Consumers Want Mobiles Connected to Their Vehicles: IDC

Despite consumer interest in connected vehicle functionality, IDC predicted adoption, through new vehicle model purchases, would continue to be slow.

Nearly half of consumers consider it vital to have access to a phone in the vehicle, and about 40 percent consider it vital to access applications such as navigation and music while in the vehicle, according to the initial results from research firm IDC’s national consumer survey, "Methods and Practices: Connected Vehicles and Consumer Connectivity Preferences."

According to the report, all future vehicles will likely have innovative technologies that include built-in dashboard "infotainment" systems, allowing for hands-free communication and access to a wide range of "applications" that initiate services, access information and music, provide navigation and so forth.

However, despite the need for and consumer interest in connected vehicle functionality, the firm predicted adoption, through new vehicle model purchases, would continue to be slow.

"According to our study, most consumers find it vital to access the phone in the vehicle but also want to maintain their 'digital identity' by connecting their current device to the vehicle," Sheila Brennan, program manager for IDC Manufacturing Insights' Connected Vehicle Strategies research, said in a statement. "Therefore, automakers that have a strategy to provide consumers the ability to access their current device's service through the vehicle, but also gain access to any OEM unique embedded services that come with the vehicle, will gain an advantage in the connected vehicle market."

The majority of consumers (two-thirds) would prefer their existing mobile service provider for emergency and other in-vehicle services, if given a choice, the report found.

In addition, 35 percent of consumers said they believe connected and emergency services should be included free with the vehicle, but half of consumers said they would find $24-60 per year a reasonable price range to pay for the services.

The survey also found three-quarters of respondents said they prefer to access in-vehicle services through their existing mobile device, maintaining their "digital identity."

While only about one-quarter of all consumers said they consider it vital to utilize the phone for business when in the vehicle, almost half of the baby boomer population (consumers between the ages of 45 and 65) consider it vital to access the phone in the vehicle for business and applications, suggesting this group has a strong connected identity beyond personal use.

The research firm said an insufficient amount of consumer research has been performed, both by automakers and a host of other ecosystem players, on connected vehicle capabilities and accompanying services investments. Because of this, a number of development efforts made thus far suffer from low adoption, IDC revealed.

The report is the first in a series that will showcase the study results, and examines key characteristics of the study population, including current vehicle age and condition, technology currently owned, daily commute distance, and new vehicle purchasing intent.