Car buyers now expect to have more in-vehicle content services and applications when they splash out, along with the high-speed connectivity that enables them. Competition is flourishing as carmakers rise to the challenge and find interesting ways to differentiate in their service offerings. But they also face challenges – three in particular warrant special attention if they are to be successful in a fast-evolving marketplace.
1. Rising cost of data
Over the years, financial departments in automotive companies have enjoyed a degree of certainty when it comes to costs around vehicle lifecycles. As the vehicle becomes more software-defined, however, a new cost is introduced: data usage.
What finance departments are now facing and may be unprepared for is a spike in data costs in different countries, because of variables outside of their control. This is the challenge in a connected ecosystem of infotainment services, where consumers have personal preferences, the MNO (Mobile Network Operator) has established partnerships, or a country has cultural differences.
Such variations make it hard to run a global service. Having talked with our customers about the difficulties they faced, our innovation team developed PLXOR, a solution It provides visibility into the services consuming the data, which is business critical for finance departments trying to make data costs predictable. PLXOR dashboards can be configured to give full visibility of fleets with regionalised data, from high level to granular, with a per-device, per-model, per-country view of service level usage.
There are strategic as well as cost benefits. Armed with this level of visibility, carmakers can optimise and personalise driver experiences. They can cross-correlate the popularity of services with different regions. One part of the world, for example, might have a greater affinity for Amazon Music than Spotify, which could inform the bundling of infotainment services in that part of the world.
Ultimately, the carmaker has an overall better understanding of the uptake of services they launch in the vehicle, meaning they can negotiate better deals with specific service providers, with evidence-based bargaining power on how much the service is being used (or not used) in certain regions. Armed with this PLXOR data, the finance department can foresee data costs split by service and plan, and how to streamline them.
2. Optimising support services
Another unwanted surprise for finance departments as their companies roll out connected services, will be the rising cost of contact centre support. Running a global service with so many variables will inevitably see a spike in customer queries. Like any type of helpdesk, success hinges on how quickly a query can be answered without further escalation.
The best weapon against customer service queues is a predictive capability that anticipates issues or avoids them happening in the first place. They need an analytics platform, where data from multiple devices and services enables real-time performance monitoring and advanced reporting. INSIGHTS was developed by Cubic with this in mind, providing highly flexible dashboards that can be tailored to each carmaker’s unique service ecosystem.
Thresholds around services can be set that trigger alerts, making technical teams proactive rather than reactive, solving problems before the customer becomes aware of them. The upshot is less queries coming into contact centres, and the ones that do can be addressed and resolved more quickly. Dashboards let carmakers dig down into data on content and service usage at fleet level, by country, or by make and model of car.
3. Global delivery of local solutions
A major hurdle for carmakers that embed connectivity in newly manufactured vehicles is coming up with a way to register them on networks in their destination markets. With so many different rules and regulations in each territory, it can be hard to standardise engagements with the MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) who provide local connectivity.
Cubic Telecom is well known for taking the pain out of this complex process. We enable zero-touch registration with multiple service providers across the world. With our connected software embedded at the point of manufacture, the vehicle is pre-configured with the correct profiles for the destination territory, helping the carmaker overcome this major hurdle.
Vehicles are enabled with Cubic’s software, which attaches to local networks and then manages global connectivity though a single window via our PACE platform. Here, each vehicle can be registered/deregistered and managed remotely by customer care or engineering teams. PACE also enables functionality such as software updates or ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems) downloads and ensures local compliance in terms of tax and connectivity.
Connectivity, data costs and customer support are all pain points for carmakers to address if they want to avoid bottlenecks in the provision of emerging services. No-one knows for sure how the market for in-car connected software and content services will evolve, but visibility into the ecosystem is the carmaker’s best chance of maintaining a powerful place in it.