The Drive to Get Cars and Homes Connected

So far we've seen the benefits of the first generation of connected cars with features such as streaming music and local search. But even greater possibilities are in vehicles communicating with other cloud-connected "things" .

There have been several somewhat isolated applications of a connected car/connected home mashup. For example, Ford revealed in June that it's working on the integration of Nest's smart thermostat and Protect smoke alarm with the automaker's new Sync 3 infotainment system. Using Sync 3's GPS capability, the car will connect with a smart thermostat so that a home's climate control system shuts off when the owner drives a certain distance away and turns on when the car crosses a preset GPS threshold.

A Sync 3-equipped vehicle and a home with Nest technology could also have their climate controls in sync. If the temperature drops and a driver decides to crank the car's heater, a signal could be sent to a Nest thermostat to increase the heat at home.

Similarly, a Nest Protect smoke detector, when activated, could send warnings to a Ford vehicle with Sync 3 so that an alert pops up on the car's infotainment screen—and a driver wouldn't have to reach for a phone to check an alert. Sync 3 could even give the driver the option to call 911 or another emergency contact from a connected Bluetooth phone.