Making the case for the connected car

Sue Marek

I suspect that next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will look a little bit like an automotive show. The influx of automotive manufacturers at this gadget-heavy show has been growing every year. In 2013 Ford played a prominent role in the show and this year I expect to see a big announcement from Audi as Audi AG Chairman Rupert Stadler will be a keynote speaker at the show Monday evening.

It's clear that the automotive industry is finally starting to collide with the tech industry as car makers search for ways to equip their vehicles with new tools to make driving easier, safer and in some cases more entertaining.

Wireless connectivity, of course, plays a big role in this vision and that's where mobile operators can become compelling partners for automotive makers. The projections for in-car wireless connectivity are hard to ignore. By 2020, 90 percent of new cars are expected to feature built-in connectivity platforms, growing from less than 10 percent today, according to Machina Research. In addition, the GSMA and research firm SBD have forecast that over the next five years there will be an almost sevenfold increase in the number of new cars equipped with factory-fitted mobile connectivity.

But projections certainly don't tell the entire story. What still remains unclear is how the two industries will solve the issue of having vastly different technology lifecycles. Perhaps even more important is the business model: Who will pay for these new services? And what price point makes sense?

I'll be delving into these issues and more at my annual FierceWireless executive breakfast, which will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at the [email protected] The Wynn. My panelists include experts from General Motors, Ericsson, The Car Connectivity ConsortiumRaco Wireless and AT&T Mobility.

The breakfast begins promptly at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 8:45 a.m. To register, click here. You can also follow the discussion on Twitter at the event with the hashtag #FierceConnectedCar.

I look forward to seeing you at the event. --Sue