But what value can the connected car bring to your life and to your business? And how long will you wait to embrace it?
What is the connected car?
The connected car is the collection of data from the vehicle, the processing of it and the building of applications around it. At the same time, this two-way connectivity can be used to send data and information back to the car. Part of the wider shift is the potential of Internet of Things (IoT) to improve the way we live, work and play.
At its heart is the ability to collect data about, and from, the vehicle and share that with other devices in and around it. This can include the vehicle’s GPS location, information about how it is driven, such as speed and acceleration, the engine and sensors in the vehicle measuring the status of temperature, brakes, oil level, battery, and more.
When it comes to sending information back to the car, the connection can be used to send real-time data about traffic, speed cameras, weather, fuel price, hazards or the availability of parking and EV charging points.
It is the very nature of a two-way connection that allows for content updates in the car, such as to the infotainment software or maps. It can also be used for making transactions – ordering, reserving and booking, for example – from in-vehicle commerce applications.
The world around us is becoming more connected and we expect this from our cars as well.
At the same time, we see trends in mobility that are changing.
Owning a car is no longer the standard – especially not for the younger generations. The use of ride sharing, taking an Uber or swapping a bike are becoming a normal way of getting around.
Towards a new mobility model
Large corporations are already anticipating this trend. For example, fleet managers who were only looking after company cars are now becoming responsible for the total mobility landscape that includes travel, taxi and public transport. For them it makes total sense from an operational efficiency perspective. Why hire a rental car when on business travel and leave it in front of a remote office for three days when Uber is available?
HR managers are looking at the same trend from a different angle. Nowadays an ISO14001 certification for a company not only identifies it as environmentally responsible but also allows businesses to get contracts with corporations and governments more easily.
After an office building, the fleet is normally the second largest source of CO2 emission for a company. Working to make fleets greener for the ISO14001 certification is one thing, but it also helps to be more attractive for employees. However, the HR manager can only provide mobility budgets when the car is connected so that data from rider sharing apps becomes available.
The benefits of the connected car
All these developments need information, derived from car data and real-time connectivity, brought together in platforms that can normalize it and easy user interfaces to consume the end results.
This is where the connected car comes in.
Using this data, applications can be developed to deliver a range of benefits to drivers, owners and to the industry that serves them. These include everything from enhanced audio entertainment, smartphone apps and navigation, to roadside assistance, contextual help or offers (e.g. automatic fuel promotion alerts when your tank is nearly empty from a nearby petrol station, or automatic payment at a fast food drive-in), parking apps and vehicle diagnostics.
Companies like Microsoft and Webfleet Solutions have platforms that already allow for such third-party application development of new mobility services.
A crucial part of the way we experience navigation is knowing we can park our car as near to our destination as possible. To do this, we must first ensure we can find suitable parking options near that place.
However, the fact that there is a parking spot in a certain area does not mean it will be available when the time comes to park. Knowing the availability status of a parking spot ahead of time does not only help relieve stress for the driver, but also reduce the emissions that would have been generated while driving around in search of a free parking spot. To put this into perspective, the Telegraph reports that, at its peak, nearly one third of traffic congestion is a result of people searching for parking