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Exclusive Interview with Bridgestone Mobility Solutions

In this interview, Bridgestone Mobility Solutions (BMS) Vice President Raghunath Banerjee and our Managing Director George Cambanis discuss vehicle data usage and the BMS Data Listings in the Mobito Data Marketplace.

George Cambanis

Hi, this is George Cambanis, and we're here for another data provider showcase with Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, one of the very strong vehicle data partners we have in the mobility marketplace. And we have the pleasure to speak with Raghunath. Thank you for joining for a second such interview today. We have a great opportunity to look into a little bit more detail into the type of data that BMS is making available.

I'm very excited to also see a demo showcase of a specific application. So starting off, Raghunath if you may, and we all know Bridgestone as one of the big tire companies, of course, and today we're very much focused on Bridgestone Mobility Solutions and this new data business. So if you want to give us a quick background on the genesis and how this business came to be, that would be great.

Raghunath Banerjee

Thank you so much. And really, it's my pleasure to be part of this discussion and really my privilege to represent Bridgestone Mobility Solutions. Now, for the sake of the audience, before I deep dive on the Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, I just wanted to give a brief history on our journey so far. So in 1931, Bridgestone Tyre company was founded in Japan, which grew and became a global leader in the tire and rubber manufacturing.

Serving society with superior quality is our core DNA. And in 1988, it became truly a global company with the merger of the Bridgestone and Firestone, and that is we call Bridgestone 2.0. And during 2020, as part of our Bridgestone 3.0 journey, we launched the Global Vision of Solution Company. And since then we are developing and bringing to market a wide range of innovative and sustainable mobility solution across the value chain.

Data is the core of the digital transformation and now within Data Solutions line of business, which is of course part of the global mobility solutions, our key offerings are targeted for large commercial fleets to make them leaner, greener and safer. And also we are focusing towards a wide range of mobility providers. We gather real time driving even insights from 2 million plus connected vehicles globally.

And we have the real time data source from origin to destination to driver behaviours. And we use this to build a data driven solution for cities, road authorities, to improve road design, optimize infrastructure maintenance, implement road safety and predictive road maintenance, and eventually to reduce accidents to make our cities safer. And this is what we have been focusing within the data solutions line of business.

George Cambanis

Super. Thank you for the intro. It's very interesting to hear more about the background of the company and your current focus areas. And as you said, right, the connected vehicle data seems to be one of the biggest developments right now in the mobility space. We see more and more of the new vehicles are all connected, but also a lot of the aftermarket segment is involved in very interesting developments in terms of the connectivity and the ability of vehicles and the different companies to capture new vehicle data.

We hear that there's going to be more than 340 million vehicles which are connected by 2024. And this is, of course, given rise to very interesting opportunities for better mobility, more connected services, and a lot of stakeholders that are thinking of how to utilize this data. And given your position in the market, it would be great to hear from you how you're thinking about the market, some of the emerging trends that you're most excited about and what are you guys more focused on?

Raghunath Banerjee

Thank you. Yeah, indeed. I was reading I was reading in the report data which says the revenue potential of the automotive data in Europe alone will reach to close to $1 billion for the sale of personalized and anonymized raw data by 2030. And truly, the market has started rapidly moving in the right direction. And as we see, quite a few things are changing.

The momentum right now. One is the availability of the new data points with the new business models are becoming reality today, which was quite theoretical in past historically. But now you see that these things are coming life. Second, the OEMs are stepping up their car data again by transitioning from solely raw data provider to suppliers of the insight as a service and new data driven products.

And this is definitely creating a lot of buzz on the market that how we see they're stepping up the their vision, their roadmap. And that's how we see that. Also, the aftermarket is also responding simultaneously. Now, let me highlight three different areas where we are already seeing a huge traction on our business. First is the insurance sector, as you know, that the innovative usage based insurance products, including pay as you go or pay as you drive, now expanded to mileage verification and claim incident reporting, all based on the vehicle sensor or telematics data.

This is a huge boost and huge improvement from compared to last few years. And this model can be very well used for B2C use cases as well as for large or midsize commercial fleet operators where the fleet manager can provide a consent to share the entire fleet data to the insurance to gain the benefits. And this is a maturing industry and we see a huge potential to use connected vehicle data in future or in very short term.

Second, the public sector is also demanding much more aggregated and anonymized data to gather insights on the urban traffic, to derive the measures for the infrastructure optimization and improve road safety. This is an very emerging trend and we see that lots of digital train providers and the cities, municipalities are really active and they are searching for this data.

Now quite a few OEMs, tier ones, mobility providers are actively working in this space with cities. DOTs is to help them to optimize their use of the public funds by sharing the insights from multiple safety related use cases. For example, hazard crash events, extreme weather conditions such as heavy rainfall crosswinds. And I think slowly what we are observing that this is coming into the practice and people are using this data, people are taking insights from the data, people are using this whole ecosystem to improve the product, what they have today.

The third, as you know, the electrification taking the center stage and in the transformation of the mobility industry, all the new EVs are right now connected and it opens up the major opportunity to utilize the data for internal mobility ecosystem. Since 2020, we have observed a massive increase in available e-mobility data signals such as charging rate, battery cycles, charging status in addition to quantity of the data quality is also constantly increasing, making the data more readily accessible for EV related data consumers towards accelerating the EV adoption and reducing the range anxiety.

So we are also kind of looking into this market very heavily. We are seeing quite a lot of traction coming in our way and we are very confident that this ecosystem will evolve very rapidly in coming months or years. Now to summarize, as the industry is growing, we see a huge good opportunity for Bridgestone Mobility Solutions to reshape the data driven future mobility services by leveraging our global tyre, intelligence and connected vehicle data insights.

George Cambanis

Very nice. We're not we're definitely excited with the market opportunities of this new connected vehicle data. But I think also nice to point out from the three use cases that you mentioned how this is really contributing towards more sustainable mobility, towards safer roads and towards more personalized services like the insurance use case you mentioned. And we're definitely seeing that from our marketplace.

As you know, we're very much positioned to gather and to offer a centralized place for companies to access their personal data. We are very, very excited by the partnership we have with you guys and the different use cases and the way we evolve, the different data availability that you have connected to the mobility in the marketplace. And we're constantly trying to offer end to end way for data suppliers to interact and exchange data with the consumers.

It would be great if you want to share from your perspective as well. How have you benefited from being part of the mobility platform so far?

Raghunath Banerjee

Yeah, absolutely. I think our collaboration with Mobito Data Marketplace is a great success so far. That's what I would start with. First of all, we started the process of Mobito data marketplace engagement in early stages of our journey, and both the parties like you and us defined a very mature customer onboarding process from the day one for better market penetration.

That's really created and good impact on the whole ecosystem. Second, we feel that Mobito work slightly differently than the conventional data marketplaces, just like by providing consulting, helps to the mid-sized customers or the small side customers and hence all the businesses. It's really easy to start their journey with Mobito and maintain a trusted partnership with you guys.

Overall, we have received very interesting leads from the marketplace so far and also learned a lot from our existing engagements. Now, of course, we are more importantly, you know, growing we are growing our customer base through this partnership. I think what is very important that we are looking forward to strengthening our partnership in 2023 for the large scale enterprise customers by enriching the platform with the new products and data insights from Bridgestone Mobility Solutions.

So I am really happy and looking forward for our trusted partnership.

George Cambanis

Great driving, and we're in agreement. They're very excited about all the work we've done together, but more so about what comes ahead. Very nice. And maybe from this point, you can you can talk to us a little bit more about which are the active geographies today, where you guys are present with your fleets as you capture data? And how does this data generation look from now into the future?

Raghunath Banerjee

Yeah, sure. And as you know, Bridgestone acquired Webfleet, a global leader of the fleet management solution in 2019. This acquisition first tracked based on footprint in the mobility solutions and that increased safety, productivity and sustainability in the fleets. So that's one side of the story, but also now we have Azuga and another fleet management solution in the US.

We also have Arvento in Turkey present in our portfolio. Now. If we look at these all fleet management solution and connected assets, we are present in passenger cars LCVs heavy commercial trucks and busses. So we cover all segments now Webfleet is of course a market leader in Europe, but it is present globally now through our entire portfolio.

We are present in US, South America, which is Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Europe. Of course, Middle East, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand. So we have a huge global present at the present moment where we can really, you know, fine tune the coverage questions, what we usually get it from our customers. Second, in 2023, we also have an aggressive geo expansion and plan for different projects and you will come to know as soon as we go live with the new countries.

Now, if you look at the company history, the connectivity is an extremely important topic for us. We have an centralized team to connect all the vehicles in the market and that's why we are having a data from all brands, all aftermarket brands with specific focus on EVs in coming months so that we can really look into that, how we can connect different EVs coming into this thing, because we have an abundance of the data that coming from the heavy vehicles.

Also, it is important to mention that we are open for partnership across the industry to improve our coverage and to become one stop shop as a solution provider to all the mobility players.

George Cambanis

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. What I could now do maybe to your own coverage is the fact that beyond the fact that you are covering all different vehicle types, as you mentioned, we also see that the underlying fleets are covering also many different type of usages. And a lot of your clients are, of course, professional fleets. So what that means for the data itself is that it's very rich.

It's usually fleets that travel a lot and cover a lot of distances. And I think this is one of the extra benefits of the type of data that we have been working on together.

Raghunath Banerjee

Absolutely. Because we have all our commercial fleets, they are driving Monday to Friday. And that's how you see the we have a huge coverage better than any other personal cars. Absolutely.

George Cambanis

Exactly. Very nice. And the last point I wanted to cover today now is really on the business of data, a kind of new asset class in many ways, and one that presents a lot of new challenges in the way that companies are going about building a data business and monetizing their own data. And so on. That sense, I would really love to hear from you.

What are some of the key challenges that you guys are facing in this efforts to develop your data business into our key business unit?

Raghunath Banerjee

Sure. Honestly, we hear many challenges from our customers in different segments and most common issues from the B2B mobility players are data coverage, accuracy and privacy related. Now let me provide a few examples. What is happening on the ground today? There are several data providers in the market now, right, including OEMs, Tier one, data aggregators, marketplaces. Now a typical data consumer need to work with several data sources to create a meaningful insight.

And as a matter of fact, they need to validate the accuracy of the data sources each time they engage with the new partner. And based on your observation, these are complex processes. And one of the main causes of the delay in terms of the go to market of the new products, usually depending on the maturity of the customers, it can take easily a couple of months to provide a feedback of simple floating or data sets.

That's it. That's the story for today. Yeah. And due to lack of the data standards architecture, it is becoming increasingly difficult to structure the data in a way it makes easily consumable or shared with third parties. We are seeing several initiatives in new level to come up with a common format. However, these initiatives or solutions are still in early stages.

Hence what we are focusing on now having partnership with several data marketplaces like you met your processes to expand our coverage beyond our own install base for large enterprise customer. We are positioning ourselves as one stop shop solution to optimize the complexity and reduce their project cost by investing in our own data platform to comply with EU or the Global Data Standards GDPR guidelines and by providing standard API.

Also, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the challenges what our enterprise customers are facing today and how the visualization of the complexity of the transformation journey they are in, in the present moment from their traditional analog system to the data driven digital solutions. Let's take an example of the road authorities today. They collect the weather data from weather stations to predict the road surface conditions during the winter season.

Now to replace this process with the connected vehicle data from multiple providers is a complete new step for them. And also they need to invest on validating data accuracy coverage data privacy, also training their internal personnel with the new digital platforms. That's how within BMS we are creating, as several platforms are a kind of a simulation platform to help our customers to visualize end to end processes, to provide a clarity on our ROI.

And that's very important for them to visualize that. You know, how do they take the whole insights into the practice? Now, of course, let me end this discussion with a very positive note. In spite of all the challenges the data consumers are lining up today and preparing to ship the products product based on the connected car data. And we believe once that issues such as pricing, frequency, quality of data are addressed, they are willing to pay.

So we are at the tipping point where I feel that we have a huge opportunity in front of us to make the whole mobility industry and shipping it as a data driven, process oriented, but.

George Cambanis

Yeah, it's very insightful and I've done a lot of what you said that I think resonates very well with a lot of what we're seeing in the market. You mentioned time to business. We have our own internal metric of time to data and we concentrate to see how we can decrease the time to data for interested consumers that want to to access some external data.

And I think a key part of what you said is that there's an ecosystem to it and there's a lot of common the common and parallel developments are taking place all the way from data availability to maturity of data consumers. To understand them, utilize this data availability or non-availability of data standards and very importantly, the regulation around that as well.

And the positive note is that all of these seem to be pushing forward. And what is very interesting is that it's one of these areas where actually Europe seems to be leading the pack with GDP all and the many different data regulations that they have. Amazing. With this positive note. I would like to thank you once again for joining this day to provide the showcase.

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