Our future cars will autonomously handle a big amount of data in real time, fundamentally changing the physical, geographical, social, and virtual dimensions of mobility. It will not only foster new business models and marketing activities but also pose significant challenges for various users, companies, and countries.
1. The evolution of cars
Our world is becoming increasingly digital. These days, consumers want to remain connected all the time. They expect the same comfort and digital experience they enjoy elsewhere now in their cars as well. The car industry, therefore, has to deal with a huge evolution. Cars change quickly from a mechanical device into a mobile device. Over the next few years, cars will become connected, enabling the exchange of information between a car and its environment through an Internet connection. More precisely, connected cars will consume and create information, sharing it with the occupants and the public infrastructure, including other cars.
The connectivity in vehicles will become a standard feature. According to a market analysis by McKinsey, the number of connected cars will increase by 30% a year until 2020, while the current market is composed mostly of retrofitted separate devices. This means one in every five cars will be connected through the Internet.
The extreme technological requirements associated with complete vehicle networking would require market players to engage in partnerships with stakeholders who show other core competencies. The aim of cooperation must be to promote mutual transfer of knowledge across service providers and an open exchange of empirical data. An example of such partnership is the cooperation between the international automotive supplier, Continental, and IBM, one of the world’s leading technology companies.
2. Connected Cars
According to IBM, future cars will be largely determined by three drivers of innovation: Connected cars, self-driving cars such as the Google car, and energy-saving cars, which include fuel-efficient, low-emission cars and electric vehicles. Connected cars form the basis that enable self-driving and energy-saving cars to operate. All innovation drivers are based on different ways of connecting services and applications with the Internet.
Modern vehicles include a multitude of special technologies for ensuring safety. Assistance systems such as Active Breaking, Night Vision or Adaptive Cruise Control are some of the technologies needed for today’s and future road safety. All these systems require information from local sensors to interact with the vehicle. Primary sensors, e. g. Radar (radio waves), Sonar (sound propagation), Lidar (light detection and ranging) and Camera (camera-based object detection). These sensors allow the transfer from the physical to the virtual world, providing additional benefits to the driver. It enables various functions that can improve road safety, efficiency, and increase driving comfort.
Car-to-X communication would revolutionize tomorrow’s driving with the help of intelligent mobility. This refers to radio-based exchange of information and data between vehicles (car to car) and infrastructure (car to infrastructure). The data collected by the local sensor networks of each vehicle will be loaded into an independent cloud (Big Data). This method relies on a network of individual vehicles—the more the vehicles, the greater the security network. Vehicles can be addressed directly with the help of this technology—for example, in case an emergency vehicle needs a clear road or in order to improve traffic flow by controlling traffic signals.
3. Advertising on the fast lane
Marketing communications in cars have not evolved much in the recent past. Today, radio commercials are the only means to reach car drivers.
In future, there will be greater possibilities of reaching them. Connected cars will use app marketplaces through connected infotainment systems. That will form new and innovative options for marketers. One of the most interesting utilizations is app based on parking and coupons. Imagine a marketplace where you can find service providers, shops, and restaurants based on your preferences, and, if you are close to your beloved location, the app will offer a coupon. As soon as you accept it, this app will guide you to a nearby parking lot and send you the coupon on your smartphone.
Moreover, connected cars will take couponing to the next level by integrating consumer insights and customer journey information through data mining. Offers will consider the social, driving, and buying habits of a consumer. As a result, he gets a coupon for his favorite morning coffee when he is driving to work. At lunch time, his car will remind him to bring his clothes to the laundry and send him a coupon. And after a hard and long day in office, his car will recommend him a massage, of course, with a proper coupon. Sounds like a good business model for Groupon to rise again!
Radio will play an important role as a marketing channel even in future. Personalized advertising must be mentioned in this context. The traditional radio will be replaced by streaming services such as Pandora. These services dynamically adapt to the listening habits of the recipients and personalize the program.
Big Data Analysis goes a step further. The program is not only adapted on the basis of previous tracks, but the age, location, mood, time of the day, and the lifestyle and sociographic characteristics of users also play an important role in the personalization process. The software will acquire this knowledge by linking social networks or similar channels to the individual user profile. Based on this knowledge, the radio will finally generate advertisements adapted to the interests of the target group and would, therefore, be perceived as less annoying. This type of advertising is called “Native advertising.”
Advertising in selfdriving Cars
Selfdriving cars offer travellers the opportunity to regain time, formerly lost from heavy traffic or long distances and transform them to “productive travel time”. The attention given to driving may now be used to serve the more important needs of the driver. Travelers can spend time with their family or do business. Summarized, selfdriving cars may be regarded as an extension of the living room or an office and, therefore, offer related touchpoints like display-based media such as a TV, computers, etc. Existing classic marketing measures like TV ads can be expanded with data-driven marketing.
In this regard the selfdriving car would be the main hub of a customer’s journey, as he/she would show a high involvement because of various media presence in the car.
4. A promising but rocky road
New technologies often come with new challenges. Companies and countries have to face challenges of four dimensions.
The first requires a standardized, functional, fast, and consistent connection line in a fully developed infrastructure in order to ensure the smooth processing of an increasing volume of data. The second challenge concerns the readiness of people to share their data. As a result, marketing units would have to convince people about the advantages of such sharing, and that such data would be safe in their hands. Data privacy is a major concern in today’s world and can be seen as a third challenge. Users should be able to individually set up in their cars the things they want to share. Big Data forecasts may stop drivers right at the time of setting off with calculations predicting an accident waiting to occur. Such anticipatory warnings may also lead to ethical discussions about free will and whether the foreseen event would really happen. The last challenge is about security aspects. It is extremely important to insulate a car against hacking, especially to ensure the security of steering functions of selfdriving cars. There has to be a separation between the basic security functions and the multimedia system.
The new era of mobility, with great potentials for future business models and marketing activities, will lead to a rocky road for companies and countries in dealing with different kinds of challenges.