The auto industry; big data fishbowl

The automotive industry has always been an interesting “fishbowl” for things like; Ad spending, considered purchase, disintermediation, technology, and now big data.  Technology however, has always seemed to lag the pace of other industries.  As far back as 2001, Scott McNealy said “Why not think of everything as just an Internet node? So a car is just a [Web] browser with tires.”  Yet today, most would be hard pressed to convince you that technology has impacted their auto experience in profound ways.  Legislative pressure, incentives, and the pursuit of cleaner more efficient vehicles being the dominant driving force for a decade.


At PureMatter we rely heavily on translating big data into customer solutions.  I recently decided to take a deeper dive into the fishbowl of automotive and big data. PureMatter was recently ranked as the number one brand influencing the big data conversation, by the firm Onalytica.


My deep dive into the auto industry revealed that there is an exciting big data transformation occurring right now.  In an interview with Bill Stephenson of Sperion (Sperion is a big data automotive company with the 3rd most connected cars on the road behind GM and Ford), I learned a great deal about this transformation.   A connected car can produce millions of lines of code and almost 25GB of data every hour.  When connected, cars are no doubt a big data producing powerhouse.


Bill further defined the industry as one of the last emerging battle grounds over data, product categories, and the services that support them.  All this being demonstrated by companies like Apple, Verizon, Google, and Samsung, sinking themselves further into automotive.  Disruption is also being driven by hundreds of smaller companies like Metromile,  Metromile is offering a pay per mile insurance solution, derived directly from the ability to collect and process automotive data.


Geo-fencing represents another burgeoning technology that leverages big data from vehicles.  Geofencing is the process of using data to establish a “virtual barrier” around something, that can trigger any kind of digital response.  Geofencing has many useful applications for both for a business and the consumer.  Businesses, and marketers specifically, can leverage geofencing as yet another powerful targeting and marketing tool to send personalized communication to the right consumers.  For consumers, geofencing offers a laundry list of security and control mechanisms around their automobile.   Despite all these benefits on both sides, some analysts still suspect that geofencing only impacts about 10-15% of the automotive industry.


As a Marketer, there is a great deal that you can learn from this big data fishbowl. Researching keywords will return a dizzying array of new and exciting companies, along with articles discussing the ambitions of big brands.   Take both a lesson and lead from companies like Apple and Google.  There will be tremendous marketing opportunity within the automotive industry as big data really begins to make its mark.

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