May 16, 2016

Telematics Revolutionizes Parts Commerce for Manufacturers

Back in 1995, a company by the name of OnStar Corporation gave the automotive industry its first glimpse of early telematics by outfitting certain GM vehicles with the ability to automatically call for help should a crash occur. While this may seem trivial in our world of autopilot-enabled electric vehicles, it was the first step towards a future we are only beginning to realize. Imagine taking this technology to the next level, where data generated by all of the vehicles on the road is wirelessly streamed back to the manufacturers. With access to data like this, one could glean deep insight into performance, driver behavior, parts failures, and much more. The possibilities are endless. So, how can manufacturers leverage this coming wave of automotive big data?

Telematics-based commerce introduces the potential for businesses to sell directly to buyers by connecting with vehicles whenever they malfunction, need repairs or break down. The idea behind telematics-based commerce is just that – the evaluation of supply-demand at any point in the network so that services can be effectively planned and delivered. Whether a customer needs a battery or a water pump to keep their car running smoothly as they approach the 60,000 or 90,000 mile service life, the goal is to have the right product available at the right time and the right place. In our connected aftermarket eco-system, timing is everything.

The automobile of today has between 20 to 150 microprocessors along with a network of sophisticated sensors that monitor the external environment, such as air temperature, tire pressure, subsystems, and vehicle performance.  These devices control everything from unlocking doors and running the infotainment system to engine management and airbag deployment. If there is a problem with any of these complex systems, computer controlled diagnostic machines and hand held scan tools are deployed to interpret data from the sensors and download specialized diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) for researching and resolving issues. As manufacturers transition from electromechanical devices to adaptive systems to compliment new features like proximity sensors, autopilot navigation, and lane keeping systems, the number of sensors and electronic gadgetry is expected to grow dramatically.

With telematics and a mobile service network, parts manufacturers gain the ability to quickly diagnose vehicle problems with auto-aware smart devices and automatically predict the demand for vehicle maintenance and repairs. Not only will this move the parts supply closer to consumers or service points, but also mitigate the strain of unusual demand surges when a component fails unexpectedly. The benefits are clear: instant access to services, reduction in wait times, faster recalls, and lower costs for manufacturers and distributors.

Automotive parts commerce is complex, but with telematics it doesn’t have to be.

Pavana Jain

Co-Founder & CEO