Companies like BMW are preparing for how the IoT will affect the car industry. Credit: BMW via Techworld
A fifth of all cars will have some form of wireless network connection by 2020 - amounting to over a quarter billion vehicles on roads worldwide, Gartner's analysts have predicted.
The analyst house forecasts that connected cars will be a vital aspect of an increasingly connected world - or 'the Internet of Things', which will be composed of 4.9 billion objects this year alone.
Further, there will be 25 billion connected "things" by 2020, Gartner added.
"The connected car is already a reality, and in-vehicle wireless connectivity is rapidly expanding from luxury models and premium brands, to high-volume midmarket models," said James F. Hines, research director at Gartner.
This will present several business opportunities, he added. With a drive toward sophisticated in-car entertainment systems, application processors, graphics accelerators, and heads-up displays (HUDs) will be in demand - opening opportunities for the technology and manufacturing sector.
HUDs have had the most rapid, recent growth in patent publications, latest figures show. Less traditional carmakers are investing in the technology and outsiders like Universal Displays and Johnson Controls are taking the lead in research and development.
With increased connectivity, traditional carmakers should take advantage of new business models as cars become more than just a means for transport - especially amongst city-dwelling customers - who may no longer be interested in owning a car, analysts suggest.
Some manufacturers are already creating new channels to ensure profits while car sales dip.
BMW recently partnered with rental company SixT for a car-sharing club in London boroughs like Hackney and Islington, allowing drivers to borrow BMWs parked on London streets by unlocking them through their smartphone.
Between this month's tech show CES in Las Vegas and the Detroit Motor show, car manufacturers flaunted a host of technologies that offer new business models, including telematics-based insurance policies and semi-autonomous driving technology - some accessible from a smartwatch or phone.
There are benefits up for grabs for other industries too. Already telcos like Telefonica are thinking about using data from connected cars to inform town planning, push location-based advertising and increase safety. Many telecommunication providers have opened telematics divisions as well as insurance companies.
But as more attention centres on increased connectivity, data privacy will be scrutinised, putting pressure on carmakers to think twice about where driver data ends up.
BMW have said a firm no to any third parties who have offered lucrative deals to tap into the manufacturer's customer data.
Connected kitchens will cut costs for food and drink manufacturers
Aside from connected cars, Gartner says not enough attention has been paid to the part the "connected kitchen" will play in the IoT.
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