Experts Say!Interviews

Personalization and Contextualization drive the Connected Car of tomorrow: Raj Paul

Raj Paul
Vice President|Automotive & Emerging Technologies

Raj Paul

With reference to Connected Cars how does the regions of Europe and  North America Compare?

There are OEMs in both regions that have blazed the trail for vehicle connectivity and some that have lagged. Given the pent up consumer demand to integrate their digital lifestyles with their vehicles, acceptance has been high. Where many of the forerunners have tried to recreate the mobile experience in the vehicle, we are seeing a new era emerge in which digital content and apps are being extended into the vehicle in a much more contextual manner. Given the advancements in bandwidth, IHU display and processing capability, OEMs on both regions have the ingredients to truly innovate and differentiate. And, while regulatory differences exist between regions, the challenges are fundamentally similar.

In your opinion, what in-car apps and connected services are beyond the hype and make sense to a consumer?

Lochbridge commissioned a survey recently that shows consumers are willing to share their data provided they know how it will get used and how they get to benefit from it. From this research, we see consumer acceptance double in many cases where the benefits are fully explained. So connected car use cases that make sense to the consumer like usage-based insurance, productivity-enhancers, driver behavior feedback, personalization, vehicle health, in-vehicle commerce, proactive-diagnostics and service scheduling could easily be accepted if the  industry clearly communicates benefits. In addition, specific applications that are adapted for the vehicle context, such as social media apps that render in the IHU (in-car), will go beyond the hype while also delivering a safer driving experience.

In what ways the “personalization” of connected car services will influence the purchase decision of a new vehicle buyer in the near foreseeable future? Can it become a “brand differentiator” for an OEM as well?

Infotainment and Telematics are already sales accelerators and have become brand differentiators. According to a  Lochbridge survey, consumers are very much interested in vehicle personalization. Half of consumers indicated that they are willing to provide their personal data, such as their location and driving behavior, to tailor their vehicle experience to their preferences. So, this is a big opportunity for the OEMs to capitalize on. As such, we will see the next wave of automotive innovation bring more opportunities for a richer, more contextual and more personal experience in the vehicle.

Do you think the entry of tech-giants like Apple & Google will disrupt (or even threaten) the connected car value chain?

Tech-giants will definitely disrupt and threaten the connected car ecosystem. This is good for the consumer since this will accelerate innovation and product launches, and adoption of new business models and technologies. In another study we commissioned last year, we saw a huge gap in the consumer needs versus industry o?erings. Nearly half of the respondents, including two-thirds of the Millennials, want to access the same apps on their phones. Unless the automotive industry satisfies this need, the door will be open for technology players, such as Apple and Google, to capitalize on the opportunity.

It seems the automotive dealerships are missing from the connected car equation. What is going to be their role in this space?

Automotive dealerships appear missing from the connected car equation due to the fear/perception that connected car adoption will impact the dealership sales and service model. While e?ciency gained by over-the-air (OTA) updates could be perceived as an impact, the proactive prognostics could drive more traffic to the dealerships since not all problems will be solved by OTA. There is a big opportunity for OEMs and their dealer networks to create differentiate by harnessing the power of vehicle data to provide a better ownership experience for their mutual customers.

Who do you think will have the ultimate ownership of connected car data? OEMs, 3rd parties or consumers?

The consumer will always own the data. Having said that, if the OEM is transparent about using the consumer’s data and the value it brings to the consumer, ownership should not be an issue.

How sustainable do you find the new business models enabled by connected cars?

These new business models enabled by connectivity will be sustainable as strained city infrastructure struggle to support the population growth.

What would be the impact of government legislations and mandates in driving large scale adoption of telematics?

OnStar o?ering its services for the past 18 years is testimony that government legislations do not impact telematics. Some  of the privacy concerns could draw government attention, but technology companies, like Apple and Google, have shown how privacy concerns can be overcome and by letting the consumer decide what to share or what services to opt into. On a related front, mandates like EU eCall and Brazil’s Stolen Vehicle Tracking have been a blessing for telematics adoption.
How will start-ups find their market share in an ecosystem full of giants?

Though the connected car ecosystem has behemoths, there is still room for start-ups. The Auto industry needs an “innovation boost” and needs to behave and operate as a lean startup. Start-ups (not just from Silicon Valley) can provide that.

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