Automobile telematics can be defined as the use of wireless technologies and in-vehicle IT to relay information to and from vehicles -- with the aim of improving the driver experience or providing additional information and analysis to the driver.
Telematics can be applied to a number of different situations, involving communication with external infrastructure, communication within the vehicle itself, or to digital media content, connected devices and associated mobile cloud services.
According to the latest market study by Juniper Research, the telematics sector has found that the number of in-vehicle apps in use is expected to reach 269 million by 2018, representing a more than five-fold increase on 2013.
Study findings indicate that growth will be fueled by solutions such as Apple CarPlay, which will promote in-vehicle apps to the mainstream. Moreover, app integration will be facilitated as standardized approaches like MirrorLink are adopted this year by OEMs, content providers and automotive entertainment specialists.
"By 2018 most new vehicles will come with integrated apps as standard," says Anthony Cox, associate analyst at Juniper Research. "After-market app integration will also be commonplace, as head-unit manufacturers launch increasingly sophisticated devices."
However, as with smartphone apps, only a small proportion of these automotive software applications will create revenues for their creators, even though they will enhance the driving experience.
The market study found that although the integration of apps into the vehicle will have a profound effect on traditional monetization models, two factors will favor 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, it's argued that the ability to split the telematics service charges -- pioneered by major mobile network operators, systems integrators and the GSMA -- will allow for granular billing of infotainment and other services.
This will particularly be the case as multimedia streaming and other advanced wireless services become available in developed markets through 4G LTE adoption.
Nevertheless, Juniper claimed that widespread smartphone tethering and in-vehicle apps would continue to drive down the price of the vehicle manufacturer's own embedded telematics infotainment services.