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Ford realizes that the way forward involves technology
As we have previously discussed, for years automobile companies have put out sloppy and confusing car GUI’s (Graphical User Interface). Combine the terrible car GUI’s with even worse automobile data plans being offered by most wireless carriers and you are left with a section of the tech industry that has all but fallen flat with consumers.
Thankfully in the last year, car companies have publicly come out and admitted to needing significant changes to their car GUI’s. Ford is pushing out their latest in-car entertainment system called SYNC 3, which includes a “capacitive touch screen, better integration with smartphone apps and, eventually, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.”
This was followed by Ford CEO Mark Fields speaking at CES 2015 where he highlighted just how important Ford was taking the future of technology in their automobiles. In his keynote, Field talked about data being their biggest asset and the need for Ford to develop applications that can work across multiple transportation systems.
As ZDNet put it, “Ford is a good example of how every company is becoming a tech company.”
At the moment, Ford is experimenting with automobiles in India and China where hundreds of volunteer employees are using data from in-vehicle sensors. One area of concern that Fields noted in his speech at CES was just how much data was being used by the tested volunteers in the car and the car system itself. In initial tests, Ford saw “upwards of 25GB of information per hour.”
I am sure that AT&T and other carriers saw this stat and began to dance in the streets. AT&T already has deals with several automobile companies and is pushing the idea that it “makes sense” for carriers to add any data used in the car to that consumers personal data plan. It makes sense to AT&T who would love to see this immense amount of data being added to customers plans thus resulting in many customers needing to purchase higher data plans.
That type of thought from AT&T is why I am skeptical as to whether in-vehicle connectivity will actually take off with customers. People already have a smartphone that they likely paid a high amount for in today’s market. Will they really want to pay an additional amount for this type of connection?