If you’ve not yet heard of telematics, then it’s time to become familiar with this latest development in in-car features. Never mind reverse parking guidance, as when it comes to driver and passenger assistance and entertainment, full suites of services and apps are the future of in-car connectivity.
The rise of the smart phone and pads demonstrates the huge marketability of mobile technologies. In In the past 12 months, BMW has led the way in taking this up with its innovative driver resource, ConnectedDrive featuring the manufacturer’s A4A (Apps for Automotive) technology, ConnectedDrive brings together telecommunications, IT and GPS data.
Known as telematics, this gives the BMW driver easy access to real time traffic info, concierge (travel and hospitality) info services, the internet, remote services and emergency call services.
You might think that with so many smart devices available already, this is taking the need to constantly be online one step too far. However, ConnectedDrive’s Australian manager, Howard Lam, assures us it is both wanted and needed.
Talking to Caradvice.com.au earlier this year, he said, “This does not simply turn the car into another mobile device. Instead, this turns the car into a virtual flow of information out of and into the car via a permanently installed SIM card that connects to the 3G network.”
Clearly, car manufacturers can’t afford to ignore the possibilities offered by in-car mobile technology. Bringing everything driver and passengers may need into one built-in console enables them to gain the competitive edge by making ‘intelligent’ information services enticing in an attractive new format.
Many service apps are also available when the car is stationery with the engine switched off, including a mobile office, music and entertainment, social networks and driver profiles.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer can also link the driver to their own dealer, service and marketing driven communications, as evident in BMW’s teleservices app that comes with the package. It’s an advanced form of Customer Relationship Management, the key to securing repeat business.
None of this comes free, and BMW offer new car buyers a tiered selection of packages featuring different information and entertainment services. Individual apps are also available through – no surprises here – the BMW ConnectedDrive Store. Services and apps can be used a few minutes after purchase.
Unsurprisingly, all this makes telematics such as ConnectedDrive massively appealing to fleet buyers and private buyers alike. How long will you be able to resist?
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