No matter what Doc Brown says, where we’re going, we probably still need roads, and cars to drive on them. But, while those cars might not be fitted with flux capacitors quite yet, more and more are coming with sensors and communications capabilities that make the automotive industry perhaps the most exciting playing field in the coming Internet of Things.
First of all, the opportunity is immense. Sure, we’re all excited about the prospect of self-driving cars, but there’s a lot more to it than that. In 2012, the market for technology that connected cars and the Internet was about 13 million euros ($17 billion), according to numbers from mobile technology association GSMA; by 2018, that number is expected to triple. Over the same period, the number of cars that come equipped with mobile connectivity is forecast to grow sevenfold.
So it’s time for forward-thinking developers to get coding. What kind of opportunities will this auto-mobile revolution bring? Well, according to the Application Developers Alliance:
- Here we are now, entertain us: Playlists that automatically load according to your location? A library of videos for the kids in the backseat? Whatever the ambitious app developer can dream up.
- The safety dance: Take advantage of heads-up displays, voice control systems, and handwriting software to create ways for drivers to access features while keeping their eyes on the road.
- Think outside the car: Communication is a two-way street, so there will be demand for apps that allow municipalities to collect data on vehicles to improve their own operations, charging parking fees based on location or better calculating timing for traffic lights, for example.
- Computer, take the wheel: Even before the fully autonomous car arrives, there is plenty of room for more apps that take over some driving, navigating, and parking functionality.
And that, of course, is just the beginning. As the report notes, “Tackling the business of building new applications and products that tap into the power of IoT opens up many opportunities. But it also means that there are nearly as many ways to build the future as there are devices connecting to the Internet.”
Visit the Application Developers Alliance website to read more about the group’s series of reports on the rise of the Internet of Things.