June 26, 2017

What Does the Future of IoT, the Connected Car, and Automotive Repair Mean for you?

The automotive sector is a core component of the United States economy. In fact, one could argue the country was built around the automobile. However, just as the auto industry evolved into the behemoth we know today, we must be prepared for its continued evolution. So, how will the advent of the connected car and its pairing with the Internet of Things (IoT) shape and define the future? What does this mean for automotive service centers? What does this mean for you?

Within the B2B space, buying and selling took a dramatic turn in the mid to late 20th century with the rise of telephones and fax machines. These admittedly basic telecommunications technologies ushered in a new era of profitability and efficiency to the market; all anyone had to do was pick up the phone to place an order. Then came e-commerce; order your goods or services on the web for near instant gratification. Finally, the rise of the internet delivered unprecedented access to auto parts, automotive information systems, services, platforms, as well as an almost inherent entitlement to instant gratification. Let’s face it, today’s consumers want things and want them yesterday. As goods get more accessible and services become faster and more efficient, how can the world expect anything less going forward? Connected vehicles and IoT promise a similar revolution.

Let’s take a high-level look at the entire supply chain, down to the consumer, and examine the effects it will have on the automotive industry. Imagine that you’re on your morning commute when suddenly your check engine light flashes to life. Unsure of the seriousness of the issue, you immediately call your local repair shop who request you swing by for a diagnosis. The shop examines the car, identifies the faulty part, installs it, and hands you back the keys.

With connected cars and IoT, this experience will be drastically different. The manufacturer that created the part, the distributor that sold it, and the repair shop that installed it will be more integrated than ever before. Tomorrow, that same scenario will go something akin to this: your check engine light goes off, but before your brain has time to register what’s happening the vehicle itself has already sent the data behind fault to the repair shop, parts manufacturer, parts distributor, and OEM. Your vehicle then automatically sets an appointment with your local repair shop based on their availability and the availability of the part needed for the service. Finally, your car orders the new part based on a complex machine learned algorithm, based on a specialized platform, that’s comprised of all the necessary parts and service information for your vehicle and all others. From learned parts failure rates and other relevant data, your vehicle was empowered to remedy the situation all on its own.

Furthermore, the parts manufacturer now knows this parts line is defective and has already alerted the company of possible failure for similar makes and models while simultaneously issuing a general recall to halt the production line. From here, distributors pull the defective line from their shelves and warehouses. The OEMs, on the other hand, are apprised of the failure and prepare their dealership service centers for an uptick in warranty work – all because of that little light on your dashboard. This is the future of the automotive supply chain. The convergence of connected vehicle technology promises to empower repair shops, parts distributors, manufacturers, and OEMs to think bigger, be faster, and work smarter. The future is today. Where do you fit in?

Josh Burwick, Director of Sales, SHIFTMobility Inc.