Whether you call it the “connected car,” telematics, infotainment or even the iCar, our automobiles are quickly becoming intelligent, personalized communication devices that enable us to remain “connected” while on the go. Just close your eyes and think about some recent automobile commercials you have seen, from Ford’s voice-activated Sync system to USBs plugging into consoles for a global scavenger hunt.
In most cases, this connectivity is provided by cellular communications, either directly to the vehicle or via the driver’s smart phone, which is “tethered” to the car’s computer.
The next wave in the “my car is another personal device” evolution will likely focus on applications. While safety still outweighs convenience, automakers are now tricking out “apps” for your car, just like your iPhone. But as these app libraries grow, what will it mean for the cellular connectivity demands of your vehicle? Will bandwidth requirements go through the roof? Who, or better yet how, will you pay for the chunks of data consumed by these apps? Having to add a new cellular contract for your Chevy Cruze or 328i probably isn’t that appealing for consumers who are already paying subscriptions for devices like phones and tablets.
The closest subscription example that one can look to is that of GM’s OnStar, where subscribers pay a flat monthly fee for the service, which varies depending on selected “levels” of service. However, does the flat fee approach to the connected car make the most sense? What data plan will your car need? How often will you use your vehicle as a “device?”
When you start asking these questions, you start to see that best practices from the M2M market may make the most sense. KORE pioneered pay-for-what-you-use data plans and our IntelliRate service is currently used across a number of vertical industries to help both application providers and end-users better monitor and control wireless connectivity costs.
As the automobile ushers in the next wave of mobile applications, connectivity within the vehicle will become even more crucial to delivering the same personal user experience as we’re accustomed to getting from our smart phones. The question is, will we be willing to pay more for this data? Will the network service providers of data services be able to offer a single subscription that covered multiple devices, including your in-auto connectivity? I would argue they have to and that it will be offered sooner rather than later.
As the connected car evolves, we believe there are significant consumer benefits to be gained from the M2M user model. We at KORE are happy to help automakers define the roadmap for, and drive user adoption of, apps in the connected car.
By Stein Soelberg, Director of Marketing
Stein leads a team whose responsibility is to own the branding, advertising, customer engagement, loyalty, partnership and public relations initiatives designed to propel KORE into the 21st century. With over 15 years of technology marketing experience in the business to business software, Internet services and telecommunications industries, Stein brings a proven track record of launching successful MVNOs and building those brands into leaders.