Ford Motors is attempting to establish a foothold within the evolving internet of things (IoT), a network of connected objects that can send and receive data.
The company recently announced plans to implement smartwatch technology that would collect data off of drivers’ performances. For example, drivers could get a gas consumption evaluation sent to their watch based off of their recent trip.
According to USA Today, Ford CEO Mark Fields was traveling last week to promote Ford’s new mission as a “mobility company,” not just an automaker.
Ford already has a mobile application, MyFord Mobile, that sends information to your smartphone. Users can check the driving range and battery charge for their plug-in hybrid or electric cars. The company is currently developing an extension for various smartwatches, including Android Wear.
Ford isn’t the only company that is implementing smart technology in its vehicles. Mercedes Benz has been working with smartwatch company Pebble to create a line of smart products for their luxury cars. Pebble smartwatches work with 2009 or later models of Mercedes Benz and can report near by accidents, gas consumption, and road hazards.
BMW has also released a smartwatch app with Samsung for their Galaxy Gear products. The app will work for their first electric car, the i3, and can remote control air conditioning, monitor gas consumption, and check the battery status. BMW is also working on gesture recognition between i3 and the smartwatch.
As the price of sensors and data processing power decreases, the growing market presence for Internet of Things products is rapidly increasing. According to the Wall Street Journal, research firm Gartner Inc. estimates that 4.9 billion objects will be connected to the Internet of Things in 2015.
One of the biggest problems facing the merger of automotive companies and IoT products is that even though consumer demand for these products are high, is it necessarily in demand for automobiles? We previously reported that Strategy Analytics performed a study measuring consumer interest of wearables in the car industry. The results showed that mainly “young U.S. males and U.S. luxury car owners,” were interested in wearable tech moving into automobiles.
Despite those findings, automakers are pushing through with plans to incorporate wearables with their vehicles. Hopefully they cross compatible and not just for the Apple Watch.