The Internet Of Cars And The '30,000' Foot View

Connectivity as a differentiator


In this age of wearables, constant interaction, self-inflicted ADD - the car is on its way to being quite possibly one of the largest 'devices' to be connected. It is hard to imagine a time when your smartphone didn’t ping you 30 minutes before you leave work to let you know traffic is building. A behavior that begins to develop as your phone begins to learn your daily routines.

In the sphere of the Internet of Things (IoT), the car could be considered as the next way for mobile devices to impact your life. Between mobile apps like Pandora for music, in-car Wi-Fi hotspots, computers, docking stations, integrated seat warmers based on the driver preferences- there is a shift in how connected vehicles will be changing the way we do business.

Cue the use of overly exploited phrases, as best demonstrated in the video by Trip and Tyler in their 'Stuff Business People Say' video – let’s take a '30,000 foot view' of the disruptive IoT technology when it comes to cars.

I have spent a significant amount of years in Operations & Human Resources, and see the similarities with Employee Engagement and the shifting priorities within that space. It has been interesting to watch the parallels between the two subject areas. A recent study conducted within San Diego County indicated that employees preferred flexibility over salary and job security. It’s not surprising then that within the car industry - according to a 2014 report by McKinsey & Company - more than a quarter of consumers in the market for vehicles said that Internet Connectivity is more important than features such as engine power and fuel efficiency. This ranked higher than what standard consumer requests had previously been - such as fuel efficiency and engine power. Gartner estimates that the number of connected cars may exceed a quarter of a billion within the next 5 years.

With apps like Waze on the rise, giving way to community-based traffic reporting with additional extras like 'Cop Spotting'. there is also an increased demand from consumers to have cars that connect to their lifestyle and their smartphones. Smartphones have become within the past 8 years an additional appendage - so much so that 71% of people admit to sleeping with their smartphone.

These inclusions and integrated technology will affect the purchase cycle of buying or leasing a vehicle. I recently spoke with a Sales Representative for a well-known dealership in the Southern California area. He had an interesting take. 'People used to come in and dread the car buying experience. Now, they send e-mails and submit inquiries to 10 dealerships within 100-mile radius. They come in read, their prepared, and they have forums, apps, twitter, and other things they use to levy the best price in real time. The car business is changing, but the big game changer is how technology people want affects the pricing.'

When you start to drill down and compare vehicles, you realize the price differential between a connected vs. unconnected vehicle. There are several options – each increasing incrementally. The addition of data plans include revenue for wireless companies, as well as additional subscription based opportunities for the car manufacturers.

Can you possibly drive home in traffic without having your Pandora streaming to your car stereo? What would you do if you didn’t have the ability to have Siri tell you what restaurants are close because you are hungry now!

The Cloud-based car services market is one that is growing exponentially within cities and leaders that see the potential for Interconnectivity. The rise of Master Planning for 'smart cities' - such as the push by The UAE - aims to create an interconnected smart city with connectivity across car parks, housing, and power grids. (Great article on IoT intent linked above).

How do you think our need to be connected has influenced how we, as consumers, purchase vehicles? At one point does the IoT, become the OoT (Overload of Things), and what other behaviors will this drive?

As always, thoughts and declarative statements of dissent via this article or message are always welcome.

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