ECall technology has the potential to be as influential on road safety as seatbelts and airbags. However, it comes at an upfront cost to OEMs who have to install new mobile connectivity in their vehicles. As a result, OEMs will be particularly keen to realize new revenue opportunities that this new found connectivity will present.
Cars can produce a vast amount of useful information, but the difficulty has always been extracting that information and turning it into something meaningful. With M2M, the biggest opportunity lies in its ability to establish a two way communication between the car and service provider. Previously, only a one way connection existed: e.g. sending traffic information to a vehicle via RDS-TMC.
The tracking of driver behavior has the potential to be one of the biggest growth areas for M2M deployment, provided the driver is happy to give their permission for the data to be collected. One possible application could be offering usage-based insurance models that can charge in relation to individual driving habits. The SIM card can send information to insurers about the driver’s speed and driving behavior. Safer drivers can benefit from paying lower premiums.
Information about how a car is being driven is also useful to rental car companies and owners of vehicle fleets. Users of the cars can be charged more or less based, for example, on how they look after the car and whether they conserve petrol. This has the potential to extend the life of the vehicle and reduce the loss of value over time.
The second hand car market will also be affected. Soon it will be possible to test the truth of the classic salesman’s line about a car that has had ‘one careful owner’. Historical data on acceleration and speed will quickly identify when it has been in the hands of a boy racer. All of these innovations have the power to positively affect the way people drive, reduce speeds, extend the life of cars and create a more considerate approach to fuel consumption.
Relationship with the consumer
Normally, when a car leaves the showroom floor the dealer will only see the vehicle again when it is in need of a service or repairs. M2M can help establish a stronger relationship between the driver and the dealership. The connected car allow dealers to add a range of services and interactions that will enhance the connection they have with the consumer, enabling them to differentiate their offerings from their competitors.
For example, automotive manufacturers can co-operate with partners to deliver infotainment services such as video, music and applications via the mobile network directly to the car. Consumers will soon come to expect additional services such as vehicle theft tracking, breakdown services and remote unlocking if they have misplaced their keys as part of a sales package.
The dealership could also use diagnostic information sent from the car to identify engine problems remotely and warn driver when there is a fault, prompting them to come in for a service. This evolved relationship is beneficial for everyone in the value chain. The car dealers and OEMs are able to create new streams of revenue and the consumer is able to benefit from tailored additional services.