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Wi-Fi over four-wheel drive? Carmakers are shifting focus

Autos with business needs in mind are latest trend

The inside of the Nissan connect is built with the needs of a business person in mind.

Imagine getting ahead on research for work during your commute while Pandora plays your favorite radio station and Twitter reads aloud your daily tweets.

Or napping behind the wheel as your car drives you to work entirely.

OK — the latter is still being tested — but now that total connectivity has become a necessity for car consumers, that day is not far off.

It’s all part of the business car of the future, a market car manufacturers are starting to address.

Robyn Williams, the senior marketing manager for vehicle connected services at Nissan North America, said the company understands why work-oriented drivers multitask and is working to meet that need.

“Nissan continues to develop connected services with business use in mind,” she said in an email. “For example, our telematics suite is designed to allow customers to integrate their work calendar into their system and navigation screen. For a sales person or real estate agent, client appointments are available at the touch of a button, including integrated navigation guiding them directly to the meeting address.”

Wolfgang Ziebart, the engineering director at the Jaguar-Land Rover Group, said the company’s InControl apps — which will be made available in the 2015 Range Rover Evoque — also will provide today’s drivers with peace of mind if they leave their work phone at home.

“The Range Rover Evoque’s central touch screen is now an extension of an owner’s iPhone or Android smartphone with the latest content always available,” Ziebart said.

Even so, it appears car companies can’t do enough soon enough.

According to a study by IHS Automotive, 23 million cars were connected to the Internet in 2013. That number is expected to reach 152 million in 2020.

The big tech players — Apple, Microsoft and Google — all have rushed to partner with car companies to prepare new dashboard-compatible operating systems.

Meg Fry

NJBIZ Business Events