The next big thing – a look into the future

Automakers need to understand customers’ behavior

Today’s global mobility culture reflects a growing demand for new services from sophisticated customers.

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The next big thing

Communication technologies such as car-2-car, car-2-infrastructure or car-2-home may bring significant benefits to consumers, but these factors, known collectively as the ‘internet of things’ simply represent a commodity. To capture the real value of connectivity, vehicle manufacturers have to use the power of data to get inside customers’ heads, understand what drives their behavior and adapt business models to ever-smaller target groups of like-minded individuals.

Connected car technologies can be a crucial interactive media, especially when linked to location, offering not just traffic guidance, but also useful local retail or leisure options, personalized news and entertainment, and other services – all of which can provide a healthy revenue stream. Ultimately, it should be possible to predict what products and services the customer is most likely to want. To move to the lucrative upper right-hand quadrant (refer to chart on page 25) – the ‘Internet of Behavior’ – and harvest the undoubted potential of data, OEMs should consider customers’ lives as a whole, rather than viewing them as ‘drivers’ only, towards building a personal relationship to increase loyalty.

next big thing

Technology also enables predictive product analytics, where automakers can constantly monitor vehicle performance and component wear and tear. Such a strategy is supported by modularization and standardization, which enables more cost-efficient production and makes it easier to replace or adapt different parts of the automobile. As a warning: development cycles can differ widely between hardware and software, so these two areas should be managed separately, with a central interface to ensure compatibility.

- Dieter Becker - Global Head of Automotive, KPMG International. 

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