Splunk Uses OpenXC API to Analyze Ford Telemetry Data

Michael Vizard
Nov. 15 2013, 10:30AM EST

Within IT operations circles Splunk is a fairly well known tool for making sense of the massive amounts of machine data generated by IT systems. So it should come as no surprise that Splunk would view the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) as an opportunity to extend the reach of its analytic software into the broader realm of telematics.

This week Splunk announced it is working with Ford Motor Company to create Connected Car Daskboards, a set of analytics applications that make use of the telemetry data that Ford exposes via its OpenXC API in a JSON format.

Image Credit: openxcplatform.com

OpenXC is a combination of open source hardware and software that enables developers to read data from the vehicle’s internal communications network. By installing a hardware module to read and translate metrics from vehicles, the data becomes accessible via the OpenXC API to smartphone or tablet devices which can then be used to develop custom applications.

According to Christy Wilson, vice president of product operations and engineering cross functions and founder of the Splunk4Good program, Connected Car Dashboards is part of a Splunk4Good corporate responsibility program. As part of this program Splunk plans to use it technology to help drivers better understand how they use their vehicle with an eye towards making them aware of everything from habitual driving patterns in certain areas to how much gas they consume.

In addition, that same API might be used by insurance companies to offer better rates based on driving patterns, while the used value of a vehicle might be more accurately determined by the telemetry data collected since it first left the factory. Of course, APIs cut both ways. Initial tests conducted by Splunk suggest that one of the best places for the city of San Francisco to set a speed trap is on Third Street between 22nd and 23rd avenues.

Ford clearly wants developers to leverage the OpenXC to create a variety of applications. But says that it would be in the interest of the entire automotive industry to standardize one API to make it easier for developers to create applications that span not only multiple types of cars and trucks, but also multiple applications platforms.

Splunk is clearly on a campaign to show the world just how useful machine data can actually be. In fact, other applications can invoke the results generated by Splunk via APIs that Splunk make available to third-party developers. In the meantime, Wilson says OpenXC is another example of just how powerful open data initiatives can really be once the day they expose actually get harnessed by an application.

Michael Vizard

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