Cloud technology has come a long way since the early days when it served as an easy way to back up photos and files. Now, in-car cloud technology enables drivers to stay in touch better than ever before — and there are lots of possibilities for future development.

Google and Apple® both offer in-car interfaces that connect to the cloud via the user's smartphone or other mobile device. Microsoft's new Connected Vehicle Platform promises to provide even more features, such as access to business applications, productivity tools, and more.

Wondering how this technology can help improve your on-the-go productivity? Here's a look at several ways you can put your car's cloud to work for you.

The screen of a cloud reads "Hello" next to the steering wheel on a car’s dashboard

Never Miss a Thing

With a cloud-based car interface, keeping up with calendar events, emails, and texts becomes much easier — and safer — as you don't even need to pick up your smartphone while driving. Google's Android Auto lets you access your calendar, along with other information, on your car's touchscreen. Voice recognition means you can keep your hands on the wheel.

Apple CarPlay® offers similar features, connecting directly to your iPhone® and enabling Siri® voice control. You can also use your car's knobs, buttons, or touchscreen to access a selection of apps, including iTunes® and radio apps such as Pandora.

Seamless Calling and Texting

Texting or dialing a phone number while driving is dangerous, but connected cars are providing solutions to make it safer. Using voice recognition, calling a colleague is as easy as pushing a button on your steering wheel and saying, "Call Bob." Connect via your car's audio system, or talk using an earpiece or headset. With Apple CarPlay, simply ask Siri to read incoming text messages to you, and dictate your response without taking your eyes from the road. Siri can also play your voicemail through the car's speakers.

Android Auto offers similar functionality through voice commands, and you can also dictate and send text messages through apps like Google Hangouts and WhatsApp.

Navigating up a Notch

Maybe you've had a GPS in your car for years, so getting help with navigation seems like nothing new — but cloud connectivity provides an edge over traditional GPS systems. Since cloud-connected navigation apps work in real-time, you have access to the latest traffic, construction, and weather information, helping you quickly identify the best route to your destination. Android Auto includes Google Maps, offering the same functions you have on your Android phone. You can search the cloud-based points of interest database, update your route, and search via voice command for nearby restaurants.

Apple CarPlay uses Apple Maps, providing many of the same functions and including a list of most-likely destinations based on previous trips and addresses found in your emails.

A finger touches the screen of a car’s dashboard with a cloud on it

The Future of Connected Cars

Developers envision seamless in-car digital experiences like this one: Your car notifies you of a mechanical problem and contacts service providers in the area who can fix it. Then, consulting your schedule, the system coordinates an appointment time and asks you to confirm.

As technology continues to develop, cloud connected cars will become more and more common, making it easier than ever to stay productive while you're en route.

What are your favorite tools for working on the go? Share your experiences with us on Facebook.


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