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I like my regularly discussions with decision makers, colleagues and friends from the automotive industry, because they are not only inspiring in terms of new insights but sometimes also lead to unexpected conclusions:
Talking about „surplus value“ for car-buyers, it seems that easy connectivity to high-end technology environment and on-board equipment is in deed an essential challenge now – which makes “Human Machine Interface” (HMI) one of the key topics for the automotive industry.

In fact, latest telematic researches confirm that HMI design has become a focal point and battleground for brand differentiation for all automotive segments!

Location Based Services - LBS: How GPS navigation systems and geospatial data are changing automotive industry. Spotlight topic by progress5.

LBS goes Automotive: Location Based Services

It has become state-of-the-art that your daily personal smartphone companion has to integrate itself seamlessly into your new car’s high-tech environment – and that means not only making phone calls but furthermore connect and leverage navigation system’s data, without any complicated set-up procedure.
Implementing new ideas where location matters and using familiar apps & services could be a more and more important driver in car buyer’s decision process – but also a chance for innovative marketing services.

Car-makers around the world are currently working on various concepts to leverage the geospatial data stream produced by GPS or navigation systems and connect that to so-called “Location Based Services” (LBS), always trying to figure out how to be one step ahead from competition – and hunting for smart ideas.

What are the best practises for connected vehicles?
We already know about useful core applications like integrated emergency services, stolen vehicle tracking & recovery, predictive traffic & rerouting, off-board navigation & real-time traffic. Now we should be prepared for companies like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter or OpenTable, LinkedIn and Salesforce to come up with smart approaches, which makes sense while extending their core services and partnering with other players (cross marketing).

Let’s have a quick look at China, the largest car market in the world:
China’s top location-based check-in app, the „Foursquare“-like service called Jiepang, with more than 5 million registered accounts (counting 500,000 monthly active users), figuered out how international car-makers were using their social networking service for digital marketing based on location based services. Here is one example:

Tiguan, Shanghai Volkswagen, was using Jiepang’s open Application Programming Interface (API) to create a campaign website where people can log-in with their Jiepang account. The site will automatically calculate his/her check-ins from past 30 days and converts the data to traveling miles. A virtual Tiguan car would be showed on a map, showing how many miles this person had travelled. People could keep track of their traveling miles on their phones.

Great idea, or questionable business case? However, here some essential facts:

About 50 million new cars sold globally in 2009 and only 5% of them were equipped with OEM telematic systems. So, the game has just begun!

Where is the technology journey taking us to?
I think the innovation train is moving very fast and successful market players will be those who think one step ahead – while carefully watching new trends.

“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”
…. by Elon Musk (Tesla Motors)

(Fotos: Joachim Wendler /progress5)