The Connected Car space and the Internet of Things are two of the largest transformational opportunities the industry has ever seen. They will not only transform the wireless and automotive industries, but will also create new jobs, new growth, and new leadership in many other industries as well.
Let’s take a look at some of the well-known and lesser-known companies who are taking a very active role in creating this new Connected Car and IoT Space.
First, what kind of companies and industries will play a role in this space?
Obviously smartphone, tablet and smartwatch makers like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) have stuck their flags in the ground claiming they will be two of the leading monsters in this new space at least during this first phase. Keep your eyes on Microsoft Nokia (MSFT) , Blackberry (BBRY) and many others.
Wireless carriers like AT&T Mobility (T) , Verizon Wireless (VZ) and Sprint (S) will carry much of the wireless traffic generated between the car and it’s maker. They are the networks that tie the user to the provider. They also provide access to their own apps separate from the auto.
Car companies like Ford (F) , GM (GM) and Toyota (TM) are just a few of the auto manufacturers rapidly moving into this space. In fact quite a few carmakers are really starting to turn up the heat on the innovation and offerings.
- Companies like Kore Telematics are also playing an important role on the business side of this new opportunity.
Do Automakers Have to Pick Sides?
At CES 2015 a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, there was an event, which had several top executives from a variety of firms that are playing an active and early role in this transformational opportunity.
This is about Machine to Machine or M2M, Connected Devices and the IoT. One of the speakers was a top exec from GM saying their company will remain open to a variety of connected car services.
That’s smart since we are really just in the very early stages of this new opportunity and who knows what direction things will head tomorrow. An example of this transformation is today we connect our cars through our smartphones, but tomorrow technology from Google or Apple may be built into the car itself.
That raises all sorts of new questions like what if you wanted to buy a particular make of car, but they offered Google and you used Apple? It’s important for carmakers to keep this in mind. After all, you don’t want to cut yourself off from a large group of customers simply because of wireless standards, do you?
Philip Abram the CIO of General Motors says this is not really a problem. They are just interested in creating a very compelling experience with the Connected Car. They are keeping their options open and are ready to work with many different companies to provide that experience.
That means Apple CarPlay as well as Google, Microsoft, Blackberry and others will be a player in this young and growing connected car space.
Ford has been very active in this space as well. They have been making some significant changes to the carriers and technology they offer customers. Their Sync 3 is no longer provided by Microsoft. Now it is Blackberry QNX instead. Imagine that.
We will be seeing lots of switches in partnerships over the next few years as companies continue to innovate and create new ideas.
The future of the connected car marketplace is what we are talking about here. There was plenty of discussion about this very interesting opportunity.
AT&T Leading the Connected Car Market
John Horn, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Kore Telematics weighed in saying that AT&T Mobility is winning the connected car space today. Also Verizon Telematics and Sprint are players in this new space.
Horn says AT&T makes it easy for customers to use them in their car. And to let customers in cars equipped with AT&T to use their shared data plans associated with their smartphones and tablets.
This is very important especially in this time of early adoption. This is a very big way for companies to work together to provide a seamless and easy experience for customers to use these services. All this advanced technology is very cool and can create a big selling advantage, but if it’s too confusing, customers simply won’t use it.
So ease of use is key.
We are still very early into this new connected car experience. It will continue to develop and change over the next several years. Companies can be leaders today and that’s good. The next question is can these same companies continue to be leaders tomorrow?
We see who the leaders are today, but who will the leaders be longer term? Ah, that’s always the question right?
There are so many issues that will change thanks to innovation in technology, changes in regulation, changes in the economic models and plays. These are offered by wireless carriers, handset makers, auto makers and all the smaller companies who have to continue to play together well creating a seamless and efficient experience for the customer.
Stay tuned. There is more to come. This space is just starting to get very interesting.
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