Lessons in data ownership from mobile

Lessons in data ownership from mobile

I am often asked about the connected car and the role that data will play in the future. There’s no denying that the in-car experience is set to undergo a fundamental shift towards connected services. Whoever controls the data will control a new form of relationship with car users and reap the resulting financial rewards. So how do OEMs ensure that their current customer relationships carry through to this always-on, data focused environment?

I am often asked about the connected car and the role that data will play in the future. There’s no denying that the in-car experience is set to undergo a fundamental shift towards connected services. Whoever controls the data will control a new form of relationship with car users and reap the resulting financial rewards. So how do OEMs ensure that their current customer relationships carry through to this always-on, data focused environment?

I think OEMs and Tier 1s are actually quite fortunate to have examples from other industries as they plan their next steps. The most relevant example I can think of is what has happened to the mobile industry over the last 15-20 years. Mobile is a huge industry, with more than 1.6 billion mobile phones expected to be sold in 2021 according to CCS Insight’s Ben Wood. But despite this, LG, which was once a huge player in the market, has announced its departure from mobile in a move which has not really come as a great surprise to anyone.

LG simply found it impossible to differentiate enough in a market that is dominated by Apple and Android, the latter successfully driving the user experience in phones from a number of device manufacturers. Samsung has done extremely well to carve out a niche at the top end of the market alongside the iPhone. For most other mobile manufacturers, the only room for differentiation is through price. Meanwhile, mobile operators such as Vodafone have lost control of user relationships that they once had complete ownership over through their portals.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this: if OEMs do not control the user data and relationships then there is a very real risk that they simply end up providing ‘devices’ for the operating system and connected services to sit in. If this happens then the OEMs will find it increasingly hard to differentiate, a situation that will only be exacerbated when electric vehicles become more widespread and the engine is removed (you can read more on that in a blog I published last year).

This is not to say I would advise companies against working with the big software companies in automotive today – quite the opposite. There are technologies and operating systems that are already ingrained in the fabric of our connected lives and OEMs and Tier 1s could place themselves at a disadvantage by not embracing their use in the car. But at the same time, they must think about the data and who has ultimate control over it if they are to avoid the harsh lessons of LG and so many others.

Find out how OEMs and Tier 1s can connect with car users using ACCESS Twine™ for Car, a branded IVI interface that engages car users through streamed content services.