In-Car E-Commerce May Be the Best Reason to Have Infotainment »

In-Car E-Commerce May Be the Best Reason to Have Infotainment

Have you ever used your smartphone to order takeout from your vehicle? Apps like GrubHub and Seamless make ordering from local restaurants easy but it isn't safe to use such apps while driving. GM and other manufacturers are trying to make it easier by integrating partner restaurants' menus into apps that run in vehicle infotainment systems.

GM Marketplace can order from Dunkin Donuts, Exxon, Starbucks, Priceline and other retailers from GM infotainment systems. More partners are expected. Currently, GM Marketplace does not have voice recognition capability. Distraction has become a concern that is frequently cited by commentators, which is why some smartphone takeout apps have voice ordering features. You'll have to have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to use them in your car, though. On the upside, those two softwares are becoming more and more standard.

Another concern is hacking. Adage says about 80 million vehicles will be online by 2022, increasing the potential for hacking. Since e-commerce will become a big part of vehicle infotainment, identity theft will be a problem. But that problem is nothing compared to concerns about hacking vehicle's autopilot systems and causing accidents. We have plenty of work ahead to prevent these offenses.

The question about in-car e-commerce is whether an established e-commerce app, such as Seamless, will create something that works better than automakers' apps, giving drivers an effective way to order using only their voices. You might be asking yourself why GM would even worry about making their own e-commerce apps when Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are likely to take over that space. It's because the future will be increasingly car-share and autopilot friendly. Passengers will be the market for a range of advertising and shopping in vehicles, starting in large cities. It will be more profitable if automakers use their own software and their own partners to offer these services, instead of leaving it all to smartphone companies.

Are we getting ahead of ourselves? Is the risk of hacking too great? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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