Marked with a trail of countless false starts, the idea of a connected car is poised for a major revival. Private banking will be affected too.
“A car is nothing more than a Java technology-enabled browser with tires,” argued Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, delivering his keynote speech at a Detroit-based event devoted to transportation electronics.
That was as far back as in the year 2000. But the road to full car connectivity has been quite winding from then on.
Fast forward to today, and one can hardly shake off the impression that history has made a full circle. Soon, 90% of newly produced autos are to be accessing the web the minute you turn the key. The Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica describes this tendency as the biggest transformation of the automotive industry in a hundred years.
But it’s not the only industry to be affected. “Connected cars will rewrite the rules for how and where banks interact with their customers and change the way people manage and spend their money”, argues the American Banker.
Ten times as fast
We couldn’t agree more.
Two reasons: one, what’s different today from the last turn of centuries is that contemporary cars pack considerably more powerful chips under their hoods. According to McKinsey, today’s car features 100 million lines of programming code, and processes up to 25 gigabytes of data an hour.
And two, adding connectivity to the mix, you end up with an ultimate extension of a mobile device, with a plethora of infotainment options.
So considering the connected car market is estimated to grow ten times as fast as the overall car market, one may conclude that the good old automobile itself is finally turning into a somewhat eerie machine envisioned by Scott McNealy.
A dashboard that talks
And here’s where voice recognition comes into play. The latter, says research company IHS Markit, will be incorporated in 55 perc. of all cars manufactured in 2019, the reason being automakers are keen to find safer forms of car-driver interaction.
Voice-controlled assistants employing artificial intelligence are hailed as the next big thing – a new, improved interface for a myriad of devices and infrastructures, from cars to homes. Mostly because they allow users to absorb just as much information as they need at a given moment, the importance of which can’t be overstated enough in the era of data overload.
What is the reason for turning a car’s head unit into a conversational, “invisible” interface telling us about balances or quotations during day-to-day commute?
For us, it’s time – and lots of it – that just slips through the cracks. Some statistics (Harvard Health Watch) go as far as to estimate that Americans spend 600 hours a year commuting in the car, which, given the average lifespan is about 7 perc. of their lives.
Now, if we had a virtual assistant to help us keep track of our finances in the privacy of our cars, we could not only use these hundreds of hours more productively, but also buy ourselves more time to spend on what we love most when we’re no longer driving.
Still, the raging consumer thirst for a car that’s always online poses a significant challenge for automakers: what they produce must be both safe and chock-full of technological novelties to be accessible while driving.
Smart alliances with software vendors may be of use here. Because no matter how long its trail of countless false starts is, the idea of a connected car is poised for a major revival. Financial services will never be the same.