Connected Car at CES2014

The connected car is set to be huge… they say…

There are a few steps to this:
– Get the car connected
– Get the info out of the car
– Get the app around the car
– Get people using it.

Some things are obvious now and the technology has coalessed. For example, you can use the onboard diagnostics port to get info out of modern cars and see what’s up with them as dash.by and automatic.com have done.

These system use what has been built into the cars for years, and neatly add a cheap dongle (which has also been around for years, used by almost all garages in the world) and wrap it up in a neat UX for the consumer. Both lean towards the careful / conscientious driver, though Dash has the ability to see how much you should be paying for servicing, which is interesting. It’s some added value.

That’s the key. Adding value to the car because cars are basically the same as when we bought our first Model T. It moves us around with less effort than walking. It has a radio now, which is nice.

But now we have all this lovely tech. A whole sweetshop of technology and no sense of when we’ll be sick. The question is, which sweets are the best?

CES has seen a wonderful flurry of connected car activity. Much of this has been expected for some time, so what we’re seeing isn’t a successful new industry of IoT-enabled cars which people can’t live without. It’s the early stages of stuff being tried in production.

Cars will have their own wifi. The car will have it’s own connection to the internet so the passengers can use the internet via the car’s wifi. Chevrolet are going to roll out 4G-connected cars, Related, in-car entertainment / infotainment becomes possible with Miracast, a wifi standard for sharing video across devices.

AT&T DriveMode wants to “curb the urge to text while driving” and voice control is growing. Again, this is moving existing functionality into the car rather than creating new value, as I see it.

With connectivity being put into new cars – both connectivity out to the internet and inside the car – the questions is: what can you build on that? What useful things can you do with all that connectivity and data?

Infotainment is certainly going to keep the kids in the back of the car happy. I welcome that warmly. But that’s really just a replacement for everyone tethering to my 4G connection.

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