Connected cars are a driving force for the IoT

By | 2 minute read | July 11, 2016

Connected Cars header image

In Q1 of this year, more automobiles were connected to cellular networks than mobile phones. 84% of American’s use a cellphone, according to a study by Chetan Sharma Consulting. This number has remained steady for the last few years and is not expected to shift much in the near future. Those who are purchasing cellphones tend to be those that already own and use a mobile phone. With the mobile phone industry saturated, mobile providers are turning to other industries to connect devices across many fields. Connected cars are the driving force.


A pie chart from Chetan Sharma Consulting showing that non-phones continue to dominate connected devices. 14% are M2M, 31% are phones, 32% are connected cars, and 23% are tabletsChetan Sharma Consulting

Connected Cars are part of a booming IoT industry that promises to shake up global markets. In their ‘What’s driving the connected car?‘ McKinsey estimates that by 2020 the global market for connected cars will reach €170 billion, while prices maintain stable for consumers. In the same study, McKinsey report that in a survey of 2,000 new-car buyers in Brazil, China, Germany, and the United States, 13% of buyers would only consider vehicles with internet access, and “more than a quarter already prioritize connectivity over features such as engine power and fuel efficiency.”

What do connected cars offer?

Connected cars are a rapidly expanding market that offers many features that modern consumers are beginning to expect from their devices. These vehicles come with internet access, live traffic updates, calendar alerts, text messaging, and even gas station and parking space locations. By integrating cars into the Internet of Things, automotive companies are helping to shape the future of smart cities.

What are the challenges for connected cars?

Automotive manufacturers have the challenge of designing and producing desirable connected content and features. Car companies pick one mobile provider to partner with and then work within their framework. Connected cars are a natural next move for many mobile companies and providers including, Apple, Microsoft, AT&T and Sprint among others. One of the largest challenges within the connected car industry is creating features that will stand the test of time. Consumers are conditioned to near-constant updates in smartphone software, while automotive manufacturers work in five-year cycles.

Consumers have also demonstrated concerns over safety while driving connected cars. As technology continues to saturate all aspects of our lives, distracted drivers become an increasing problem on roadways around the world. The increase in technology has many legislators concerned about road safety. From April 2018, all cars in Europe must be eCall enabled, a feature that automatically contacts emergency services in the event of a serious crash. These features are expected to be implemented in the United States as well as other countries soon.

What does this mean for the future?

With more and more devices being connected through cellular technology, cellphones are quickly becoming just one of many connected devices that people interact with daily. 69% of the cellular connected devices in Q1 were devices other than cellphones. We are seeing cars, tablets, and machine to machine devices start to take over the cellular sphere. This trend is very encouraging for the Internet of Things. Our internet is diversifying; we are seeing a major growth in the types of devices and machines that are connected. Machines are no longer just connected to people, but to each other as well. This web of machinery will foster the future of technological growth and the Internet of Things. Welcome to the future.

Do you use a connected car? What do you think will be the next big connected technology?


To learn more about connected cars in the Internet of Things, check out this Infographic.