The Internet of Things is becoming more real every day, expanding to new markets at an incredible pace. Last quarter, Google bought Nest for a staggering $3.2b, next week Apple will be announcing a connected home platform at WWDC 14, and that’s only a few examples from the big companies. While a lot of attention is drawn to the connected home and everybody is dreaming about the “smart fridge”, there’s another essential object in the life of millions of households that will benefit the most from this new connected paradigm – the car.
It’s a recurring theme here in Silicon Valley these days: choose an industry where the user experience is lacking, apply software, get a better user experience while creating a highly successful company. And if you drove a car in the past two years, you know how lacking the driver experience is. Now if multiply that by the average 750 hours a year an average American spends in a car, what you get is a market long overdue for disruption.
With its arrogant success, even in the midst of the recession, Tesla Motors is definitely the spearhead of that disruption made in California. The thing with Tesla is that people are usually too quick to categorize its disruption as “electric power”, while the truth is actually a much deeper trend of improving the user experience with technology, especially with software. And while no one can deny Tesla’s design ingenuity or engineering prowesses, a huge part of its success actually comes from the software powering their Model S, which they developed on their own. The most interesting thing is that while Tesla is getting much of the media attention, there are dozens of other companies working on that same objective of improving the driver experience, one line of code at a time.
Embedded apps are usually disappointing. Well, Abalta Technologies has built a platform that quickly allows developers to port their HTML5 apps to car consoles, enabling them to build better tools and interfaces for drivers.
Today’s cars are full of sensors, imagine what we could do with all this data? Automatic Labs is selling a $99 dongle that lets you do just that: extract data from your car and build useful applications with it. Getaround and Local Motion have also found a way into the car’s information system and are using it to share cars: peer-to-peer car-sharing and vehicle fleet management.
Software is actually revolutionizing the way we think about cars. New manufacturers are appearing, armed with a different vision, Tesla Motors is one of them, but you can also think about Lit Motors or Local Motors. They are the sign that something huge is changing in the car industry.
We will be discussing those changes and showcasing these new players at the API Days conference in San Francisco on June 13th to 15th. We will be joined by industry experts from both car and software industries with speakers such as Larry Burns or Kin Lane and massive players such as IBM and CA Technologies.