The need for ever-more advanced in-car technologies—driven by the rise of technology options as a key criteria for buying a vehicle—is creating competitive challenges for auto manufacturers in the connected vehicle market. But such advances could also help companies gain a competitive edge, according to a new Accenture global study.
The blistering speed at which technology change occurs today is placing automakers under increasing pressure to more quickly design, produce and launch new vehicles with the right mix of in-car technologies. And therein lies the challenge. The rate of technology change, largely propelled by a constant stream of innovation—from new smartphone capabilities that consumers want replicated in the car to next-generation safety systems like lane-keeping systems—is making it daunting for manufacturing to provide the right technology mix.
According to our study, which surveyed 14,000 drivers in 12 countries, including the U.S. market and emerging economies like China and Brazil, drivers are twice as likely to choose a car based on in-vehicle technology options rather than its performance. In response, a new ecosystem of auto brands, technology companies, mobile providers and other stakeholders is emerging to more effectively capture elusive technology preferences and compete. But more is needed and the very technology advances driving the market could be part of the solution.
By merging the latest technologies with the car, there are new opportunities to source data from the vehicle to help automakers improve their engineering and manufacturing processes, enhance vehicle performance, and better capture the pulse of what in-car technologies consumers want. For example, vehicles could provide real-time data about the technologies drivers use most and offer real-time insight into the next generation of vehicle technologies that will be demanded by consumers.
This is already helping OEMs shape services for customers in areas such as engine performance and eco-drive coaching, as well as cementing customer relationships though better aftersales services. There already is growing interest in maintaining and improving car performance through remote digital diagnostic services. The survey shows that although only 13 percent of drivers surveyed said they currently use a vehicle health report, 39 percent expect to start using one soon.
The role of analytics
To optimize the use of data sourced from vehicles, manufacturers should consider supporting it with analytics that can systematically yield greater insights into in-vehicle technology preferences, how product development and manufacturing of new technologies can be improved, and where the connected vehicle market might be headed.
Critical to achieving such results also will require that automakers have the right analytics infrastructure in place by taking the following key steps:
- Conduct an initial diagnostic to determine current maturity of analytic capabilities and where the gaps are that will need to be addressed.
- Develop disciplined, repeatable processes to ensure that valuable insights are gained from the data, and recommendations are generated and acted on.
- Select the right people with the right analytical skills to identify and gather insights, and then put them to work collaborating with connected vehicle ecosystem partners to formulate a strategic direction for producing future, on-target technologies.
- Make sure the people dedicated to the process have the proper technical tools to ensure data integrity, quality and accessibility.
- Build and sustain a pipeline of people with strong analytical talent to be able to respond to new technology advances in the marketplace that will likely drive future in-car technologies.
Realizing the possibilities
While the rapid pace of technology change presents new challenges for auto manufacturers in the connected vehicle global market, it also offers potential opportunities for gaining a competitive advantage. Developing the ability to source data from the vehicle, supported by analytics, could help companies better understand the needs of a market in constant change, improve their product development and manufacturing processes, and move closer to achieving high performance.
>> James Robbins, [email protected], is Accenture’s automotive industry and industrial equipment industry North American managing director. Marcello Tamietti, [email protected], is Accenture’s managing director, automotive.