Business Insider UK’s BI Intelligence report 2014 forecasts that three-quarters of the 92 million cars estimated to be shipped globally in the year 2020 will be internet-enabled connected cars. They will be able to interact with all manner of hardware, software and even domestic appliances that are part of the ‘Internet of Things’. But are such strides in automotive technology more likely to benefit businesses or consumers?
The aforementioned Connected Cars Market report from BI Intelligence revealed that, of those surveyed;
- 69% of drivers surveyed desire in-car online music streaming
- 57% want to surf the internet from their car, and
- 40% desire social media functionality to be present
For private motorists, such technology is already a reality in many new cars. Volkswagen and Audi are showcasing gesture-controlled infotainment screens set to be safer to interact with. Audi and Bosch have unveiled haptic touchscreens that vibrate and give buttons a real-life feel. BMW is aiming to replace wing mirrors with cameras, again in the name of safety.
Ford envisions its Sync technology being able to communicate with connected homes in the not-too-distant future. Here, motorists will be able to turn their hallway light on, schedule the recording of their favourite TV shows and set the kettle to boil, all from the comfort of their car whilst driving. Such connected technology will offer almost limitless possibilities and will make life more convenient for many in today’s increasingly busy world.
When it comes to business drivers, Lex Autolease’s 2015 Report on Company Motoring reports that, of the 812 respondents;
- 13% feel their time is regularly wasted because of traffic congestion, and
- 24% spend over 15 hours each week behind the steering wheel.
The amount of time fleet vehicles, and indeed private vehicles, are off the road or stuck in traffic will be reduced by car software updates being provided via Wi-Fi and traffic data being crowd-shared in real time.
Harman announcing that their collaboration with Microsoft will bring Office 365 capability to car infotainment systems might not be universally welcomed by business drivers in the way consumers are likely to embrace connected cars and homes. Employees being able to listen to and dictate Outlook emails on the move, update tasks and appointments and dictate letters may be embraced by some. Other employees will see such advances as distractions or even intrusions into their cars, representing personal space.
Safety technology such as the eye pupil monitoring system developed by Harman will benefit all types of drivers, through, monitoring cognitive workload, alertness and energy levels. Fleet managers and concerned relatives alike will be comforted by knowing colleagues or family members are being monitored for their safety.
The future, and indeed the present, is certainly more amazing than ever as a result of