The opportunity, the connected customer, connected services and products-Part 3

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Podcast series on the mobility ecosystem


Carl: 00:13 Welcome to Driving the Future, a podcast series on the mobility ecosystem. My name is Carl [inaudible 00:00:19], your host, and for this episode, The Opportunity, we’ll be talking about the connected customer, connected services, and products. I’m delighted to be joined by two very special guests, digital automotive experts, Marc Caesar and Oliver Padmaperuma. Welcome.
Marc Caesar: 00:37 Thank you.
Oliver P.: 00:38 Thanks a lot, Carl.
Carl: 00:40 Okay, I guess we can start with Oliver. If you could introduce yourself and your role, that would be great.
Oliver P.: 00:46 Yes. So, within Capgemini Invent, I’m responsible for the topic Insights-Driven Customer Engagement. As such, I’ve worked over the past six years with nearly all the German OEMs and also other OEMs and also other players within the automotive industry, or the mobility industry, if you may call it like that, to develop data-driven solutions and to conceptualize them, to develop them and to scale them internationally. Therefore, in the development of the offering that we created, Smart Mobility Connect, I was in the role of the product owner, so to say, which consists, on the one hand, of developing the technological framework that we use for Smart Mobility Connect, but also to develop a demonstrator to actually showcase the vision that all the other pillars of the offering described.
Carl: 01:48 Great. It’s great to have you on-board. Thank you for joining us. And, Marc, if you could introduce yourself and your role.
Marc Caesar: 01:57 Yeah. Well, at Capgemini Invent, I’m responsible for all the connected car topics and, yeah, looking for solutions around connected customer, around service and product and also connected ecosystem.
Carl: 02:14 Okay, great. Well, I suppose we can start. I mean, there’s so many topics to cover and it’s a fascinating time in the automotive industry, absolutely. But perhaps we could start by if you could outline what is meant by the connected customer?
Oliver P.: 02:31 So, what I think about the connected customer, especially in this day and age, I think about myself. That might sound funny, but what I really expect in the automotive industry, or from any OEM that I’m using a car from, is that I can interact on my cellphone and do everything that I can do in my cellphone within my car as well.

It’s really this ecosystem that I have established around myself, this is something that I just want to find within the car as well. That means, let’s say, streaming my favorite videos, using my favorite productivity apps, unlocking the car, finding the car, sending destinations to the car, all that I really want to do with my cellphone because that’s what I use in my day-to-day life anyways, all the time. This is where my ecosystem resides, where all my information resides. So, I just want my car, if you can put it that way, to be my extended cellphone, that also brings me from A to B.

Carl: 03:40 Okay. And, Marc, do you have anything to add?
Marc Caesar: 03:43 Yeah, yeah. I would step into what Oliver just mentioned. The customers is always on, is connected by his phone or his computer, and if I look at mobility also while I’m in the car, while I’m driving and it does not matter whether I use my cellphone as a device, or whether I use my car when I’m driving. I want to be always on and I want to be, or I want to use my services and the apps that I have, and it does not matter what device I am using.
Oliver P.: 04:32 Yeah, absolutely. And if I may add, I think the element that you just mentioned, Marc, in fact, that it should be an intelligent assistant, or an intelligent interaction that you have with the car, I think is quite an important one because what most customers… I mean mobility is a… Or no. Let’s say it in a different way. Situative relevance is something that is very, very crucial especially when talking about digital services within a car, or the connected customer itself, right? I just want to make sure that the car should actually realize my situation, my intention, perhaps also my mood, and then give me the corresponding information that I need at that point in time.

That also means that it should comply with all the safety and security measures that are in place when I’m driving at a very fast pace with my car. I don’t want to be bombarded with a lot of offers whenever I pass Starbucks, for example. It should be something that is just intelligent and really does that only once I’m open to receive it.

Carl: 05:54 And it seems to me that we’ve all become incredibly fussy as consumers. There’s such a high expectation. Where are these rising expectations coming from? Where do they come from that we expect this kind of seamless interaction?
Oliver P.: 06:10 I think the rising expectations clearly comes from all the other digital services that customers are used to. So, when I say that I want to have everything in my cellphone, that means I’m used to apps that I’ve been using on my cellphone for quite a while and these apps clearly match the description of what Marc just said. They have situative relevance, so that they’re intelligent apps. They are highly-responsive, of course. I can be always on. I can get support immediately, for example, in a chat that is embedded into this app. These are just expectations, which clearly shape my expectation whenever I use a car and especially when it’s a car that is positioned as a digital car or made for a connected customer.
Marc Caesar: 07:10 I would add that, for me, it’s also about convenience. So, being offered the right service at the right spot has something to do with convenience. I often use the example of someone driving through the Alps from Germany to Italy. They’re the ones who are driving routes via the Brenner Pass and they know that there’s a toll station, and especially when you’re driving through high traffic at times, you have long waiting times. The possibility to avoid that is to purchase your toll in advance. At the moment, you do that via internet. So, that means before you start driving, go to the internet, you purchase the ticket, which takes a little bit of time.

For me, convenience would be if my car could offer that actually within the car while I’m driving and while I’m approaching the tollway station, just saying, “You’re approaching a tollway station. Would you like to purchase the toll which costs, I don’t know, five euro? Just click here,” and it’s automatically deducted by the credit card, which I have saved in my driving profile, for example. Then I pass all the ones who have to wait there and pay by credit cards, and I could just pass the automatic gate, which goes a lot faster, usually. So, being offered at that spot the service of purchasing the toll is just a matter of intelligence, of offering that service while the car discovered that I’m at that position and that my intention is to pass that toll station and go towards Italy, for example.

Carl: 09:22 Yeah. I really love this phrase, mobility ecosystem, because it really does imply such a wide scope of potential services and products. It really is a huge area.
Marc Caesar: 09:34 Yes, definitely, and it shows that it does not only affect OEMs because the ecosystem is wider. It affects the infrastructure, it affects the cities where we are driving through. It affects shops, for example, that might be able to interact with me while I’m driving. If I, as a driver, have given the permission, and I think that’s an important point because me, as a driver, I don’t want all the services around me to interact without any permission. I want to provide permission to come into my own ecosystem. So, I want to create my ecosystem and decide what services I want to let in and I want to interact with me.
Oliver P.: 10:35 I think it’s actually… What Marc is saying right now I think these are really exciting times to be living in because products, as we know them, leaving the factory and then being done or complete, they’re more and more over because we learn to interact with them, they become more intelligent. And they not only become intelligent, that they also become constantly up-to-date. So that means a lifecycle of a product is extended by the feature of, let’s say, on-the-air updates, new features which are being added to the software within the car, and with that new use cases. If you have an ecosystem of a lot of different providers and apps from many different industries, that just means you can take that to the power of 10 perhaps now, because each of these providers brings in new functions, new features, which ultimately leads to you having new features in your car possibly whenever you enter it. That’s, I think, quite exciting.

Also, regarding what you asked earlier, Carl, regarding the fussiness that we experience, I think it’s good to be fussy. I think we have a right to be fussy. Data and AI and intelligent assistants, they are what everyone is talking about right now, yet I receive tons of emails, which are not targeted, and tons of other marketing, which is not really targeted to what I want, what I really want to purchase. It’s more spam, right? So, even though everyone is talking about the intelligent connected customer and next-best action and stuff like that, there are only a few cases where this actually really, really works.

Carl: 12:35 Okay. I wonder if we could continue by listing the most impactive or high-potential areas of connected services and products?
Marc Caesar: 12:44 I would say it’s not a question of the buying cycle, whether you offer the services in the purchasing phase or in the actual user’s phase of the car. What is more important is to be able to identify those services and products that matter the most in that special moment. As we said before, that’s the most critical thing in the future, to be able to build up upon customer insights that you gained to offer the most relevant services in that particular moment. That’s one high-potential area.
Oliver P.: 13:45 Yes. So, that they make sure that the third parties, which are required to actually build this ecosystem, also have the possibility to join this ecosystem, and that clearly has a technological aspect. This is where we talk about sharing of the data, right? So, a lot of OEMs are doing this via APIs, for example. Then there are also other ways, and perhaps also business models, but this is a crucial factor for two reasons. One is need to make sure that the data is shared in a safe way, in a way that the customer still finds acceptable given the value propositions that they get. The other part is, depending on how large the OEM is, they need to make it attractive for third parties to join the ecosystem as well.

Clearly, there’s a lot of effort involved to provide services that are currently only available on an app on the phone in a car as well. So, these are investments that these third parties have to make to join that ecosystem, and depending on the size of the OEM, this is more or less lucrative. If we’re talking about a premium OEM with a certain, let’s say, a little bit smaller potential user base, basically all the people who are driving that car are potential users for the third party, they might have a bit more difficulty to argue about the business case, which is behind that. Whereas, let’s say a volume OEM, who has a much higher overall user base because there are just so much more cars out there of that brand, they would find it easier to argue with these big third parties to say, “Please do the investment, join our ecosystem and, in turn, you get access to a huge number of users,” right?

Marc Caesar: 15:49 Yeah. I mean, at the moment, I would say all the OEMs are looking for the connected service, the killer application, I would say, that is really generating profits for them and a high benefit for the customer.

I think at the moment that there is still potential, that they haven’t found the solution yet, but as in the future, we will have more free time driving the cars so think of autonomous driving. It will be more and more important to help the driver, the customer, use that time. So, the topic of in-car entertainment is most likely a very important one to look after, to be ready for that time when we are really driving autonomously on the streets. So, that’s really also a high-potential area.

Carl: 17:12 Just how pressing is it for the OEMs to catch up to these raised expectations of user-centricity? I suppose, as you mentioned, a good way for them to do that would be new cooperation and business models, partnering up with different organizations. How pressing is it, do you think, for them?
Oliver P.: 17:36 I think it is highly pressing. I might even say it is a risk not to do it. The in-car experience and all the things that you can do within the car, especially as Marc said, when we are in times of autonomously driving cars, is a key [unique selling point] for OEMs. Lastly, of course, or in that instance also for the end-customer, if I can have a ride in which I can be productive, I can enjoy myself, I can watch a video or listen to my music very seamlessly in one car, and if I would have to sit in the other, make sure my Bluetooth connects and I have to wait for ages until the service works, more and more people are really putting a lot of importance to that. So, it’s a pressing issue. It’s the future [unique selling point], I would say.
Marc Caesar: 18:40 Again, I would say it’s about seamless convenience because at the moment, when we have free time to enjoy, we are using our smartphone or our laptop to watch a series on Netflix, to listen to some music on, I don’t know, Amazon Prime or Spotify. I also want to do that while I’m driving in the car and while I might, in the future, have more time to enjoy that, so, yeah, the OEMs, they have to look for that convenience to really enjoy what I’m at the moment already using and in terms of services to be able to also use that seamlessly in the car. Or to be productive to connect to my email system, for example, to use the free time to work and use the car as my alternate office.
Carl: 19:49 Okay. I wonder if we could now continue talking a little bit about the most impactive and high-potential areas of connected services and products?
Oliver P.: 19:59 Yeah. So, I think given the fact that data and AI are becoming more and more important for a really intelligent service, the role of the OEM is fundamentally changing and it’s changing because, as the gatekeeper, of all the buttons and the head units and all the interactions that you can do within a car, the OEM has the power to recognize the situation, the intention and the mood of the customer. So the OEM’s new role is to recognize the situation, the intention, and the mood of the end-customer and then really orchestrate the ecosystem that they have established by interpreting that, so the situation, intention, and mood, and then pick and prioritize the next action that should be recommended to the customer.

For example, when I’m sitting in the car in the morning and perhaps I’m a bit tired and I’m on my way to work, I don’t want to be bombarded with a lot of recommendations and requests. I just want to listen to my music and reach my work safely, maybe have a look into my emails. It might be different when I’m on my way back home in the evening, where I perhaps need to do some grocery shopping or want to reach quickly at home and want to meet my friends afterwards.

So, I think it becomes a real [[unique selling point] for the OEM to understand their customers better and understand the interactions within the car better. For the connected services and products, this means how do I increase the number of sensors that I have within the car to actually interpret what a customer is doing and combine that with the apps that a customer is using, just to get a full understanding of what the customer wants to do right now?

Marc Caesar: 21:58 So, the OEM is really the orchestrator of all the different apps. Not necessarily just the provider of some new content apps or things that other service providers, third-party providers, can do better, but the OEM is really the gatekeeper and the owner of the data and, therefore, being able to orchestrate all those different services and product.
Carl: 22:30 So, thank you very much. Thank you so much for joining me, Oliver and Marc. Join us next time for Driving the Future when I’ll be talking to Rainer Mehl about the road ahead for OEMs, the strategic, the operational, the technological, and the cultural. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.