Multiple companies in payments and commerce are pressing the gas on the emerging connected vehicle ecosystem — but some speed bumps are appearing, and some of them look to be pretty significant in the coming years.
It’s hardly news that consumers (along with regulators and politicians) are becoming increasingly focused on privacy and online security. And those issues seem to be playing out with increasing speed when it comes to connected cars and trucks — an area with a massive commerce and payments opportunity, as PYMNTS research has confirmed.
U.S senators, for example, have recently stepped up questions about what one report from NextGov called “cyber vulnerabilities and dangers to public safety posed by the increasing use of internet-connected cars on American roads.” According to one estimate, “about 50 million internet-connected cars operate on U.S. roadways currently and two-thirds of all new cars will boast features and systems that connect to the internet by 2022.” Concerns about hackers tapping into connected vehicle systems to stop traffic or perform a variety of other tasks also seem to be on the rise.
These worries regarding connected vehicles are, in a broader sense, tied into larger security issues involving the Internet of Things (IoT) — to which all those cars and trucks will connect. And, as PYMNTS has documented, one of the main questions there is who is really responsible for IoT security.
According to the tracker, the global IoT security market is expected to increase by a 35.5 percent CAGR from 2019 to 2026. Even so, alarming reports keep surfacing. Among them: A GPS tracker, called Pebbell in some markets, was recently revealed to allow real-time location tracking and the ability to listen in on the built-in microphone by sending SMS messages. As well, a security flaw was discovered in the iLnkP2P software system that is installed in millions of security cameras, doorbells and baby monitors. Hackers could access devices, eavesdrop and conduct credential theft and takeovers remotely.
These questions about security come amid increased activity in the connected vehicle ecosystem. For instance, Amazon is reportedly trying to up its presence in this particular and growing area of commerce, a sign of the enormous stakes involved. Amazon’s Alexa is engaged in fierce competition with similar technology from the likes of Google and others. Most recently, according to a Bloomberg report, Amazon “is trying to persuade automakers to bake the voice-activated digital assistant into their entertainment systems.” Specifically, that effort is being at least partly conducted through a device called the Echo Auto, which according to that report “is the most visible element so far of Amazon’s ambition to take Alexa on the road.”
Connected vehicles stand as one of the next big frontiers of payments and commerce. The motivation for such moves by Amazon and others is made clear by the PYMNTS Digital Drive report. It found that the U.S. commute is a contextual commerce channel worth $230 billion a year in commuter-inspired purchases. That’s not all, though. It’s a connected commuter experience that has increased more than 8 percent since last year.
Voice-assistant technology — already a big hit among first adopters, and quickly moving further into the mainstream, according to most signs — promises to stand as a significant part of the emerging connected-vehicle ecosystem (and, by extension, that includes smart homes and IoT).
That said, the battle for dominance in this emerging connected-vehicle landscape is a complicated, multiple-part effort that includes payment, commerce and other tech firms, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and operating system providers. Not only that, but does consumers’ use of Alexa in the car guarantee the use of Alexa in the home and vice versa? Do the sides that consumers choose now — when it comes to voice and operating systems — permanently lock them into a particular system, even as the connected-vehicle ecosystem keeps developing?
In other words, the connected vehicle ecosystem is beyond complicated, with questions about data control and security still a long way from being resolved. But things are moving and the issue of security is not something that will just go away.