“The Cloud solves problems that have confounded carmakers for years,” says Dominique Bonte, VP at market intelligence consultancy ABI Research. “Everyone in the automotive industry is either talking about or demonstrating Cloud products.”

piHe and his colleague, James Hodgson, cover cars, location and the Internet of Things at the company, and are the co-authors of a new report, which investigates the progress of the connected car market: where it’s come from; what value it offers to carmakers and car owners; and its likely trajectory.

Connected vehicles go back further than most of us think: up to 25 years according to James. That’s because early offerings in the category weren’t something that most people would have seen. They were fleet management and commercial telematics products, allowing companies to track and trace their vehicles and assets, or to monitor the speed and length of journeys.

Then came concierge and emergency systems, such as eCall systems, like the one that HERE worked with Mercedes-Benz to create in Europe.

But it’s only more recently that connected cars have come to the attention of the mass, car-buying public, and suddenly, everyone wants to have one.

Cloud systems offer enormous advantages for both carmakers and the people who drive them. In the past, updating any aspect of your car’s systems meant a trip to the garage, a lengthy wait and big bill at the end. Nowadays, many of them can be performed with a couple of keystrokes from someone thousands of miles away.

These updates might be to maps and navigation, of course, but can potentially extend to the whole display interface, or the vehicle’s basic firmware.

The Cloud also changes your car’s position in your life, making it much more than a thing you sit in to travel.

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