In-vehicle apps soaring, will reach 269 million by 2018

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A new report from U.K.-based Juniper Research says the number of in-vehicle apps will grow fivefold by 2018 to 269 million. However, few app developers will see any revenue from their efforts. Even though in-vehicle app integration will race ahead, revenues will be dented--and not just for developers. Still, there is the matter of loads of new data coming from these apps. Who will gain from that?

"By 2018 most new vehicles will come with integrated apps as standard," says the report's author, Anthony Cox, "after-market app integration will also be commonplace, as head-unit manufacturers launch increasingly sophisticated devices."

Interestingly, the report says that "widespread smartphone tethering and in-vehicle apps would continue to drive down the price of vehicle manufacturers' own embedded telematics infotainment services."

This of course raises the question of why automakers would integrate apps that dent or crash revenues from their own telematics. Where is the money in this?

"Two factors will favour embedded telematics. Firstly, regulatory initiatives such as the eCall driver safety project and Brazil's regulation Contran 245 governing stolen vehicles, will guarantee the take-up of embedded telematics in several key geographical regions.

"Secondly, the ability to split the telematics 'bill' pioneered by major operators, systems integrators and the GSMA, will allow for granular billing of infotainment and other services. This will particularly be the case as streaming and other advanced services become available in developed markets through LTE adoption."

The report says that the growth will be fuelled by mainstream solutions such as Apple's CarPlay. App integration, it says, will be "facilitated as standardised approaches like MirrorLink are adopted this year by OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), content providers and automotive entertainment specialists."

While I readily see the author's point that app developers and vehicle manufacturers will not make much, if any, money on the sale of these apps, I think that at least the vehicle manufacturers will make considerable money on the data generated by them. I suspect they will build in the means for harvesting data from any app used in-vehicle, whether it is integrated in the vehicle or tethered via mobile device, without having to purchase it from the app developer.

For more:
- see the Juniper Research report
- read the Juniper Research whitepaper

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