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Smart City Sentinel

The Internet of Cars: Revolutionizing Customer Experience

By Special Guest
Jacklyn Brooks, Correspondent

With 71 percent of American drivers claiming to fear the self-driving car, it's no wonder that it's taking a long time for the automotive technology to go mainstream. However, this may be set to change as new reports look into the effect of changing technology on the customer experience. In particular, the potential for cars to hook up to WiFi offers instant feedback to both customer and car company. This gives the chance for data to be used to improve the driving experience, as well as the customer’s experience should they have any complaints. In a world where the customer is increasingly seen as king, automation and the internet of things (IoT) offers potential personalization and immediate feedback. Might this be enough to turn gearheads into tech nerds?

IoT Taking Over The Automotive Industry
In 2015, just 35 percent of new cars built could connect to the internet, meaning that today, the vast majority of drivers are in vehicles without a WiFi connection. Therefore, all the data that could be gathered is lost rather than stored. However, in 2020, it is expected that 98 percent of new cars will have internet capabilities. This will hit 100 percent before 2025.

This is a technological takeover, the likes of which have hardly been seen before. It is rare that an innovation in tech goes from almost non-existent to used in every case in such a short amount of time. Soon enough, there will be a whole generation of drivers who will have no choice but to hook their vehicle up to the internet.

Why Does Customer Experience Matter?
Meanwhile, another trend is taking over the business world. The idea of the ‘customer experience’ is relatively new, and is being driven by tech companies. Whether this is being led by customer demand or pioneering businesses is unclear, but people now expect more from their products.

Amazon provides some of the best examples of putting customer experience first. They offer real time customer service, via an online chat rather than making you phone a number and then putting you on hold to cheesy music. They also make offering feedback easy - for instance, by asking the customer if an item is a gift so that they don’t needlessly and annoyingly recommend similar products in future. All this is designed to offer a personalized experience for customers, which cuts out the noise and gives them what they need. It is big data and internet technology which allows this, and soon motorists will be afforded the same conveniences.

Benefits of IoT For Customers
Cars are complicated beasts, and any number of things could go wrong. By continuously collecting data and sending it off to be analyzed, everything becomes much easier. Whether it’s determining the cause of vehicular fault or alerting a driver to get an oil change, incorporating internet technologies makes the process simple, quick, cheap and automatic. You don’t need to be any kind of expert on vehicles when the tech is doing the work for you.

When customers have a problem or complaint, they don’t need to talk a call center employee through the situation. Simply supply your licence plate number and they will have access to all the information they need. This will be enough to solve almost all problems in no time. Customers are busy, and they want quick and convenient solutions. For this, though, they must be willing to give over their data to a machine and give corporations access. The huge popularity of smart home devices shows that people are more willing than you might think to hand over their personal information. Whether smart vehicles will take off is yet to be seen though, with motorists expressing skepticism over the new technology.

Why Companies Want Internet Enabled Cars
Consumers may be right to be cynical. While the improved customer service is a bonus, it is clear that the entrance of companies like Tesla and Google into the automotive industry have shifted dynamics. Car builders are less concerned about grip and acceleration times, and more worried about getting hold of data. This is because analytics allows them to maximize profits.

The more that businesses know about your driving habits, the more effectively they can target products and advertising in your direction. They will know when you go to work, which places you vacation to, and where you do your shopping. They can then use this to fill their pockets.

Internet-enabled vehicles are almost here, and soon, you’ll have one of your own. You likely won’t be driving it yourself, but you will enjoy an improved customer experience. It is now not a case of if, but when.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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