While it's nice to have access to information and communications in the car, in most cases, it's just not safe. In many cases, it's just not legal, especially in states and municipalities that have banned use of hand-held devices in the car.
While we may spend plenty of time punching buttons to get information out of interactive voice response (IVR) technologies at our homes and at work, it's just not an acceptable interface when it comes to cars. Luckily, in-vehicle technologies moving toward the concept of a “connected car” may completely revolutionize the way we interface with telephones and technology, eliminating the need for more traditional IVRs.
These “connected car” services will allow us to communicate with friends, family and business associates, search for information, receive weather and traffic intelligence as needed, navigate, entertain ourselves and even work.
Thanks to in-vehicle-technology investments from many of the world’s top automakers and technology companies, the connected car is becoming a reality, reported Connected World Magazine this week. One investment in particular, announced last week by Intel Capital (News - Alert) for a staggering $100 million, is one example of eager technology companies are to begin innovating in what will likely become a widespread and lucrative marketplace.
Currently, true “connected car” systems show up largely in luxury cars. This year, four connected cars reign supreme, winning coveted 2012 Connected Car of the Year awards from Connected World magazine: Ford Focus (small), Chrysler 300 (mid-sized), Cadillac XTS (luxury), and Audi A8 (ultra-luxury). Among the factors considered for this year’s awards were safety, including hands-free features and emergency-response services; convenience, including remote access and navigation features; and infotainment, including content streaming and connectivity to peripheral devices.
But it's likely that this concept will spread outside of the luxury car market, showing up in more budget-conscious vehicles. Eventually, we'll all be speaking to our cars as a means to interface with both it and the wider digital world around us. While the interfaces being debuted for the purpose of in-car interactions may not be about to replace more traditional IVR systems anytime soon (a cloud-based IVR powered by speech is, after all, still an IVR), they will certainly turn the traditional concept on its ear, and smart companies will be ready to meet the challenge.
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