Normally we would love a press release that says connected cars are the Next Big Thing. We would immediately fire up the ‘punometer,’ roll up our sleeves and get ready to link the piece to our favourite image of, er, a car connected to the ground – but not in a good way.
A report from Telefonica Digital, however, made us reel in our natural enthusiastic cynicism and read on.
They surveyed 5,000 car owners, manufacturers and seven markets to figure out what car owners actually want from their connected car, if connected car they want. It turns out that 70 percent of owners would use, or are using connected cars. Not surprisingly, 73 percent listed safety features and diagnostics as the top features they would like in their car.
The report expects that the percentage of cars that are sold with built in connectivity to rise from 10 percent to 90 percent between now and 2020.
This survey, along with the one we covered earlier in the week from Vodafone, demonstrates very clearly that what we, for the moment, call the ‘M2M’ market will dissolve into discussions about vertical markets and how connectivity can enable innovative services. Like generic markets, such as the humble PC before it, the term M2M will become meaningless because it will become ubiquitous.
The $1 trillion question is how operators make significant revenue out of the opportunities of cars and other emerging verticals such as healthcare and utilities.
The answer lies not in data but in value. Data, as we have said before and will say again is not something that can be easily understood or bought. As long as the service providers can keep ahead of the hackers!
But the car, like the home, is something of immediate and understandable value. Protecting it, diagnosing problems with it and making it more efficient is attractive and is easy to put a value on. Would you, you might ask, pay $40 a month for a bundle of alerts that would avoid damage, increase your fuel efficiency and tell you if someone was trying to break in – in fact, inform you that the police were on the scene. Answer: without a doubt.
These kind of applications match the BillingViews’ criteria for new technology as having ‘common sense.’ The raft of applications that some are touting, though, make no sense at all. Emails to the dashboard, shopping from the passenger seat, kids playing games in the back. All lead, we believe, to regulators sharpening their rule books and banning them just as they have, rightly, banned texting and phoning while driving.
As long as the common sense rule is followed, we find ourselves becoming fans of a connected, well, everything.
What is next? Perhaps, as one speaker at the recent TM Forum Live suggested, we will end up with an ‘Internet of People.’