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Connected Cars - The Telematics Journey ahead....


The auto industry is going through rapid evolution. The need for speed and fuel efficiency, traverse all types of terrains, and navigate in increasing traffic is pushing original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to build vehicles with improved power, torque, and speed. As cars get built with increasing technological sophistication and intelligence, the core business of OEMs is shifting from car manufacturing to transportation.

The era of the connected car was launched in the 2000's when the first infotainment systems found their way onto car dashboards. The navigation display and entertainment audio systems got OEM's thinking beyond machines, and scrutinize the business of transportation - moving people and goods from one place to another. Transportation involves planning and execution of a journey. And planners are usually bombarded by a host of questions, which method of transport to choose? For instance, should it be by road, air, or water? If the mode of transportation is road then what vehicle should be chosen, car, bike, or bus? If the choice is the car, then the next question is on the route to be taken, what could the weather be, if it is snowing, then should the vehicle have winter tires, where will the vehicle be parked, when should the vehicle be refueled, where are the fuel stations and how far apart are they, and just some of the questions to be answered.


The rise of smartphones has enabled drivers to connect to the internet via tethering. Technologies such as MirrorLink, a device interoperability standard that offers integration between a smartphone and a car's infotainment system, have started making their way onto the car dashboards, and OEM's have now found a way of connecting the car to the rest of the world. OEM's, as well as Tier1 car companies, have started investing on building their own telematics platform. This is a comprehensive ecosystem of communication and consists of sensors, instrumentation, wireless communications, and more. As almost every industry begins to understand the potential of connected devices we are in a new era where IoT platforms are paving the way for M2M communication. BMW's Connected Drive, Audi Connect, Toyota's Touch 2 and Ford SYNC are a few prominent examples.


Most of the cars today use tethering connectivity through the phone to connect to the Internet. Few have already started on the next phase with inbuilt Wi-Fi.  Big OEM's are already working on Data Communication Modules, built for e-call and disaster recovery, and for telematic services such as remote diagnosis, infotainment gateway, and others. Market studies predict that by 2030 the connected car will expand revenue in the automotive industry by about 30 percent.


With the possibility of faster and dedicated internet connection within the car, and access to data becoming simpler, smartphone apps will have a key role in the future which will start shifting the automotive industry from vehicle manufacturing to transportation, and then on to mobility. This will lead to the emergence of new services,


Pre - Journey - Route planner, send2car, insurance - driver behavior, pay-as-you-go, dealer locators, rent-a-car, carpooling, calendar integration and more.


Journey - Maps, real-time traffic updates, weather updates, fuel station locators, parking garage, Point of interest , follow me, Over the air upgrade , voice recognized apps and services, find-my-car apps and more.


Post Journey - Trip analysis, social networking, share-the-trip, maintenance and service, service reminders, driver tips, etc.

Looking at these services we can expect connected cars to reshape the automotive industry and the business model for OEM's in unexpected ways. OEM's will longer be able to thrive by manufacturing the best cars but will need to plan on how to incorporate them into a highly connected world.


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