I just had a fascinating conversation with a company that’s going to become huge. The company is Mojio and what they’re doing in the automotive data market is a “big picture” version of the "little picture" products other companies are offering … by “big picture” I mean that Mojio is creating an open platform based for the data they collect rather than offering what everyone else is doing; proprietary, closed solutions or products focussed on single vehicles.
Mojio (no, that's not pronounced like a derivation of “Mojito"; it’s pronounced “mo-gee-o”) offers a "dongle" that plugs into the On Board Diagnostic II (ODB) port (an interface found on pretty much every car made after 1995) that reports vehicle performance data.
Now, if you don’t know much about OBD let me enlighten you: It’s an interface into the network of computers that monitor and control almost all motor vehicles made since 1996. It reports on everything from gas consumption, braking, and acceleration to when the trunk is opened. It detects error conditions and maintenance events and is, essentially, a rich, complex window into what a vehicle is doing. Brake hard? Accelerate hard? Air bags deploy? ODB knows (and can tell) all.The Mojio dongle also includes GPS and an accelerometer and sends OBD, acceleration, and location data to Mojio’s platform via AT&T’s 3G network in the US and the Telus network in Canada.
Mojio takes that data, stores it on their platform, and reports on it in near real time (3G communications quality not withstanding … if cellular services aren’t available, the device can store data for up to two weeks).
The collected data is normalized (this is crucial given the wide range of OBD data codes used by manufacturers) and then made available to applications via open APIs. What Mojio has created is a Big Data platform crossed with an open Internet of Things platform for vehicle performance, diagnostics, and analytics that acts as a backend for apps of any kind.
Once normalized and stored, client applications can access vehicle data via secured RESTful calls from desktop and mobile apps. Moreover, Mojio provides a comprehensive developers website that makes app development and platform integration really easy.
What is this platform being used for? Mojio's CEO, Jay here’s a Canadian trucking company that developed an app using data captured from their fleet by Mojio devices to figure out whether the gas consumption of vehicles was inline with the billing for gas purchased via gas cards; in other words, they were looking for fraud. In the process of looking to see if they were ripped off the company realized that its fleet was spending about 15% of its time with engines idling. By identifying those vehicles in real time that were idling and sending the drivers a warning the company reduced its gas bill by millions of dollars per year. That’s utterly brilliant.
Mojio has strict rules on the use of personally identifiable information and requires transparency of purpose to end users along with other constraints for application developers. On the other hand, Mojio itself can use the aggregated, anonymized data for other purposes. So, while data on individual vehicles or fleets is useful to end users, aggregated dated from thousands of vehicles in near realtime and historically are gold mines for Mojio.
For example, you can determine weather conditions on the roads because many cars’ OBD systems report the current speed of windscreen wipers; combine that with location and, voila! You have a weather map. Combine that with braking data and you have road condition analytics.
Or consider this: If you know how drivers behave at a specific junction you can create an app that warns drivers when the junction they’re approaching requires caution. You can look at specific roadways and correlate current loading with past roadway performance to predict throughput (i.e. how likely it is that your drive home will be wretched … if you live in L.A. this can be the difference between moderate and heavy drinking).
You want automated driving expense reports? You want tracking and geo-fencing? You want driver performance reports for insurance premium reduction (or increase) ? This is a platform that can deliver the actionable data you need with far less hassle and development time than traditional approaches.
The idea of “out-sourcing” of this kind of backend makes complete sense to any company that doesn’t want to do the heavy lifting of the Big Data because what most organizations want is the raw data efficiently and cost-effectively turned into useful, timely information that they can act on. A platform that does the work for them makes perfect sense.
In the US Mojio dongles cost $149 with one year of data service via AT&T included; in Canada the price is C$169 with a year of Telus service. After the first year the cost is $5 per calendar month per vehicle … cheap at the price.
How big is the market? While a lot of top end vehicles are connected to a cloud as a closed platform (we’re looking at you, Mercedes Benz), there will be about 800 million unconnected vehicles on the road for the next 20 years. Do you think that’s a great target market?
I predict that Mojio will become huge. If you’re involved in fleet operation the question is not if Mojio is a good platform for monitoring your fleet operations but how soon it will becomes central to your business. If you’re in any other business, the business opportunity and edge are just waiting for you to grab ‘em.