Continental's new in-vehicle connectivity and infotainment platform AutolinQ is set to revolutionise the automotive world, ushering in new business models that are simpler, more flexible, and better set to maximise payoffs for all players along the telematics value chain. However, questions of connectivity, the overall selling model, cross industry collaboration and application types must be ironed out first.
Continental's new model draws much inspiration from Apple, focusing on recurring revenue-creating applications rather than on the device itself. By using certified applications developed by third party developers on Google Android, the company will allow vehicle manufacturers to customize their platforms and establish brand differentiation. Web 2.0 technologies will enable a host of car-specific Internet-based applications.
Despite important differences surrounding certification and safety questions, this move "clearly confirms the intention of automotive suppliers to embrace consumer electronics business models by shifting the focus from developing devices toward creating open ecosystems, whereby user experience, recurring revenues and type of applications receive more importance," states Frost & Sullivan's Automotive & Transportation Program Manager, N. Praveen Chandrasekar in a new Market Insight entitled Continental AutolinQ Platform Announced - Will this Apple App Store Type Concept Succeed in the Automotive Environment?
Although AutolinQ dramatically simplifies the traditional value chain and maximises the win-win payoff, several questions must be answered in order to clearly estimate the success of this approach. How will internet connectivity be enabled and who will bear the cost? How will the overall selling model be structured given the difficulty in replicating the Apple model in the automotive world? What types of applications do users want? Will vehicle manufacturers be willing to surrender part of the product development process to third party developers?
By launching the Apple app store type AutolinQ platform, Continental took a big leap toward dramatically changing the automotive telematics segment. "Though this platform is still in the development stage, and there are missing links in terms of the entire model, the fact remains that it is a progressive development for a traditional automotive telematics community," says Chandrasekar.
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