The auto industry relies on the availability of a customer’s perfect car. When you have the ability to search inventories on the spot and stay connected, you close more sales and have more happy customers.
The cloud can impact the industry from start to finish – all the way from design to aftermarket solutions. It’s adding collaboration, cost efficiency, advanced analytics, scalability, safety, visibility and much more to a complex area of business. And as the industry internally benefits, consumers will also benefit from advanced technological features and enhanced safety measures.
Cloud computing enables better vehicle engineering. Thanks to advanced analytic capabilities, design teams can deliver exactly what customers want. The manufacturers become more flexible and can easily adapt to changing market demands.
They are also able to create more efficient designs, as better engineering will lead to less necessary hardware. This could result in less hardware under the dash, more leg room, and the implementation of unique features like heated and ventilated seating, or heating and cooling for mirrors, windshields and wipers.
Automotive supplier networks are worldwide networks – they’re huge! Cloud computing allows those in these networks to feel a bit closer, as they can experience faster, better collaboration. This leads to efficient product development with greater visibility in management and shipping.
And speaking of collaboration, it’s often difficult for suppliers and manufacturers to maintain efficient communication, due to different software infrastructures. A cloud environment creates a common service interface, allowing these two parties to more easily share data and information.
Cloud leads to lower costs in inventory planning, forecasting, replenishment, and transport scheduling and optimization. It also leads to scalability, allowing supply chains to adjust to sudden, unexpected growth.
The Retail Side
Cloud computing certainly impacts the retail side of the automotive industry. Businesses have the opportunity to gather more detailed consumer insights through enhanced analytics and real-time monitoring of consumer behavior. This data is extremely valuable and comes from numerous sources, like social media, dealership sales, maintenance records, and online vehicle configurators. If the sales team has this information, the result can be higher sales and more loyal customers.
Additionally, the cloud supports advanced dealer management systems, automated servicing and more efficient management of orders and dealer training. Automotive companies must remember that they have to maintain a consistent brand face to consumers, and this is difficult for an industry that relies on thousands of dealerships around the globe. Cloud computing helps automotive companies get closer to consumers.
And it doesn’t stop at vehicle purchase. Consumers deal with service after purchasing a vehicle too, and the cloud can have a significant impact in this area. Through more targeted communication and analytics, the cloud helps consumers remain ahead of service issues and creates more loyal customers.
Additionally, infotainment technologies are becoming increasingly popular for automobiles and range from smartphone-enabled solutions to fully embedded solutions. Consumers are able to connect their devices to their car, gaining information about fuel consumption, locations and service alerts, while also enabling innovations like vehicle-to-vehicle communication services and mobility-related services. Today’s consumers want built-in connectivity, and the industry is moving in this direction. Volvo worked with Apple to create Apple CarPlay, while Nissan has its Connect system, linking cars to the Web. 150 million passenger cars will be connected to the Internet by 2020, according to Gartner. 60% to 75% of these will be capable of consuming, creating and sharing Web-based data.
Cloud computing is allowing for the development of safer vehicles, transforming them into extremely aware and engaged machines. Drive-assist technologies are already being implemented, with dozens more on the horizon. These include pre-collision warnings, lane departure warning systems, hands-free parking assistance and driver attentiveness monitoring. Together, these technologies can save lives, protecting both drivers and passengers. The future is already here with developments like the Google driverless car, which has already covered more than 300,000 miles without an accident.
The automotive industry constantly faces environmental issues, as consumers are becoming more environmentally aware and look to alternative forms of transportation. With the cloud, the industry can embrace green technology to make driving more efficient and help reduce CO2 emissions. There’s a huge movement towards electric cars today. Cloud computing can help lead the way to developing these systems and processes to make it easier to design and build electric vehicles.
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