The automotive industry is witnessing an upheaval in the face of a growing number of challenges and pressures posed by globalisation and growing competition, leading to new players introducing products with improved features at competitive prices. This, coupled with market shifts, is contributing to volatility. New technological improvements in Big Data and analytics offer previously unimagined possibilities for tackling these challenges.
Leading companies today are seeing the value in using data analytics and intelligence to provide a personalised customer experience. Consumer value and expectations are shifting from traditional vehicle attributes towards those focussed on convenience and connectivity. Traditional customer experience was driven by key product differentiators toward a relationship that was mostly transactional. Today, we are witnessing a focus on the creation of unique and sustainable experiences that consistently engage customers.
Data analytics is at a nascent stage in the automotive industry. While data analytics has been a part of the mainstream in the marketing, manufacturing and supply chain divisions of the automotive sector, there has been very limited effort in data generation and analysis from the product itself. However, with the Internet of Things and computing becoming popular, less expensive avenues for gathering data are opening up in the industry.
While the industry is being transformed by the introduction of sensors, machine learning and artificial intelligence, it is also witnessing an influx of new players, providing opportunities to experienced software and IT professionals to share their expertise.
A connected and intelligent ecosystem requires integration of the hardware and mechanical components with software. And the building of a data pipeline to collect information and analyse the data. Intelligent features help with instant data crunching to solve bugs on the vehicle, diagnose issues faster and offer new features.
Connected vehicles have the potential to bring about a massive change in user experience. Being equipped with hardware and software enables them to connect to the cloud that helps generate data to derive actionable insight. Data from sensors on the vehicle has the potential to transform how automotive companies monitor performance and maintain product quality and safety. Access to real-time, on-road data helps in rapid product development.
Data and analytics help in understanding exactly what the customer needs, which will pave way for vehicles that are not just a mode of commute, but a platform for future mobility products and services with connected, intelligent features that improve over time.
New-age connected vehicles are equipped with sensors for various functions that help the makers deliver a truly new product experience. The data gathered over time on the roads will help engineers understand the trends that vary from customer usage patterns and the performance of the vehicle to information about terrain and traffic conditions. At Ather, we convert these trends into features that will be released as part of future software upgrades.
Technology-driven transformations are allowing OEMs today to collect data and understand customer preferences. But for technology to be made an integral part of the design and product development of vehicles in the country, a complete transformation of how the automotive industry inherently views vehicle and software is necessary. This will enable companies to translate data into smart, collaborative and transparent decision-making that will generate value and business success in the long term.
Tech is no longer distant to mankind, we need technology to make our lives convenient, easier and smarter. The automotive industry is lagging a bit in the country, but with smarter products entering the market, it could transform the way consumers look at automobile products.
The writer is co-founder and chief technology officer, Ather Energy