Simon Staton's blog: Connected cars and the myth of 'Big Brother'
28 March 2017
With smartphone penetration expected to hit 100% this year and in-built telematics becoming a standard feature of all vehicles, it's not difficult to argue against the experts that the internet of cars has come of age.
The 'connected car' is a vehicle that has internet access, designed to connect with objects, such as smartphones, tracking devices, other vehicles and even the home, and in turn is delivering 'big data' for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike, including the fleet arena.
Whilst there has been much debate about driver anxiety surrounding connected cars and Big Brother, we believe fleet operators have and continue to play a significant role in thwarting such a perception and ensuring connectivity is reaching its full potential.
The challenge that employers faced was a view among drivers that connected cars are like having a 'spy in the cab. However, according to a BVRLA report, as more information is delivered via employees' company smartphones, fleet managers are not only gaining opportunities to embrace safer, more cost-effective and sustainable transport solutions but driver acceptance of telematics delivered by connected cars has improved significantly.
Indeed, third party telematics systems have long been delivering the same benefits as connected cars, such as monitoring the location of fleet vehicles and the way they are being driven. This delivers a raft of operational real-time information to fleet decision-makers, enabling them to improve business efficiency and reduce operational costs, whilst addressing driver safety and legislative compliance. The businesses that have already employed these types of fleet telematics have paved the way for connected cars and all the advancements in data delivery that they will bring.
Therefore, the arrival of connected cars should offer businesses greater access to key data on every aspect of their fleet, requiring them to spend less time collating information and more time benefiting from it. With an annual report on the 'connected car' by Strategy&, the consulting division of business services organisation PwC, suggesting that the market is expected to grow 204% from 2016's £34.8bn to £106.0bn in 2021, 'Big Brother' will be big business, bringing positive, recognisable, benefits to fleet operators and drivers alike.