By Brian Albright, Field Technologies magazine
Vehicles with embedded Internet functionality could enhance field and fleet operations.
Research company Visiongain estimates the connected car market to be at nearly $22 billion in 2013, and ABI Research says that by 2017, nearly 50 million connected vehicles will be sold annually. “Some of the technologies featured in connected vehicles provide consumer-oriented infotainment functions, such as being able to stream Internet radio,” says Broc Jenkins, business development manager for M2M at Wilson Electronics. “Video can also be streamed to onboard television screens. Other technologies important to the connected vehicle are GPS location and tracking, location-based services, vehicle status and performance monitoring, and remote start.”
For field service companies and fleet operators, new vehicle connectivity features could provide a number of benefits. Built-in telematics solutions can provide location data and navigation, as well as vehicle diagnostics and data on driver behaviors. Onboard Internet connectivity would also provide greater options when it came to using devices like mobile computers and printers inside the vehicle. These vehicles would also have built-in wireless capabilities. “By my definition, [connected vehicle technology] can range from something quite simplistic — for example, a GPS receiver, a cellular radio, and a tracking application — to something much more complex, where all the components of the vehicle are connected via an onboard LAN that can be accessed via a range of different communication technologies (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular, NFC, satellite) which feed an endless number of applications,” says Andy Willett, senior VP at NetMotion Wireless.