Transfer telematics data to the cloud efficiently and securely
Transfer telematics data to the cloud efficiently and securely
Mobile Solutions Off-Highway

Transfer telematics data to the cloud efficiently and securely

Data from construction and agricultural machinery must be transferred securely, reliably and cost-effectively. What off-highway players need to bear in mind.

Vehicle data are valuable but sensitive too. Information about machines, locations and personnel must be protected just like the telematics software and the manufacturer’s know-how. If the data streams for analysis and further processing are unbuffered and are suddenly interrupted, services, business models and even a company’s reputation are at risk. Off-highway players should bear in mind these five points to ensure that their telematics data reach the cloud securely and efficiently: 


1. Create a secure data basis

The first step involves choosing a suitable telematics control unit (TCU). After all, its job is to collect vehicle data efficiently and to transfer these data securely and reliably to the cloud. A future-proof TCU uses variable sampling rates to record data not only from the CAN­BUS but also via Ethernet, WLAN or I/O. Other criteria include the operating system and computing power. Processor-based TCUs typically offer greater computing power than those based on microcontrollers and are thus able to process larger data streams. The Linux operating system offers greater flexibility than proprietary operating systems when it comes to allowing additional functions or modifications for individual customers. With suitable hardware, edge computing approaches are also possible. In open systems, over-the-air services, for example updating firmware and device software, can also be tailored to meet special requirements and then implemented.

In order to ensure reliable transmission, the TCU should have a robust housing with protection class IP67 and support the latest mobile communications standards and IoT protocols such as MTTQ. To ensure maximum security, communication between the TCU and the cloud must be certificate-based and encrypted as part of a public key infrastructure (PKI). To protect against cyber attacks such as DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service), the TCU needs an integrated firewall and its own access point (APN) for contact with the mobile communications network.

Picture: Bosch Rexroth
Smart data collector with edge computing: The processor-based Rexroth Connectivity Unit (RCU) transmits vehicle data with optimized bandwidth to the cloud, ensuring seamless end-to-end security.

2. Manage data volume and mobile communications

Whether in forests, fields, municipal areas, warehouses or on construction sites – mobile working machines are often used in areas with poor network coverage and limited bandwidths. If the fleet is spread around the world, high mobile communications and roaming costs can also be incurred. A telematics solution should therefore not only feature an offline mode to compensate for network dead spots or poor network performance (buffering) but also limit data streams in an appropriate manner. Processor-based TCUs can minimize the volume to be transmitted through software-based pre-filtering, edge analyses and data compression. International e-SIMs, which, if possible, should cover all the necessary countries, help to avoid unpredictable roaming charges.


3. Safeguard data management

In order to ensure secure and efficient data management, not only technical but also organization and legal questions must be addressed in a security context. The technical prerequisites include encrypted end­to-end communication as used for certificate-based device management. User requirements as regards the availability of data and reliable data transmission can be met with the help of service level agreements (SLAs). Data should be stored so as to protect them against unauthorized access and allow role-based access including user authentication.

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Picture: Bosch Rexroth
End-to-end security with public key infrastructure: The vehicle and cloud authenticate themselves and communicate in an encrypted manner via certificates.

4. Choose data storage solutions which are suitable for telematics

Cloud storage solutions which are suitable for off-highway applications cannot be compared with simple solutions geared more towards the consumer sector. They have to be highly available and provide managed databases with appropriate SLAs and export functions. Space-saving formats for efficient, low-cost data transmission from the machine are important, as is a rights management system with access authorization, user management and import functions for external sources such as weather data.

A secure data storage system should allow vehicle data to be integrated seamlessly into the frontend via a standard HTTPS API with a secure endpoint. Other interfaces should be available for connecting ERP systems and industry-specific services such as Agrirouter, BIM or geoCapture (ISO 15143-3) securely.

5. Avoid high data costs

Anyone who would like to avoid costly surprises when it comes to collecting, storing and analyzing vehicle data should make sure that the storage solution not only satisfies two key criteria – interoperability and the availability of analysis tools – but also meets data protection requirements and makes no compromises as regards security. An architecture with at least three replicas and key basic elements such as a firewall, gateway and load balancer are therefore recommended. This is the only way to ensure reliable, real-time protection for vehicle and usage data against loss and unauthorized access.

Play it safe from the start

There are numerous pitfalls on the way to secure data transmission and avoiding economic risks. However, these can be avoided through skillful actions. Future telematics users would be well advised to check in detail how well they can achieve this with their particular solution and how future-proof it is. Starter kits geared to the needs of the sector allow OEMs and IoT service providers to achieve first use cases with a small budget, to check future viability in detail and to scale the solution on a step-by-step basis with a high degree of security and reliable data transmission.

Better safe than sorry? Test our BODAS Connect Starter Kits:

Dr. Christian Grabe

Dr. Christian Grabe

is the Business Owner Digital Business Mobile Hydraulics at Bosch Rexroth in Stuttgart. Christian has more than 15 years’ experience when it comes to developing systems for off-highway machines and embedded software. In his position, he comes up with new business concepts and digital products in the field of connected off-highway machines.