62 Million Cars To Have Web Access By 2016
By 2016, an estimated 62.3 million cars will have access to the Internet, according to a report by iSuppli, a market research company. iSuppli also says there are currently about 970,000 cars with some form of Web access.
The sharp increase over the next few years will be due to the popularity of smart phones among consumers, which will spur demand for Web access in vehicles, says Egil Juliussen, principal analyst for iSuppliís Automotive Research Service. The company predicts that the United States will lead the trend with 28.3 million Web-enabled cars by 2016.
Internet connectivity in cars is possible with telematics systems using either embedded solutions or hands-free interfaces (HFIs) with the entertainment or navigation system. Telematics refers to the solutions and applications built on top of information content flowing via wireless communication to cars. These systems currently use low bandwidth, but iSuppli says speed will increase as more consumers require Web access in their vehicles.
Most telematics systems today connect to the Internet via smart phones that are able to sync with the car. However, BMW has introduced an embedded telematics system with a data plan for the 7-Series luxury sedans in Germany.
Another system used in Web-enabled vehicles is the cellular-to-Wi-Fi router system, first pioneered by Chrysler in 2008, and now used by Cadillac and Volkswagen. This enables Wi-Fi devices to access a carís wireless network. Verizon and Sprint also sell cellular-to-Wi-Fi routers, but they cannot be embedded in a vehicle.
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iSuppli says as more and more cars are able to access the Internet, developers will create applications and content to innovate a consumerís driving experience. The challenge to this will be to make the Internet easy to use in vehicles while minimizing distractions.