The problem at V.W. caused by the scandal of emissions testing shows just how far car manufacturers have changed from being mechanical and electrical engineering companies to being software companies. A modern car is now a moving computer emitting data like a Boeing 747. V.W. leadership are all great mechanical and electrical engineers but they just didn’t quite understand software and data, and hadn’t made the transition in organisational culture , systems processes. Hence the problem that crept in through the corporate governance.
Car companies will need to retell their brand stories to customers and become part of customers’ own stories.
One company that has started to tell its “brand story of safety” consistently to customers using data and technology is Volvo.
‘Volvo on Call’ allows Volvo owners to control their car through their phone. The app allows the driver to perform a range of checks and commands without having to be near the car, such as: check the cars maintenance levels, create and track a personal driving journal which can be transferred into an excel format as data, identify the car’s location, lock/unlock the car, call an operator for roadside assistance using your GPS location.
Volvo are also using data to improve road safety for drivers, introducing a new system that warns drivers of potentially hazardous road conditions ahead. This is achieved through pulling data from wheel sensors to detect the presence of black ice. When this happens, the car transmits a GPS location to the Volvo Cloud platform, which sends the data to other vehicles nearby that are equipped with the system. These cars then see an icon on their dashboard warning them of the risk. Similarly, sensors are attached to Volvo cars’ hazard lights to detect when they are activated. At that time an alert is sent to nearby cars, warning them of a hazard ahead.
Icy road data gathered during the pilot was shared with road authorities so they can improve road safety through gritting or public announcements. Using data and technology as an integral part of the brand story and customer journey / customer experience is a critical skill organisations will need to build. The implications for Insurance companies will be significant, as the risk factors will significantly change from who I am, where I live , and what i buy to more how and where I drive….. one to watch.