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Consumer tech boom drives demand for connected vehicles

The leading players in the automotive industry gathered in Detroit this week, all the time keeping one eye firmly on the latest consumer technology news. This is because drivers and passengers are increasingly dictating the next technologies that should be built into cars. Having seen a growing interest in automotive safety systems, OEMs now face a wave of demand for automated driver-assistance and traffic-avoidance technologies, according to Accenture’s new research.

This survey of 7,000 drivers in seven countries revealed that among the safety technologies currently offered, 91% would most like to use a lane-changing/blind-spot warning system in their current vehicle. When it comes to future technologies, 83% of respondents would like to have in-vehicle technologies that can automatically contact a vehicle recovery organisation when their vehicle breaks down, and 75% want a system that automatically calls the nearest emergency centre if a crash were to occur.

We believe that the IVI and telematics global market will exceed US$70bn in 2012 and US$80bn by 2014

This is why car design is focused not just on how the next model looks, but increasingly on the latest in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) technology that can be included, creating ‘connected vehicles’ – that is, the rising number of cars or trucks that use the latest in on-board devices, telematics and mobile connectivity.

Accenture believes that the IVI and telematics global market will exceed US$70bn in 2012 and US$80bn by 2014. But competitive pressures may have some OEMs focused more on individual functions, rather than the operating systems that can ensure long-term success. IVI systems are becoming part of mass-market car-buying as the latest IVI technologies inside today’s connected vehicle are increasingly as much a determinant of sales as design, fuel efficiency and performance. As consumer desire for IVI capabilities grows, it will be important for automotive manufacturers to seek partnerships that can offer a sustained, seamless IVI experience.

The convergence of on-board devices with the latest mobility services is giving OEMs the opportunity for stronger competitive positioning. The marketplace is exploding with a proliferation of connected vehicle solutions and applications to meet customer priorities. Accenture estimates that IVI could add up to US$200 in revenues per car in mature markets per year as drivers and passengers increase the use of services provided by in-car technology. This will gather pace as systems are being produced to give consumers access to new technologies, such as cloud computing, and provide full Internet capability.

As consumer desire for IVI capabilities grows, it will be important for automotive manufacturers to seek partnerships that can offer a sustained, seamless IVI experience.

The next wave of enhanced and connected in-vehicle services will provide multiple services rather than a single ‘killer app’. This means that sophisticated in-vehicle systems will be needed to accommodate the latest advances in technologies, such as smart phones, portable devices, and applications (apps) store capability. This will make it increasingly difficult for companies to keep up with and monetise changing preferences unless they have the right operating systems and processes in place to absorb them.

Providing the latest technology is important, but even more important is developing the operational capability to effectively respond to any potential advances down the road. This will be critical to sustaining success in the connected vehicle market. OEMs and their suppliers will not only need agile operating systems to respond to new services, but back-office processes, capabilities and infrastructure to support such services and reinforce an enhanced, sustained connected vehicle experience.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.

Marcello Tamietti is the Managing Director of Accenture’s Connected Vehicle group.

For more information about the Accenture research, click here: Consumer technology is creating a wave of connected vehicles

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