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With a 25.4-minute average commute (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), most Americans spend almost 1.5 hours a day traveling (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey). In total, most Americans find themselves in a car for almost five years of their lives, which leaves them with a lot of time on their hands in transit. This could attribute to the forecasting by Machina Research, which predicts that over 120 petabytes of information will be transmitted a year just for entertainment and Internet traffic in in-vehicle mobility systems by 2020 (Fig. 3). Common telematics solutions include feature enhancements and added features to the automobile ecosystem, such as security/tracking, emergency/eCall, entertainment and Internet, navigation, insurance, and lease/rental/share car management. In a whitepaper written by SBD for GSMA, “2015 Every Car Connected: Forecasting the Growth and Opportunity,” an estimation of the growth of embedded in-car telematics over the next 15 years is predicted to reach over 5% of all connected devices by 2025. In other words, roughly 0.1% of connected devices would be embedded in-car telematics solutions. Although there is a high demand from consumers to see telematics systems in everyday cars, there are reasons that the forecast for embedded telematics is predicted to only grow significantly in the late 2010s.

The Future Of Connectivity: Mobile & Automobiles, Fig. 3

For instance, automobile design cycles operate on a 3-5 year basis, whereas mobile technologies update annually. The life spans of automobiles typically range from 7-10  years. This means that in-vehicle telematics solutions must be able to be updated remotely, require few hardware updates, and be highly resistant to the stresses of vehicular travel.  Telematics solutions also need to be operating across brands and models to provide a more general solution, as designing solutions for each specific model would cause difficulties and delays in the incorporation of the technology. Additionally, automakers want solutions that can be adjusted to changes in markets, business models, mobile operators, and vehicle ownership. This need could lead to embedded devices, tethered devices, or integrated devices with mobile handsets.

All of these telematics solutions require a reliable communications network in which automakers can assure users of 99.999% functionality, according to GSMA’s white paper, “Connecting Cars: The Technology Roadmap.” This requirement—along with historical cooperation difficulties between mobile network operators (MNOs) and automakers—has led to delays in telematics solutions. An additional complication stems from recent changes in the European Union (EU) wireless regulations. Automakers’ telematics solutions may take some time to arrive to market, which means aftermarket telematics solutions might grow to fill the gap in consumer demand.

One such solution could be the new embedded subscriber identity module (SIM) technology, which enables operator swapping without the need to physically possess the device. This could allow for the adaptability necessitated by the long life cycles of automobiles. In an excerpt from “2015 Every Car Connected: Forecasting the Growth and Opportunity,” the following hypothesis is provided:

“At some point in the future, every car will need to be connected to the outside world through a cellular network. The most user-friendly and secure way to enable this is by embedding a SIM card and a communication module inside the car. Therefore, the automotive market will naturally converge towards embedded telematics in the long term unless major barriers prevent this from occurring.”

Connecting cars may add many new technology opportunities and user benefits. Yet such capability also invites the potential for technological assaults on the telematics solutions within the vehicle. Each connectivity option allows for another method of potential intrusion. As such, high-tech thefts are a key consideration for automakers.

Additional Resources

"Connected Car Forecast Next Five Years"

"Summary Of Travel Trends: 2009 National Household Travel Survey"

Download this article in .PDF format
This file type includes high resolution graphics and schematics when applicable.