Cars and the iPad…

… a whole universe of possibilities together.

The above statement is the title of a blog post from a blogger friend Carlos Beltran. After working passionately in the auto industry, Carlos decided to blog about what he sees in the industry today from outside. Carlos’ own blog is called “Beltran about cars“.

Carlos has recently written a very interesting blog post about cars and the iPad. Take a look:

“This week the iPad 2 was revealed, some people love it,  some people are still expecting better specs, but the fact is that everyone is aware that the iPad – and in general the tablets – revolution is here. The iPad is allowing customers to have a great and simple multimedia experience, bringing to their hands a very adaptable device.

This led me to ask myself the question: How can iPads help the auto industry? and even further, can an iPad make a car better?

Consumer Electronics (where smartphones and iPads fall into) have much faster development cycles than the auto industry, thus it has been difficult for the new vehicles to keep the pace and catch up in terms of connectivity and options. There is still a large number of vehicles out there that need a wide array of external adapters for plugging in, for instance, your iPod audio to your stereo. Yes, there are some brands that offer good connectivity options such as Ford´s Sync, yet there is nothing out there that allows you to take advantage completely of all the capabilities of your gadgets (iPod, smartphones, etc.) in your car.

That´s why I propose to the Auto industry to take a technology leap-frog by integrating the iPads – or tablets – as a central piece of the customer experience with their vehicles. Let me elaborate some ideas:

1) iPad as a sales tool: if you have been at an Auto Show recently, you may have noticed that the staff on the exhibition floors is equipped with iPads to collect your contact information, well this is under-utilizing the capabilities of the iPad. I can envision a sales force equipped with iPads to take their sales pitches to a whole new level. Imagine you enter a dealership, and a salesperson can take care of not only all your data right in the car you want, but also can show you the features of the vehicles with multimedia capabilities. Nothing to complicated or elaborated, but it would be a great way to show those benefits that are not tangible in the sales floor, such as safety features, configuration options, or even render how the new vehicle would look at your home´s main entrance.

2) iPad as the main infotainment dashboard in the car: Forget the Hyundai Equus user manual in an iPad, let´s use the iPad as the central dashboard of the car. People already like this idea, take a look at the Tesla S central dashboard screen: large, interactive and adaptable.

Central dashboard of Tesla S

Just as the mobile phones did, dump the proliferation and limitation of single function buttons and the constraints of pre-installed factory options. A car that could include an iPad as a central dashboard would take full advantage of all the exciting new things evolving around smartphones and tablets: advanced GPS options, customizable audio controls, access to Pandora and all your MP3 libraries (right now this would need an additional hard drive, but maybe a future SD card option in the iPad can solve that issue), smart internet search, real time diagnosis, and even augmented reality.

View of TripAdvisor´s augmented reality app

This is a screen shot of TripAdvisor´s augmented reality app, imagine in your dashboard a GPS that shows you on top of your route, the interesting things around you, where exactly is the best rated restaurant or reads to you what is the story behind that statue in the middle of the road.

3) iPad as the ultimate back seat entertainment system. The iPad can become the most flexible entertainment system in your car, from only adding a bulky screen in the back of your seat, now the passengers behind the driver may have access to a whole new world of possibilities: reading news and books, downloading games to play one-on-one with the person in the other seat, watching movies or even learning more from the location where they are driving through.

The iPad in a Car is a whole universe of possibilities! The best of all, apps may begin to emerge expanding the number of possibilities regardless of the model/brand of your vehicle.

Finally, this poses three main challenges for the auto manufacturers to solve:

a) Include the hardware to connect and control the iPad in the car

b) Design a vehicle with  an iPad as the central dashboard

c) Find the most cost-effective way to deliver this option

I think Apple should consider including a “Car Mode” in their future iPad 3 to prevent us from using the keyboard or face-to-face conversations while driving!

What do you think?” (“Cars and the iPad: a whole universe of possibilities together” by Carlos Beltran, Blog: Beltran about cars)

4th International Conference Connected Vehicles
Don’t miss the “Connected Vehicles” Conference
12-14 April 2011 Grand Hotel Esplanade Berlin, Germany

Posted on March 24, 2011, in ALL, Connected. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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