands - why?

The collection and usage of this data adds a whole new dimension to their business. Automotive brands now have access to a wealth of information about how customers are using their product. Do they go to the Cotswolds at the weekend or are they at Tesco doing the weekly shop? And assuming driverless cars will eventually be fitted with in-car entertainment, manufacturers could find out about their likes, interests and opinions based on what they do during their daily commute. This level of insight simply isn't possible with a customer survey.

How will automotive companies need to adapt their data storage in order to accolade this?

Google's self-driving cars gather some 750MB of sensor data every second so of course automative companies will need to increase their storage capacity significantly. They may also need to store this information for long periods of time, particularly if the data contains crash information or if it illustrates a scenario that the software in other cars might learn from. However it's not just about storing the data, it's about being able to access and interpret it in real time. Solutions will need to be highly resilient to facilitate maximum uptime and network speed will need to be fast.

How do they foresee that data being processed for marketers and companies?

The sheer amount of data produced will mean that analytics applications will be vital to cross-reference different data sets and produce meaningful insight. On our end this means that we'll need to build a hosting environment to support that and cope with the processing of large amounts of data. For marketers the possibilities for behaviour-based targeting are endless if you know where your customers are and where they're likely to go at any given time.

What other issues do you believe the driverless car will throw up when it comes to data storage?

Privacy will be the main issue, particularly as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the information that is stored about them. Who will have access to the data? Automobile and parts manufacturers, advertisers, the government? And who owns this data and controls its usage? There are lots of questions to be answered but hopefully these issues will be ironed out before we've all forgotten how to drive in 20 years time!

Melbourne is set to sponsor this year's Roses Creative Awards, taking place on Thursday 14 May at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly. More details on the awards can be found on the dedicated website.

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