Will continuing to meet the demands of tech-savvy consumers and treating vehicles as an extension of a user’s personality help automakers gain a competitive edge? Read on.


Digital transformation has revolutionized the automotive industry. But, has this transformation translated into new customers and sales? And, how do OEMs attract these tech-savvy Consumers in the digital world? After they find them, how do they create loyalty to the brand? These are the burning questions automakers face every day. And the answer that leads to success is innovation – ‘Innovate to Engage.’


Gartner’s article ‘Plan Your 2025 Smart Mobility Digital Roadmap’ says, “in the years leading up to 2025, companies that provide smart mobility technologies will face change and uncertainty created by connectivity, automation, services and electrification. These forces will push the entire automotive industry, as well as many smart mobility companies, to redefine themselves in the next few years.”


With automobile OEMs and tech companies revisiting existing technologies and exploring new ones such as Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Platforms and Sensor Technology, among others, the race to deliver next-gen driving experiences is in full force.


Let us consider a telematics device or dongle built with the capability to provide real-time analytics, analyze driver behavior and the health of a vehicle. Such devices help automakers/dealers understand their vehicles better and offer solutions that have an immediate impact. 


This might seem like a simple example showing how consumers are experiencing new levels of personal connectivity and mobility. But primarily, the entire process of how people or goods travel from one point to another is evolving depending on the needs of the consumers and technology trends, resulting in the emergence of an ecosystem of smart mobility.


While many uncertainties are surrounding the future of mobility, one thing is for sure – there has been a fundamental shift in consumer needs and as a result, the demand for high-tech features in vehicles are driving innovation forward. Much like how mobile phones are now equipped for more than just making calls, vehicles will have to do more than start and stop.


In this blog, we break down some of the latest advances in the automotive industry and how enterprises can leverage them to build a more loyal customer base.


Navigating the Tech-Driven Automotive Landscape


  • Engaging User-First Experience to Drive Results


Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimates that the global annual sales volume for new cars will grow until the mid-2020s and then stall through 2035, as on-demand services emerge. The entry of battery-powered electric vehicles, ride-sharing companies and start-ups in the race to attract customers, calls for deeper personalization via machine learning, analytics, and AI-powered/voice-enabled products and services.


Whether it is car-sharing or a vehicle subscription service, focusing on the user experience aspect will allow enterprises to differentiate themselves in the market. Building upon emerging technology solutions, automakers who leverage their current strengths and customize their vehicles to offer next-gen services like smarter connectivity or AI-powered virtual personal assistants, will be able to capture a large share of the emerging market. 


  • Aftermarket Sales to Remain Strong


2018 saw a downturn in immediate expectations for autonomy with self-driving cars not being fully capable of functioning without human intervention. As more research pours into the world of driverless cars, going forward, we will see an increase in Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) features. 


Again, it is the consumer who is at the forefront of bringing this technology to the mainstream. Irrespective of the vehicle users are commuting in – personal, rental, or friend’s car, they expect vehicles to be integrated with features that will make the drive more personalized, comfortable and convenient. With a strong IoT (Internet of Things) backup, features such as cloud-based profiles that can be accessed from different vehicles, parking assistance or turning a vehicle into a Wi-Fi hotspot will only boost aftermarket sales. 


Moreover, the increasing number of connected devices/services in a vehicle might lead to a payment gateway that will not only redefine mobility-on-demand but also enhance the user experience.


  • Demand-Responsive Transport to Gain a Foothold


Intelligent transportation or on-demand transport systems such as car-hailing services enabled by smartphones are not only a hot trend today but the first step towards creating a smart society. On-demand transportation leverages technology to ensure freedom in everyday mobility, alleviating congestion and also allowing commuters to save capital and operational costs involved in private vehicle ownership and usage. 


Going forward, there will be a noticeable shift from vehicle-ownership to vehicle-usership with Transport-as-a-Service


Vehicle connectivity will become more than just using a phone to hail a cab or an app to reach a restaurant. Shared mobility and autonomy will provide a cohesive, enjoyable experience while the vehicle is in motion.


  • Telematics and Usage-Based Insurance to Revolutionize Driving


Telematics services will not just be a significant hit with consumers but also with OEMs. For consumers, telematics services will provide safety or monetary benefits. But for OEMs, it will a means to provide revenue opportunities in both embedded and aftermarket products. 


The growth of telematics devices will lead to an increase in connected services, security of the vehicle, the implementation of Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) solutions and more. From insurance discounts to customized driving experiences, value-added services brought to users by telecommunications companies and insurance providers will further disrupt this landscape.


According to a recent report published by Aite Group, the number of commercial insurance-related installed telematics devices is projected to increase to 120 million by 2021. The modern telematics devices that are providing enormous amounts of information about a vehicle/driver's behavior will enable insurers to price individual driver and fleet policies and create futuristic insurance solutions along with the precise assessment of risk per mile.


  • The Coming of Virtual Assistants in Vehicles


Simplifying interactions with the vehicle and environment, next-gen solutions like Virtual Personal Assistants (VPA) for vehicles will deliver the vision and promise of a connected, safer and more secure driving experience. Converging ecosystems (home, car and office) combined with voice-based interfaces, virtual personal assistants will be able to anticipate users' needs and respond to voice queries. 


For example, VPAs can read a user’s calendar, remind him/her of an upcoming event, suggest an alternate route to bypass traffic and much more. Built with the capability to consider the vehicle-centric inputs, predict and pre-empt the needs of the user, personal assistants will support complex requests and enhance the overall in-vehicle experience.


VPAs will further provide real-time visibility to a vehicle, maximize performance and also save costs.


Embracing the Future of Mobility


Intelligent mobility lays the foundation for smart infrastructure/cities. Rather than concentrating on the short-term fixes, urban societies need to find the ways in which smart transportation solutions can bring about major transformations. HARMAN Connected Services has analyzed these trends over the years and is focused on delivering connected technologies for automotive OEMs, consumers and enterprise markets worldwide. 


At the HARMAN Automotive Experience Center at CES 2019, we are unveiling insight-led solutions with an aim to equip automakers and OEMs with secure, cost-effective ways to introduce and update in-vehicle features. We are displaying our connected cloud platform, solutions and services at the convergence of device, data and design to uncover new digital revenue streams for customers.  We are providing thought-provoking experiential demonstrations to help our customers to provide smarter driving experiences.


For more information or to witness our solution at CES 2019, do write to us here or on LinkedIn/Twitter.