5 Connected Car Trends Affecting Every OEM

July 7, 2015  |  By Michael O'Shea  |       


For the first time in history, true connected cars are becoming a reality. According to Telefonica’s Connected Car Industry Report 2014, “The connected car will achieve mass-market penetration in the next few years: the overall number of vehicles with built-in connectivity will increase from 10% of the overall market today to 90% by 2020.”

OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers are making our cars smarter than ever before, enhancing the driving experience with infotainment, safety, and security features. Drivers now have access to virtually anything they demand while on the go -- and that list of demands is growing and changing by the day.

Here are 5 of the most important connected car trends affecting every OEM:

    1. Innovations in Infotainment

      Today, 24/7 access to information+entertainment is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. And as it becomes more popular, automakers are inventing new and interesting ways to integrate it into their vehicles. An example is Volkswagen’s advanced gesture control, which debuted on the Golf R Touch concept vehicle at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. The system detects hand gestures and assigns meaning to them, enabling users to completely control displays and functionality without using a touchscreen.

      Another innovation is Audi’s automotive-grade tablet, which gives rear-seat passengers access to ebooks, music, games, and movies through Google Play and the Android App Store. The tablet connects to the in-car infotainment and navigation system via WLAN. As the competition heats up, OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers must continue innovating to stay ahead of the rapidly changing infotainment market.

    2. Smartphone Integration

      When it comes to cars, infotainment and smartphones go hand in hand. According to a 2014 Juniper Research report, “Widespread smartphone-tethering and in-vehicle Apps will continue to drive down the price of vehicle manufacturers’ own embedded infotainment services.”

      A common challenge OEMs face when building out a widely-adopted smartphone integration is making sure that it can scale across mobile operating systems and price points. A key part of Abalta’s technology, WEBLINK®, is the ability to display the smartphone interface from a variety of mobile operating systems on the vehicle’s head unit. With growth in iOS and Android, auto manufacturers need an integration that can seamlessly reach both audiences.

      To keep pace with the infotainment trend, OEMs must integrate this kind of technology into their vehicles. An example is Jaguar Land Rover’s new justDrive™ technology, which enables drivers to control multiple smartphone apps using natural voice communication.

    3. Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication

      In August 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued advance notice of a proposed rulemaking that would mandate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology in new cars. V2V enables cars to communicate important safety and mobility information by “talking” to one another. A 2014 NHTSA report found that V2V communication could stop up to 592,000 crashes per year, saving more than 1,000 lives.

      Cadillac has already announced that it will equip the 2017 CTS with V2V communication. With a V2V mandate looming on the horizon, there’s no doubt that every OEM will soon follow suit by adding V2V capabilities to their connected-car models.

    4. A Differentiated Experience

      In today’s competitive market, consumers have many choices of models and brands, even within the same segment. To attract and retain loyal customers, OEMs must create a truly differentiated connected-car experience that brings their brand to life. Think about unique or signature features your brand can provide above and beyond what others offer. Integrate apps and services that give you an edge over the competition. Ultimately, providing a differentiated experience will make your brand -- and your connected car -- stand out from the pack.

    5. Privacy

      A 2014 McKinsey & Company survey shows 37 percent of drivers are reluctant to use connected car services due to privacy concerns. And these concerns aren’t unfounded. As our cars have become more connected, they have also become more vulnerable to cyber crime. Potential cyber threats include attacks on RFID keys, keyless entry, Bluetooth, USB ports, infotainment interfaces, and Wi-Fi.

      Connected-car privacy is uncharted territory for both OEMs and legislators, and it’s likely to spark a continued debate among them. To ensure security for customers, OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers will need to create safe networks, identify and authenticate users, and control access to remote services.



Topics: Automotive Trends

Michael O'Shea

Michael O’Shea is the Founder and CEO of Abalta Technologies. He is responsible for all aspects of executive management of Abalta and a direct participant in many client engagements, particularly in management advisory projects.

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