There are many observers who believe that the automobile will emerge as a “fourth screen” – behind TV, computers/tablets and smartphones. This is in part due to the impending autonomous capability that is coming to vehicles over the next decade.

/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/car1_599126.jpgIt was recently estimated that US economy could save $1.3 trillion per year once autonomous vehicles come online. This is fully 8% of US GDP. Let me repeat… 8% of U.S. GDP. That’s huge! If we extrapolate this globally, we can see that this is a revolutionary change that will impact all aspects of the value chain serviced by the automotive industry. The major contributors to this number are accident avoidance, productivity gains from not needing human drivers, congestion avoidance and fuel savings. There’s been a lot focus about the in-car experience but that misses the point of what would be possible with this new fourth screen.

The ability to tap into data that is unique to the car (and not something a smartphone would be aware of) could drive specific advertising and offers. For instance, when you pull into a gas station, sensors on board the car can detect that you’ve been driving continuously for 200 miles with four passengers onboard – maybe they’re thirsty. Connectivity to the pump would allow contextual offers to be presented to the driver, while pumping gas, to stop into the convenience store at the gas station.

Additionally, we can foresee a future where a car’s gas tank status is detected by local gas stations and offers can be created to draw the driver into a particular location. These are all made possible by technologies delivered by Internet of Things, but also the ability to create a business connection between buyer and seller based on relative location.

By tapping into a single, global business network to manage vast data produced through connected devices, the automotive industry and retailers can make sense of all this complex data to run simply.

Join the discussion and share with me the myriad of ways you think the automotive industry can take advantage of the networked economy.

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