One trend you should be aware of as an investor is that of the "connected car." Your vehicle can connect with the outside world through a dedicated modem, or -- increasingly these days -- through your smartphone.

At the recent Connected Car Conference in New York City, Roger Lanctot of Strategy Analytics spoke about the role of smartphones and modems in the vehicle: Besides entertainment, they can help sell cars, route motorists, and facilitate commerce through various payment options for tolls, parking, and more. And -- done properly -- a connected car can save lives and make driving safer.

Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) each have different approaches to this technology. But as Roger explains to Motley Fool analyst Rex Moore in the following video. they all will eventually monetize the connected car in a similar fashion -- through advertising.