In an previous article we talk about the revolution of the connected vehicle. Now, it is important that we know the different ways in which we can use and develop Apps for the connected vehicle, as this will allow us to create new business models based on this technology.
At the moment, a specific technique has not been standardized, so we detail the three possibilities currently available:
1 Smartphone Apps
These are applications that run on a Smartphone or Tablet and are displayed, in part, on a car screen. The way to connect is in this case the mobile device with the vehicle can be several, such as USB cable, Bluetooth connection, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and others.
We say it is displayed “in part”, since the smartphone will send to the car only those features that the programmer has decided. All processing power is handled by the mobile device, the vehicle only displays.
The screen installed in the vehicle will not only display but will allow certain actions to be performed. It will depend on each manufacturer this form of interaction, such as touch screens or other controls installed on the steering wheel or near the driver’s position, such as the famous BMW round device.
In the case of Smartphone Apps, manufacturers will decide the level of control over which Apps will allow them to run on their vehicles, and the Stores in which drivers will be able to access to be downloads. In these controls, each manufacturer will define levels of interaction, driver safety, final utility or others.
Keep in mind that an App for smartphone must be adapted and reprogrammed to be executed in a connected vehicle. And we’re not just talking about technology and programming, we’re talking about usability and interaction. This makes us think that we will soon see UX experts in Smartphone Apps and that may be very demanded.
This technique offers several advantages such as the non-obsolescence of the system. When we buy a vehicle we do it for a half-life of 10 years, and yet we update our mobile devices every 2 years at the most.
2 In Car Apps
In Car Apps are those applications that run on the vehicle itself, in its electronic system, and therefore, supporting all the processing and memory load without having to resort to any external device.
In Car Apps may need to be connected to the Internet, or run in off mode. This is important, as it should be noted that 3G connection and coverage is very successful in most cities, but nevertheless, it is practically non-existent outside these urban centers.
For this reason, smart and well-designed Apps models that make use of the network with 3G coverage, while still allowing a fluid and value-for-a-way connection, are extremely interesting. This type of Apps will be called bimodal Connection Apps.
The connection to the Internet network of In Car Apps can be through a SIM card embedded in the vehicle itself, or through a process of tethering through the mobile device of the driver or traveler.
3 Apps Containers
In this case, the vehicle manufacturer is who develops a software application that acts as the main container for third-party developments. That is, the manufacturer does not give us direct access to your hardware, but in this case, offers us a preinstalled app and connection to the network for us to develop applications that will be executed in your container application.
This has the advantage that we forget tedious tasks of integration and usability, but it deprives us of freedoms to get really disruptive apps. In addition, it forces us to work according to the manufacturer’s procedures and the manufacturer has complete control.
Perhaps this option is the least attractive for the developers of apps in search of new business models.
As an example, we have the development of Mazda with Aha, a container application that you can also install on your smartphone. Other manufacturers such as Porsche, Honda, Kenwood, Alpine or Pionner have joined this project.
Our SlashBoy Juan Ramón Ruiz, Software Developer Manager, is the author of this post.