THE EDITOR’S COMMENT --

At a time of political upheaval, business leaders and investors become nervous and search for certainties. Arguments over NAFTA, Brexit, the Middle East, or US vs. the Rest trade wars can unsettle the markets. So, it’s good to hear in our lead interview for this issue (pages 8-11) that one company is focusing on the customer. For only when you truly understand your customer, do you have a solid market.

The Internet of Things (IoT) does not mean that automation bypasses the customer. On the contrary, the IoT can and should bring him and her closer to the decision-making process. We’re at the start of a revolution in customisation that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to understand and anticipate individual needs, 3D printing to build exactly what we want (not a close approximation that fits as many customers as possible), and augmented reality (AR) to show us how things work.

Underpinning it all, connectivity builds an ongoing relationship with the consumer that brings us products more closely aligned to our needs and expectations. It can also lead to innovations that the customer never knew they wanted. Henry Ford once said, “If I’d designed what the customer wanted, I’d have made a faster horse. ”Customer Engagement (CE) is a critical measure of the depth of a relationship with connected car makers. As Drew Johnson points out, “The value measurement in the consumer area has been murky. That’s one reason why the consumer connected car sector has not expanded as quickly as commercial connected vehicles.” It’s a refreshingly candid view that the auto industry has not yet offered consumers what they want, but is taking steps to correct that right now.

Jeremy Cowan,
editorial director, Transport360

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