Connecting Vehicles Across Borders with Travelping and IBM Cloud Satellite

4 min read

Digital change is multi-layered — it is reshaping our lives and work in almost all areas.

The pace of business transformation picked up notably during the COVID-19 pandemic as business leaders embraced how technology and innovation can help solve some of the most pressing problems of our times.

We’re seeing that organizations across industries — from financial services to government to telco and more — are pushing ahead with digital transformation, deploying existing tools to fuller potential and leveraging new ones to advance further. And cloud is leading this shift, with 64% of companies surveyed in an IBM Institute for Business Value report saying they have shifted to more cloud-based business activities during the pandemic.

On the other hand, many companies are still hesitant about whether all data can be transferred to the cloud, especially in highly regulated industries like telecommunications, financial services, healthcare and government.

Two main challenges

We need to address two main challenges:

  1. Creating a sovereign data infrastructure in highly regulated environments.
  2. Taking into account latency constraints in IoT, 5G mobile and edge computing scenarios.

Hybrid cloud approaches are becoming increasingly popular — combining the core advantages of public and private cloud environments — and they are well-equipped to confront these challenges.

IBM’s hybrid cloud offering, IBM Cloud Satellite, enables enterprises to leverage IBM Cloud services in any environment where they are needed — from one's own data centers, on multiple public clouds or even more locally at the edge.

By enabling secure cloud services to operate in hybrid environments, IBM Cloud Satellite helps ensure the following:

  • Data does not leave the company if data sovereignty rules mandate it cannot; it can remain under full control to respond to potential security and compliance requirements.
  • Processing data directly at the point of origin minimizes physical latency constraints and reduces data transfer costs, sometimes significantly. Real-time analysis becomes possible in places where it was previously unthinkable.

From a developer's point of view, it feels like being in the familiar public cloud. The provider takes over all essential operational aspects — availability, security, updates and governance. This leads to a significant reduction in the workload of the operations team and is an essential basis for data sovereignty and edge architectures. IBM Cloud Satellite brings the IBM Cloud to any environment where you choose to run workloads while also meeting critical requirements for data protection and data security.

Travelping: A pioneer with new cloud solutions in the telecommunications industry

German technology provider Travelping is using IBM Cloud Satellite to improve connectivity in vehicles. Current IoT technologies in vehicles make new innovations around the connected cars possible through features like autonomous driving, navigation systems, entertainment and more. However, these advances are only possible with a reliable and fast internet connection, regardless of where the vehicle happens to be.

Especially when travelling internationally, this quickly becomes a challenge due to numerous data protection regulations. Often, local regulations do not allow the transport of data across national borders. Technological limitations of today's network infrastructures also complicate processes like this. For a networked car, this means that these services cannot be used or can only be used incompletely. In the worst case, this can have consequences for the safety of the occupants.

An example: A vehicle registered in Germany is in Portugal; the driver is Italian. The vehicle is a Swedish model. Since the driver has Italian roots, he wants to use Internet services localized in Italian. This makes a connection from Portugal to Italy necessary. However, the vehicle itself also transmits data to the manufacturer for predictive maintenance. This also makes a connection from Portugal to Sweden necessary. Since the vehicle is registered in Germany, a German SIM card is used, and parts of this traffic therefore also always run via the infrastructure of one of the local telecommunications providers located in Germany. This interaction is even more complex in global and worldwide use cases.

Overcoming technological and regulatory requirements with innovative cloud solutions

Travelping responds to these connectivity requirements by providing customers with a platform that simplifies the negotiation of cross-border data management. At its core, it is about bringing the global network of major telecom providers closer to the vehicles. Travelping controls the complex interaction of software, hardware and network to enable more streamlined access and data sharing, while still remaining compliant with national requirements.

To accomplish the complex task of provisioning the solution in all parts of the world within a very short time, Travelping uses IBM Cloud Satellite. It enables new environments to be set up and put into operation within a few hours. The solution is thus available in the required time where it is needed and enables easy connectivity. The use of Red Hat OpenShift allows consistent control of the Travelping solution across all regions as it aligns different IT locations and platforms — not limited to IBM Cloud data centers. On the contrary, local data centers and public cloud data centers can be a landing zone in this distributed cloud environment.

Completing existing cloud scenarios

Cloud technologies are already one of the main drivers of innovation today. Technological reasons like network latencies or regulatory requirements of various natures restrict the use for many workloads — in some cases, significantly. With hybrid cloud solutions like IBM Cloud Satellite, distributed cloud and edge scenarios are finally becoming possible in many of these areas.

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