The Evolution of Telematics and the Connected Car
The connected car is here and it’s certainly here to stay. With rapid advancements in telematics technology and mobile internet speeds, the stage is set for internet-connected vehicles to begin merging and integrating with telematics tech on an elemental level. It’s clear that the market landscape is already altering significantly for both private drivers and commercial fleet-based businesses, but experts agree that many of the biggest changes may be yet to come.
With the evolution of telematics technology and the connected car converging rapidly, a new groundwork is being laid for an exciting new world of automated travel and fleet management.
The Rise of the Connected Car
It doesn’t take an expert to see that cars are changing fundamentally. If you’ve recently sat in a new car you’ll be hard pressed to not notice the abundance of dashboard technology on display; from integrated GPS, rear mounted radars and car cameras, to internet-connected displays with touch screen controls.
As the motor vehicle, as we know it, evolves before our eyes, there has been a significant technological shift in emphasis from internal functions, to collating information and data from the outside world, via sensors, cameras, 4G and public wifi. Running parallel with advancements in internet connectivity, and the wider external lens that provides, the automotive industry is embracing Internet connectivity as a platform on which to innovate. As John Greenough of Business Insider Intelligence puts it, “the market position of the car today is similar to where the smartphone was in 2010 — it’s just taken off and is ready to explode.”
A 2016 report from BI Intelligence demonstrates that when it comes to connected car manufacturing and ownership, the market is is on the verge of developing exponentially and rapidly, with a predicted 380 million connected vehicles on the road by 2021. McKinsey predicts that the value of internet connectivity components and servicing to rise from $30bn today to $170bn by 2020 – a nearly six-fold increase.
Telematics and the Data Revolution
I’ve talked at length before about how telematics technology is transforming the fleet management industry, through the unlocking of big data and increasing integration from OEMs. Much of these advancements are being precipitated by the confluence of internet connectivity and onboard telematics.
As broad change is sweeping across the industry as a whole, there are a number of specific and focused developments taking place at a micro level, driving through real benefits for both fleet operators and non-commercial ownership.
- Improved workflow: Connectivity is a two-way street, so as well as drivers sending information back to the fleet manager, information can also flow the other way. With the ability for drivers to receive information on jobs, including automatic GPS routeing, workflow efficiency is vastly improved. Drivers can even send information back to the fleet managers, such as proof of delivery (PoD). Greater integration of telematics into other onboard technology as well as HQ based CRM software enables more streamlined processes with better use of drivers.
- More accurate data: The ability to capture and process more information will allow for more accurate data and this could bring about many benefits for the driver. With more capacity to read and process Internet data in real time, vehicles can significantly reduce journey times by rerouting drivers away from congestion or accidents as soon as they become an issue. Data taken from cars can be harvested by local councils and authorities to inform things like public transport routeing, infrastructure development and traffic light phasing (amongst many others).
- Lowering CO2 Emissions: With increasing CO2 emissions across cities all over the world environmental legislation is set to continue being a burden on fleet operators. Advancements in telemetry data will empower fleet managers to monitor and control driver behaviour, such as excessive braking, idling or accelerating, to cut down on their emissions.
- Live in-vehicle video: In-vehicle cameras are increasingly being seen as a reforming force within the car insurance industry and for large fleet managers the benefits of this are clear. With HD footage across various angles, lowering the instances of disputed claims, there is the possibility they could lead to lower premiums across the board for fleets that use them.
An Integrated Future
The future for connected vehicles is full of possibilities, as well as a few potential concerns. With every vehicle generating huge volumes of data and more and more onboard tech connected to the internet, fears over digital privacy and hacking are to be expected. The previously mentioned McKinsey survey found that of 2,000 new car buyers from Brazil, Germany, China and the US, an average of 37% were concerned about data privacy, with these concerns being highest in Germany (51%) and lowest in China (21%). This jumps to 54% when asked about concerns around their connected cars being hacked.
Another big theme around the evolution of the connected vehicles will be how OEMs react to the new players in town. Tech companies like Google and Apple are keen to develop driverless cars and their involvement is likely to really shake up the automotive market.
Perhaps the real shift we’re likely to see will be in how the move towards ever more automated and connected vehicles will change the culture and the social attitude towards car ownership.
“Over the next five to 10 years, this internet integration is expected to change the car ownership model, create a new platform for consumers to access content, lead to fully autonomous vehicles, and revolutionise the auto industry,” says Greenough.
Whatever the market looks like in ten years, it’s clear that the continuing development of the connected vehicle and the integral role that telematics plays will irrevocably change the way we all think about driving.