The future of telematics is coming. Are you ready?

What are Telematics?

In a nutshell, telematics allow driver's behaviour to be digitised for use in the Internet of Things. Once digitised, alerts can be used to trigger other experiences.

According to The Telegraph over 250,000,000 cars will have telematics by 2020, with an industry worth €170bn.

Telematics are exciting. Although they have been around for over a decade in commercial vehicles and by the emergency services, they have never been widely used in private cars. The concept is now hitting the road, so to speak, and gaining speed in terms of use for the everyday family car, but it could be taken so much further.

At CAB we like to see the potential in everything. Telematics are incredibly exciting to us as they present an opening in a whole new world of automated marketing for the automotive industry.

What Do Telematics Mean For the Customer?

Telematics open a door. They open a door to better service and a door to a better driving experience. Telematics could open a flood gate of fantastic user experiences by cross-referencing user data to work out logical outcomes, and notify the user to create a better understanding of their own vehicle and the world around them. Those are worth shouting about.

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How Could Telematics Work?

There is a company we like called IFTTT (If This Then That) who create recipes for everyday life. For example; 'if it drops below freezing then turn on my heating at home' or 'if it gets dark then turn on my lights'. These are wonderful little recipes to make life easier. Telematics could work in the same way acting as the driver’s own adviser. If your tyre pressure drops below 31psi then you could set it to send you an email reminding you to top it up.

Telematics could even advise tyre specialists in the area if you blow a tyre, or call for the AA if you crash your car. The possibilities are endless.

What are the Possibilities for Brands?

There are so many sectors that could benefit from telematics as they allow for a level of personalisation not seen before in cars. Regularly having data updates could personalise marketing for lifestyle content, offers, and upsells based on driver behaviour. 

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Let’s look at an example.

A couple always travels to the coast at the weekend. They do it every Friday, travelling 150 miles to reach their holiday cottage. Telematics, knowing that they always take that trip at the weekends, could send them weather reports. Knowing the distance it could suggest where to fill the car up for the best value for money based on current rates, and suggest more scenic routes to enhance the driving experience.

Telematics allow for a brand new interaction between man and car where they can communicate with one another with ease. The relationship no longer has to be man looking after machine, but can become more symbiotic.

What Risks Do Telematics Pose?

Like all great products there are always a few risks that need navigating around first before telematics can be used efficiently and effectively. The most primary of these is data protection. How do you keep your client's data safe? How will brands navigate the concept that telematics keep an eye on their clients whenever they are driving? How will brands avoid seeming like Big Brother in an Orwellian society?

At CAB we believe that transparency is the key. Let people opt into the services they want. Person A may want to reduce their insurance so will allow telematics to track how they drive. Person B may only want to know when their tyres need changing so will only opt in for that.

The second problem is a far more interesting one in terms of marketing. Once you open up telematics to brands (Spotify, Google, etc.) then how do they differentiate their customer experience? Will we see partnerships or brand specific feeds that drive unique behaviour? This brings the role of API or Technology Relationship Manager in the future that is exciting in its own right.

Finally, whose data is the data once it has been collected? If the car has an owner then is it not them who also owns the data? Brands will have to decide whether to mandate people sticking with them through maintaining the driver data (the Apple approach) or whether they are open minded enough to pass data ownership to the driver. This latter one will create more trust in the long run and, arguably, better customers who are willing to interact with your brand more.

How Should Brands Prepare?

This is all the joy of the Internet of Things and how it can be used to bring us all closer together. As mentioned before, service alerts have been used for years, however never to the exciting level we have been talking about in this article.

What is the next step? We need to develop the technology. The majority of it already exists, however it all needs to be put together. We need to create the driver API and build connected partnerships. We need to think carefully about how this technology can be implemented in the future, in driverless technology, and in the ecosystem that we would be creating or plugging into.

The basic technology is here and here to stay in service vehicles – for private cars, the future may be closer than we think.

To find out more about what we think do not hesitate to contact us at CAB Studios.