Toyota-affiliated supplier Denso Corp. is looking to blend vehicle technology with home electronics.
Denso said today it signed a stock subscription agreement with Sharp Corp. to buy 2.5 billion yen ($25.4 million) of the electronics company's stock to build new technologies that "improve the comfort, safety and convenience of vehicles by integrating vehicle technologies with home electronic technologies."
Sharp's stock market capitalization is more than 446 billion yen ($4.5 billion), according to Bloomberg.
A Denso spokeswoman said the number of shares Denso buys will change based on the price of the shares when the company makes the purchase.
The idea of connecting the car with home electronics opens a plethora of possibilities in home automation. "The home can behave in certain ways" based on whether someone is home, or if the homeowner's car is approaching, said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst at tech research company Gartner Inc. of Stamford, Conn. Koslowski operates in San Jose, Calif.
One day, Koslowski said, it may be possible to leave home while listening to a song on your entertainment system and have that song continue where you left off when you get in the car.
"This is an attempt by Denso to be prepared for what the future will bring. Companies need to figure out what that means once we have connectivity established in the automotive industry within cars. What is the next frontier?," Koslowski said.
"That is going to be other environments outside the automobile, other industries outside of automotive that actually will have to come together. I think that's where Denso is taking innovative lead by saying we want to be part of this, at least in small steps."
Denso supplies advanced technology, systems and components for thermal, powertrain control, electronics and safety. The company ranks No. 2 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with estimated worldwide parts sales to automakers of $34.2 billion during its 2012 fiscal year.
Toyota Motor Corp. owns 23 percent of Denso of Kariya, Japan.
Sharp builds home electronics such as televisions as well as appliances and business presentation equipment, including projectors and interactive screens. It also supplies panels for Apple's smartphones.
Koslowski added: "There are multiple ways of doing this, including things turning off when you leave because the car will communicate that it's leaving your house. There are definitely some scenarios that have to do with smart home automation where you can automate certain functions."