Connecting with the Millennial driver

The two trillion dollar automotive industry is going through a seismic shift. Alongside massive demand from emerging economies, new electric based vehicles and tougher emission regulations; the notion of Big Data and connectivity is starting to dramatically alter the way drivers and passengers interact with carmakers and service providers.

Of the 70 million passenger vehicles sold each year, Millennials accounted for 27% of new car sales in the US last year, up from 18% in 2010, making them the second largest group of new car buyers. This group, which has grown up in a connected world with ubiquitous access to the Internet, is also the most likely to make buying decisions based on connected car functionality.

Millennials and many other car users expect the car to be a hub for information sharing and intelligent application usage. This can range from collaborative satellite navigation system like Waze that allow drivers to easily share their knowledge, such as diverted routes, accidents and traffic jams to interactive entertainment systems and fault diagnostic data, useful for car maintenance and breakdown services.

In a parallel to the Internet, with its free services like Google Maps or Dropbox, many of these Millennial car owners are prepared to gain useful services in exchange for data. A recent global study released by SDL found that 89% of Millennials in the US and roughly 75% in Europe would accept brands tracking personal data provided they’ve built trust with the user. Another study conducted last year by New York based agency MRY found that Millennials value cars and smartphones for similar reasons, including accomplishing daily tasks, keeping connected with friends and family, exploring new places and shopping.

To address this increased consumer demand for personalised information and media services, car manufacturers are developing hybrid infotainment systems based on embedded functionality. These systems support both the driver and passenger device to project a vehicle-optimised version of popular apps from the smartphone to the dashboard and rear-seat screens.

These converging trends provide a great opportunity for OEMs to strengthen their relationships with those Millennials who show a willingness to share personal information to personalise the car experience. In order for OEMs to offer custom experiences to their customers, solutions that provide better driver insight such as ACCESS Twine™ will prove crucial, allowing OEMs to receive information about the driver’s habits, media consumption, devices connected to the infotainment system and combining them with real-time feedback on the car use.

This granular data on the driver and the vehicle will enable manufacturers to improve the in-car services, customise the content catalogue available to the driver and passenger, offer tailored information about the next petrol station or rest area, and even deliver targeted advertising directly to the dashboard.

With the connected car concept still relatively new, developing the skill sets and technologies to offer innovative use cases to a largely untapped market offers early access to a multi-billion dollar market.

About the author:

Robert is a Global Product Director at ACCESS Europe GmbH, with a focus on HTML5 platforms and media sharing solutions, including industry specific extensions such as HbbTV and W3C Vehicle APIs, so that ACCESS customers can deploy standards based state of the art products. He has been involved in projects with major customers in both automotive and TV and ensures a customer focused development strategy for ACCESS. His role involves working with telcos, middleware suppliers, STB OEMS, automotive tier 1s and automotive OEMS to ensure that ACCESS products deliver the features needed in these fast evolving markets. Follow him on Twitter / Linkedin

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