If you work in any company or venture connected to technology than by know you’ve realized that the next frontier is the internet of things (IoT); namely that so many things we use everyday will be connected. What started with computers, morphed to phones and tablets, and found its way to TVs, and more recently wearables (wristbands, watches, etc.) will now pollinate to cars, appliances, and more. It’s the natural order of things. What may be implicit but hasn’t been discussed is that all of these things will rely on one thing you use and can’t live without, the phone that lives in your pocket. The worst kept secret that Apple and Google are in a land grab for the automobile world largely broke this week with Apple’s announcement of CarPlay and Volvo showing a video demo to the world (below). Add Google’s announcement of the Open Automotive Alliance and the battle is on.
Auto makers are hedging their bets, many planning to offer both Apple and Android inside their cars and for good reason. iOS and Android have proliferated to the point where its a neck-and-neck two-horse mobile race (sorry Microsoft, Blackberry, others) and therein lies the advantage. No matter what thing is connected, they will all be an extension of what is running on your phone.
CarPlay and undoubtedly Google’s offering (possibly called projected mode) will be a second screen manifestation of what you have on your phone. Think of it as AirPlay and Chromecast; you can enjoy the things you do on your phone in a more auto-friendly way on a beautiful nice screen. If you’re working in a company or thinking about starting an auto-focused infotainment system or app you should think twice. The internet of things will all be tied back to control from the smart phone, not device specific implementations across the spectrum of devices. For consumers it means that all of your devices could (in theory) work seamlessly, extending your experience (whether powered by iOS or Android) to all the connected things you care about. For developers it provides more consumer touch points. For Apple and Google its a battle to the death to become an increasingly integrated part of our lives. Something we couldn’t walk away from if we tried, all monetized through the services on these devices that bring us search, ads, and apps.
At the D Mobile conference last year I asked Eric Schmidt how Google views the connected home. His response was “Google thinks of Android as the OS for all connected devices, everything from a tablet to a toaster.” Its happening and in the future, when you ask your toaster who has a special on bread it will point you to a store in your neighborhood. Your car will tell you the closest place near by. Your phone might send you to the website. And Google will get paid. Pure genius.