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Point Of View: We Will Need To Be Where Digital Takes Us

I have to admit: There was a time when I felt like I knew a lot about technology and the digital world. For a long time, within reason, I was a bit of an early adopter, recognizing where the new technology, applied properly, could increase productivity and make us more efficient. I believed in the technology and still do. But, I am not so confident talking about the specifics on these topics these days — and specifically as it impacts our industry and its various channel partners.

That’s doesn’t mean I am neither interested nor ambitious enough to keep up with the latest. The challenge, at least for me, is that there is so much to know and so much happening — all changing at a seemingly compounding pace.

Nonetheless, I firmly believe now, more than ever, where the digital world takes us is where we, this industry, will need to be. That is particularly true in regard to how we might connect with the vehicle owner, an area the automakers have been working at for at least the last 20 years.

According to a new study from Juniper Research – one of the leading analyst firms in the mobile and digital technology sector – the adoption of connected in-vehicle infotainment systems will produce revenue exceeding $600 million in 2020, representing a 10-fold increase on this year’s revenue.

“The new research, Consumer Connected Cars: Telematics, Insurance & In-Vehicle Applications 2015-2020, forecasts that consumer adoption of connected-car entertainment will grow rapidly as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto gather traction,” a recent press release noted. “As these systems become firmly established, Juniper expects a wave of new applications to become available, specifically designed for in-vehicle use, such as advanced traffic solutions, route optimization and in-vehicle gaming.”

And the folks at Juniper think this is above and beyond connectivity between the vehicle and a smartphone.

“According to the research, on-board systems with integrated wireless functionality will eventually push ahead of systems requiring the presence of a smartphone. OEMs will seize the opportunity of greater independence, better integration with other in-vehicle systems, by including directly integrated units such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and BlackBerry’s QNX,” the Juniper release stated.

This all goes along with the abundance of OBD-II connected devices, a growing segment in the device and applications marketplace. A simple Google search turns up a plethora of devices vehicle owners can connect to their vehicles, offering a variety of data from the system and even providing connectivity to “guide” the vehicle owner to a proper diagnosis and repair. For one example, the Delphi Connect made a bit of a splash over the last year or so, and continues to be marketed by Verizon and others.

Make no mistake, how we navigate this connection conundrum will be principal to our service dealers getting access to the business going forward. Coupled with the access to repair information for today’s and tomorrow’s vehicles, this is where we need to have the best and the brightest around our industry working for our future.

And, knowing this industry, we are more than capable of meeting that challenge.

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Gary A. Molinaro
Publisher

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