The Connected Car report for 2014: from demand to future delivery

In 2014, the multinational telecommunication provider Telefónica released their second report on what the connected car field has to offer, in comparison to what the users expect. It seems that car owners from Brazil, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US have a growing interest in the connectivity their vehicles offer.

The rising demand for connected cars

It is expected that by 2020 the number of vehicles with built-in connectivity will reach 90% of the entire market, where now it is 10%. The reason for this growth stems not just from the growing exigency for a car’s ability, but also in modern life behavior.

Young drivers expect their cars to offer the same level of connectivity as their home or office. They feel these requirements are necessary when they are offered some of the same features even in public transportation.

71% of the responders are either already using a connected car or are looking for this in the next car they purchase. These are also the users who know what this technology can offer and what its abilities are.

Growing the awareness of this application beyond infotainment, into safety, navigation and lowering the expenses of owning a car will cause a rise in demand for it.

It’s what makes the connected car attractive for elderly persons, who don’t have to give up driving at 60 but can prolong this loved activity with the help of the newest technology.

Car manufactures changing their perspective

As attractive as the connected car can be, the prospect of owning one is not what excites the Millennial generation. 35 % of consumers do not expect to own their car by 2034, but rather to use alternative options.

Quite often this conclusion doesn’t come at the end of a financial evaluation. It’s rather the answer, if owning a car would make sense for each individual. The demand for comfort of individual transportation will not decline, but the willingness of the user to maintain the car all year long for the few times they actually need it will. A number of mobile applications, like OnStar and RelayRides, already offer the owners of private vehicles the ability to rent out their cars.

Car sharing is also a growing trend in many countries and connected car manufactures need to take this into consideration. They will need to change their perspective from selling vehicles to selling mobility services, offering their clients the opportunity to share ownership and get rid of the problems connected to maintenance.

But this is not a global trend. In many developing countries consumers are moving from bicycles and motorcycles to cars. This offers the traditional growth of manufacturers even in the connected car area. Ford focuses on the BRIC countries, by offering customers the engagement they expect, but also through light, medium and heavy duty trucks.

Fields of focus from the future drivers

Now that the rumors of how the connected car can be a hazard that distracts the drivers have been put to rest, the interest in the safety of the car has grown. It’s not just the fact that the awareness of the application reaching outside the infotainment field has caused a rise in demand, the future clients have their own demands as well.

They want their phones to be aware of the safety of the car not just during driving but also when parked. Opening doors with the use of smartphones is the bare minimum; the next steps are connecting to eCall systems and unexpected movement tracking.

The eCall system would provide the car the ability to contact the emergency services in case of an accident or collision. The information would be sent immediately and would cut down the response time by more than 50%. This is a general demand for cars in the future.

The second aspect the customers want the connected cars to focus on is cutting down the cost of ownership. They want diagnostics apps that will give them the ability to have more insight into their car’s problems. This will help them choose mechanical providers with a better quality/price ratio. Helping clients make informed decisions is what will bring them closer to manufacturers.

The data provided about the car can also be an advantage to the car dealer. They can contact the user before the car breaks down, when they have the information that a possible problem can occur. This will make connected car owners more inclined to choose car dealerships to fix their car than other third party companies, even after the guarantee expires.

Having accurate information connected to fuel consumption is also on the list of priorities. Now customers demand suggestions on how they can cut costs by changing their driving habits or being offered the best fuel prices within a geographical range.

The third aspect has the possibility to be intertwined with the fuel-efficiency of the car. When it comes to navigation users expect maps and suggested routes to be updated, taking into account live traffic and weather forecasts. They feel their car should offer the solutions not just the information for the best case scenario.

The delivery package

Even if the Millennium drivers are more interested in mobile devices than any previous generation, when it comes to connected cars they wish the delivery could be offered through the dashboard. But as driving still requires many visual senses and attention it is quite hard to provide a solution for this demand and still remain within the safety legislation.

The solution for some car manufacturers is to stop most dashboard displays once a certain speed has been reached. Other solutions like voice commands are also being developed.

What the future has to offer when it comes to connected cars

When it comes to cars the future seems to focus on connectivity, higher safety and navigation features. But it also changes the way we think about cars. They are no longer an owned good but rather a product we choose to use.

As the audience better understands what technology has to offer their demands for what it can do for them expand. What are your most important demands for what the connected car should do in the next few years? 

Philipp Kandal