Tuesday 25th June 2019

From subscriptions, to cross-sector collaborations, connected cities and beyond

Published on August 28th, 2018

We have entered the subscription era – and partnerships between sometime competitors are helping to drive the connected bran model forward in automotive writes Nikolai Attard, managing editor for Automotive, Mediablaze.

It’s become easier than ever for consumers to switch service providers whenever they want. Whether moving from Spotify to Apple Music, Netflix to Amazon Prime or even more recently, BMW to Mercedes – as we witness the birth of subscription services in the automotive sector.

Subscription models are undoubtedly the future for today’s consumers, who’ve become accustomed to seeking the most efficient, seamless and easy-to-use service available, rather than making purchasing decisions based on emotional brand attachment. Instead, more emphasis is placed on how convenient, consistent and reliable the service is. And with minimal consumer brand loyalty, more often than not, consumers will be happy to switch providers if the service doesn’t meet these expectations.

This trend is rapidly impacting the automotive sector. Volvo, BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac now operate monthly subscriptions for car services, which include insurance, service and repair. And, if you fancy a change in your vehicle, you can swap it for a different one for a set period of time.

Cross-sector capitalisation

But alongside subscription services, brands are also looking to entice loyal customer followings by bringing a number of services under one brand roof. Nowhere has this become more evident than in the automotive sector, where we’re witnessing the evolution of connectivity between car manufacturers and external service providers from different sectors.

In the wake of multiple European governments bids to encourage people to buy electric vehicles by banning the sale of diesel and petrol cars, Porsche has joined forces with BMW, Ford, Daimler and Volkswagen Group to develop a European charging network called Ionity – with plans to have 400 chargers installed across the globe by 2020.

What this proves is that we have engaged in a seismic shift when it comes to brand interactions. While it was once a hush-hush affair when competing brands collaborated, manufacturers are realising that this is an essential step forward in catering to the changing needs of the customer – and one that shouldn’t be kept under wraps.

The birth of connected cities

Nikolai Attard

And these connected brand experiences span further than just the automotive sector. While Tesla has added a network of superchargers, with 1,327 Supercharger Stations and 10,852 Superchargers, the Tesla Powerwall and Solar Roof also form part of its ecosystem, allowing owners to run AC units, charge their Tesla cars and even power the pool pump.

Manufacturers are also linking cars to one another, so that they can alert each other of problems on the road ahead. Ford recommitted to connecting all of its cars by 2019 through C-V2X (cellular vehicle-to-everything) and V2V technology (vehicle-to-vehicle), allowing communication between other vehicles and smart road signals.

Hyundai went a step further and revealed its vision to create a hyper-connected car at CES in 2017 with its ‘Mobility Vision’ concept. This innovation blurs the line between home and car, whereby the car becomes a mobile living space, integrating its functionalities into the home. This allows the user to transform the vehicle into something more useful such as an entertainment centre or even a generator in emergencies.

Collaborate today to survive tomorrow

As these different sectors collaborate, it will pave the way to the connected cities of the future. On a large scale, metropolitan areas will be able to use this connectivity and technology to create smart cities that solve a whole host of problems; positively impacting the way society operates and providing even more opportunities for brands.

Ultimately, it’ll be those brands that move with these changing times – the ones that take advantage of subscription services and collaborate with others within the sector and further afield – that will thrive as we enter a new era of connectivity.

The author of this blog is Nikolai Attard, managing editor for Automotive, Mediablaze. For more information please go to http://mediablaze.com/

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