Connected Cars: Future of Infotainment

Image Source: [Pixabay]
Written by: Matthew Thompson

Connected cars already offer a range of infotainment features that few people could have predicted a decade ago. In the near future, you can expect to see even more innovations that make driving safer, more convenient and more entertaining. No one knows exactly what infotainment systems will look like in 10 years, but there are some obvious trends pointing to what you can expect within the next few years.

Small World Social has reviewed some of the most prevalent trends so you can stay ahead of the curve. When customers ask you what to expect from the next generation of vehicles, you can tell them about the ideas some companies have already started to explore.



Vehicle Navigation Will Become More Robust


The percentage of Americans who own smartphones jumped from 35 percent in 2011 to 77 percent in 2016. Now that most people have smartphones, they don’t care as much about in-car navigation systems. They find it more convenient to use their mobile devices to get directions before they even get behind the wheel.

Car manufacturers have noticed this trend, and they’re taking steps to make in-car navigation more appealing. Toyota plans to debut its Entune 3.0 system in the 2018 Camry. Entune 3.0 takes a radically different approach to navigation than the systems you see in today’s cars.

Entry-level Camry cars will use Telenav’s Scout GPS Link to connect drivers’ phones to their cars’ navigation systems. If you look up directions while walking to your car, the directions will appear automatically on the Camry’s touchscreen. Instead of trying to fight the smartphone industry, Toyota decided to integrate it into their vehicles. It’s a smart move that should make in-car navigation more convenient.

Toyota plans to give higher trim level Camrys a different system. Like many of today’s navigation systems, Toyota’s Dynamic Navigation feature will store maps in a hard drive, DVD or SD card. Unlike today’s models, owners won’t have to visit dealerships to update their maps. Instead, the system constantly communicates with nearby Toyota Smart Centers so it always has the latest maps and directions.

Mobile In-Car Payments Will Make Wallets Unnecessary


Several companies also plan to integrate mobile payments into their vehicles. Instead of forcing drivers to pull out their phones to buy gas, food, coffee and other items, they can rely on their cars to pay for them.

Jaguar is the first company to reveal an in-car payment feature. The upcoming Jaguar XE will have an infotainment system that connects to the driver’s smartphone so it can access Apple Pay or PayPal.

Expect to see more companies follow this lead. Toyota, Ford and Honda have already mentioned similar systems, but they haven’t revealed details yet.


Infotainment Will Shift To A Subscription-Based Revenue Model


Although some car manufacturers include infotainment systems in their entry-level vehicles, a lot of companies don’t install infotainment options because they want to keep prices down. This decision is based on the assumption that drivers need to pay for the systems at the time of purchase. Some companies have discovered that they can increase revenues by relying on subscription-based models.

Several infotainment features already require subscriptions. For instance, SiriusXM costs at least $10.99 per month, Spotify Premium costs about $10 per month and Pandora costs about $4 per month.

Adopting a subscription-based revenue model for more infotainment features would make it possible for car companies to earn more money from people who aren’t usually willing to pay for infotainment systems. From the consumer’s perspective, spending $10 a month for enhanced navigation feels less painful than buying an infotainment system up front. Simply giving the system to buyers could lead to higher profits.

Infotainment systems could head in unexpected directions over the next several years. You know that these features are coming to cars soon, though, because companies have already developed the technology and made plans to install them in vehicles by 2018. Check back with Small World Social for updates as these future trends come to life.


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