March 3, 2016

White Paper: SHIFTMobility Platform Connects Auto Industry

Introduction

From the birth of manufacturing to the advent of computerized vehicles, technology has been, and is now, more than ever, the driving force behind the rapid evolution of every industry. Gartner refers to this shift as the “Nexus of Forces,” the convergence of innovation in mobile, social, cloud, and information technology driven by rapid consumer adoption. Evidence of this shift is all around us; almost every business has a web or mobile presence and services are just a touch away. In our connected world, the consumer is in the driver’s seat, propelling fundamental changes in how we do business.

The numbers speak for themselves.  This year, smartphone users worldwide will exceed 2 billion. Of those, 96% use mobile apps, including 200+ million workers who use mobile business apps. Simply put, going mobile has never been more essential.

Within the automotive industry, however, you can’t miss the growing chasm  between vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket. As vehicle manufacturers continue to develop and deploy drivable smart devices and as technology giants battle for your dashboard, the automotive aftermarket business has limped along with legacy systems and pen and paper. This has led to deeply fragmented information systems, lack of communication links with cloud systems, and inability to tap into the power of smart devices. For the $250 billion aftermarket industry, the need to embrace mobility and connectivity has never been more compelling.

The Next Big Thing

While organizations rush to jump on the mobile bandwagon, most fail to grasp that the next evolution will focus on how things connect with each other, otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT). In today’s mobile-enabled world, every business, regardless of industry, is in essence becoming a software company.

Smartphones and cloud storage have long been the most tangible manifestations of connectivity, but the next evolution will revolve around one thing that many take for granted: their vehicle. The automobile that takes us from point A to point B promises to offer so much more. From in-vehicle entertainment to maintenance and sales, the car and its underlying technologies represent vast untouched potential for deep connectivity. This is good news not only for consumers but also for parts manufacturers, distributors, and repair centers.

Another crucial aspect of the push to mobile is the increasing prevalence of e-commerce. Launched in the late-1990s, online part sales quickly became the industry’s fastest growing sales channel. Forward-thinking companies will be well rewarded for being quick to leverage the power of mobile technology to establish and nurture relationships with customers. In short, mobile apps represent the future of how businesses will interact with employees and customers, but not all apps are created equal.

The Mobile Revolution

Cloud-cloudlet and machine-device communications, artificial intelligence,  augmented reality, and connected car networks are revolutionizing the auto industry. Though some have identified the need to digitize assets and bolster their online presence, the requirements of the automotive aftermarket industry are fluid, as new technology is designed, tested, and released. Seeking to capitalize on this trend are mobile application providers who claim their homogeneous solutions can increase an organization’s visibility. But when all apps look the same, behave the same, and contain the same static content, it’s just not enough. Simply having an app will not automatically boost your online sales. Today’s apps must include capabilities for mobile commerce, knowledge sharing, and collaboration as well as a solid backbone to support the wave of new vehicles and technologies.

The Connected Car

We are all familiar with the high-tech extras that come packaged in the most expensive vehicles, but as technology evolves, so too does its accessibility. Many of these high-tech features are now making their way into average vehicles, paving the way toward a new way of driving. While automotive, and automotive aftermarket, businesses vie for control of your dashboard and smartphone, many are missing a crucial piece of the puzzle: a platform designed to meet the requirements of an industry that bridges the divide between past and present. That automotive industry that changed the face of the world more than a century ago is poised to do so once again with its next iteration: the connected car.

A Dedicated Automotive Platform

The right platform can help organizations tame complexity and easily transition to the digital realm, but selecting the one best suited to your company’s needs requires a clear understanding of your industry’s unique requirements. Not only must this platform be industry tailored; it also must allow for the rapid creation of applications, offer seamless deployment, and be agile enough to adapt to the needs of evolving businesses.

SHIFTMobility’s all-in-one platform is geared toward enabling any type of mobile application for the automotive and connected car industry. Designed from the ground up to support the industry’s mobile needs, it vertically integrates manufacturers, distributors, repair centers, and vehicles on a common platform to enable faster connectivity, light up ideas, and help the industry embrace enterprise mobility and e-commerce. Put simply, manufacturers are able to instantly deploy commerce ready catalogs, distributors can empower sales teams to be mobile sales forces, and repair centers gain the ability to manage their shop, repair vehicles, order parts, and connect with customers – from anywhere at anytime. With SHIFTMobility, organizations can leverage the power of mobile connectivity to drive value, agility, and deep insight – all at the speed of now. Gone are the days of separate systems for each business need.

Based on multi-constituent architecture, large-scale distributed computing networks, data forms, and visualization, SHIFTMobility’s innovative mobile platform delivers unparalleled efficiency and ease-of-use—revolutionizing the way businesses collaborate and grow. Every application that is built and deployed on the platform inherits a mobile cloudlet with embedded features such as communication frameworks, integrations, scanners, automotive standard support, and security.

Unified Standards Architecture

Standards are the backbone for developing automotive applications for e-commerce store catalogs, parts distribution and sale, and diagnostic data communications with an automotive ECU. SHIFTMobility has created the first and only platform to bring true interoperability to the automotive aftermarket with a rich taxonomy of vehicle, component suppliers, and automotive vocabulary for seamless integration of North American and European automotive standards. Through a unified standards architecture, it offers developers interoperability and both internationalization and localization services. At the same time, the platform supports more than 90 languages, useful for transforming vehicle and parts specifications into local languages for hundreds of manufacturers worldwide.

The platform offers developers the conveniences of integration with complex distributor systems, management of simultaneous deployments across cross-platform mobile applications, and communication with comprehensive APIs and multiple enterprise applications from any mobile device. From vehicle access and control to service networks, the next generation of automotive applications and connected car devices will allow users to perform actions based on interoperable standards that can adapt to the quickly evolving automotive landscape.  The flexibility and portability of SHIFTMobility’s platform is already revolutionizing the way automotive products and services are conceived and delivered.

Vehicle Telematics and Diagnostics

In-vehicle technology, used to monitor vehicle functions and diagnostics information, has undergone rapid development to address today’s enhanced safety needs and support autonomous and driverless cars of the future. Industry specifications ISO 14229 – Unified Diagnostic Services (UDS), and Worldwide harmonized OBD WWH-OBD/ISO 27145 are the preferred diagnostic vehicle protocols for next-generation vehicles. Mobility networks are now being extended to acquire location and contextual data in order to provide real-time traffic alerts and deliver emergency services to consumers all over the world.

To this end, SHIFTMobility’s platform provides the infrastructure necessary to seamlessly connect, monitor, and transfer diagnostic data between vehicles, service networks, and anything in between. Leveraging vehicle telematics and common on- board diagnostics interfaces, SHIFTMobility has simplified the exchange of standard diagnostic data by including details of vehicle run-time statistics, Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs), system identifiers, and repair procedures.  SHIFTMobility’s platform also enhances consumer safety by providing the means to direct drivers to their nearest service provider as soon as their dash service indicators (MIL) signal an issue.

Our Solutions

Deployed on our industry’s first all-in-one mobile platform, we offer several solutions to manufacturers, distributors, and repair shops.  These solutions are available on smartphones, tablets, and desktops.

Light up Manufacturers

VroomBox and CarSpeck enable parts manufacturers to release mobile product catalogs at the speed of now and reach their distribution channels at the right time anywhere in the world. Featuring digital catalog design optimized for parts commerce on all mobile devices, these innovative solutions improve response time to part failures, significantly reduce costly standards research, allow businesses to go global with multi lingual support, manage commerce ready part metadata in one place, and get products into the hands of customers faster than ever before.

Connect Distributors

SupplierPro allows distributors to easily upload their entire inventory and keep it updated from any device. The apps parts catalog is optimized for the mobile experience, allowing repair center professionals and retail customers to easily find the right part for the job. Now, businesses can reduce return rates by ensuring that parts are region-tailored and orders are accurate with in-depth visibility into real-time demand and services performed. By leveraging the power, efficiency, and analytic capabilities of SHIFTMobility’s platform, distributors can avoid obsolescence in their markets while supercharging their capacity to sell parts directly to anyone, anywhere, any time, on any device.

Enable Repair Centers

With ShopLite and RepairBuddy, repair centers gain the means to better engage their increasingly mobile customers, inspect, quickly diagnose car troubles, repair any vehicle, order parts, and print invoices whether they are standing next to a customer’s vehicle, sitting in the back office, or even driving to the shop.

A Mobile Network for Your Brand

To reach today’s target markets and buyers, automotive companies must deploy their own mobile applications – either through extensions to an existing application or by creating a new one. SHIFTMobility’s Private Label as a Service (PLaaS) delivers advanced capabilities tailored to fit any businesses of any size. Typically built and managed in less than 30 days, this standard compliant application will consist of innovative automotive modules, business processes, private cloud environment, user and subscription management, mobile payment processing, iTunes and Android Marketplace store listing, and maintenance, with no IT department required.  Furthermore, businesses that build their mobile apps on the SHIFTMobility platform can take advantage of our unique understanding of automotive data and data delivery to make the leap to mobile quickly and cost effectively.

SHIFTMobility Automotive Platform

SHIFTMobility Automotive Platform

Conclusion

The mobile revolution is rapidly transforming the way the automotive aftermarket makes, sells, and buys products. Smartphone-driven business applications tie  manufacturers and distributors together with their ability to share and integrate the use of product, sales, and market information worldwide.  These trends are fundamentally changing the complex network of wholesale and retail distribution channels.

SHIFTMobility’s all-in-one platform offers a seamless way for automotive businesses to make the leap to mobile and acquire new markets for the sale of automotive parts to buyers who increasingly make their purchases on mobile devices. Our platform was designed not only to enhance and simplify communication between organizations, partners, and their customers, but also to bring ideas to life on a connected global network accessible over any smart device.

Maneuvering a fundamental industry shift can be complicated, but our mission is simple: empower the automotive aftermarket to meet the challenges of the connected future and thrive in an era of rapid change.

Download the SHIFTMobility Automotive Platform White Paper

©2016 SHIFTMobility Inc. All rights reserved. SHIFTMobility, ShopLite, SupplierPro and the SHIFTMobility logo are trademarks of SHIFTMobility Inc. All other product and company names and marks in this document are the property of their respective owners and mentioned for identification purposes only.