Telematics, apps and in-car connectivity

What will the ultimate auto-focused app look like?

“The key elements consumers will look for in the ultimate in-car connectivity service are pretty obvious: navigation, traffic, weather, audio infotainment, local search, and integration of the vehicle into the connected lifestyle.

The latter includes send-to-car navigation, find my car, door lock/unlock, vehicle/driver performance and other remote services. The key automotive app is only relevant to a specific driver.

The next step is to integrate appropriate elements of social networking and email/messaging into the driving experience. This creates a connected experience for both driver and vehicle.

These are likely to include cloud service platforms as well as device-based applications as sources. The important item is the lifecycle management framework for managing that vehicle relative to owner, driver and task."


How do you assess the potential for advertising revenue?

“ Advertising always seeks efficient means of targeted messaging. A vehicle represents one or many sales, depending on passenger volume. Delivering special offers to hungry travelers on a highway has high value to restaurant owners, a driver, and passengers.

It offers potential ancillary benefits in fuel, snack and drink purchases prior to resuming the trip. If done correctly, an effective use of the technology means the advertisement would be integrated within the navigation task and messaging delivered sensibly, fit for the purpose of consumption within the driving experience.

This will happen in the near future. (For more on advertising, see The role of telematics in next-gen mobile advertising and Telematics and EVs: Things to do while charging.)


The best advertising is word of mouth, as peer-to-peer recommendation. This requires integrating social networking and messaging services into the driving experience, exposing those elements of the social experience that are relevant to, and purposed for, the driving experience.

On the whole, advertising is coming to the vehicle, but it is likely to take a different form than currently considered."


What about content mashups tailored to in-car use?

"A vehicle mashup sounds like something we should avoid, doesn’t it? Yet the idea is quite sound. While there is an entire universe of information available, only elements and portions of elements are pertinent to the driving experience.

Taking all the good parts and integrating them in a way that is both purposed for consumption while driving and of sufficient scope to offer a broad array of services is a great idea.

It’s probably also essential, long term, as cloud services and device apps become indistinguishable to the consumer. Content will come from many sources, and will be highly personalized to each consumer.

Integrating that into the driving experience does require something like a contemporary mashup, but the key bit is integrating it into the driving experience and providing a lifecycle management framework for the connected vehicle.


The real promise in in-car content mashup is the hyper-personalization of content and services. The vehicle might well be the first consumer machine to integrate so many data sources across multiple data paths into an information environment that is fit for a complex task, like driving. Data sources will explode.

Drivers and passengers will bring, collectively, more bandwidth into the vehicle than is enjoyed by the modern household. Infrastructure will become increasingly smarter and will inform vehicles of warnings, alerts and cautions ahead.

Through an explosion of sensors and the concurrent ability to process all the data, the vehicle is itself inherently smarter and communicates with both driver and adjacent vehicles.

Integrating and managing this many data flows, each tailored to a specific driver and vehicle, is a monumental task over time. We think this represents a tremendous opportunity and are actively working on creating exactly this framework for lifecycle management of the connected vehicle."


What impact will all that data have on business models?

“The opportunity for automotive manufacturers to accumulate data about product performance—relative to geography, weather, road conditions—and other data elements is a once-in-a-while game changer.

The winning automotive OEMs will be those that recognize the gold dust that is the product performance data. The top brands will be those that best integrate the mobile, connected experience with the driving task.

The same holds true for dealers and service networks." (For more on driver data, see How to profit from telematics driver data.)


How important will common ground rules be?

“Rather than rely on the goodwill of all ecosystem participants, it might be useful to have a few standards for managing the interaction of driving and content and services.

There are a number of industry bodies working on different approaches, which is good.
I’m not sure there will ever be a single answer, but having fewer, hardened, tested choices would be of benefit to nearly all ecosystem participants.

Safety is the ultimate use case, as it is pertinent to every aspect of integrating information into the driving task.
(For more on common standards, see Telematics and EVs: The need for common standards.)


Consumers now have a frame of reference for interacting with complex information systems. The important role—perhaps the imperative role of the connected vehicle ecosystem—is to build adaptive architectures that incorporate an evolving connected consumer and their services and content, but purposed for the driving task.


Ursula Sautter is a regular contributor to TU.


For more all the latest telematics trends, join the sector’s other key players at the Consumer Telematics Show 2012 on Jan. 9, 2012 in Las Vegas, V2X Safety & Mobility 2012 USA on March 20-21 in Novi, MI, &  Content & App for Automotive Europe 2012 on April 18-19 in Munich.


For exclusive business insights into the telematics market, read TU’s reports In-Vehicle Smartphone Integration Reportand Smart Vehicle Technology: The Future of Insurance Telematics

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