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BLOG: The connected car

Andrew Milroy | June 3, 2013
Driving new opportunities for ICT suppliers.

The nexus of cloud computing, high speed mobile networks, big data and 'The Internet of Things' is creating huge opportunities to transform entire industries. From the healthcare industry to the automotive industry, we are on the brink of a surge in innovation, driven by ICT advances.

Organisations no longer view ICT as a way of increasing productivity and improving existing business processes. Instead, ICT is increasingly perceived as a platform for rapid innovation and the key to successful competitive differentiation and growth.

Over the next few years, some industries will become unrecognisable as cloud, mobile, big data and the 'Internet of Things' transform them entirely. So what does all this mean and what are the implications for the IT industry? To answer this question, each industry needs to be analysed separately.

One industry that is currently receiving a lot of attention from technology vendors is the automotive industry. Today's cars are turning into computers on wheels. Already, autonomous or driverless cars can now be used.  But what is the appeal of such an innovation? The answer is that driverless cars can minimise accidents, reduce congestion and reduce vehicle carbon emissions, while enhancing the overall customer experience for most people.

Rapid Evolution

We can expect to witness a very rapid evolution of the cars that we drive today into autonomous cars. Over the next few years, we will increasingly drive connected cars that have the following IT-enabled features:

Information and entertainment to the dashboard. Streamed audio and video entertainment, games and access to communications applications will become common in new models. Additionally, information relating to traffic, parking and weather will be fed directly to vehicle dashboards.

Navigation and driver assistance. Cars will be able to select the best routes in real time, taking into account current conditions as well as assisting drivers as they perform manoeuvres. For example, cars will increasingly have the ability to park themselves.

Safety. Connected cars will have the ability restrict speeding, keep a safe distance from other vehicles, predict potential accidents and take avoidance measures, prevent red light jumping and other motoring violations. New cars in Europe will have the capability to instantly notify the emergency services of accidents, and roadside assistance of breakdowns.

Security. Once a vehicle theft has been recorded, connected cars will be easy to recover through real time GPS tracking.

Energy efficiency. Intelligent navigation, routing and monitoring of driving style, fuel consumption, emissions and 'wear and tear' can be managed effectively.

Usage based insurance.  Policies can become usage based and linked to the distance driven by individuals and where and how those individuals drive.

Technology firms are currently investing heavily in connected cars. One of the key reasons is a desire to control automotive IT platforms. Whoever controls driverless car platforms will be in a very strong position. They will be able to establish a communications system for driverless cars. Roads will carry more traffic and be safer and personalised transport will become typical. It will be an enjoyable experience. Cars will deliver you to your home or workplace and park themselves.


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