Connected car tech is making its mark on the auto industry
I can’t lie. When I pitched the idea of using my standing as a member of the media to get access to the Philadelphia Auto Show (which is open this week at the Pennsylvania Convention Center), I thought it was a bit of a stretch. Connected cars were all the rage at CES last month, and car manufacturers really made their presence felt up and down the strip in Las Vegas. But I didn’t know what to expect when I rolled into the exhibit hall last week.
I felt about as out of place as I could’ve expected with all of the car enthusiasts and auto industry experts in attendance. Beyond that, there were no autonomous cars driving around the convention center on their own or anything like that.
That said, it became abundantly obvious that the auto industry is at the very least beginning to embrace technology in a way that would allow a tech reporter/editor to gain entry into one of their sacred shows. And in my half-a-day at the Philly Auto Show I came to realize that, with all of the ways car manufacturers are incorporating technology into their vehicles, the auto industry as a whole is a lot like another emerging tech category: the smart home.
Think about it: consumers’ cars are essentially their home away from home; their home on the road. It’s the only “personal space” that a driver has when they venture outside of their abode. And the same way that companies like Nest, Google, and Apple (among many-thousands more) are trying to make the home smarter, the Fords, GMs, Toyotas, etc., are trying to do the same with our cars.
Smart home tech impacts the user’s life in countless ways. It aggregates control over myriad functions (lighting, audio, shading, cooking, etc.) onto a single platform—the smartphone; there are products to make the home more secure; entertainment platforms provide an experience; there are safety products and services; connected grills are a thing for crying out loud.