Convergence is a global phenomenon. India is no exception. The level of new technologies in a given segment of cars is the same across the globe (say, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or a BMW 7 Series). Most high-end cars have a host of new technologies to improve the in-car experience. Starting 2014, leading automakers such as Acura, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Opel, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volvo are going to have iOS integration in their cars. Few undisclosed models of these cars will allow you to sync your car systems with your iPhones to allow you to do integration with the car dashboard. Yes, that includes calls, texts, maps and, of course, Siri. Named as ‘Siri Eyes Free’, it will allow you to control all of these through your voice while you keep your eyes on the road.
Convergence as an idea has the power to change the business model of the auto industry. We can now look forward to improved experiences, cleaner and greener environments. Cars, which for decades have been looked at as a capital expenditure, may no longer be a capital expense, thanks to pay per use business models. Driverless cars can provide the options of car-pooling. We can now dream of less congested roads, better traffic regulation in cities, environment-friendly cars and better health and lifestyle of people.
We have talked about convergence for a while now and why is it so important with respect to the far-reaching impact on our lives. New technologies are enabling more and more industries to have an overlap zone. This is creating new marketplaces, new industries and competition between erstwhile unrelated companies. Innovation, at the dual axis of technologies and industries, is driving its rapid adoption and significantly enhanced functions and services are aiding growth as well. We are talking about self-driven cars developed by Google, IBM’s supercomputer Watson defeating medicine’s best minds in terms of medical knowledge and application, wearable computing devices from multiple companies and a best-selling cloud platform from an e-commerce company—Amazon.
Mobile apps these days are no longer restricted to entertainment and office productivity. They track the physical activity of consumers and provide the incentive to lead a healthy lifestyle. They analyse the medical records of the individual and provide intuitive recommendations to patients with common ailments like sugar and hypertension. They use data-feeds from cameras and sensors available in phones to provide basic features of assisted living