TECHNOLOGY NEWS – AUTOMOTIVE DIGITAL MARKETING: Apple’s debut last month of Eyes Free, Siri’s new vehicle integration system, may have lasting implications to the way drivers interact while on the road, and what the future holds for sales of on-board telematics. Perhaps moreso, Apple’s entry into motor vehicles opens up new marketing and customer relationship opportunities between automakers, dealerships and drivers. And with more than 3 million iPhones in use — and the iPhone5 on its way later this year — automakers who offer Eyes Free compatibility are likely going to find a large and receptive audience.
“A number of auto manufacturers have committed to delivering Eyes Free Siri integration in the next 12 months,” Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iOS software, said during a keynote speech at WWDC 2012 on June 11, where Eyes Free was debuted. Those automakers are are BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda. According to Automotive.com, GM has already announced that MyLink will be compatible with Siri in the 2013 Sonic and Spark models, and, according to Automotive News, Honda’s spokeswoman Alicia Jones said that Siri will be “extensively applied to upcoming models.” Jones went on to say that “We think smartphones have become so integral to people’s lives that they’re using them in their vehicles and the challenge is to enable the benefits of these devices without contributing to visual or manual driver distraction.”
Other automakers are a bit more cagey about their plans, stating their intent to “explore the possibilities” though all of the nine referenced above have agreed to begin integrating Siri into their entertainment and navigation systems. Indeed, the news of Siri’s integration into your steering wheel likely be a boon for navigation sales. According to a study reported by msnbc.com, in-car navigation system sales are expected to spike in North America, from 3 million this year to 12.9 million by 2019. That’s bad news for portable systems such as Tom-Tom.
According to Forstall, Apple will position Eyes Free as a “safety booster,” working with a steering wheel-mounted button to toggle Siri rather than directly via an iPhone or iPad. The system is said to work by plugging your Apple smart device into a car’s USB connection.
–Eyes Free to debut with Apple’s new iOS system later this year
–In-car navigation sales expected to quadruple by 2019
–Initial automakers include BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda
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Published on DrivingSales.com