Apple, Google, AT&T, Sprint Make Inroads Into Connected-Car Market
AT&T plans to spend $14 billion over the next three years on new initiatives that involve the connected car. In a November 2012 video, AT&T showed such a car acknowledging the smartphones onboard, alerting the driver to traffic ahead, enabling him to—by voice dictation—send an email to colleagues saying he'd be late, locating and calling a local pizza place so that the driver could place a dinner order, and even communicating with the house when it reached the driveway so that the appropriate lights were turned on.
Cars are the next areas of our lives that will be connected to the cloud, to high-speed data connections, to the music and entertainment we care about, and to the people we love. Encompassing safety, security, communications and the mash-up genre of infotainment, the connected-car market is expected to bring in revenues of nearly $22 billion this year, according to a November 2012 report from Visiongain. All the major players from the mobile phone market and beyond are onboard, backing solutions that in their various ways combine connectivity with touch-screens, operating systems and voice controls to offer a safer, more efficient and more personalized driving experience. The connected-car market has instigated a reshuffling of the tech world—most recently, Damian Dinning left his longtime role as Nokia's camera-initiatives guru to head Jaguar Land Rover's connected-car efforts—and the creation of new divisions within both automakers and wireless carriers. Sprint, introducing its Velocity initiative, cited Machina Research, which expects 90 percent of new vehicles to have some form of connectivity platform by 2020, and for the connected car market to reach $600 billion by that year, making it the largest category in the $4.5 trillion market of connected devices and services. Below is a sampling of the various major players that are working to advance the market.