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The Rise of The Connected Car

Just over ten years ago, commercially available 3G mobile broadband changed mobile phones for good. Coupled with the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, popularising smartphones in the consumer market, phones changed from being person to person communication devices into fully-fledged mini computers. Now in 2014, the same is happening in cars. We’re witnessing the rise of the connected car.

Better computing systems in cars, a higher number of sensors and improved connection speeds (with 4G in ascendancy and higher coverage for 3G networks) have all laid the foundation for a whole host of new features becoming available in cars.

While some of these technologies have existed in fleets for some time, it looks as if the pace of development of such features is about to accelerate rapidly. This is in part thanks to more ‘apps’ becoming available in cars. Not only is this analogous to the growth of the mobile device market, it is directly related to it. One of the big questions manufacturers face with the connected car is whether to provide an operating system and connectivity through a mobile phone or directly through the car. If the latter turns out to be the solution, then apps will need to become web-based (no longer tied to single device or operating system) allowing drivers to use the same apps in their car as they do on their smartphone or tablet.

One of the most interesting aspects of more and more and cars becoming connected is that it allows road traffic to become a network. In the same way that collated data from cars is now used to provide a more accurate picture of traffic densities, so too could cars share information that would result in things like improved collision detection and avoidance.

Take a look at the visualisation below to find out more about the connected car and the ways in which it could empower drivers and businesses. We’d love to hear more about what you would like to see in the connected car, so let us know in the comments below. Keep an eye out for the next post in the series, which will focus on the future direction of this technology.

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