Does this car have WiFi? [Daily Tribune (Bahrain)]
(Daily Tribune (Bahrain) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ? ? Car buyers have become increasingly interactive, digital, and connected. Automotive customers now expect and demand connectivity that supports their digital life styles, strengthens their social networks, and simplifies the process of buying and owning a vehicle. Tech-savvy drivers want cars that offer smartphone and/or Bluetooth integration for safe and legal hands-free calling, location-based roadside assistance, real-time system diagnostics, and other mobile-enabled capabilities. They want new and creative sales and service strategies, such as mobile and web-enabled videos, virtual showrooms, and 24x7 digital dealerships.
Many now shop for and compare vehicles via blogs and social media accessed increasingly by their mobile devices. So what does the mobile revolution mean for companies across the automotive value chain? To better understand this industry-wide shift, let's take a closer look at how automotive companies are using mobile communications to boost revenue, connect with customers, and drive productivity and business performance. Create new revenue streams As drivers demand the same multimedia experience in their vehicles that they enjoy elsewhere, several automakers seek new revenue-sharing opportunities from content flowed through in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. SiriusXM satellite is just one example. And with In-Stat analysts predicting more than 35 million IVI systems will be sold by 2015, forward-looking OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) are finding profitable ways to help drivers browse, purchase, and use content in their next-generation vehicles. In addition, mobile communications can be used to disseminate digital coupons, a mobile breakdown service app, web-based training for new drivers, or other offers. OEMs and dealers may also profit by offering premium mobile applications, mobile accessories, or related products and services. By supporting closer relationships between car sellers and buyers, mobility can also enhance the traditional new car sales cycle. Mobile applications can be used to recruit beta testers, to offer car-themed online activities, or to leverage YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media in support of sales and marketing efforts. Mobile-enabled social communities might be encouraged to offer design ideas to OEMs or to share positive reviews with potential buyers. Enrich the customer experience On-the-go car buyers are increasingly using tablets and other mobile devices to shop for and buy new vehicles. Virtual showrooms and mobile applications enable customers to review new model specs and to configure colors, features, and other customized elements with anywhere/ anytime convenience. Using popular new augmented reality applications, salespeople can access touch-to-print technology in the dealership, or customers may prefer to forward their configuration via mobile or tap-to-sync applications--then get pricing and availability updates on their mobile devices. Mobile applications can be used to promote and deliver virtual test drives, YouTube videos, maps, and digital customer assistance. Dealers can use mobile communications to simplify the lease or financing process for their customers. Mobility is also enhancing after-sales customer service and support. Web-based mobile apps and vehicle-to-dealer connectivity can greatly simplify the process of making service appointments, checking the status of a repair, or locating away-from-home service facilities. Mobile connectivity can link next-generation CRM systems to fully exploit social media input, web-based networking, and advanced data management and analytic capabilities. Automotive companies are using mobility to strengthen interactions, and close sales, with on-the-go customers. Enhance employee productivity Mobility is enhancing productivity in warranty processing and repair services. Robust mobile connectivity can, for example, streamline warranty claims by simplifying communications between customers, dealers, and original part suppliers. If a vehicle is returned to the dealership for a warranty repair--such as rebuilding of a faulty transmission--technicians can use tablets and mobile applications to access parts lists, documentation, and repair procedures. Mobility gives OEM, dealer, and partner sales and service personnel anywhere/anytime productive capabilities. Automotive companies can leverage mobile communications to manage vehicle models and configurations more quickly and efficiently. Plus, mobile communications can drive productivity by supporting greater collaborative efforts between OEMs, and with and among supply chain partners. Ford and Nissan are licensing Toyota's full hybrid technology, while General Motors, BMW, and others have forged hybrid-oriented alliances. Supply chain players such as Bosch, Samsung, Johnson Controls, and others are using vendor-to-vendor mobile connectivity to support collaborative efforts to design and produce NiMH and Ion batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. Mobile links are also improving collaboration between OEMs and suppliers, such as the Volkswagen partnership with Sanyo and Continental/ZF for batteries and hybrid components. Improve business performance When the automotive industry makes employees more productive, enhances customer satisfaction, and drives new revenues, those gains translate directly into better business outcomes. More efficient business processes, enabled by mobile technologies, enable OEMs and others to control costs and improve their bottom-line performance. Performance improvements can be realized in a number of ways. OEMs and dealers are working to mobilize web and native applications, extending both the productive lifespan of those resources and their market reach. Mobile technologies can help make business processes more efficient, thus reducing costs and improving the bottom line for carmakers and their value chain partners. Car-to-OEM and car-to-dealer mobile connectivity enables remote updating of in-car software, and diagnosis and repair of some technical issues. Car-to-enterprise connectivity creates new business opportunities for restaurants, gas stations, and web-based mobile services, and OEMs may share in those new revenue streams. Non-automotive companies are producing and selling power chargers and converters, microcontrollers, battery management, and other systems for in-car and aftermarket connectivity. Embracing the change Mobility is becoming a new standard in the automotive industry. To succeed in the mobilized marketplace, manufacturers are adjusting their business models, infrastructures, and skill sets. Many are now seeking partners and experience outside their traditional competencies--and are working with mobile application developers, cloud-service providers, and sources for predefined or hosted mobile application stores. The author is a technology and management expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ? ?
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