The 'Internet of Things' turns a normal car ride into a special experience

When is a car more than just a car? The answer is simple: if it is also a channel for fast and effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The number of smart, interconnected objects is growing and we are constantly wondering how we can apply the capabilities of all these connected devices in our daily lives

When is a car more than just a car? The answer is simple: if it is also a channel for fast and effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The number of smart, interconnected objects is growing and we are constantly wondering how we can apply the capabilities of all these connected devices in our daily lives.

In the world of 'The Internet of Things' (IoT) your refrigerator, washing machine, toaster and even the home thermostat can be tailored to your personal preferences. Or they learn to adapt themselves to it. Against this background, it is not surprising that cars also become an increasingly important part of this 'connected' technical revolution. But what exactly is the added value of a 'connected' car, compared to the almost self-evident in-car assistence?

In order to answer this question properly, we have to review the 'Internet of Things' and see how it can make our daily life easier. It is true that IoT-controlled devices can perform detection, monitoring and control on specific tasks. What many, however, overlook is how IoT also changes the way of interaction between consumer, product or service provider.

A good example is the new in-car assistance technology that is currently being rolled out across Europe. At first glance, this technique offers the car driver remote assistance for navigation and safety or in the event of a breakdown. But there are also various additional options that benefit both the motorist and car manufacturer. For example, cars connected to 4G LTE connections are equipped with Wi-Fi, vehicle diagnostics and maintenance options. However, the same connection also offers opportunities for advertising, sales and marketing applications - all in the direct benefit of the consumer.

Imagine the following scenario: it is late at night, it is raining and you are in a strange city looking for a place to stay. Thanks to IoT, your car can not only offer you an overview of local hotels, but also tell you which hotel still has rooms available based on your personal preferences.

In fact, the car - or actually the technology in the car - comes to know more about you and your personal preferences, and on the basis of that information you make the best proposal, the next best action. For example, if you are allergic to dogs, the car will not propose you an animal-friendly hotel. Interestingly, other companies and providers can also offer their products and services by car as a CRM channel. They too benefit from customer data and how they can use it in a specific context.

In turn, manufacturers can also use this technology as an indirect CRM channel by using the data of their customers for a better customer experience. The rise of 'connected cars' brings car manufacturers closer to the consumer than ever.

The same sensors used for in-car assistance also provide valuable information about existing and future interactions. They not only identify prematurely customer needs but also inform about innovations.

Without trivializing the inevitable discussions about privacy and security, there is no doubt that this new form of connectivity and sensor feedback is radically changing the relationship between car manufacturer and consumer. In the field of maintenance for example.

Thanks to IoT, car manufacturers can quickly analyze real-time data and then deploy intelligent, dynamic processes that manufacturers, service providers, dealers, the car and consumers benefit from together. Examples include proactive maintenance, adjusting or resetting automatic control systems (for oil level, CO2 emissions), etc. and recalls.

In short, we are used to seeing the car as a mechanical device that takes us from A to B. The reality is that the 'Internet of Things' forces us more and more to adjust our expectations. Today, the simple means we use are becoming more widely applicable. The car industry is a good example of this.

Increasingly, we are going to consider our cars as more than just a means of transport. We use it to communicate with colleagues and producers or even pave the way for innovation. The era of the 'in-car customer experience' has arrived and one thing is certain: it will be a long and fascinating journey!