7
Feb

Rise of the Smart Car: The Shape-Shifting Motoring Future is Already Here

By: Duncan Lawrence and Stephan Schroeder, Automotive Research Professionals

 

For fans of the Terminator series of movies, it was compelling to think about a world that would foster “The Rise of the Machines.”

For consumers today – living in a switched-on world where the once-impossible is now a foregone conclusion – a profound, shape-shifting change is underway – one that we will call, “The Rise of the Smart Car.”

For those who have experienced the “tip of the iceberg” innovations in today’s currently-available models, it’s easy to see how the continued evolution of automated features, connectedness and yet-to-be-scoped technology will portend a future that is not that far off.

As we walked the floor of the recent Consumer Electronics Show, we gasped at the surreal experience before us. No longer did we see cars, as we, for generations, have come to experience them. Replacing the four wheels and a box were a dizzying array of form factors – designed more to contain, and define, a future driving experience where the exterior is not nearly as relevant as what lives inside. Changeable seats, in-car virtual reality, and holographic systems are among the newest innovations, jockeying to advance the traveling transformation underway.

Another reality that quickly unfolded as we walked the CES: There’s not one universal standard for the smart cars of the future. And, likewise, there’s no universal agreement on what the future “device” should look like. Beyond agreeing that electrification, connectivity, shared mobility and autonomy are the foundation, there’s no unifying approach that would dictate things like how many screens are enough (or too much), what the interior should look like, or how pervasive these connected car systems should be during the driving experience.

This makes it even more imperative that manufacturers, designers and others who earn their salt from the automotive industry, gain a keen understanding of where the motoring future is headed – and to embrace an ideal in which the car will be at the center of how we travel or experience seamless mobility.

 

“The Car, As We Know It, Is Dead.”

This change from what we have accepted as a “car,” is a movie that we’ve seen before (and, by this, we do not mean a Hollywood production). For the longest time, the phone was a clearly defined object – a box with 12 buttons, a handset and a cord. For generations, there was little debate as to what the phone should look like. Then, at some point, the cord was cut – and the world went crazy. No longer could we envision what the future of the phone would look like. Experimenters tried approaches that eliminated some – or all – of the telephone’s sacred cows – buttons, dials, handsets and cords.

Today, the device we hold – the smartphone – is the result of a tumultuous sea of change in the phone segment. And the “phone” itself – the enablement of point-to-point voice communication – is relegated to a single button on a screen with endless communication choices.

So can we expect that, in similar fashion, the core function of the car – to deliver people and parcels from Point A to Point B – will simply be an item on a long list of what the “smartcar” of the future can do?

Let’s explore in more detail by looking at some themes that were emerging as we absorbed the CES.

 

Mega Trends Are Alive and Well

  • Personalization – Though we can program our favorite waypoints and radio stations in today’s vehicles, consumers – accustomed to downloading whatever apps they desire to their smartphones – will be demanding much greater personalization in the vehicle of the future. Customization of physical and sensory aspects (such as interior lighting and sound), connected services (both remote and in-vehicle), and virtual personal assistants that connect us to the car and to other devices, lead the list.
  • Experience – Acquiring possessions is losing ground to the appreciation of an experience. In vehicles, this is manifesting itself by making driving less of the focus, while offering new functions with benefits, such as enhanced comfort, entertainment and productivity – many of which will be available “on demand” to the consumer, through subscription services.
  • Sharing – Consumers share more than ever before, both actively (e.g., Facebook) and passively (e.g., location-based apps). Vehicles are joining the fray as sharing becomes not only a common trend, but also a way of accelerating future product developments (i.e. open platforms).

 

The Automobile Reinvention is Under Way

In order to lead this reinvention, manufacturers, suppliers and technology companies are focusing on four specific areas:

  • Electrification – Fossil fuels are giving way to cleaner, more sustainable electricity in vehicles at an accelerating pace. In the bold future, fuel economy and range become secondary considerations outweighed by the benefits of electrification (remember, we didn’t stop using carriages because we ran out of horses). Vehicles will become electrified vessels, which are propelled, connected and personalized with circuitry and current rather than gasoline. It’s not just vehicles that are becoming electrified – from scooters and bikes to buses and semi-trucks, all are offering increasing flexibility, with limited compromise. Moreover, infrastructure improvements – not just added charging points, but apps helping consumers leverage the cheapest and fastest sources of charging – will smooth the wrinkles of some of the current barriers. New charging solutions may emerge, and battery capacity will undoubtedly continue to expand.
  • Connectedness – Today, we pair our phone with the car and we consider ourselves “connected.” But the future of connected services includes a variety of variables – human to vehicle, vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure, and beyond – that represent a key stepping stone to full autonomy. To that end, the coming of 5G is a game-changer that will bring with it new levels of cellular reliability and speed which can rival our current home/office experience. One of the interesting questions is how we will communicate this new mobility experience. How do we help consumers make the transition from experiencing the physical features of car (“butts in seats”) to the digital experience (“thumbs on buttons”)?
  • Shared Mobility – As the relationship with our car transforms into this symbiotic and connected experience, the ideal of vehicle “ownership” or household fleet will change as well. Technologies which will increase utilization efficiency exponentially will also foster greater interest in shared mobility as consumers may find saving money or reducing carbon footprint more important than individual autonomy. One can envision that more of our transportation needs will no longer be tied to a particular vehicle, but will be portable to the most convenient form of transit on a given day. Integration with other forms of shared mobility – including aviation and rail, or individual mobility, such as scooters – will provide access to everyone, regardless of age, health, income or legal constraints. This likely represents the final step that will facilitate full autonomy.
  • Autonomous Driving One could expect that, at first, we will see the rise of “dedicated” autonomous lanes or zones to provide the clearest path for driverless vehicles. But, along with the physical advances of features and infrastructure must come a way to reassure consumers of their ability to trust the features and functions of an autonomous vehicle. Safety, security and privacy considerations – hallmarks of today’s insecure computing infrastructure – become even more integral when lives are at stake.

So with all that said, it was exciting to witness the beginning of a new era. The opportunities at the intersection of the trends and areas of reinvention are plentiful. Technology will help us to overcome some of the limitations of the manufacturing-based business model, and solutions will come through competition between both established and new players, as the race for the future of mobility has begun.

Are you ready for the rise of the “smartcar?”

Contact Duncan Lawrence and Stephan Schroeder to learn more.

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24
Jan

Disconnected: Why OEM Apps Aren’t Riding Shotgun on the Connected Vehicle Journey

By: Automotive professionals Corey Reiter & Stephan Schroeder

Connected vehicle technology is rapidly becoming ubiquitous, both here in the United States and across the globe. This year, according to Statista, it is expected that more than 64 million cars worldwide will be shipped with some form of connected tech.

For those proclaiming the arrival of a bold future – one in which cars will pilot their way down the road with little to no input from a human driver – connected services are seen as a major building block of this transformation, and manufacturers clearly are eager to put upgraded tech into the hands of consumers. Ultimately, many OEMs would love it if consumers viewed them as much as mobility providers as manufacturers of transportation products.

As OEMs gain greater ownership stakes in innovative mobility entities, connected services are also seen as a new, recurring revenue stream of the future for the automotive industry. Manufacturers are counting on these services as future drivers of engagement and consumer loyalty, helping to offset declining revenue in other areas.

However, in a proprietary survey* we recently conducted, it appears that consumers are still struggling to develop a connected relationship with their daily rides. We found that 84 percent of 1,000 drivers surveyed aren’t using mobile apps that OEMs have developed to control aspects of the ownership and driving experience.

It’s a startling statistic, given that mobile application use is a very common consumer practice across most service sectors, from buying tickets online and monitoring news feeds to business practices such as remote industrial control and fleet management. So why the reluctance to adopt connected car applications? And how do OEMs close this gap? Let’s take a closer look.

 

Marketing OEM Apps and Connected Services

We learned from our sample group that a majority – 56 percent – weren’t even aware of the existence of an OEM app. This stifling lack of awareness would seem to be an easy hurdle to cure – far easier, it would seem, than convincing the next largest group – 27 percent – who were aware of the existence of the OEM app but weren’t impressed enough to use it.

As we delved deeper, we learned that marketing of OEM apps was limited – mostly left to salespeople who may not have the technical background to spotlight key features; or to a link on a website with little fanfare.

Clearly, more proactive marketing of the apps will help, but it also will be valuable to position these apps as a critical ingredient in “personalizing” the driver experience. Salespeople at the dealership have an opportunity now to use these apps to build trusted relationships with buyers by focusing on features of connected services particular to that individual. If the sales mantra in the past was to get “butts in the seats,” the future will be about getting “thumbs on the buttons.” Focusing on the connected services that heighten the level of interaction between the consumer and the vehicle, and getting consumers to experience the digital relationship with the vehicle can, over time, become a new way to create brand and dealer loyalty.

 

Creating a More Engaging Experience

The most popular features of connected services all endeavor to heighten the direct level of interaction between the driver and the vehicle. That said, it’s the table stakes of the driving experience – things like roadside assistance and navigation – that are seen as most valuable in an OEM app. Though in-vehicle messaging and music streaming are innovative, they rank near the bottom of the survey because they’re not as essential to bringing the driver closer to the automobile as things like maintenance alerts, remote lock/unlock or remote engine start. So it’s not surprising that features that offer the convenience of interacting with the car from a remote location or help to improve the experience with the car, rank near the top.

When asked to be futurists, survey respondents said they hoped that future enhancements to OEM apps would include things like notifications, remote climate control, personalized cabin preparation or remote access to onboard cameras.

 

App School 101

Those same salespeople who first introduced the app to the consumer were also called upon to train consumers on their use. Though we cannot draw a conclusion about the effectiveness of salesperson-led training, it’s noteworthy that nearly the same amount of those surveyed opted to educate themselves about the app outside of the dealership. This underscores the importance of making training materials easily available online, so consumers can bone up at their leisure.

 

Reinventing the Customer Relationship

By using the app training experience as another touchpoint toward personalization of the vehicle to the owner’s individual tastes, dealers can build a better relationship between the buyer and the dealership itself. Hence, the new offerings of connected services provide the dealerships with a unique window of opportunity to reinvent the relationship with their customers by focusing on the engagement with the vehicle rather than focusing on just the vehicle itself.

If dealerships can move away from the transaction mindset and, instead, help create a personal relationship between the customer and the vehicle, then dealerships themselves have the opportunity to create a personalized retail experience. They can then better retain their customers outside of warranty lifespan and the relatively long period of time in-between the next car purchase.

 

Delivering Satisfaction

OEM apps tend to receive the best ratings from drivers who have integrated the apps into their routine. A strong majority of drivers surveyed responded that they are very satisfied with the usage of OEM apps, while a very small minority reported not being satisfied at all with the app usage. As OEM app usage is adopted at a greater level, and the insight provided by current users is ascertained and acted on for future feature development, OEM apps can heighten the level of satisfaction and, as a result, increase the loyalty to the brand.

So, how will the market ultimately embrace OEM apps? As our survey indicates, having a deep and detailed understanding of the digital experience – and the role OEM apps can play in helping to personalize this experience – represents the best pathway to success. Although the adoption of connected services may become more prevalent over time, OEMs and dealers will experience faster and more profitable growth if they understand how to bring the consumer into a level of personalization with the apps. This, in turn, will bring consumers closer to the automobile, and create a more satisfied mobility experience inside and outside of the car.

If we can help you to better understand consumer habits around connected vehicle technology, please give us a call.

Corey Reiter & Stephan Schroeder, Morpace Automotive

 

*The data collected by the Morpace Automotive Consumer Pulse Study are weighted to ensure relevant demographic characteristics of the sample matched those of the U.S. general population.  All respondents are weighted to U.S. Census Bureau demographic profiles for the U.S. population 18+ on gender, age, income and ethnicity.

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15
Nov

Shared Decision-Making about Treatment Improves Member Experience

By: Linda Sookman, Behavioral Health Quality and Accreditation Consultant at Morpace

Today’s healthcare environment has given rise to different clinical approaches to care, and how healthcare is delivered. No longer is the patient merely a recipient of medical care – today, they are a vocal partner and participant in the initiatives that will help them lead healthier lives. This has made it critically important that healthcare organizations transform their approach to their members, or risk losing ground to more progressive plans.

Within the last half-generation, we’ve seen this patient-centric philosophy result in the creation of initiatives such as patient-centered medical homes, integrated medical and behavioral health treatment, and the incorporation of community resources. All of these evolutions are the result of a mindset that social determinants critical in ensuring that comprehensive treatment plans are developed with the individual’s needs in mind.

This effort has closed the gap between patient and professional. Between February and March 2018, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions reported in a survey of adults that an awareness and use of national quality rating tools, and innovations such as wearable tracking devices, have indeed helped to improve the public’s perception about their engagement in treatment.

At the focal point of all of this new activity that supports the necessity of an individual’s engagement in their healthcare treatment, is shared decision-making – a trend I, and my colleagues here at Morpace, have been tracking for some time.

An article published by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, “How Much Shared Decision Making Occurs in Usual Primary Care of Depression?,” defines shared decision-making as “a collaborative process that allows patients and their providers to make health care decisions together, taking into account the best scientific evidence available, as well as the patient’s values and preferences.”

Researchers found that the impact of shared decision-making between healthcare providers and their patients leads to an improvement in members’ experiences, as well as their overall satisfaction with the treatment received. It was found that individuals who participated and engaged in their treatment gained a higher level of satisfaction than such variables as gender, education level, and/or the total visits they received.

The National Quality Forum (NQF), in conjunction with its National Quality Partners Shared Decision Making Action Team, issued a national call to action to support and incorporate shared decision-making as a standard of clinical practice. The National Quality Partners Team recommended applying the following strategies.

  1. Promote leadership and culture. The success or failure of incorporating shared decision-making into a standard of clinical practice is wholly dependent on the leadership of the organization. Strong leadership impacts the integration of shared decision-making into the culture of the organization.
  2. Enhance patient education and engagement. Practice leaders must take an active role in informing members and their families about the importance of shared decision-making to promote their engagement in treatment. This helps keep the health literacy of patient populations at the forefront.
  3. Provide your healthcare team with knowledge and training. Teams and providers should be coached on the specifics of improving communication with members and their families. This will result in a greater focus on members’ preferences, beliefs, and objectives for treatment. A better understanding of members’ treatment needs, and a discussion of treatment options, can nurture mutual respect and trust.
  4. Take concrete actions. Integrating decision-making tools into healthcare team processes leads to improved efficiency when communicating with members. AHRQ published a variety of clinical decision-making resources at particular points during the members’ treatment. The organization recommends the deployment of clinical decision-making tools based on particular illnesses, specific member populations, preventive health reminders, or notifications that may impact member safety.
  5. Track, monitor, and report. Providers should offer an update on shared decision-making outcomes and member self-reported experiences with organizational leaders, clinical teams, members, and providers.
  6. Establish accountability. Such activity should now become a permanent fixture in the practice’s annual Quality Improvement Program and Work Plan. This should include shared decision-making goals, objectives, and processes, and assignments of team accountability.

The integration of shared decision-making into clinical practice is no longer an option. It is has taken a prominent focus in healthcare policy-making, healthcare quality payment models, healthcare delivery, and with healthcare consumers. I personally believe that adopting such a stance proactively can be measured in much more than the bottom line (though revenue growth, too, is a tidy benefit of being proactive).

My colleagues here at Morpace have the expertise and innovation to assess shared decision-making practices and to recommend strategies that will improve members’ experiences. Morpace can partner with relevant stakeholders to design research projects that assess members’ experience and outcomes, and execute a closed-loop protocol to assure integration of results.

If you would like to discuss this further, or have any questions, please contact me at 248-756-0532 or lsookman@morpace.com.

Linda Sookman, RN, BSN, CPHQ, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, is the Behavioral Health Quality and Accreditation Consultant at Morpace.

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12
Apr

Nudging Consumers in the Right Direction

By Steven Welling, Morpace Senior Project Director

Nudging

Recently, I decided to stop putting off updating my iPhone and crossed my fingers that I wasn’t going to risk losing anything that was stored on there (fortunately, everything saved just fine). After my iPhone finished updating, something interesting happened. My iPhone informed me that, in order to finish the update, I needed to add a credit card into my mobile wallet.

I was surprised my phone asked me to do this, as it really wasn’t a requirement for a software update. Plus, I am still more comfortable using an actual card when making a purchase in a store. I did what most people may have done and selected to do it later. The very next day, a reminder popped up on my phone asking me to complete the phone update and add a card into my mobile wallet. Eventually, due to the reminder, I decided to bite the bullet and load my credit card into my phone. My curiosity was piqued since my phone informed me it would help me set it up. Now, even though I haven’t used it in a store yet, I’m tempted to try and make a purchase with my mobile wallet just to see what the experience is like.

Altering Consumers’ Behavior

Thinking about my iPhone update experience, it’s actually a creative way to get consumers to change or try something new. In the behavioral economics world, this is considered a “nudge.”  A nudge is described as a way to alter a consumer’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. This intervention must also be easy and inexpensive (you can learn more from the book NUDGE). Another example of a “nudge” is automatically enrolling people in a program such as a 401k or organ donation, with the option of opting out (instead of the other way around).  Doing this increases participation rates without actually forcing anyone to join. Adding calorie content on menus is another example of a nudge, in which some people may be driven towards lower calorie options they may not have previously considered.

What does this all mean and how does it apply to market research?

When introducing a new product or service, it can be challenging to build awareness and get consumers to try something. With my mobile wallet example, I had heard about mobile wallet for quite a while, but never moved forward with it over concerns about security and usability. Perhaps, I needed just a gentle “nudge” in the right direction.

When conducting research, you shouldn’t simply ask why someone is using a particular product or service, or what got them to start. You should also consider the settings surrounding that event. By probing further into behavioral triggers, you can identify new ways to increase awareness or usage.

Asking the Right Questions

Let’s say we are working for a bank trying to increase mobile app usage. Just asking someone “why they signed-up” or “what would make them sign-up” may not provide the full answer. Common responses may be “an incentive” or “I’m not interested”, which are not very helpful. To understand if a nudge could take place (or has already taken place), you need to understand what happened when current users became aware or started using the app. For example, ask questions that capture the various steps that an individual took:

  • How did you first learn about the app?
  • Where were you when you signed up or started using the app?
  • Were you with anyone?

By understanding and re-creating the circumstances around the event, you may identify similarities around those who have already become aware of, or have started using, the app. You can then leverage those similarities to help “nudge” non-users and potentially increase mobile app usage.

When it comes to nudging, my iPhone update experience was a deliberate attempt to change my behavior and to get me to use mobile wallet. Nudges happen all the time and, in most cases, consumers do not even realize it is happening!

Businesses are always looking for ways to focus your attention somewhere, or get you to do something, all while feeling that you are acting completely on your own choice. In the restaurant example, patrons feel they have free will to order what they want without realizing the calories listed on the menu are meant to nudge them to healthier alternatives.

As a researcher, understanding nudges is important because consumers are motivated all the time by things they do not consciously realize and, as a result, would not be able to tell you about it if asked directly. Who knows…thanks to that reminder I received, maybe I’ll become a mobile wallet user after all!

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