Technology is transforming the automotive industry.
-- Data is changing vehicle manufacturing and the way customers buy. -- Connectivity is transforming the relationships between customers and their vehicles. -- New technology such as blockchain provides alternative approaches to existing issues. -- The change affects the whole sector, from manufacturing and maintenance to sales.
Some of the innovation feeds off ideas from other industries, such as the vehicle repair app created by SinglePoint Inc. (OTC:SING) (SING Profile). Some of it is focused on sales, as is the case for CDK Global Inc. (NASDAQ:CDK) and its dashboard to help with sales. There are innovations for specific market sectors, such as the truck data-gathering work headed by IHS Markit Ltd. (NASDAQ:INFO). Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) may be working on some of the highest profile changes, with its work on electric cars leading to record-breaking sales, but it’s the quieter work of companies such as AutoWeb Inc. (NASDAQ:AUTO) that is reaching into every corner of the market, as technology transforms the auto sales environment.
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Technology Brings Disruption to Auto Industry
The automotive industry is facing a period of serious change. The rise of self-driving cars, the move from gas towards electric power, and the ongoing drive to produce safer, more efficient vehicles are all creating challenges for established companies. Incomers are adding to the mix, as new companies with new tools and specialist interests enter the market.
The changes aren’t all just about car design and production, it’s also about the way that the public deals with cars. From measuring car usage and controlling traffic to buying and selling, technology has the potential to transform consumers’ relationships with their automobiles. By tapping into the latest trends such as connectivity, big data analysis and blockchain storage solutions, technological advances are disrupting the whole ecosystem around driving.
Data and Drivers
Data gathering is central to modern business. From the data-driven, opinion-forming companies of social media to the manufacturers using six sigma techniques to optimize their assembly lines, today’s world is an increasingly information-rich world. That focus is something that companies such SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB:SING) are using to create places for themselves within the automotive industry.
SinglePoint might not seem like an obvious company to make a move in the car industry. A diversified tech company that emerged from the mobile technology market, SinglePoint doesn’t have an established presence in the auto sector but is instead carving out a place through its disruptive technology.
Data gets used in a lot of different ways within the auto sector. For manufacturers, it’s a way of improving their vehicles and production processes. Data from traffic accidents can be used to improve safety features. Data on customer behavior and attitudes shapes design decisions. Data on delays and inefficiencies in the process are used to change work on the factory floor.
Improved data is also shaping the ways that customers interact with cars. Take buying a new vehicle, for example. More and more sources offer sales information, including aggregators such as price comparison sites. Information on the safety, efficiency and performance of cars is also widely available. And it’s not all about sales. Apps also help drivers plan routes, navigate, and find gas stations and charging points.
Movement has arguably been slower on the repair and maintenance side, and this is where SinglePoint is stepping in, through its subsidiary ShieldSaver. ShieldSaver uses proprietary license-plate recognition technology to gather data on both cars and consumers, which can be used for several purposes. The most obvious is to identify when repairs are needed to approach car owners about getting the work done. But the data also has value to other stakeholders, such as insurance companies, parking-lot owners, parts suppliers and people buying cars, as it can give them a better understanding of both individual vehicles and the bigger picture. Efficient repair and maintenance work can have valuable knock-on effects.
Connectivity and Blockchain
Connectivity is one of the big buzzwords of the moment, and with good reason. People are incredibly keen to connect with each other and with the different parts of their lives. Interconnected devices allow more control over individuals’ lives. In terms of automobiles, the potential result is that cars connect to phones and other devices to play music, allow hands-free calls and improve navigation. As automation takes over, these devices are also increasingly connected to the internet and to other cars, creating systems that support drivers and may eventually evolve into self-driving cars.
But connectivity isn’t just about the big, impressive pieces. Sometimes it’s the little things, such as SinglePoint’s new ShieldSaver app. This allows people to connect to ShieldSaver’s services directly from their phones, so that they can source and schedule windshield repairs quickly and at reduced cost. By providing a connected, easy-to-use option, SinglePoint aims to disrupt the $12 billion automotive glass industry, using technology to change the way the industry works.
SinglePoint plans to expand upon this connectivity through the use of blockchain to support its app. Though it’s primarily known as the technology behind cryptocurrencies, blockchain’s fundamental function is to store data. The technology allows information to be kept on a shared distributed ledger, meaning that it’s accessible to anyone who needs it. This ability helps with record keeping across the array of companies that SinglePoint is working with on ShieldSaver, allowing those companies instant access to important information and thus supporting swift responses to potential consumers.
Blockchain can also be used to provide extra security in record keeping. Nobody without specific electronic keys can access or alter blockchain data, and any tampering appears as part of the data’s permanent, unchangeable record. Blockchain would provide customers with extra security around their data and confidence that their data is in safe hands.
Attracting Attention to Automotive Glass
SinglePoint has used the advantages of its technology to build deals. ShieldSave has developed strategic partnerships with some big names within the sector, including Mygrant Glass, Wally Park, LAZ Parking and others.
More companies are coming forward to work with SinglePoint. “With the new application SinglePoint led in developing over the past year, we have started to grab a lot of attention,” said Dan Shikiar, founder of ShieldSaver. “Opportunities have started to pile up after our first showcase — people who see the ShieldSaver platform absolutely love it. We feel this market is underserved and is ripe for new technologies to streamline for customers and providers.”
It’s hardly surprising given the interest in automotive technology in general. Companies and investors have seen how the space is transforming, and they’re zeroing in on its opportunities.
CDK Global Inc. (NASDAQ:CDK), which provides technology for vehicle dealerships, is another of the companies focusing on data as a way to improve business. The company recently revealed its new customer-centric dealer service model, designed to drive business improvement and foster closer ties with customers. One of the central features of this model is a customer-service dashboard, which links data to a business’s priorities and performance measures. The dashboard is designed to help dealers identify the best places to focus their efforts and staff, combining technological and human resources to improve sales.
A specialist in data gathering and analytics, IHS Markit Ltd. (NASDAQ:INFO) serves a variety of sectors, including the automotive industry. Its analytical solutions provide insight into marketing, sales, service and the aftermarket to drive better results. Its recently launched WorkTruckCert, launched in collaboration with the National Truck Equipment Association, will provide customers with one of the most comprehensive views available on the state of the truck sector. This is the sort of work that recently won the company an award for its innovative, data-driven work.
While many companies are experimenting with automotive technology, none can currently compare with Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA), either for its high profile or for its relentlessly innovative approach to technology. Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle company has grown from a novelty company named after an eccentric scientist to a household name and the undisputed leader in electric cars in North America. Its work in self-driving cars makes use of the latest in connectivity and data-driven technology. The result has been impressive growth, with the company seeing its highest ever levels of production and delivery in the last quarter of 2019. It has seen enough success to drop the prices of its vehicles, hoping to push more of this innovative, environment-protecting technology out onto the roads.
A pioneer of the automotive internet since 1995, AutoWeb Inc. (NASDAQ:AUTO) helps customers access information on vehicles, dealers make connections with those customers, and manufacturers market their brands online. The company has been strengthening its leadership team over the past year, with COO Dan Ingle the latest in a series of senior staff to be recruited, bringing years of experience in business development and auto finance technology.
Technology is transforming the vehicle industry. Companies that tap into that to draw on data and increase connectivity are gaining an advantage that can’t be replicated any other way.
For more information about Singlepoint, please visit SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB:SING).
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