By Pavan Mathew, Global Head of Connected Car, Telefonica
The “connected car” is something that is quickly going from concept to reality – it is predicted that by 2020 90% of cars will be connected. New vehicles that are manufactured today are almost guaranteed to offer some sort of factory installed connectivity – from the Tesla Model S to the latest Ford and Jaguar models – and this will only increase in the months and years to come.
However, while there are huge opportunities in developing services and technology for newly built cars – what about the older models? Unlike smartphones and other gadgets, the upgrade cycle is much lengthier for cars. But that doesn’t have to mean that a connected divide should emerge between complete in-built connectivity and no connectivity at all.
Today Telefónica is making its first move to enable drivers to turn their existing cars into connected cars by launching O2 Car Connection in Germany. In a nutshell this will allow cars of up to 10 years old (those with an OBD II port) to have cutting-edge connected services integrated into the vehicle by plugging in a small device containing a SIM card and linking this to a smartphone app. This will be made possible thanks to a new partnership between Telefónica and leading connected car company, Zubie.
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For drivers, this opens up a new world of features helping to bring a more intelligent driving experience to life. Here are a few of the main benefits…
Safe, simple and efficient: Peace of mind
With O2 Car Connection drivers can connect their car with their smartphone to receive important diagnostic information directly to their phone. This not only gives them piece of mind and a more informed driving experience but this can greatly reduce the day to day cost of owning a car. Error codes, problem reports or reminders to visit the service station are conveyed in real time and in an accessible format helping to improve safety on the road. By drawing on information about the condition of the engine or the voltage of the battery, the driver can prevent the unpleasant surprises when the car is taken for its service.
Similarly, if someone steals the car or the driver forgets where it was parked the vehicle finder is a practical tool to detect the location of the car, displaying it on a map. If a vehicle is lent to another driver the owner can easily use geo-fencing to track the vehicle once it moves beyond certain boundaries.
Eco driving: An app for environmentally friendly and cost-conscious driving
O2 Car Connection also helps drivers to be more considered in their driving style. An integrated GPS unit tracks all journeys, assessing individual driving information, while a corresponding app encourages economical travel, which not only saves money and helps protect the environment but also invites users to compare their driving with others.
The future potential for connected cars is limitless and there’s no doubt that the appetite for connected car features is growing. Telefónica’s recent Connected Car Industry report found that the majority of drivers show significant interest in connected car services: around 50 percent of those interviewed consider connected features as one of the most important criteria when choosing their next car. Over 70 percent of surveyed drivers said that they already used connected car services or showed great interest in them.
With this high level of interest in mind, O2 Car Connection comes at a perfect time – it puts the benefits of car connectivity into the hands of drivers today. This is truly a step into the future of motoring.