The first car I ever purchased was a Ford Mustang GT. It didn’t need to be smart, just faster.
Nowadays, I want my motors to be smart and connected.
You might not know this, but connected cars actually date back to 1930. The first connected device was labeled the 5T71, which would later be branded “Motorola AM Radio.” 22 years later, FM would start to compete as an elite technology.
Today, FM still holds a place in our dashboards, yet we can listen, watch, chat, download and live stream life from anywhere in the world on our phones. This is made increasingly possible with mobile data speeds doubling every two years.
We can all agree, our desire to not just hear but also see and share, isn’t slowing anytime soon.
CONNECTED AUTO VS HOME
Consequently, the consumer’s natural desire for data has created an entirely new marketplace with thousands of connected devices in our homes. It just so happens, 77 of those devices are in my home.
What my wife calls a problem, I call an IoT obsession. Noticeably limited in my eco system, however, is the connected car.
In some ways, my z-wave garage door is more connected than 80% of OEM’s dashboards. My garage door opens and closes based on my proximity and if it’s going to rain. It can even tweet me that it’s open.
Whether autonomous or driving myself, my hope is that connected cars catch up to the home in the latter half of 2017 and I have faith in a few pioneers to make it happen.
Tesla’s Elon Musk has clearly proven he can adapt and develop innovations quickly. Tesla hasn’t added wifi hotspots to it’s line of electric vehicles, yet the ability to independently connect to services like IFTTT, email and in-dash browsing can connect outside the cabin. Musk recently tweeted that an in-car wifi hotspot could be coming soon and developers have noticed code for it in the latest updates.
From Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri integration to an iHeart app in the dash, Ford has a clear lead on its other North American competitors. As a point of interest, the devices in our pocket now cost more than Henry Ford’s first model T.
Ford is also aggressively hiring in its CV department and making promising, strategic, corporate shifts with new CEO, Jim Hackett, President of Mobility, Marcy Klevorn and Chief Brand Officer, Musa Tariq. Together, I’m confident they will improve both the driver’s and overall driving experience in this vertical.
I asked iHeartMedia President, Darren Davis, how they manage to stay relevant as automotive technology shifts.
He told me: “Our strategy has always been to make our content available anywhere, any way the consumer chooses to listen. That’s how we’ve expanded our audiences across the U.S. and strengthened our brands with iHeartRadio, . Whether it’s on broadcast radio, smartphones, gaming consoles, smart TVs or in the car – we’re in the companionship business. And there’s no place that, that’s more important than in the car.
Although there are third party devices such as Hum from Verizon and Automatic – which is now part of Sirius XM – and these appliances are starting to tie vehicle data and drivers together, I believe it’s really up to the manufacturers to leverage information and play a more important role in our connected combustible and electric relationships on the road.