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Market Overview

Toyota's Value Addition Initiative To Vehicles With Connected Technology


Data, it’s practically the new currency. These days almost all companies use collected data from their users. Although we are getting used to living in an increasingly data-driven world, we are still in our infancy when it comes to making this data transaction secure and verifiable. For the longest time, third-party companies have been used to track, collect and deliver the data from the users to the vehicle companies that need it.

The untrustworthy nature of these companies has always been an issue holding the market back. On top of that, informal transactions and agreements by users aren’t just unverifiable, they are often untraceable. The solution to that has now been proposed by Taraxa, a partner of Toyota Connected Company, in the form of their new platform Helio.

Toyota’s Value Addition Initiative for Secure Technology

Helio is based on Taraxa’s public blockchain network and it makes use of finance-grade secure elements and write-once MCUs to create an IoT endpoint that is tamper-proof. The Silicon Valley-based company has released an internal prototype for now. So, what’s the use of it anyway?

The main goal of Helio is to get rid of the need for third-party data collection services they deem untrustworthy. Primarily, Helio will be in charge of peer-to-peer vehicle sharing, renting, and selling. Helio has been proposed to have the potential to revolutionize Mobility as a Service (MaaS), which is the integration of various modes of transportation into a single, on-demand mobility service.

For the user, MaaS can provide added value by utilizing a single application to provide access to mobility with a single payment channel, rather than multiple ticketing and payment operations. With the transactions handling sensitive data such as payment information, you can imagine how important it is for MaaS services to have access to trustworthy data to conduct their operations without error.

The added value that Toyota Connected can now provide is the fact that the data set has not been tampered with after it was collected. Taraxa created Helio to make vehicle-generated data independently trustworthy by creating an immutable audit log of critical sensor data from vehicles such as mileage, location, and collisions. For example, collision data has to be trustworthy in the event of an accident or crash.

Insurance companies can use the collision data to accurately judge the situation. That is why there is a need for a platform that can collect independently verifiable data.

Can We See A Rise in Platforms Like Helio?

With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing the world to a stand-still last year, the world economy has taken a hit. Some countries have already seen a recession. Manufacturing stoppages have led to an increase in price across the board for goods and products. The vehicle industry has not been an exception.

The uneven gap that now exists between supply and demand led to higher prices for vehicles. With people losing their jobs and the ability to afford new cars, as well as the reduction in the need for commute and private cars, MaaS technology may see an increase in transactions.

Vehicle sharing technology becomes the next best option when people want to avoid crowded public transports due to sanitary concerns and can’t afford private vehicles either. With ride-sharing apps dominating the streets in recent years, it is crucial for these businesses to embrace new technology that can help them verify their transactions and insurance-related data.

Therefore, Helio has much to offer to MaaS technology in the new reality that we live in. Platforms like Helio can mitigate the need for an untrustworthy third party to verify the data that has been collected. Taraxa’s secure blockchain technology can pave the way for MaaS technology to carry out its transactions in a secure and trustworthy manner.

And not to mention, platforms like Helio can be lucrative for companies in the long-term. It erases the need to hire third-party data collection services and poses a cheaper alternative. Companies will always go for options that can help them save their money. So, Helio may turn out to be an interesting competitor that will put these middle-men out of business and potentially disrupt the industry. 

The Elephant in The Room: The Right to Data Privacy

Here’s the thing, no likes handing over their supposedly private data to companies and especially when it’s done without their overt permission. The intrusive nature of data collection in day to day lives has become ubiquitous over the past decade.

A lot of the conversation on the topic surrounds social media and apps, but with the rise of IoT the concerns over data collection have carried over to other parts of the consumers’ life as well. While questions over data ownership and the consumers’ right to privacy are being pondered over, the technology is still going forward.

With Helio now recording informal transactions, consumers who are already worried about data ownership may feel uncomfortable with the new advancements. And no one wants a repeat of Cambridge Analytica. Even with the erasure of third-party data collectors from the picture, most people don’t want to feel watched, tracked or recorded by the companies they are supporting.

There is controversy over who really owns the data as well, the consumer or the company? Consumers often can’t really partake in the important legal actions that determine to whom the right belongs to. For instance, most of the conversation surrounding Helio has been about what it can do for MaaS or for Vehicle Connected Technology, but there has been very little talk about how consumers may perceive a hardware-integrated platform that can collect their data.

Final Words

The vast majority of the world’s transactional data is informal and there has been very little technology that has been able to tap into this. Taraxa has now not only built the infrastructure for the secure data collection procedure but also the applications it relies on. There is no doubt that if the platform delivers on its promises, MaaS companies will embrace the technology. For now, we can only speculate about what the future holds.

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