Monday, July 29, 2013

How Much Will Connected Car Business be Worth to ISPs?

Broadband mobile connectivity is about to become default in vehicles, adding a new computing environment beyond office, home, and on-the-go,” writes Forrester Principal Analyst Charles Golvin in a new report on connected cars.

The GSM Association predicts that by 2018, global revenues from the connected car business will include €24.5 billion from in-vehicle services, such as traffic information and and web-based entertainment, up from €9.3 billion in 2012).

Hardware sales might amount to about €6.9 billion, up from €1.2 billion in 2012).

An additional €4.5 billion will be generated by the delivery of telematics services, such as customer relationship management, (up from €1.8 billion in 2012), while €4.1 billion will be earned by mobile service providers in the form of access and mobile data, up from €814 million in 2012.

The GSMA suggests almost 36 million new cars will be shipped globally with embedded telematics (BMW ConnectedDrive and GM Onstar, for example) by 2018, about 31 percent of the total number of cars shipped in that year, up from 5.4 million in 2012.

Others think the volume will wind up being bigger for what might be called “over the top” uses of driver smart phones and other devices. The GSMA forecasts that almost 21 million of the cars sold in 2018 will be fitted with smart phone integration systems (18 percent of total cars sold). In 2012, 1.9 million cars shipped with smart phone integration solutions, such as Ford Applink or Toyota Entune.

These systems typically enable the driver or passengers to view apps running on the driver’s smart phone on a screen in the car and, in some cases, to interact with these apps using vehicle controls.

The connected vehicle is now emerging as a unique computing environment, distinct from the office, home, and on-the-go environments, Forrester argues.

One need not even agree that automobile communications is that sort of new development to recognize why mobile service providers are interested in auto-based communications.

There is universal agreement that global markets for mobile services sold to people is becoming, or has already become, saturated. Machine to machine communications therefore emerges as the next big source of connection and revenue growth.

It isn’t so clear how much various parts of the ecosystem will benefit, but there are logical candidates.

Carmakers see ability to create new recurring revenue streams from emergency calling and automatic accident notifications, entertainment like Pandora and information services like Google search.

Mobile operators see new recurring service revenues. Application developers likewise see new opportunities to sell apps and services.

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