The number of in-vehicle applications used daily is expected to hit 269 million, by the end of 2018, with a market value of almost $20bn. By this time, most new cars will come with integrated apps as standard, and the smartphone will have become an in-vehicle hub.
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The findings were reported in Juniper Research’s latest survey of the telematics sector, Connected Cars: Consumer and Commercial Telematics and Infotainment, 2014-2018.
Juniper defines telematics as the use of wireless technology and in-vehicle IT to relay information to and from vehicles, with the aim of improving the driver experience, or providing additional information and analysis to drivers or third parties.
The analysts identified a number of factors propelling growth in the sector, including direct integration of SIMs and apps into headset units, smartphone tethering, cheaper data packages and lower roaming costs, and growth in available network capacity from wider 4G deployment.
Regulatory initiatives, such as the European Commission’s eCall project – which aims to ensure cars are automatically able to summon the emergency services after an accident – will also play a part.
More on in-vehicle apps
However, more significant growth will be fuelled by solutions, such as Apple CarPlay, which Juniper said would play a major role in promoting in-vehicle apps to the mainstream by allowing users to safely control Apple devices behind the wheel.
“By 2018 most new vehicles will come with integrated apps as standard,” said report author Anthony Cox, “after-market app integration will also be commonplace as head-unit manufacturers launch increasingly sophisticated devices.”
Cox noted that as with smartphone apps, it was likely only a small number would turn out to be revenue generating.
Juniper said car manufacturers were beginning to take M2M extremely seriously, noting that models of connectivity could make or break sales of more valuable items, which is to say the car itself.
But Cox said it is unknown how in-vehicle connectivity will be paid for, and whether revenues generated would be split between car manufacturers, telcos and content providers.
Last month mobile operator Vodafone made a play in the telematics sector, snapping up Italian M2M firm Cobra to enhance its connected car services capabilities.