Automotive Industry Wants More Mobile Apps

Marina Astapchik
IT Trends Research Specialist
June 11, 2012

The car has become not merely a device for transportation, but a platform for innovative enhancements that enrich the driving experience. Moreover, availability of advanced IT solutions in automobiles is now playing an increasing role in customers' purchasing decisions.

Today, in the era of digital communication, native mobile apps serve as a common bridge between manufacturers and customers, breathing fresh air into marketing and management strategies. One must admit that the automotive industry has been quick to embrace this trend. Virtually every megabrand like GM, Ford, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, BMW, Toyota, Hyundai and others is already on the mobile bandwagon to market their autos.

Whether consumers are collecting information on new model offerings, researching car features and prices, or mapping their way to the nearby dealership, they are accessing content across a variety of smartphones and operating systems:


Figure 1: Smartphone OS mix

Integrating the smartphone into cars is a new route to bring the mobile Internet and infotainment into the in-car environment. According to Juniper Research, the incorporation of the smartphone into consumer vehicles will become a standard on new models. It is expected that by 2016 there will be 92 million Internet-connected vehicles on the road. Through their embedded connectivity and telematics (fusion of telecoms and information technologies in vehicles), intelligent cars are supposed to create revenues of $14.4 billion by 2016.

Custom mobile apps for iPhones, iPads, Android-based and other mobile devices enable users to engage with rich automotive content. Applications might have the following features:

  • A searchable owner's manual;
  • Media galleries and showrooms with quick access to datasheets and pricing information;
  • Dealer locations;
  • Roadside service information;
  • Weather and traffic alerts;
  • Parking assistance;
  • Navigation directions;
  • Service reminders;
  • Engine tuning;
  • Real-time information about battery capacity, fuel tank contents, oil life and tire pressures;
  • Fuel consumption calculator;
  • Door lock indicator;
  • Climate control system;
  • Pollution calculator.

Mobile apps seem to be a natural "continuation" of modern cars. They help consumers feel more connected to their automobiles, informed and obviously loyal to the car model they drive. Brand-specific mobile applications make vehicles more accessible than ever before.

Apparently, in the near future the most successful car manufacturers will be those that operate more like high-technology companies and strive to make the in-car consumer experience more compelling.

Industries and Technology Areas

Industries: automotive industry

Technology Areas: mobile application development, software development, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, telematics

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