Data, Connectivity, Safety Now Integral in Automotive Technology
Technology is transforming the automotive industry.
- Data is changing vehicle manufacturing and the way customers buy.
- Connectivity is transforming the relationships between customers and their vehicles.
- New technology such as blockchain provides alternative approaches to existing issues.
- The change affects entire value chain, from manufacturing to maintenance and sales.
Some of the innovation feeds off ideas from other industries, such as the vehicle repair app created by SinglePoint Inc. (OTC:SING) (SING Profile). Innovation is also focused on marketing solutions, as with Bitauto Holdings Limited (NYSE:BITA), and sales. PowerBand Solutions Inc. (OTC: PWWBF) (TSX-V:PBX) is providing the automotive industry with an effective, innovative alternative to physical auctions as a method to buy and sell vehicles. A leading provider of connected-car and location-based services, Telenav Inc. (NASDAQ:TNAV) just announced that it is integrating Amazon Alexa into its automotive navigation system offering. And Autoliv Inc. (NYSE:ALV) has dedicated itself to the mission of saving lives through advancements in technology.
Technology Brings Disruption to Auto Industry
The automotive industry is facing a sea change of innovation. The rise of self-driving cars, the move from gas towards electric power and the ongoing drive to produce safer, more efficient vehicles are all creating challenges for established companies. Incomers are adding to the mix, as new companies with new tools and specialist interests enter the market.
The changes aren’t all just about car design and production, they are also about the way the public interacts with automobiles. From measuring usage and controlling traffic to buying and selling, technology is transforming consumer relationships with their automobiles. By tapping into the latest trends such as connectivity, big data analysis and blockchain storage solutions, technological advances are disrupting the entire ecosystem around driving.
Data and Drivers
Data gathering, collation and interpretation are integral to modern business. From the data-driven, opinion-forming companies of social media to the manufacturers using six sigma techniques to optimize their assembly lines, today’s world is increasingly data dependent. That dependency is something that companies such as SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB:SING) are using to carve out niches for themselves within the automotive industry.
SinglePoint might not seem like an obvious company to make a move into the automotive industry. A diversified tech company that emerged from the mobile technology market, SinglePoint doesn’t currently have an established presence in the auto sector but intends to carve out a position through its technology disrupting the automotive repair and maintenance industry.
Data gets used in a lot of different ways within the auto sector. For manufacturers, it’s a way of improving their vehicles and production processes. Data from traffic accidents can be used to improve safety features. Data on customer behavior and attitudes shapes design decisions. Data on delays and inefficiencies in the process are used to change work on the factory floor.
Improved data is also shaping the ways that customers interact with cars. Take buying a new vehicle, for example. More and more sources offer sales information, including aggregators such as price comparison sites. Information on the safety, efficiency and performance of cars is also widely available. And it’s not just about sales. Apps help drivers plan routes and navigate, as well as find gas stations and charging points.
Movement has arguably been slower on the repair and maintenance side, and this is where SinglePoint is seizing an opportunity through its subsidiary ShieldSaver. ShieldSaver uses proprietary license-plate recognition (LPR) technology to gather data on both cars and consumers, compling data that no other company is currently able to collect. ShieldSaver possesses unique permissions—through contracts with multiple companies—to enter locations that are typically off limits, such as airport parking lots (the company is currently operating at the Sacramento International Airport), and obtain critical vehicle data at those locations.
ShieldSaver also collects large quantities of important new automotive and consumer data that can then be used for multiple purposes. One of the most obvious purposes is to identify when repairs are needed so that car owners can be contacted about getting the work done. But the data also has value to other stakeholders, such as insurance companies, parking-lot owners, parts suppliers and people buying cars. Efficient repair and maintenance work can have valuable knock-on effects. Benefits also accrue to financers and installers while creating an indelible automotive history unique to each vehicle.
Connectivity and Blockchain
Connectivity and blockchain are the big buzzwords of the moment. In terms of automobiles, SinglePoint’s new ShieldSaver app allows people to connect to ShieldSaver’s services directly from their phones, so that they can source and schedule windshield repairs quickly and at reduced cost. By providing a connected, easy-to-use option, SinglePoint aims to disrupt the $12 billion automotive glass industry, using technology to change the way the industry works.
SinglePoint plans to expand upon this connectivity through the use of blockchain to support its app. Though blockchain is primarily known as the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the technology’s fundamental function is to store data. It allows information to be kept on a shared distributed ledger, meaning that data can retrieved by those who need it in the most secure and efficient manner possible. This ability helps with record keeping across the array of companies that SinglePoint is working with on ShieldSaver, allowing those companies instant access to important information and thus supporting swift responses to potential consumers.
Blockchain can also be used to provide extra security in record keeping. Without specific electronic keys, nobody can access or alter blockchain data, and any tampering appears as part of the data’s permanent, unchangeable record. Blockchain would provide customers with extra security around their data and confidence that their data is in safe hands.
Attracting Attention to Automotive Glass
ShieldSaver has developed strategic partnerships with some big names within the sector, including Mygrant Glass, Wally Park, LAZ Parking and others. “With the new application SinglePoint led in developing over the past year, we have started to grab a lot of attention,” said Dan Shikiar, founder of ShieldSaver. “Opportunities have started to pile up after our first showcase — people who see the ShieldSaver platform absolutely love it. We feel this market is underserved and is ripe for new technologies to streamline for customers and providers.”
SinglePoint isn’t the only company paying attention to the movement in automotive technology. Companies and investors have seen how the space is transforming, and they’re zeroing in on its opportunities.
Bitauto Holdings Limited (NYSE: BITA) is a leading provider of internet content, marketing services and transaction services for China’s fast-growing automotive industry. Bitauto’s business consists of three segments: advertising and subscription business, transaction services business and digital marketing solutions business. The website and mobile apps provide consumers with up-to-date automobile pricing and promotional information, specifications, reviews and consumer feedback. The company’s digital marketing solutions business provides automakers with one-stop digital marketing solutions, including website creation and maintenance, online public relations, online marketing campaigns, advertising agent services, big-data applications and digital image creation.
PowerBand Solutions Inc. (OTCQB: PWWBF) (TSX.V:PBX) is a technology provider that is developing solutions for automotive and other industries that drive efficiency and transparency in the marketplace. PowerBand has developed and commercialized a leading-edge online auction platform that increases revenues and profit margins for its automotive dealership, OEMs, and commercial fleet and rental company customers. PowerBand’s remarketing platform, the PowerBand Exchange, incorporates the industry’s latest auction technologies, inventory management, market intelligence, and appraisal processes.
Telenav Inc.‘s (NASDAQ: TNAV) integration of Amazon’s Alexa into its automotive navigation system offering creates a customized turnkey solution that combines Telenav’s deep automotive experience and world-class navigation system with the cloud-based voice service from Amazon, expanding users’ touch points beyond home and smartphone to connected vehicles. The collaboration will result in a tailored, voice-forward experience, where the touch user experience and Alexa are seamlessly integrated, providing a superior in-car experience.
The world’s largest automotive safety supplier, Autoliv Inc. (NYSE:ALV) is at the forefront of automotive safety technology. The company develops, manufactures and markets airbags, seatbelts and steering wheels, and its products are sold to all leading car manufacturers worldwide.
Using data connectivity, technology is transforming the automotive industry. Upstart companies are now able to create new automotive markets utilizing data to create value. Savvy investors are already paying attention to the potential.