MUNICH ”” Cars will be connected to the internet through both embedded and smartphone-based systems, telematics executives said Wednesday.

In a discussion of the pros and cons of the different approaches at a Telematics Update conference here, a panel of experts said the mode of connectivity depends on different factors.

"I see a hybrid approach; it's about finding a balance," said Dominique Bonte, group director telematics & navigation at ABI Research.

But BMW's head of business development, Reinhard Jurk, made clear that, for emergency services, the embedded sim card was the preferred option. "I wouldn't buy a smartphone-based system for emergency calls," he said.

Jurk added that, for a range of other infotainment functions, smartphone and Cloud-based connectivity is an option. "It's necessary to adopt all three ways," he said.

Ford, whose Ford Sync telematics system is built around personal mobile-phone connectivity, says its customer feedback has shown no signs of concerns about the reliability of its solution.

But Ford research engineer Martin Wiecker cited "different service expectations" in Ford's smaller, volume-segment cars than in BMW's premium segment.

David Jumpa, head of global sales and business development at telematics services provider Airbiquity, made a similar point: "Buyers of higher end vehicles have different expectations than those on the lower end who aren't willing to pay for many of these services."

Panel members agreed that, in Europe, costly cross-border mobile phone roaming rates pose a potential problem should more connected cars be sold in coming year.

So far, however, the volume of data downloaded by drivers is so limited that costs have not yet been a factor. And Ford's Wieck noted that European roaming costs are expected to decline further amid stepped up regulatory pressure from the European Commission in Brussels.

The panel discussion was part of a Telematics Update conference whose title was “Content & Apps for Automotive Europe 2012.”