Kelly Scott Madison

Connected cars: The humble beginnings of a complete automotive revolution



Dreaming of the day when a car runs your errands? It may not be too far away, and marketers are already preparing 

Consumer Connie is constantly multi-tasking; juggling between work, raising her three children, attending PTA meetings and taking care of her elderly parents. On a daily basis, Connie’s connected car helps enhance her busy life, making some repetitive tasks more effortless. For example, Connie pre-orders a latte from her vehicle during the morning commute. Her car also sends reminders to pick up diapers and milk on the way home from work. Furthermore, this smart vehicle ensures those same diapers and milk are paid for and placed into her trunk upon arrival at the grocery store. All of these things occur without Connie even lifting a finger.

It is difficult to say how close we are to this imagined scenario, but as technology embeds itself deeper into automobiles, some of the things that used to be visionary conveniences will quickly morph into reality. What’s more, busy consumers are ready to get onboard. According to an eMarketer study from September 2016, U.S. adults 18 and older identified a connected car as their second most desired holiday gift, just after the smart TV when prompted to select a device connected to the internet. Though they are not the only ones who are excited. Marketers are also knocking at the door of what will soon become an automotive revolution. 

In January 2017, General Motors and IBM announced a new cognitive mobility platform partnership with OnStar that will deliver personalized content directly to consumers via their automotive dashboards. GM drivers will conveniently connect and interact with their favorite brands while advertisers will have the ability to provide those users with custom, relevant messaging. Sponsors such as ExxonMobil, Glympse, iHeartRadio, Mastercard and Parkopedia are aligned with the partnership. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, “ExxonMobil will use the cognitive mobility platform to help drivers quickly locate Exxon and Mobil refuel stations, recommend the best fuel and lubricant for their vehicle and authorize fuel payment from inside their vehicle.” Paying for a car wash without exiting the car, being notified instantaneously whenever teenage drivers are running low on gas or receiving diagnostic and driving reports are just a few of the other interesting capabilities that this technology will provide.

Fortune reports that Ford is expanding the use of Amazon’s Alexa by adding the technology to 10 million North American and 20 million global vehicles by the end of 2020. Initially intended as a personal assistant...

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