The Internet of Things is evidently no longer a buzzword but a reality quickly evolving — and anything that can be leveraged for the new infrastructure, from smart traffic lights to connected cars, will be consumed by it. The connected car, particularly with the rise of IoT, has been a nexus for new activity in the past few years.

Tesla, Google, Uber … the list of companies pushing the boundaries of smart travel and connected, even autonomous, cars is growing by the day. And the idea of their success is welcomed by most. Who doesn’t like a future in which being stuck in traffic means the possibility of a nap before the workday?

The end goal is an in-car connected experience that rivals the one we have in the home. But will this only be available for new models hitting the production line? It doesn’t have to be.

There is a natural progression of smart tech from the home to the car. More specifically, we can expect some interesting new car-focused technology, from aftermarket changes to truly affordable smart cars, as automotive manufacturers try to keep pace with the changing expectations of the market.

Extending the smart home

I’ve had a passion for cars ever since I can remember. In fact, it’s still such a part of my life that I own a Mercedes convertible in Ottawa. Yes, a convertible in Canada that I can’t drive for half the year. It’s a great car, with great engineering. Yet there has always been something lacking in how I interact with it.

Although cars are important elements in many people’s lives, our connection to them only really occurs when we sit behind the wheel. In Knight Rider, KITT was always connected and ready to serve. It is that concept of connectivity and intelligence that has inspired many — including us at Klashwerks — to create a solution that will enable us to connect to our cars in ways that were previously not possible.

People are already having these kinds of relationships with their home via smart cameras, kitchen appliances, product suites like those offered by Nest, and more. It’s time for it to happen in the car space. The connected car really feels like a natural extension of the connected home. But so far, only the home can be retrofitted and upgraded, while cars get left in behind. Fortunately, efforts are being made to change that.

Old cars don’t have to be dumb

The automotive industry itself is under revolutionary changes right now. It is also a reflection of what our future might look like in terms of technology — electric power over fossil fuels; artificial intelligence and connectivity over isolation.

Particularly, the potential growth for aftermarket products that support smart features is going to be high in the upcoming years, especially as we’re seeing cars lifespan continually increase. Also automobile manufacturers will find it extremely challenging to fight innovation wars being fought on so many different fronts: advanced drivetrains, driver automation, composite materials, lighting systems, etc. So not only will consumers spur this aftermarket growth, but so will manufacturers.

Of note is that the growth in the aftermarket product space won’t just focus on cool new connected gadgets, but features that make the driving experience more comfortable, convenient and, most importantly, safe. A lot of the current automotive technology will be around for a long time, which creates an opportunity for aftermarket manufacturers to provide new levels of functionality that are accessible to all drivers, including cameras and mobile connectivity.

Ultimately, smart technology is making the rounds, becoming ingrained in daily processes from our commutes to our workflows. The automation and seeming intelligence IoT devices display have made them a huge benefit, as they simplify traditionally tedious tasks. Smart step counters help you stay fit, smart traffic lights have improved traffic flow, autonomous features can make your drive to work easier, and supercomputers are becoming involved in the diagnostic process for human illness. The list goes on and on.

IoT adoption across many industries is ongoing, but now this revolution is moving to the automotive space. The good news is that you will not have to buy a new car to enjoy these new capabilities, and we can expect a busy year ahead for the connected car.