Three Reasons to Become CCC Digital Key™ Certified

Over the past two decades, the automotive industry has adopted various digital technologies to make the driving experience more convenient, including in-car entertainment, smartphone mirroring systems, and predictive maintenance. Still, there’s much to be desired with automotive digital keys, which enable drivers to access their car from a smart device. Many proprietary implementations of digital keys lack interoperability standards fit for a seamless user experience and widespread adoption.

Imagine this: two high school-aged siblings share a vehicle and want to start using digital keys, but they have different brands of smartphones. Their car’s digital key technology is compatible with one smartphone brand but not the other. The sibling with the compatible implementation can use a digital key to start and unlock their car with their phone, while the other continues using a physical key. If they happen to lose their physical key, their sibling can’t transfer a digital key via phone and avoid inconvenience. And with one sibling still using a physical key, the adoption of digital keys is ultimately dismissed in the family.

Scenarios like this are why the Car Connectivity Consortium® has set out to create a universally interoperable and secure automotive digital key through the collaboration of leaders across the automotive and smart device industries. With over 200 member companies, our consortium has developed the CCC Digital Key™ — a proven specification and global certification for device-to-vehicle access.

The CCC Digital Key™ Certification program is only available for CCC Members and allows them to test and certify that their implementation meets the consortium’s specifications and program standards. The CCC Digital Key™ Certification program will play a significant role in the future of vehicle connectivity and offers several benefits to those who complete the certification.

Benefit #1: Ensure Your Implementation Is Secure

Before leaving their physical keys at home, drivers need to know their digital key is secure and reliable. Vehicles are not a small investment, and vehicle theft can have rippling effects on a person’s livelihood. Currently, the CCC Digital Key™ Certification program, which includes end-to-end interoperability testing, certifies near-field communication (NFC) implementations. NFC has a limited transmission range, requiring users to be within centimeters of their vehicle to tap-to-unlock. This deters many keyless proximity attacks, as an attacker will unlikely be within close enough range to intercept an NFC signal transmitted from smart device to vehicle.

Those who are currently pursuing CCC Digital Key™ certification will also have access as the CCC expands to certify for Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE), which enables remote command, and ultra-wideband (UWB) with BLE, which provides full passive entry capabilities. Longer transmission ranges mean users can more conveniently access their vehicles — imagine being able to unlock your car with your phone in your pocket. And no need to fret if your phone is dead, you’ll still be able to rely on the NFC function to open and start your car. The CCC will continue refining and testing the security of the CCC Digital Key™ specification, particularly in our joint working group with FiRa, and certifying for the highest level of protection in implementations.

Benefit #2: Create a Consistent User Experience with Universal Interoperability

Even if a user gets a new phone from a different manufacturer, their CCC-certified digital key will still work with their current vehicle. This is the core of interoperability, one of our highest standards in the CCC Digital Key™ Certification.

Through the Use Case and Requirement Working Group (UCRWG), CCC members create new use cases for the CCC Digital Key™ to better enable vehicle and phone to interoperate. For example, a motorcycle OEM has products with different accessibility features than a car or truck. The UCRWG anticipates the challenges of motorcycle riders, outlines a use case for them, and then collaborates with our Technical Working Group to ensure these challenges are addressed and smoothed out in the CCC Digital Key™. When your implementation is certified, you’re tested against the use cases and verify your product will remain interoperable no matter what.

Interoperability comes to life at CCC End-to-End PlugFests. At these CCC member-only events held worldwide, members come together to test their products with other implementations. If there is a roadblock to interoperability, like a smartphone’s digital key working with an SUV but not a motorcycle, members take that newfound incompatibility back to working groups to correct the technical specifications, test suites, and test tools. The in-person collaboration at PlugFests is central to accelerating the development of CCC Digital Key™ and achieving a universally interoperable technology.

To be officially CCC Digital Key™ certified, members must have their implementation tested at an authorized laboratory, regardless of participation at PlugFests. These laboratories have been carefully vetted as CCC partners and uphold CCC Digital Key™ Certification standards. By certifying your digital key implementation at an authorized laboratory, you’re validating its ability to work with any device or vehicle, which means a better experience for your end users.

Benefit #3: Increase Brand Credibility and Market Opportunity with the CCC Digital Key™ logo

Once certified, companies can display the CCC Digital Key™ logo on their product implementations, social media, and marketing materials. Displaying the CCC Digital Key™ logo builds trust, signaling to consumers and partners that you are committed to meeting the industry and program standards for which you were certified. As digital key technology becomes more widely adopted, consumers will look for the CCC Digital Key™ logo on a vehicle or device’s marketing materials, so they know it’s interoperable, secure, and easy to use.

Further, becoming CCC Digital Key™ Certified opens significant market opportunities for your product implementation. You’ll gain increased visibility with key audiences, leading to greater product adoption and digital key use. Persistence Market Research estimates automotive digital keys will be an $11 billion market by 2033. As users continue to adopt — and increasingly demand — more digital technologies in their driving experience, it’s imperative to be at the helm of innovative vehicle access solutions.

Become CCC Digital Key™ Certified

Completing the CCC Digital Key™ Certification is your commitment to a better experience for your customers. You’ll verify that your implementation meets our industry and program standards of interoperability and security while opening opportunities for the future of your business.

You must first be a CCC Member Company to start the certification process. All membership levels — Adopter, Core, and Charter — have access to the certification program.

Still, the benefits of CCC membership go far beyond CCC Digital Key™ Certification. As a CCC Member Company, you gain a seat at the table creating the future of vehicle connectivity. Attending PlugFests and Member Meetings, collaborating with industry peers in working groups, and being the first to access new specifications are just a few of the many ways you can make an impact as a CCC Member.

Ready to join the CCC and become certified? Apply for membership today!

Already a CCC Member Company? Begin the certification process today!