Blog from August, 2023

Member Profile: Geotab

With Christoph Ludewig, VP OEM EMEA, and Ted Guild, Connectivity Standards Lead at Geotab


What does your company do? What services, or products, do you provide?

Geotab is a global leader in IoT (Internet of Things) and connected transportation technology, servicing 3.7M vehicles across the globe (07/2023) with 2,200 employees. The company specializes in providing advanced fleet management solutions for businesses of all sizes. Geotab's core offering revolves around vehicle data, captured either by an aftermarket device or a direct OEM connection. This data includes vehicle diagnostics, GPS location, fuel usage, driver behavior, and more. Geotab's platform then processes this information to generate actionable insights and reports, enabling businesses to optimize their fleet operations, improve safety, reduce fuel consumption, enhance maintenance practices, and increase overall efficiency.


Why did you join COVESA and how long has your company been a member?

Geotab believes that standardization enables innovation, as development energy and resources should be allocated to product development, not integration of heterogeneous systems. COVESA paves the path in this direction and Geotab is actively contributing to this.


What benefits does your participation in COVESA bring to your company and business? 

Geotab benefits from participating in COVESA in several ways, ensuring our and our customers (major fleet operators) perspectives are represented in technical solutions being discussed, proposing ideas towards those solutions, increasing our exposure as a thought leader in connected vehicle space, and establishing contacts for prospective business collaborations.

Which COVESA collaborative project(s) or Birds of a Feather (BoF) is your company engaged in and why is that beneficial to your business?

Geotab participates on COVESA’s Board of Directors, Vehicle Signal Specification, Data Expert Group, Technical Steering Team, AOSP Whitelabel Marketplace, EV Charge Event Aggregation, Vehicle Service Catalog, and Commercial Vehicles Birds of a Feather.


COVESA has been successful in convening core stakeholders across the industry, constructing thoughtful solutions, and promoting widespread adoption. We look forward to the continued success of this organization and are happy to be a part of it.

With Matt Jones, Director of Global Technology Strategy at Ford Motor Company

Why did your company join COVESA?

As an industry leader in the automotive market, Ford Motor Company recognizes the importance of open standards for vehicle signals. We believe that by adopting COVESA's Vehicle Signal Specification (VSS), we can promote cross-interoperability and facilitate innovation in the industry.

Why is COVESA important to the industry?

In today's world of connected vehicles, it is essential that we have a common language for communication between different systems. The COVESA VSS project provides a standardized way for vehicles to communicate with each other, as well as with infrastructure and other devices. By using open standards, we can avoid the fragmentation of the market and ensure that all vehicles can communicate effectively.

What are the benefits of open standards what benefits does your participation in COVESA bring to your company and business? 

One of the key benefits of open standards is that they promote competition and innovation. By using a common set of standards, companies can focus on creating new and innovative products and services, rather than spending time and resources on developing proprietary solutions. This can lead to faster product development, greater efficiency, and ultimately, better products for consumers.

In addition, open standards can help to reduce costs and improve efficiency. By adopting a common set of standards, we can avoid the need for expensive custom solutions and reduce the time and effort required to integrate different systems. This can lead to faster time-to-market, lower costs, and improved overall performance.

By supporting open standards like the COVESA VSS project, we can continue to drive innovation and progress in the automotive industry. We urge other companies to join us in supporting open standards and to take advantage of the resources available through our site. Together, we can build a better future for the industry and deliver better products and services to our customers.

Organizations interested in joining COVESA can visit and information about technical participation in COVESA projects can be found on the COVESA Wiki.

By Ulf Björkengren, Senior Software Architect, Ford

The Vehicle Information Service Specification version 2(VISSv2) developed in the W3C is a service for accessing vehicle data, reading from sensors, or writing to actuators on the vehicle's network. It exposes this data using a hierarchical tree-like taxonomy defined in COVESA Vehicle Signal Specification (VSS). The service provides the data in JSON format. The service may reside in the vehicle, or on servers on the internet with information already brought off the vehicle.

VISSv2 specifies three transport protocols that are allowed to be used in client-to-server communication. The Websocket and MQTT alternatives are payload compatible, so a client can issue requests over either of these transport protocols without modification of the payload. HTTP where the path information is explicit in the URL is not fully payload compatible. In a typical scenario, the server is deployed on a high-performance ECU running Linux, and clients can either be deployed off-vehicle (e.g., in the cloud or on a mobile device in proximity of the vehicle), or in-vehicle then typically on another HPC ECU, or the IVI ECU.

As described above, the VISSv2 specification supports a wide array of scenarios but there are of course scenarios not covered. To fill a bit of this gap, an experimental addition of gRPC support besides the other transport protocol alternatives can now be found on the VISSv2 reference implementation. The implementation is payload compatible with the Websocket and MQTT alternatives, and it can be configured to run over TLS. Using protobuf for the serialization, the payload is after protobuf encoding in binary format and obviously not identical on byte level to the others where the payloads have text format. But after protobuf decoding on the receiver side, the payload is again identical also on the byte level. So, a client making use of the protobuf transcoding interface can use the same payloads on any of these transport protocols.

 The reference implementation contains a client test implementation written in Golang that uses this transcoding.


Adding gRPC to the suite of transport protocols that VISSv2 supports gives a client implementer a wider choice in finding a protocol that meets the needs of the client use case.

Whether this transport protocol will be added to the coming W3C standard is at this point not decided, but if you believe it should after testing it on the reference implementation, you can mail your support for it to Paul Boyes, COVESA’s Community Director.