Future1

With more than 200 sensor-based data sources, the connected car is a data goldmine, collecting information on everything from how fast they’re travelling to what radio station they’re tuned into. A new study from Edison Research and automotive data services company Otonomo has important ramifications for measurement companies, data providers and broadcasters eager to tap this fountain of in-car data.

The study of both connected car owners and people in the market for one found 94% expressed interest in apps and services. And 80% of those who expressed interest in potential new services – like real-time alerts of dangerous driving conditions and early detection of maintenance and repairs – expressed a willingness to share their personal automotive data in order to gain access to these capabilities.

But here’s the important caveat for content providers and measurement services: Consumers are still wary of sharing their data with apps and services. The most important aspects in establishing trust are how trustworthy people perceive the company is (69% of new car buyers indicated this was “very important”) and whether they are told exactly what the data are being used for and who has access to it (64% of new car buyers indicated this was “very important”).

In one of the most important findings of the study, both new car buyers and connected car owners placed a significant amount of trust in car manufacturers —71% of new car buyers and 77% of connected car owners were confident or somewhat confident that car manufacturers would properly secure their data.

Access to this data is being sought by new start-ups like ConnectedTravel and Drive Time Metrics, which fuse vehicle data with other sources to measure – and influence – consumer behavior, include radio listening. ConnectedTravel, which works with automakers to better understand real time interactions that take place in the car, is currently collaborating with the National Association Of Broadcasters on leveraging in car telematics for broadcasting. And it isn’t alone in the burgeoning in-car data field. Drive Time Metrics (DTM) has partnered with auto manufacturers to collect and analyze audio listening data from the connected car infotainment systems of millions of vehicles. The anonymous data is analyzed to provide insights into listening behavior. As Inside Radio previously reported, Entercom is already a strategic partner with DTM and recently worked with the company and an automaker on a case study involving 30,000 vehicles in a top three market.

‘Data Dance’

Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs sees a “sort of data dance” happening now between the automotive and radio industries where “each is trying to assess what assets it has and how the two industries can work together to use the data we have as an attribution tool to better understand how people react to advertising.”

For that data dance to reach the dance floor will require automakers and their partners to demonstrate transparency and a commitment to security. "This study underscores that consumers recognize the benefits of connected car features, and are inclined to share the data that enables them with entities they trust,” says Lauren Smith, Policy Counsel, The Future of Privacy Forum. “For connected car companies to continue earning that trust, they should communicate the purposes of such data collection and use, and incorporate privacy choices and safeguards.”

Edison Research senior VP Tom Webster says the trust automakers have engendered with their customers bodes well for potential new in-car applications. “While consumer trust in some industries is trending very low right now, car manufacturers are amongst the most trusted in terms of how they treat customer data,” Webster says. “This paints a very compelling picture for the future capabilities of the connected car.”

In other key findings, more than nine in ten (94%) connected car owners are interested in a feature that would alert them to dangerous driving conditions ahead, 92% for a feature that would allow emergency responders to respond more quickly in the event of an accident. And 86% of both new car buyers and connected car owners are comfortable with navigation apps collecting info about their location, speed and destination. Roughly 90% of both samples agree that technology is making cars safer, and eight in ten agree that technology is also making it more fun to drive or be a passenger.

The online survey included 1,070 persons 18+, of which 514 were connected car owners, and 794 planned to purchase a new car in the next year. Participants were recruited through Survey Sampling International’s online panel. The data was weighted to match the most recent U.S. population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.