The cars we drive are becoming smarter and more connected, opening up a wide range of innovative use cases and business models across a number of verticals. That’s according to a new worldwide report from Futuresource Consulting, which forecasts there will be 422 million connected cars on our roads by 2026, up from 233 million in 2022, and representing one quarter of all cars in use across the globe.
Connected infotainment is playing a leading role in the growing opportunity. It is perfectly positioned to offer tangible and easily delivered benefits to users, car makers, CE vendors and service providers alike. From more instances of high definition screens, at bigger sizes, to gaming, news content delivery and productivity enablement, in-car infotainment is an all-encompassing space. As a result, car manufacturers are now pivoting to become experience creators and service providers through new software-defined business models.
“We’re seeing the car reimagined and repositioned as the third living space,” says Guy Hammett, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “OEMs, tech companies and service providers are all lining up to target those in-car screens in a strategic move to establish new revenue streams.
“Yet the battle is not being fought on screens alone. In-car voice assistants are becoming crucial in defining the success of in-car infotainment, with rapidly rising use cases that are attracting leading voice platform providers Apple, Amazon, Google, Cerence, SoundHound Baidu and Yandex.”
While brands converge on the connected infotainment space, automotive OEMs are facing a dilemma. Should they allow leading tech providers to take over the infotainment system or maintain full control of the in-car experience and data themselves?
“Luxury car makers are at the forefront of developing connected car infotainment, as we’ve seen with this week’s long-term partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Google,” says Hammett. “As well as providing new service revenue opportunities, infotainment is an increasingly important part of the brand experience. And although dedicated operating systems allow OEMs to carefully craft the optimum brand experience in their cars, they need to consider whether customers will demand the ability to seamlessly use their favoured CE platforms.
“It’s a balancing act that goes beyond embedded voice versus smartphone mirroring solutions, and will become more pronounced as 5G network deployment continues to gain ground, boosting the demand for car infotainment consumption across audio, video and gaming.”
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