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Over the past 5 years, the term connected car has been gaining increasing relevance in the automotive industry. The rise of Silicon Valley, technology and connectivity has fundamentally changed the basic tenants of the driving experience.

Increasingly, the automotive industry is finding itself being bombarded with changes from all sides. From demographic changes to shifts in the perception of what mobility is to changing technologies, the automotive industry is undergoing changes that are fundamentally altering it.

These changes combined with the wide ranging aspects of connected car make discussions concerning the automotive industry a virtual free for all. When industry players talk about connected car, the topics can range from telematics to autonomous driving to infotainment systems. As the fundamental details of each of the connected car topics are unique ranging from technologies to use cases to business models, a clear framework is needed to address the need for precise understanding when an individual is speaking about connected car.

Like it or not, the fundamental concept of connected car is changing the way everyone from governments to OEMs to individuals are viewing the automotive industry. In the past, automobiles and their associated infrastructure were clearly defined. Automobiles were gas driven modes of transportation to enable individuals to get from Point A to Point B. Now, however, the role of the automobile is increasingly being dramatically upended.

Automobiles no longer are a means of getting from Point A to Point B but are an individual component of a comprehensive transportation solution that includes public transit, cycling and other means of transportation. In addition, automobiles are no longer solely gas powered but other options include hybrids, electric, natural gas and many other power sources. Even the concept of car ownership is being upended thanks to a number of alternative car ownership models such as car sharing and pay per use models.

With so many fundamental elements of the automotive industry being upended simultaneously and with an equally large number of issues being raised that need to be addressed, a clear and concise framework needs to be developed to provide a meaningful way forward in the various discussions occurring throughout the automotive industry. This is what the 5C Connected Car Framework intends to do.

The premise of the 5C Connected Car Framework is simple. It intends to provide context and framework to the various discussions ongoing throughout the automotive industry. It is too often that in industry and adjacent industry events that discussions are so varied as to not be relevant or highly repetitive. For example, an event that discusses telematics could have speakers discussing the latest generation of passenger vehicle telematics but also have speakers discussing how telematics can be used in the commercial trucking industry to reduce costs. While similar, the outcomes and issues are completely different and require a different mindset. The 5C Connected Car Framework is designed to enable individuals to intelligently discuss components of the newly forming connected car ecosystem without being overwhelmed by the noise of the general ecosystem.

The 5C Connected Car Framework aims to provide structure in the connected car discussion that is occurring through the utilization of the 5C which are:

  • Context: As with any discussion in any industry as it pertains to innovation or disruption, context is a critical aspect of the discussion. Indeed, when discussing disruption in the automotive industry, one needs context otherwise they will be inundated with a number of possibilities. For instance, when discussing telematics, one can be discussing two different telematics solutions such as ones for personal vehicles versus those for commercial trucking fleet management telematics solutions.
  • Consumer: When discussing the consumer in the connected car space, one needs to be cognizant of the different types of consumers that encompass the space. From non-commercial users such as Baby Boomers to Millennials to commercial users such as trucking fleets, the type of consumer being discussed is critical to separating the discussions concerning the technological developments as well as the appropriate use cases.
  • Cars: The type of transportation in question is also a critical component. Whether it is a two wheeled motorcycle, a pickup truck or a standard automobile, the type of car that is discussed in relation to connected vehicles is a critical component due to the fact that it impacts the use cases for connected vehicles.
  • Constraints: As with established industries that pre-existed before the digital computer era, a number of existing constraints by other actors need to be taken into account. These actors include governments and their extensive regulatory and legislative power, consumer advocate organizations and other organizations who have extensive influence on the automotive industry and have imposed constraints over its existence.
  • Community: The type of community being discussed greatly impacts the use cases surrounding connected car. Whether it is Millennials who demand access to the latest technology and to be connected 24 / 7 or Baby Boomers who prefer that the technology helps them with the primary goal of driving the vehicle safely, the use cases will vary greatly depending on the community being discussed.