The era of voice has finally taken off in vehicles. Accelerating this trend is the proliferation of consumer-brand, AI-powered digital assistants. However, I expect the future growth in this category will be driven more by enterprise-grade assistants. These assistant will be embedded in every type of connected device, including, of course, our cars. Ultimately, I believe that the enterprise AI assistant will be four times as large as the consumer market. In a two-blog series, I’ll discuss how AI assistants will change the in-vehicle experience. And I’ll explore why it matters to both auto manufacturers and drivers.
Enterprise AI assistants are different from the consumer market
The consumer market for assistants is primarily device-driven. Consumers need basic help from their assistants: answer a question, play music or manage the lights in a room. Most information can be found through a public-domain search and isn’t conducive to extensive personalization .
Now let’s think about how “assistance” looks in a car. For most people, a car is their second biggest investment behind their home. Automotive brands are among the most recognized throughout the world, with twelve of the top one hundred recognized as the most valuable brands globally. These brands also spend over $100B annually on marketing, and have spent even more on developing connected vehicles. With so much investment, can vehicle makers really concede the experience in their cars to third parties?
This makes AI assistants in the enterprise market – particularly in vehicles – different than the consumer market. Enterprises requires some distinct capabilities to be successful. Because with an AI assistant, automakers can create a unique brand experience. They can connect their customers more closely to the vehicle and its related services, as well as offer more frequent positive touchpoints with them.
Let’s face it: consumers view buying a vehicle like a trip to the dentist. And it’s no fun to take your vehicle in for maintenance and repair, either. That’s why the driver’s experience inside the vehicle is an invaluable, unique opportunity to create positive touchpoints that reinforce the brand and improve loyalty.
The personalized experience aligns to the needs of the enterprise
Enterprise clients need several specific things from AI Assistants:
The ability to enhance the experience by leveraging unique data
The opportunity to proactively engage with their users
The absolute need to ensure security and privacy
The ability to improve interactions through analytics
First, let’s look at the data. Automakers have unique, private data that they want to ensure gets into their AI Assistants. They want consumers to be able to get answers about their vehicles while driving them. Like “why is that check-engine light on,” “help me pair my phone,” and “why is my car drifting to the right?”
While vehicles are loaded with sophisticated features, many drivers only use just a fraction of them despite their substantial investment. AI assistants provide an opportunity for manufacturers to help drivers get all that they can out of their cars.
There’s also an opportunity to help connect drivers to the automaker’s larger ecosystem. AI Assistants can keep vehicle users closer to their dealers. They can help drivers better understand their warranty and help guide them to certified parts suppliers. They can also be connected to other strategic or marketing relationships the automaker may have.
When it comes to proactive engagement, enterprise assistants can also be built to enable that with their users. Traditional assistants operate off of command and control primarily when initiated by their users. Vehicles with access to real-time data can often be in a better position to know when they should engage. For example, if there are poor road conditions or an accident ahead, the car may know that through its connected vehicle capabilities sooner than its driver. Also, as vehicles learn their drivers’ patterns, there may be opportunities to engage with them that is wholly welcome and not intrusive or obnoxious.
When it comes to security and privacy, there’s a level or trust that consumers have established with automakers simply by virtue of the fact that they bought their brand. Drivers will want to see that their trust is warranted by keeping their interactions with their vehicles private, and not managed or controlled by third parties.
Automakers will want to own the vehicle interaction data so that they can continue to develop, tune and enhance the brand experience with their customers. Enterprise grade AI assistants need to have a comprehensive analytics suite behind them; that’s the best way to understand when users get frustrated or when engagement breaks off. All of this must be tracked and monitored with improvement processes to make interaction with users more compelling.
Join me at TU West Coast!
Next, we’ll explore just how important it is to be “engaged” with the car. In the meantime, please join me at #TUWestCoast on Oct. 4. I’ll be on a panel talking about this very subject, “Voice & AI: Offering the Personalized User Experience.” You can also join my colleague, Rajiv Phougat for his panel on Oct. 3: “AI in the Automotive Value Chain, Inside and Outside the Car.”