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Is the connected car the ultimate wearable?

The difference between the smart watch that you wear on your wrist and the connected car that you drive is not a great as you might think, according to Jaguar Land Rover’s head of product marketing for connected cars, Leon Hurst.

“Connected cars and wearables share a lot of similarities. Firstly, they call upon a number of similar components and services, such as sensors, on-board computers and telecoms providers,” Leon says. “Secondly, their reason for existing is to improve the user’s life by bringing together the services that they need when they need them.” 

It is this drive to improve the consumer’s life and provide experiences specific to them that is both the reason for, and the similarity between, all connected technology. Indeed, it often means the two devices must work together seamlessly, Hurst explains.

“Imagine the Internet of Things as an ecosystem of technology, such as connected cars, wearables and smart homes. Each of these technologies has a number of functions and capabilities which can be linked to create a specific customer experience.”

An example of this in action is navigation. While the driver will usually start their journey in the car, it often continues once they have parked up. This means that for true door-to-door navigation, the user will use their watch or phone as well as their car. The user won’t want to input their destination again once they’ve exited the vehicle. This means that the car and the watch must be synchronised to work together to create the ultimate experience.

Last month, Jaguar Land Rover showed how this works in practice, using the new Jaguar F-PACE at the Wearable Technology Show at ExCeL London.

For example, Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Route Planner can share the driver’s ETA with a friend or a colleague when on the move as well as find available parking before it reaches its destination.

The F-PACE also features a lot of innovative new wearable technology. Its InControl Remote smart watch app lets the driver turn on the car’s engine and heat or cool the interior using an Apple Watch or with Android Wear. This means that when you step into the car, it is already at the perfect temperature – ideal for markets with extreme weather conditions. The app also lets you plan your route before your journey and track your car. 

A feature that is exclusive to Jaguar F-PACE is Activity Key. Expecting that a number of Jaguar F-PACE owners are likely to lead an active lifestyle, Jaguar Land Rover has developed a rugged, rubber wristband. Waterproof up to 20 metres, it can temporarily act as the vehicle’s key. This leaves owners safe in the knowledge that the key won’t get lost or damaged when they are rock-climbing or white water rafting, for example, or even simply not having to leave the key on the front tyre or in your pockets when going for run.

The future of the connected car is huge, with the appetite for digital services both global and democratic, and the Internet of Things growing up around it. The automotive industry, with its long established, reputable companies and a high level of market maturity is rife for disruption. Couple this with consumers’ need to safely bring their digital life on the road with them, and we could find that the connected car may become the ultimate wearable.