The connected-car market is hot, and it’s getting hotter every day. What I love about this space right now is how the cellular carriers are fighting to take center stage of the market as they help drive it forward—no pun intended. They are working diligently with the automakers to help them link their vehicles to the Internet. And as I have said a dozen times before, it’s no longer about speed and performance; it’s now about safety, convenience, and infotainment.
The recent announcement of Hyundai Motor Co. http://www.hyundaiusa.com/, unveiling its deal with Verizon Communications Inc., http://www.verizon.com/, to provide wireless service in its U.S. cars and trucks is just another example of how important connectivity is to consumers.
I would suspect that Mark Bartolomeo, vice president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, is probably feeling pretty good since this announcement comes on the heels of AT&T’s little pact with General Motors to provide 4G LTE wireless service in its Chevrolet models. I think this sets the stage for a pretty good fight in the car market as the cellular carriers fight for control as more cars get linked to the Internet.
After acquiring Hughes Telematics in 2012, Verizon has repeatedly said that it is focused on the connected-car space and this announcement is just another move in building its strength since it already has deals with Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Motor Corp.
It’s kind of ironic since it wasn’t that long ago when carmakers didn’t even consider wireless service in their vehicles. Now it’s just unthinkable if a vehicle doesn’t have cellular connectivity. So it’s really no surprise then to see the 2015 Hyundai models—starting with the Genesis sedan—will be equipped with Verizon’s 3G wireless service. In addition to Hyundai, Verizon will also provide service to Kia vehicles as well.
Hyundai’s second-generation Blue Link system features a search powered by Google, a Genesis Intelligent Assistant app, and a Google Glass app. Hyundai owners can use the Google Glass app to remotely start their car or unlock their doors, search for gasoline stations, or call for roadside assistance. Verizon will provide a range of safety, security, diagnostics, and infotainment services.
At this point Hyundai says video streaming and wireless hot spots will not initially be part of Hyundai’s second-generation Blue Link connected-car service. The company also notes 4G isn’t part of the initial introduction of its partnership with Verizon. But based on the way the automaker is headed with its partners I suspect when the bandwidth is necessary, Verizon will be more than ready with the connectivity in all the cars.
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