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Smart cars are making new connections

With increased connectivity in modern cars, data security will affect future purchasing decisions

Connectivity opens up some exciting possibilities for consumers. Photograph: iStock

Connectivity opens up some exciting possibilities for consumers. Photograph: iStock


The changing nature of cars was highlighted in KPMG’s 2018 Global Auto Survey, which found that standard equipment will need to be redefined in future, with 85 per cent of all executives and three out of four consumers surveyed convinced that data and cyber security is the number one prerequisite for future purchasing decisions. However, data security will be a standard feature, not a USP, and failing to provide it will lead to severe negative consequences for automakers.

According to Shane McHugh, M2M and IoT business product manager with Three Ireland, this is a natural consequence of the increased connectivity of modern cars. “You are starting to see things like automated emergency call technology becoming mandatory,” he notes. “New cars are now coming fitted with SIMs as standard and they are going to produce massive amount of data as they connect to services and devices like traffic lights and so on. The question is if you can carry all that data securely across the network. The auto companies are already talking to the telecoms providers in relation to this.”

Exciting possibilities

And that connectivity opens up some quite exciting possibilities for consumers. “Cars can already do a lot of this stuff,” says Mark Bradley, head of business with Frank Keane BMW. “Amazon Echo can operate the climate-control system and input navigation details on BMW models that can connect to the app. All of cars in our iCar range have the ability to connect to it. You can warm the car up or cool it down in the mornings before you leave your house, you can get it to flash its lights if you can’t find it in a car park, you can see what distance a battery charge will take you and plan charge stops on a journey. These technologies are already here.”

Seat vehicles can already receive traffic information using the Full Link system, which allows the driver’s phone to show maps and traffic information through Apple Maps or Google Maps. “Full Link also gives you the capability to listen to Spotify and podcasts,” says Neil Dalton, head of marketing with Seat in Ireland. “We will soon offer a Connect service that will expand on this, allowing for weather updates, service-station information and more.”