Trend forecasters are predicting a major automobile paradigm shift––and the mobile device could be at the center of it. Already, our phones have special mobile apps to expedite car rental and mobile navigation apps that route us to our destination. We have apps that help us monitor automobile maintenance and apps that review the ethics and customer satisfaction of our neighborhood mechanic. But this is just the beginning.
Studies indicate that almost half (46%) of U.S. consumers are interested in accessing mobile applications inside their vehicle. This includes everything from on-demand wireless map updates to mobile apps that could help locate parking spaces. More than a third of those surveyed are interested in a self-driving vehicle. You fiddle with your iPhone while your Buick navigates you on your commute! 30% say they would opt for a car that allows them to tether their smart phone to get an Internet connection. It is predicted that by 2016, car buyers will use Internet connectivity as a chief factor in choosing their next vehicle. Instead of haggling about floor mats and undercoating, you might be negotiating RAM.
As cars become increasingly “connected” they will necessarily become more self-aware. We will potentially receive digital coupons attracting us to deals at the closest fueling/charging station as we drive around. The autonomous, self-driving, self-routing vehicle will not only be desirable, it will be available. The evolutionary cycle will likely move the car from automated to autonomous to unmanned. An era of smarter mobility.
What could be the upside of a mobile-friendly car? Plenty! Fewer emissions, extended utility, improved traffic flow and reduced fatalities.
Sound far-fetched? Well, remember your car had a computer before your home did. The car phone predates the pocket cell phone. Technology and automobiles is something as old as Henry Ford. The questions is: how are marketers going to avail themselves to the seamless integration of mobile technology and autos? Could your touch screen car radio one day broadcast onboard marketing messages. Could outdoor boards one day be onboard?
It’s a changing world. We can hit the brakes but we can help steer it.