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We have all heard how the connected vehicle is creating new business opportunities for the industry and new possibilities for the customer.  All of this is reasonably true.  From where I sit, there are really three aspects of value regarding connected vehicles; Commerce, Quality/Safety and Operational Optimization.  We will deliberately not discuss autonomous vehicles in this blog.

On the visible side, there is what is often called “commerce” or maybe even “the vehicle is a wallet”. Convenience services like parking, fueling, navigation, traffic, refreshment, etc. are all viable and visible. These services are significantly important to some vehicle operators and vehicle operators in some geographies.  There is a lot of “visible” attention being paid to these “Commerce” services and monetizing them.

There are two not so visible but extremely important uses of data flowing from connected vehicles. The combined value of these far exceeds the value of commerce.  Let’s discuss these hidden (not so obvious to the driver) gems.

Data flowing from the vehicle while in operation can provide a wealth of valuable insight.  Telematics data can be used to understand not only how vehicles are being operated but also how the vehicle is responding and reacting based on that use, the geographical location, climatological conditions, and other parameters.  This insight can be interpreted to deliver a real picture of how the vehicle is performing.

Potential failures and service needs can be predicted in real time.  Many times the first indication of a real problem is when a vehicle warranty repair claim is recorded. The warranty claim is processed after the vehicle is repaired…long after the failure occurred.  By capturing real time telematics data, real time understanding of the vehicles performance can be achieved and early indications of failures or even opportunities for product improvement can be gleaned from that data.  This can reduce the latency in problem reporting and prevent defects from being designed into future products due to latency, i.e. “not knowing”.

And of course safety is a prime improvement opportunity and one everyone can appreciate.  Imagine if we knew that ignition switches were turned off, or vehicles that accelerate, supposedly unintentionally, were clearly the result of no brake pressure but rather throttle pressure.  Real time data can be significant in resolving defects, improving quality and enhancing safety.

The third unseen and very valuable aspect possible with vehicle connectivity is operational efficiency. Based on telemetry, the driver can be alerted that there is a possibility to improve fuel economy by paying closer attention to a driving mannerism.  It is also possible, based on operating parameters and location, altitude for example, to make a change to the fuel management program to increase fuel economy or performance, all unknown to the driver…and great for the environment. 

Based on geo-spatial location the driver can be alerted to potential traffic issues and alternative routes chosen, saving time, fuel and avoiding incremental traffic congestion and all the frustrations and risks associated with it.

Operational performance can be further improved by using telematics data to detect wear and tear from operation.  Keeping vehicles operating at peak efficiency is an unseen and perhaps underappreciated value!

So Commerce is good and indeed visible, BUT, Quality/Safety and Operational Optimization, while not quite so visible, create or protect much more value for a motorist.

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