car-of-the-futureThere has been a lot of talk lately about the connected home – electronic devices like smoke alarms and stereos and appliances that all talk to one another and can be controlled by a mobile device. Just last week I received another invitation to try AT&T’s (NYSE:T) Digital Life, which includes home monitoring features for doors, water supply, thermostats and more.

This is a very real trend that consumers and homeowners want elements of, mainly with devices around home security, energy efficiency and home entertainment.

But there is also a large connected opportunity that resides outside of the home. Think about the one place you spend the majority of time away from home where you want information and entertainment.

If you said the car, you nailed it.

Introducing the Car of the Future 

There are over 254 million registered vehicles in the U.S., versus just 132.5 million housing units. That’s a significantly large market.

The number of new cars sold each year is far above the number of new homes built. In 2013, 15.6 million new cars were sold, as compared to around 1 million homes. And of course, the number of cars sold worldwide is much higher – 2013 was a record year as 83 million cars were sold worldwide.

It’s not just about a car stereo system anymore – the car of the future will boast back-up cameras, accident prevention, emergency response and finding a restaurant to meet your tastes while on the road.

The list of car companies introducing new connectivity features is massive; Ford, Volvo, Ferrari, Maserati, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Toyota, BMW, Hyundai…pretty much every manufacturer out there. They all want a system that will help differentiate their vehicles to consumers.

As new software is integrated into cars the usual suspects are able to offer applications which exponentially expand a car owners’ access to information. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Automotive Link and Apple’s (NYSE:AAPL) CarPlay are just two examples.

Volvo is already talking about how it will integrate Apple CarPlay into its 2015 SC90. The car will have a large central touchscreen that has virtually all interior controls on it. The screen will also be able to mirror the display of iOS devices and allow users to access apps like Spotify, and to use Siri to read text messages and control phone functions.

It’s a pretty cool system. If you want to check out Volvo’s video for CarPlay, you can watch that here.

The first half of the calendar year is when auto manufacturers roll out their new designs. That means they’re hard at work right now to integrate new features into their 2015 models. Expect more details on what’s coming in late summer to early fall, when I’m sure more than one manufacturer will roll out television ads featuring their new connected car.

Among other things, look for a much wider array of applications like Apple CarPlay and Google Automotive Link – services from two companies that I think will benefit from this trend due to their high level of integration in consumers’ everyday lives.

There’s a New Highway Being Built Across America

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Published by Wyatt Investment Research at