Telematics, the Internet of Things, and in-car infotainment systems have a unique and mutually beneficial relationship. IoT advances could mean more things to do with in-car infotainment and telematics, while in-car infotainment systems can help make the public more aware about the IoT and telematics. Though these technologies work together seamlessly, they are not one and the same.
Today’s connected car is relentless in entertaining and informing both driver and passengers. Gadgets built into your car now allow you to check your Facebook account and tweet about your day. Or they can help you kill boredom while idling in traffic with videos, movies, and music that are streamed directly to your car. There is even discussion about letting you talk to your car and tell it where to go and what to do. Basically, anything you could do on the Internet at home, you can now do in your car. You can even use the car’s WiFi connection to work on some documents on your laptop.
Just look at what Ford did with its MyFord Touch platform. You get an eight-inch touch screen and a variety of apps to stay entertained. It uses mobile phone apps for infotainment purposes; for example, Pandora streams in your favorite music. You can use the voice recognition feature to communicate with your car. Your kids can watch videos in the back seat, and you can get directions to the nearest movie theater or restaurant. The beauty of in-car entertainment is that you can customize it however you want, so you can get the most from it.
And then there is telematics, which makes use of telecommunications and informatics and allows you to gather, receive, and send information. It is often associated with global positioning systems, such as your car’s navigation system. Another major area in telematics is fleet tracking, wherein companies can keep track of their vehicles at any time. They can learn not only a particular vehicle’s exact location, but also route information and other types of data such as vehicle speed and idling times.
Telematics is simply the technology behind the infotainment experience that we have described, and it will make in-car infotainment even more useful. For example, it could help make cars safer by monitoring systems for early warnings of problems. Or it could send alerts if you are breaking the posted speed limits.
Then there is automated news delivery. You can get all the news you want without even having to think about it. For example, in-car systems could keep track of your previous behavior and try to figure out what news is important to you.It could give you an alert if a company’s stock moves, or it could keep you up to date with your favorite sports teams. It could remind you to bring an umbrella if it is going to rain.
In order to do all these and be accurate, your in-car system would need access to a lot of data. This is where the IoT comes in.
One might argue that in-car infotainment systems are actually part of the IoT. Strictly speaking, though, they are just associated technologies. You can use your system even without Internet connectivity or sensors. It does not have to collect and transmit data. You could use load apps and files via USB. But because the two technologies work seamlessly together most of the time, a lot of people think that they are one and the same. But they are not quite.
A connected car’s sensors and systems may make the car itself part of the IoT, but the infotainment system can also be the user’s gateway to what else the IoT offers. In connected cities, sensors are gathering data in real-time. As such, you could get information on a lot of things. How many other cars are there on your road? What route should you take to avoid traffic? The system could also alert you when weather conditions make driving unsafe. Your car could even connect to traffic light systems and tell you how fast you should drive to get a green light at every intersection. Or it could alert you if you are driving too fast toward a light that’s about to change.
The connected car with its telematics and infotainment system will provide tremendous benefit to users by linking with the IoT and through maintenance and support features that come with that link. The three form a win-win-win situation.