Baby you can drive my connected car

Written by on March 3, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

rushhour in los angelesIn the entire Internet of Things ecosystem, the one area that will probably impact the most people is the connected car. Sorry smart fridge, but it’ll be a while before people need to be told they’ve run out of milk. But cars are the natural next step in the evolution of all things connected since many people spend a lot of time in their vehicles and want all the bells and whistles with them wherever they go. Call it the ultimate ‘mobile’ device!

Beyond real-time GPS and satellite radio, this encompasses access to apps, streaming content, live traffic alerts including rerouting on the fly, streaming content such as music, podcasts and even the ability to turn your car into a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Audi has jumped into the driver’s seat early with its first 4G LTE offering to the U.S. market, which has already gone for a test drive. Under the Audi Connect label, the German manufacturer is showcasing several 2015 models that operate on AT&T’s LTE network. For about $100 for 6 months – or less if you’re an existing AT&T wireless customer – Audi drivers will have the full range of connectivity at their disposal whenever they get behind the wheel.

Besides Audi, just about every major car manufacturer is zooming down the connected roadway, with BMW, Ford, General Motors and Tesla already in the fray and most others joining the market through relationships with Apple’s CarPlay. There are even third parties like Zubie that are bringing connectivity to all cars through a device and app.

This is all great, but so far most of the hype we’ve seen from car manufacturers involves giving cars the same features as smartphones. So where’s the value for the automotive market?

We can argue that today’s connected car options are the bare minimum that will be required going forward and a way for automobile makers to wet their beaks in the space. The real value will come when there are no gaps in LTE coverage, or satellites are used to pick up the slack, allowing for more advanced features like self-driving capabilities.

This might be a ways off, but already we have cars that can detect obstructions through sensors, radar and cameras and even brake for you if needed. But now there’s a stronger push to make everything outside the vehicle as safe as it’s become within the vehicle. For example, Jaguar Land Rover recently announced to help prevent accidents involving cars versus bicycles or motorcycles. There’s also a group in Sweden that’s aiming for a day when there are no traffic fatalities whatsoever.

So while it’s nice to have apps and streaming in your car, the real connected car is yet to come rolling down the street, while the driver is reading a book or getting some work done rather than keeping their eyes on the road.

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About the Author

About the Author: Anita is a writer and editor with 20 years of experience covering just about everything in the technology space with a focus on computer networking and telecommunications. She was managing editor of Billing & OSS World magazine and technology editor at Network magazine and most recently was in charge of newsletter coverage at TM Forum. .

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