Why the automotive industry is all of us
Become a tech company
The automotive industry is one of the quintessential atoms industries that has understood the customer’s need for bytes. Today, every industry is a tech industry. There’s no way around it. Cars and (most) other modes of transportation are computers - or rather smartphones - on wheels. Tesla is not a car company. It’s a tech company that is building tech platforms. That’s not just because of consumer needs. It’s also because it’s continuously analyzing its own data and optimizing how it works.
"Tech companies like Apple, Google, and Baidu moving into the automotive industry have a big advantage"
When most of us are thinking about “computer” cars, we are thinking about autonomous driving and connected cars that interact with their environment (with other cars, as well as the smart city devices around them). And that is a big trend, obviously, but people like technologist Ari Teman are looking into ways cars could interact with users sitting inside. The former see biometrics, “the ability for a vehicle, an environment, or a service to recognize who you are and how you are,” as one of the biggest transformations in transportation. Easy to understand, when you think about the data and insights potential that this has.
The biggest challenge for car companies when they make the transition to tech company, is that they don’t become “dumb pipes”, like telco companies did when smartphones were introduced: all the data and intelligence that was powered by them, was owned and leveraged by the likes of Spotify, Apple, or Uber. The latter knew a lot more about their customers than they did. Just like that, car companies are in danger of “loosing” their data to biometrics, healthcare, smart insurance, geolocalisation, driver safety and other software companies. That’s in fact a big challenge for any kind of carrier industry.
Another challenge for the car industry is really deeply understanding the essence of tech and translate that to “customer jobs”, because making the transition from classical OEM to a tech company is anything but easy. Tech companies moving into the automotive industry – Apple, Google, and Baidu working on developing their own autonomous vehicle– have a big advantage that way.