Connectivity Options Drive Automotive Acceptability; New Age Cars Take the Wi-Fi Route

March 30, 2011, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Connectivity options are increasingly becoming the driving factors that influence vehicle purchases. As you all know, the access to Internet in a car was earlier something very distractive. However, in the course of time, it has become a part of lives and has redefined the concept of connectivity, information as well as comfort.

Better entertainment options for passengers in their vehicles and provision of Wi-Fi for videos, gaming and social networking are what consumers looking for nowadays. Entertainment vistas inside a car have gone much beyond the concept of a stereo or DVD player.

What is possible with the advent of new connectivity options is that people feel as if continuing their connected lifestyle inside their vehicle too.

Moreover, other then entertainment, there also exist applications that enable parents to monitor speeds their teenage kids touch. Such applications also help position your vehicle and in finding your car in case of theft.

Analysts are of the opinion that consumers are looking at more connectivity options in their cars, with apps for information and entertainment like they have in their smartphones or tablets.

Industrial analysts opine that there is possibility of high growth in this sector of connectivity options in vehicles.

As per the estimates of the market research firm iSuppli, an increment in the shipments of car Wi-Fi systems to 7.2 million units by 2017 is expected as compared to just 174,000 units last year.

More than an accessory, Wi-Fi has now become a necessity. Many major manufacturers have now come up with some form of Wi-Fi or are working on the same to deliver enhanced versions.

Ford has been offering Wi-Fi in select models since 2010. General Motors, BMW, Audi, Saab as well as Chrysler are offering some form of Internet access already.

Smartphone makers have also marked their entry into this industry. Nokia has recently announced the launch of a Car Connectivity Consortium of 11 companies with common technical standards.

It includes automakers such as vehicle manufacturers Daimler, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

California-based Autonet Mobile is considered to be the first Internet-based telematics and applications service platform intended for the auto market. Over 10,000 people in the US are currently using the CarFi service of Autonet.

Autonet’s new tie ups with the leading auto makers General Motors and Subaru apparently show the demand and expected profit in this industry.

Audi has employed a system from Marvell Technology and Harman Automotive to create a factory-installed mobile hotspot.

This enables to connect with eight different devices. Saab has announced its own Android-based connectivity system called IQon.

The technological innovations are discovering new vistas. We are now waiting to see what these developers would offer – whether they offer Wi-Fi as a separate data system (data plan) or allow consumers to bring their own.

Since smartphones and tablets are already popular among the people, no one would intend to pay for a separate data plan meant for the automobile.

Ford’s Wi-Fi system, MyFord Touch, which is added to its SYNC connectivity for mobile phones and music players, is one such system, that offers no separate data plan but instead allows consumers to plug in their own devices.

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