Although experiments with telephony in motor vehicles began as far back as 1946 (Western Electric and Bell Laboratories), it wasn't until the introduction on OnStar services by General Motors in 1995 that vehicle connectivity emerged from the realm of science fiction to reality – providing for the first time: hands-free voice calling, automated emergency response, remote diagnostics and even control, stolen vehicle recover and related location-based services.
Since then, automakers everywhere have joined the fray. Whether strictly to enable emergency response or to develop new revenue streams, today’s consumer is hard pressed to find a car brand not offering some sort of connected services. In fact, automotive and transportation applications have been and remain M2M’s fastest growing vertical market – achieving in excess of 35% growth both in units and revenue with no foreseeable slowdown in the coming years.
As a result of all this connectivity in the car, all sorts of new business models are emerging which are likely to change the way we view car ownership and even driving itself in the coming years. Here is a short sampling of what’s being done today and what’s possible:
Usage-based insurance : No longer do insurers have to base our rates on guess work and complex algorithms– taking into account the type of vehicle, the age and gender of the driver and. Today, insurance companies can retrieve real life, real-time driving data to customize rates to the individual driver.
eToll/Mobile Payments : M2M tolling devices have been around for a while, but today, with the integration of M2M functionality into the vehicle itself, your car authenticates itself to the toll booth and your charges can appear on your monthly service bill. With this same technology and thinking, it won’t be long before your car pays for its own gas or electric charge itself, too.
Driver assist : It began with rear-view cameras and perimeter sensors to make parking easier, but