The invention of wheel has been an important invention of the human ingenuity that has created multiple scientific and business opportunities. Cars have been as much a necessity as a personal statement.
Today cars are technology products. The evolution of car from a manufacturing to electrical to software product has been meteoric. The Car economy is driving towards being a service economy rather than a product one. OEMs are no longer interested in one-time sale of the car – they are looking at a confined steam of lifetime revenues and services. In the fact the price of the future cars will be highly subsidised and services may give more revenues – The Gillette Pricing model.
Car Manufacturers need the help of other players to create a wholistic Connected Car Ecosystem – an Ecosystem where connected cars talk to each, city infrastructure and internet via multiple technological ways. The Connected Car Ecosystem represents a great opportunity for all the stake-holders including consumer.
Connected Car is an emerging reality. All Major OEMs are working on designing and rolling out newer and better use cases for Connected Car. They are working with unlikely partners as they navigate the future of cars. OEMs are open for help from software developers and testing organisations to accelerate their solutions to the market.
Infotainment is a big area where Connected Car technologies have made the first impact – which is obvious and understandable as it represents easy monetisation and quick adoption. A few Insurance companies have leveraged Apps/OBD Data/Telematics for better insurance premiums and information. Innovative and interesting new use-cases are emerging with the confluence of IoT, Mobile and Digital Technologies. A few are:
1. Connected Cities: The Smart city can light only those street lights where the car is driving through. It means energy efficiency. The traffic management can be better planned based on the flow of current traffic. Roads that need immediate attention can be quickly determined. Audi has already announced the integration of street traffic light information on the car dashboard.
2. Connected Payments: Cars can update one about the best prices at the fuel stations. Going forward, the payment can be made seamlessly for those fuel recharges. The Connected Car can also make the payment for those drive-through gelatos and French fries.
3. Safety: Cars can be monitored to drive along pre-determined and optimal routes – any out of normal behaviour can trigger safety alarms and alerts. The car can equally detect the rightful owner through behaviour analytics. Similarly, cars can detect driver drowsiness or health issues and trigger relevant actions thereby ensuring safety. A driver’s heart attack can automatically stop the car and initiate SOS call.
4. Better Care: Advanced Diagnostics help to take preventive maintenance and fixing of worn out automotive parts. Defects can be identified earlier and effectively avoiding large-scale recalls and PR disasters. In case of breakdown, quick, meaningful and relevant assistance can be provided.
5. Better Driving Experience: Voice Recognition will open new vistas in driving. The Driverless car with Voice Recognition is a step towards autonomous driving.
The Connected Car era also presents new questions:
1. Who owns the customer? OEM, Software Manufacturer, Infrastructure Owner?
2. How to create and win customer loyalty? The customer loyalty is of paramount importance to create a stream of continued revenues but what does the customer really need?
3. How to create Open Framework for all to access? How to create New Standards for not only the car but customers’ data and information in a secure way?
4. Effective collaboration to avoid duplication of standards, efforts and investments. How to leverage data collected through multiple systems?
5. Regulatory & Privacy Issues. Wisdom gained from biometric, behavioural and locational data could be a goldmine as well as a landmine.
6. Security Threats. Predicting system abuse and vulnerabilities is a key challenge. Hijacking is another treat.
The industry is confident of addressing these challenges and moving ahead with a passionate fervour. These will create new opportunities, new business potential and new winners. The Connected Car Ecosystem is a compelling idea that promises better overall experience to customers, customer loyalty to players and overall environmental and safety benefits to the society.
Image Courtesy: Audi