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In-car Wi-Fi to rise eight fold by 2019

Posted: 31 Oct 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:in car  wi-fi  automotive 

In-car Wi-Fi is expected to increase eight fold over the next seven years in North America and Western Europe, according to IMS Research.

While the Wi-Fi attach rates in North America and Western Europe are still relatively low with only a small number of manufacturers announcing the inclusion of Wi-Fi as a standard or as an optional extra, it is likely that Wi-Fi will follow a similar trend to Bluetooth, meaning over the next seven years attach rates in new cars will ramp up quickly. Historically, Wi-Fi was not considered for in-car applications, however, several factors have come into play which are creating a significant opportunity for Wi-Fi automotive applications.

First, Wi-Fi has transitioned from being primarily a PC networking technology to a more ubiquitous connectivity solution with a strong presence in a broad range of consumer electronics. While smartphones are the obvious example, eReaders, tablets, portable games consoles and portable media players are among the many consumer electronic devices to incorporate Wi-Fi. In addition, the introduction of Wi-Fi Direct (Wi-Fi with the ability to make a peer-to-peer connection) has helped the industry realise Wi-Fi can be used for much more than just networking. This has created an opportunity for specific automotive applications. The most likely Wi-Fi in-car use cases are in-car hotspots, wireless screen duplication, tethering, wireless car diagnostics and wireless software upgrading.

Secondly, Bluetooth high speed never materialised. This left a gap in the automotive industry that needed to be filled. But it wasn't until 100 per cent attach rates in smartphones and Wi-Fi Direct, that Wi-Fi was considered to fill the void that Bluetooth high speed left.

Filomena Berardi, senior analyst and author of the recently published The Wireless Car had the following thoughts: "The uptake of Wi-Fi in vehicles will be fairly aggressive. OEMs see great opportunities for the applications discussed above. In addition, the recent Wi-Fi Alliance announcement regarding Wi-Fi Miracast, is very exciting. Some in the industry see this being used in conjunction with MirrorLink for wireless screen duplication."

Berardi further said, "There's even talk of using Wi-Fi for camera modules and many other interesting in-car applications. These will all further drive demand by OEMs to include Wi-Fi as standard or as an optional extra. All in all, the future for Wi-Fi in the car is very promising."

Wi-Fi in the car is at the beginning of its journey and in spite of this promising start and potential—nothing in the automotive industry is straight forward.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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