Your Car Is Calling with M2M

11/9/2012

If you feel that these days your car seems more and more like a smartphone, you’re right. In-vehicle connected car technology enables cars to make calls, read texts, provide navigation assistance, and in some cases even park themselves. M2M technology allows cars to communicate via cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity, and in the future vehicles may take on more characteristics of your favorite mobile device.

For instance, apps. Multiple organizations are working on ways to provide apps to vehicles in much the same way smartphones can run various applications. One group, the CCC (Car Connectivity Consortium), www.mirrorlink.com, announced it is opening up its MirrorLink standard to mobile app developers in the first quarter of 2013. MirrorLink is a technology standard for controlling a nearby smartphone from the steering wheel or via dashboard buttons and screens. The standard can also employ Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to deliver services to the driver.

The idea is to provide a safer and easier way for drivers to access smartphone content while in the car, making sure they don’t have to struggle to use a handheld phone while driving.


The CCC says opening the MirrorLink standard for app developers will help to get a wide variety of apps into the market. So far, there are more than 40 MirrorLink-certified cars, smartphones, and aftermarket head units available to consumers.

The CCC news comes on the heels of a recent announcement from Ford and Microsoft, which said the companies’ 5-millionth vehicle equipped with the SYNC system had been sold. In many ways SYNC was the forerunner for other smartphone-enabled in-vehicle communications systems. It was launched five years ago to provide connectivity for communications and entertainment via the driver’s smartphone connection.

The decision to use a smartphone as the connectivity piece of a system rests partly on the idea that people will replace their mobile devices much more often than their car. A consumer may trade up for a new smartphone every couple of years, so the technology in the phone would likely be fresher than that of an embedded unit.

Automotive remains a major market for M2M, and a recent report from Juniper Research, www.juniperresearch.com, said telematics is one of two “anchor industries” for M2M. Automakers and technology providers are rushing to provide the solutions that will guide the market in the future. To makes sense of which vehicles are leading the way, check out the Feb/March edition of Connected World magazine, which will feature the second annual Connected Car of the Year award winners. The day is fast arriving when a car will likely be considered first and foremost a connected device.






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