Will automotive app stores be the next iTunes?

A growing demand for app development kits like the "Sync" platform for Ford vehicles, brings up the possibility of online app stores for cars and in general.

07/29/2011


Ford recently announced it had received more than 2,500 download requests for its app development kit for the “Sync” infotainment platform. It’s not only Ford who seem to be jumping on the app bandwagon, with Toyota, BMW, General Motors and many more also releasing or getting ready to release infotainment apps for their next generation of cars.

One thing that has puzzled me about this interest in apps, is how many relevant, practical, safe and usable apps can there actually be for the use in a car – especially while driving? Furthermore, do consumers really want to spend their time downloading apps to their car and, more importantly, will they be willing to pay for them?

A recent consumer survey published by IMS Research put these questions to consumers in the U.S., the UK and Germany, with some interesting results. First, 80% of respondents stated they would only pay $5 or less for an automotive specific app – already the idea of huge revenues seems slim. Second, only 54% of respondents rated the concept of downloading an app for their connected head unit as attractive, making it one of the least attractive connected services that was presented to them.

However, don’t take my comments the wrong way, I certainly understand the value of automotive apps, and do think they provide a great opportunity to allow manufacturers to keep up with new developments and offer new services over the life of the car, all without forcing the consumer back to a dealership for an upgrade. They also present a way to maintain a relationship with consumers after they have purchased the car – providing the manufacturer hosts its own specific app store. However, it seems unlikely that in five years’ time there will be 200,000 apps available for the next Ford vehicle.

So, while apps present a great marketing and customer satisfaction tool for vehicle manufactures, are they going to offer the potential for a swathe of highly profitable automotive app developments? It looks unlikely to me.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.