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Connectivity

Half of Drivers Connect to the Web in the Car Ė Survey

by Nathan Eddy
US consumers are eagerly embracing connected car technology and are generally happy with the features automakers are providing, according to mobile app developer Metova's survey of 1,2000 US drivers.

The survey found half of respondents connect to their car in some form either by phone or through a direct connection; nearly a third already owned a car that connects to the Internet directly.

Eighty percent of respondents report that they were happy with the technology currently available in their car -- more than half of those in the study own a 2014 or newer vehicle -- and a whopping 88% of consumers believe that they value new technology in their vehicles.

"This information from consumers demonstrates we have reached a tipping point on adoption and expectation for technology in the car," Metova CEO Josh Smith noted in a statement.

In addition, the survey revealed two out of three respondents would switch from their current entertainment service provider to one that was included with their vehicle.

Twenty percent of new car shoppers report that they would actually walk away from a potential new purchase that featured everything they wanted in a car -- price, design, power, etc. -- but didn't include cutting-edge connected vehicle technology.

On the entertainment side, the survey found streaming music services are gaining on FM Radio, with a third of survey respondents preferring streaming versus 37% that still choose FM Radio.

"The nice thing about connected vehicles is that they are essentially small computers running in cars, with software that runs all of the connected software," Metova CTO Andrew Cowart noted in an a June 28 interview published on the company's website. "That software can be updated to add new features, either over-the-air or through visiting the dealership and having them load it up. This lets new software, stuff that didnít even exist when the cars originally came out, still work well natively on connected vehicles."

Coward added that on newer cars equipped with self-driving functionality he expects wearable integration to become more prominent, including features such as summoning your car to come pick you up from its parking space.

"The wearable would be able to identify your exact position and send that to the car for tracking purposes," he explained.

A recent study from analyst firm Gartner L2 also found connectivity has moved up the list of features consumers value, with 40% of those surveyed reporting that they would switch their car brand for more connectivity -- twice as many as in 2014.

However, while the report found nearly eight in ten brands currently support a connected car app that spans multiple vehicle models, they could be missing the chance to connect with consumers.

These manufacturers have an opportunity to leverage their apps as marketing collateral on brand sites and on app stores for Apple iOS and Google Android-based devices.

Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209_LR.

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