Not all marriages are made in heaven, but there is one that will be made in the cloud. The inevitable merger of connected car and smart home technologies promises exciting opportunities for consumers and investors, alike. The global connected car market, alone, is expected to top $141 billion by 2020. Pair that with the $58.7 billion market forecasted for the smart home industry and you begin to see the potential for a united smart car/smart home industry.
The convergence of smart car and smart home is driven by two factors: technology and consumer demand. As the infrastructures grow for each, it is actually easier to merge the two systems than to keep them separate. From cloud storage to network providers to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products, connected cars and connected houses will come to share the same resources. Creating a homogeneous relationship, now, only makes sense. Furthermore, consumers are unlikely to accept less than a seamless transition from car to home as they wade deeper into the connected lifestyle.
In this article, we will examine seven ways connected vehicle and smart home technologies are merging to make us safer and more productive, wherever we are.
All-In-One Personal Assistants
Virtual personal assistants are not new. By now, we have all tired of asking Siri the meaning of life, and she’s probably still trying to figure it out for herself. And while having our digital companions provide us with restaurant recommendations is still pretty cool, it is time to expect more.
Leading the pack to give us more are companies like Ford Motor Company, whose Ford SYNC not only offers advanced in-car infotainment features, but smart home connectivity, too. Through a partnership with Amazon Alexa, Ford seems determined to meet its customers’ need to stay connected, whether on the road or at home.
Ford SYNC might not know the meaning of life, either, but it does allow you voice control over connected devices in your home from inside your car.
As virtual personal assistants evolve, we can expect to see deeper levels of connectivity between home and car, including features like these:
- the ability to converse between home and car through always-on, phoneless connections
- the option to turn on your DVR from your car to record a program when you realize you will be late — by voice command
- voice notification through your infotainment system to alert you of a visitor at the front door of your home, along with the ability to see them and converse with them from the road
Car-to-home connectivity will allow systems such as Ford SYNC and Amazon Alexa to let help you get more done, whether at home or away.
Appliance Notifications & Commands
Voice command of lighting and thermostats has been available through various home automation systems for a few years, now. What the connected car/home relationship offers is more information, enabling you to make better decisions sooner about things that affect your day.
A seminal example of how this might work is the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator. The Family Hub does more than keep your food and drinks cold, it lends itself to being the central hub of family communications. Using a large touchscreen embedded on the refrigerator’s door, the Family Hub allows family members to:
- leave notes, to-do lists, and photographs for each other
- sync schedules
- create shopping lists
- order groceries online
These are just a few of the advanced features Samsung included in its connected refrigerator. The Family Hub can even message your smartphone to notify you of an expired food item, or to remind you to get milk. And did we mention that it has three cameras and can send photos of the refrigerator contents to your cellphone?
Although the Samsung Family Hub does not include features for communicating with connected cars directly, it doesn’t have to. As infotainment systems provide greater and greater connectivity with smartphones, app developers will have no problem at all letting you talk to your refrigerator through your car.
Car-to-Home Connectivity Hubs
As interconnectivity between cars and homes increases, there will be a growing need for car-to-home portals. Forward-looking automotive companies are already meeting the challenge.
BMW and SmartThings, for example, have partnered to keep BMW customers connected to their homes when on the road. From the BMW digital dashboard, any BMW equipped with the ConnectedDrive Services feature will allow drivers options such as:
- individually configuring rooms and connected devices within the smart home
- turning the home alarm system on and off
- receiving alerts in case of home emergencies
But that’s not all. BMW has pushed the envelope of the connected car/connected home experience with Mobility Mirror. It’s a home mirror, it’s a hub for cloud-connected devices, it’s an information gateway between the owner’s home and car. When the owner retrieves the vehicle keys from the Mobility Mirror shelf, the mirror sends commands to open the garage door and to summon the autonomous BMW to back out and park itself by the front door. Oh, yeah…it also helps you straighten your tie on your way out.
Big Data Integration
Moving in from the sidelines of the connected car/home revolution is big data. The connected car industry has already learned how to better serve customers through big data analytics, and companies like Vivint are rapidly turning to big data to make smart homes safer and more comfortable. As autonomous cars make up a greater share of the market, big data will become even more valuable to both industries.
Fine, but why should we expect a merging of big data analytics for smart cars and smart homes? The answer becomes obvious when you consider that the value in big data is its ability to analyze and predict customer behavior. As it turns out, smart home automation companies see great value in analyzing how their customers use their automobiles. Likewise, a person’s habits and lifestyle while at home can help the connected car industry to better serve its customers. Here are a few examples how:
- home automation can automatically adjust to the same temperature setting as the user selects inside the vehicle when driving home from work
- entertainment choices made at home can help infotainment service providers to offer entertainment choices the user will prefer
- online purchases made using home automation can be used to direct the user to retailers of similar products while driving
If the cloud is where connected cars and smart homes will meet, big data is the language they will use to talk with each other.
Email, text messaging, automatic banking alerts, and social media make sure we stay informed about work, our finances, and friends and family, About the only area of our lives where we don’t know what is going in is our home when we are away. Fortunately, IoT technology will soon change all that.
Again, BMW leads the way with the Smart Home Monitor feature included in ConnectedDrive. Now, rather than being unaware of home emergencies while on the road, users can receive in-car alerts when the smart home security system detects water or gas leaks, or if smoke or an intruder is detected. As security products embrace both smart vehicles and smart homes, we will see expanded two-way alert capabilities such as:
- home intrusion detection displayed on the vehicle dashboard
- in-car fall-alarms for older relatives left at home
- home video surveillance displayed on the infotainment system
- car theft alarms that turn on lighting in and around the house
- auto accident-reporting back to home
With connected security solutions, connected car owners no longer need to wonder if their home and car are safe. Even if away from both, smartphone apps can readily inform users if there is a problem.
Centralized Data Storage
As smart cars and smart homes merge into a single infrastructure, centralized data storage will become necessary. Siloed data that resides in mobile devices, home automation systems, or connected car digital dashboards will not satisfy the needs of the smart car/smart home industry. Connectivity is all about sharing data, and smart cars and smart homes will increasingly need to exchange the data they generate.
With more than 100 IoT sensors embedded in many vehicles, a connected car can shoot up to 25 gigabytes of data to the cloud every hour. And while the smart home generates significantly less data at the moment, data from cameras, smart appliances, and home automation systems demand smart home cloud storage solutions if the industry is to grow.
Data created by connected cars and smart homes falls into four basic types:
- Personal data, such as calendars, shopping reminders, archived video from dashcams and from home automation systems
- Infotainment data, such as movies and games saved for later enjoyment
- Informatics data, generated by critical vehicle systems
- commercial data, used to support connected car/smart home products and services
We can expect automakers and home automation companies to connect across the cloud. Aftermarket vendors and cloud service providers will also help bridge the gap with cloud solutions tailored for the merging smart car/smart home industries.
Whether a teen is driving the family car or home alone, parents are often concerned about the choices their child is making:
- Are they driving too fast, or driving further from home than their parents allow?
- Are they staying home as instructed while parents are out for the evening, or did they sneak out for a secret randevu with a friend?
- Are they home alone, or is an unknown visitor in the house?
Till now, the answers came down to a matter of trust. Thanks to IoT technology, parents can now keep a watchful eye on their juvenile children, whether they are home or on the road.
Zubie has taken the lead in creating an app that not only monitors teen driving behavior, but that also has the ability to communicate with smart homes. The VTech home monitoring system is an example of how parents can keep an eye, and an ear, on their children when not home. With smartphone-infotainment interfacing apps, children can be viewed directly on the dashboard and conversed with through the vehicle audio system.
As smart home automation takes on more of the duties of the smartphone, the trend will be toward similar products that can interface with home automation systems.
How Ignite Can Help
The growth of IoT technology has spawned the connected car and the smart home. Not only are the two markets exploding, but so is the opportunity for products and services that connect the two.
Companies that are prepared to seize a market in its infancy will help redefine the future of both the automobile and the home.
If your vertical includes products and services that unite connected vehicles with smart homes, we invite you to contact Ignite. We are a world-class leader in both automotive and mobile app technology. From connected car technology to mobile platforms, we can take your vision from concept to market. Why not call us today for a no-cost consultation?