The Connected Car: Welcome To The Next Computing Environment

Since the launch of General Motors' OnStar service in 1996, a portion of new cars has shipped with embedded cellular connections, making these vehicles part of the Connected World. Now, vehicle manufacturers are preparing to significantly increase the prevalence of these connections in their new products, and — more importantly — employ high-speed broadband in place of the narrowband modems of the past.

The connected vehicle is now emerging as a unique computing environment, distinct from the office, home, and on-the-go not just because it's in motion, but also because of its significant constraints and its composition of user- and vehicle-driven elements. Connected cars create opportunities for:

  • Carmakers. Beyond the core telematics offerings like emergency calling and automatic accident notifications, automotive OEMs have begun to offer connected entertainment like Pandora and information services like Google search. But they've learned the hard lessons of OnStar, and, rather than attempting to drive revenue with these services, they are using connectivity to give more reasons for customers to choose and stick with the carmaker's brand.
  • Mobile operators. Now that carriers' future revenue growth is being driven by customers adding devices to their plan and bumping up the associated allocation of megabytes, cars fit nicely alongside smartphones, tablets, and other data-hungry devices.
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