By 2020, vehicles with some form of wireless network connection capabilities will rule the roads, according to new research from Gartner.

Gartner's report "Predicts 2015: The Internet of Things" forecast that in the next five years, nearly one in five cars worldwide will have wireless Internet capabilities, which amounts to over 250 million connected cars.

The research firm pointed out that connected cars or smart cars are poised to play a pivotal role in the Internet of Things (IoT). The firm also predicted that 4.9 billion "connected things" will be deployed in 2015, which is an increase of 30 percent from 2014. This number is expected to grow further and will touch 25 billion in the next five years.

"The connected car is already a reality, and in-vehicle wireless connectivity is rapidly expanding from luxury models and premium brands, to high-volume midmarket models," noted James F. Hines, research director at Gartner.

The number of connected cars currently making their way to the market is on the rise. Major car manufacturers such as Mercedes, Tesla, BMW and Ford, to name a few, already offer some type of wireless Internet connection in their automobiles.

So, what will fuel the growth of and demand for smart cars to 250 million by 2020, you ask?

According to Hines, with digital consumption and creation within automobiles getting a boost and growing steadily, consumer demand for better infotainment systems will surge. This in turn will create breaks for graphics accelerators, app processors, as well as "human-machine interface"-oriented technology. The demand will spill over to areas such as automated driving and telematics, Gartner forecast.

Moreover, Hines is of the belief that novel notions of mobility, as well as in-vehicle services will propel the creation of innovative business models, especially in the urban areas.

"New concepts of mobility and vehicle usage will lead to new business models and expansion of alternatives to car ownership, especially in urban environments," added Hines.

With smart cars poised to become the next big thing in the near future, automobile manufacturers will have their work cut out.

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