LAS VEGAS -- Super Mobility Week -- The keynote panel that opened the second day of CTIA's event here today echoed a common refrain of this show: The first place the Internet of Things (IoT) will prove itself is in the car.
Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) Mobile and Business Solutions, kicked off the discussion citing data from Strategy Analytics Inc. that forecasts that by 2017, 32% of new cars sold globally will be embedded with a cellular module -- 60% in the US. AT&T's own research shows that 72% of drivers would delay a car purchase for a year to buy a connected car, he said.
"That's 10 million cars with embedded cellular connectivity by 2017," de la Vega said. "You think there's an opportunity there?"
The AT&T executive was joined by his colleague, AT&T Mobility LLC President and CEO Glenn Lurie, along with representatives from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), General Motors , VoiceBox Technologies and Tesla Motors. AT&T announced pricing details today for its connected car services, which the carrier will treat as an add-on to data plans. (See Carriers Test-Drive Connected Car Biz Models.)
Mary Chan, president of global connected consumer at GM -- who was accompanied on stage by a little red connected Corvette -- told the CTIA audience that 33 models across GM are now connected with 4G LTE, and that the automaker is expanding its relationship with AT&T to introduce OnStar in Europe in the second half of 2016.
All the panelists agreed for the most part that safety and security are the top priorities when it comes to connected cars -- a sentiment shared by other carriers in the global connected car game. (See Telefónica: Safety Is Top Connected Car 'App'.)
Mike Kennewick, co-founder and CEO of voice recognition vendor VoiceBox Technologies, championed voice prompts as a way to keep drivers' hands on the wheel while doing everything from finding their way to making a dinner reservation, noting that voice is the one component in a connected world that transcends all devices.
"That kind of interaction maximizes the capability of the connected car, but does it in a very safe way," he says. "It's imperative that when we bring the Internet into the car, we add a component that allows you to interact with it safely."
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading