Until recently, innovation in the automotive industry has traditionally been focused on enhancing the vehicle’s performance and safety functions. However, a shift driven largely by advancements in IoT technology has forced the entire industry to refocus their attention on creating dynamic “connected car” experiences. This trend opens up huge areas of opportunity for those looking to add value to the increasingly competitive auto market, but it also comes with challenges of its own. Both traditional auto players and new entrants from adjacent industries need to leverage user-centric design and data intelligence for personalization, and be willing to work with an ecosystem of diverse service providers to deliver best-in-class experiences for their customers.
We took this user-centered design approach when Porsche came to us to define its next generation of connected car applications, including Porsche Connect and Offroad Precision. In addition to simplifying the app structure and introducing a new, easy-to navigate UI, frog defined several opportunity areas for future releases of the app, featuring digital services that are unique for Porsche and support the high-quality brand, setting new standards for car connect apps in the market. Some of the unique features include an accurate 2D model of the user’s actual vehicle, and seamless interaction between vehicle and mobile device navigation, all of which provide for highlight moments within the new user experience. “Porsche selected frog for its exceptional reputation in digital design. Its global reach simplified user testing in key markets while allowing for a close collaboration with frog’s diverse local design team based in Germany,” said Christoph Muehlbauer, Lead UX Apps, Porsche.
While working with an ecosystem of service providers has proven difficult due to inherently different business models, it will ultimately be key for customer satisfaction. We’ve already seen these strategic partnerships in the market, for example, BMW’s ConnectedDrive connects you to your Alexa or Google Assistant, and Audi’s fully electric e-tron SUV has Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service integrated into the car’s operating system. “Customers live across brands, often leveraging several different ecosystems of products simultaneously in their daily lives. We understand that sometimes, in order to truly gain loyalty and growth from customers, companies need to branch out and embrace collaboration with other brands—even those that seem like unlikely bedfellows,” said Brad Zabroski, Executive Creative Director, frog.
SiriusXM understood they needed to compete on experience when they asked frog to create their user-centered, mobile and in-vehicle design platform. To accommodate rising expectations of listeners in a crowded streaming space, frog worked with SiriusXM to rethink their customer experience across their mobile and in-vehicle platform and apps. Major improvements included integrations across mobile, tablet and TV applications, as well as voice-assisted navigation and data-based recommendations for a seamless experience across the platform. The engagement provided SiriusXM with valuable tools to help maximize the OEM relationship, inspire investment at CES 2017 and help take control of the product roadmap going forward, which included a launch with Dodge in the 2019 Ram 1500.
While it’s important to leverage data for personalization, companies must also be sure to design for digital trust and meet consumer demands for transparency. Some automotive brands have approached this issue by fostering a mutually beneficial points or rewards system. For example, BMW partnered with blockchain startup DOVU to launch a program that tracks mileage for resale values and rewards their drivers with cryptocurrency. But consumers are becomingly increasingly weary about how their data is collected and used. As new technologies continue to disrupt and transform the automotive space, creating meaningful transparency along with delightful, easy to use experiences will be key for the future of connected car solutions.