More so than ever before, lifestyle factors have become the driving factor for the average car buyer. While it is true that for many car buyers, things like safety, convenience, and infotainment have become the influencing factors in the buying decision, honing in on the specifics about such factors can be a much more difficult endeavor for automakers.
For example, more and more consumers have embraced the idea of going green. They buy organic food, buy goods made from environmentally friendly materials, and make every effort possible to reduce energy consumption in their lives. With that being said, there is a good chance that this factor will weigh heavily into one of the major purchases in their lives as well, their automobile.
For many automakers this has been the impetus behind the development of EVs (electric vehicles). In fact, Ford, www.ford.com, executives have expressed to Connected World that research shows those who want to be green are those that tend to be early technology adopters. Therefore, a vehicle that offers the right balance of in-vehicle technology and environmental friendliness—i.e. an EV—would be the ideal choice.
Then there is the trend of consumers becoming more aware of their own personal health. More and more, connected devices that track personal health and fitness vitals on a daily basis are hitting the market. For example, a product that tracks blood-glucose levels and communicates the data via cellular connection can be a helpful and life-saving device. So why not ensure that such a product can be used in the vehicle—where many people spend a good portion of their day?
This is yet another lifestyle area to which Ford is paying considerable attention. Gary Strumolo, manager of Infotainment, Interiors, Health, and Wellness at Ford Research and Innovation, says given the fact people spend more time in their cars, coupled with the growth of mobile healthcare solutions, Ford is exploring ways to connect health and wellness-related services while on the road.
However, such an endeavor could be more difficult given the push by such organizations as the NTSB to limit the number of devices one can have inside the vehicle. But the fact that Ford SYNC provides voice-controlled access to mobile devices makes such an idea possible.
Pairing medical devices with in-vehicle systems is the idea behind Ford’s effort to build “the car that cares.” The automaker is already developing partnerships around this idea, which was a central piece of conversation for Ford at this year’s CES.
Will going green continue to drive innovation behind the wheel? Or perhaps it will be personal health and fitness. In any regard, the connected car experience is here to stay, and one that is being driven by leading automakers around the world. Don’t miss the March/April edition of Connected World magazine, where it will be revealed which vehicles drove off with the honor of being the Connected Car of the Year for 2012.