I remember my first car well – it was a black Jeep Cherokee and made a “NGGGGGGRGH!” noise driving up hills. But I was so proud of it because it meant independence and adulthood.
But as Ross Mason writes, for today’s teens, car owning is more of an expensive hassle than a key to freedom. The car of the future will be more about the passenger experience than the driver experience, and numerous companies are beginning to compete on who can use connected software to create something extraordinary out of a simple ride in the car. Complex projects such as reimagining the car experience are where our vision of the application network comes to life.
Ross imagines that a car trip in 2020 will be powered by a “car network” which does the driving for you, enables you to enjoy entertainment, sorts out errands, and takes care of communicating with the outside world. He says, “You will be able to use the car for new automated services, such as a service that allows you to pre-order your coffee and croissant for pick-up at a coffee shop via the best route to work…Everyday tasks will become services available through your car network, requested through the car or your phone. Everything from buying flowers and picking up groceries to delivering FedEx packages and receiving in-car massages may be offered over this new automotive network. The car you are driving is no longer a car; it’s part of a logistics network where you and the things you order are the cargo.”
Not only are you the cargo, but you are also now a captive audience in your car for companies to provide all kinds of ads that you now have the ability to pay attention to. This is why Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Uber are all racing to provide this passenger experience, and why traditional car manufacturers are hurriedly trying to fend them off.
This race is the crux of the disruption about to occur in the automotive industry, Ross points out. “Silicon Valley natives really know how to build software, and car manufacturers really know how to build cars. The key lies in combining manufactured cars with intuitive, smart software to offer consumers the experiences and services they want or, even better, don’t know they want until they have them.” So who will win this race – and what interesting alliances are we going to see between software companies and car manufacturers?
Take a look at more of Ross’ thoughts about the car of the future, and check out more resources about how application networks – connected networks that can create extraordinary experiences – could change how we think about numerous industries.