As environmental concerns come to the fore, car makers will increasingly turn away from performance and towards in-car electronics and connectivity as a way of differentiating their vehicles, said Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski.
(Check out some recent examples from the Geneva Motor Show this spring.)
"The automotive industry must explore new ways to generate consumer interest, product differentiation and revenue opportunities," said Koslowski. "Web-based applications and services specifically designed to enhance the driving and ownership experience, in particular, represent a significant chance to accomplish this. During the past two years, consumer awareness and interest for such technologies and applications has grown significantly in mature automotive markets, such as the United States and Western Europe. The goal is to provide dynamic content that is contextual and relevant to the driver and the passengers. It's not about replicating consumers' home computer Internet experience"
Gartner anticipates that by 2016, consumers will consider in-vehicle connectivity as important as traditional automobile features (for example, safety and fuel efficiency). This means that automotive companies must offer such functionality in two vehicle generations (one generation is traditionally four years) from today, to meet future demand.
"The growing need for connectivity solutions in the automobile will also have a significant impact on the automotive aftermarket and will provide opportunities for those companies that can offer cost-effective retrofit solutions for vehicle owners that want to upgrade their existing cars," he said
This story, "Wireless Cars by 2012?" was originally published by Computerworld Australia.