In two years, in-car hot spots will become an important aftermarket product, said VOXX Electronics President Tom Malone at a panel during CES.
Today, if you have a laptop and go to an airport or a hotel that doesn’t have a hot spot you are not happy. It will be the same with the car, he said.
Both consumer demand and a push from business will fuel the infiltration of hot spots in the car, Malone said.
Wireless carriers are looking for new areas of growth now that smartphone saturation has hit 70 percent, so they will soon begin to subsidize hot spots for the car, Malone told the audience at the Connect2Car panel in Las Vegas last week.
“They want people to use their laptops in the car. Roku, Slingbox, Hulu are in your home, not in your car. When the WiFi hotspot is in your car, you can have access to Roku and Hulu. They want in. There’s a big push there and its real and its happening today,” Malone said.
He pointed out that car insurance company Progressive has put 1.5 million OBD2 “Snapshot” devices for Usage Based Insurance (pay as you drive insurance) in the car. “Every insurance company needs the vehicle driving data and they are not getting it today, so everyone is looking at it. How long is Progressive going to be allowed to have this kind of advantage in getting this unbelievable amount of data…not long,” he said.
Malone gave another example. “You are an auto parts chain or used car chain or car dealer that needs to get the car back into the service bay. With WiFi hot spots, you can transmit the data to the dealer when you need an oil change. If you put a $150 device in the car, how much service revenue can that generate? These are real discussions going on today. Those quarter million vehicles on the road are a huge opportunity around the corner, not in 5 or 10 years from now…The consumer gets the WiFi connectivity and the dealer gets data. It’s a real profit opportunity for the aftermarket.”
The Connect2Car panel at CES discussed the future of the aftermarket and new car technology. We will bring you more information from the panel which was led by John Waraniak of SEMA and co-coordinated by Chris Cook of MERA. It included panelists Keith Lehmann who recently left his post at Kenwood and Tom Malone at VOXX (Audiovox). Also on the panel were Ford’s chief technologist John Ellis, Massimo Baldini of Livio Connect, Danny Shapiro of chip maker NVIDIA and Thilo Koslowski of analyst group Gartner.