ACtion Magazine - June 2013 - (Page 10)

Angie Kilbourne, AAM Websites, social media and texting were just the beginning What does a fleet of Internet-enabled vehicles mean for your business? 10 ACTION • June 2013 what’s coming in new Internet, apps and hardware. Evaluate you and your staff right now: • How comfortable is everyone in your facility when working in these areas? • Do your employees have Facebook or Twitter accounts? • Do they use smartphones and tablets, and is that use strictly personal or do you encourage the use of new technology in your business? • Do you regularly engage with customers via e-mail, texting and/or social media? These are important questions that deserve honest answers for the future health and viability of your repair business, and if your answers are not favorable, the time is now to build the skills and competency your business will need to survive the coming changes. Let your association, your business partners, your peers and even your employees help you get there. The future is knocking on the door today. When you answer it, will it be with a smile? ❆ With all the time motorists and passengers spend in their cars, it’s little surprise that automakers will make the vehicle the carrier of the Internet data stream for mobile devices, as well as for other infotainment, safety and diagnostic feeds. (Photo: BMW USA) D id you catch the recent announcement from AT&T that it’s working with OnStar and General Motors to produce 4G LTE mobile Internet-enabled vehicles for the 2015 model-year? The partnership, says AT&T, will “wirelessly deliver an enhanced suite of safety, security, diagnostic and infotainment services to most Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles, beginning in 2014 in the United States and Canada.” Yes, you read that correctly: 2014 — as in “next year.” The automotive aftermarket has been following the telematics issue for at least a decade now, and it has made some inroads by producing systems that directly connect independent shops and their customers’ vehicles. But let’s take a step back and examine the bigger picture here. Partnering with a giant in the consumer wireless industry, GM and OnStar have set the automotive industry down a new path that other automakers and data plan providers will follow. The question is no longer “if”; it’s “when.” According to Anthony Cox, a researcher at Juniper Research and the author of the “Connected Cars: Automotive Telematics and In-Vehicle Infotainment 20132017” study, “[s]ky-high smartphone ownership and a standardized approach to integrating apps into the vehicle head-unit mean that the barriers to making the connected car a reality have all but gone.” By 2017, Juniper is forecasting that 120 million Internet-enabled vehicles will be on the road worldwide, with nearly half of those vehicles being driven in North America. The GM-OnStar-AT&T partnership spotlights the future of connected cars and trucks by allowing consumers to select the device that will become the “hotspot” and carry the data to other devices. It’s certainly not the first time an automaker has produced an Internet-enabled vehicle or a wireless carrier has announced it’s diving into the telematics foray — Verizon’s acquisition of Hughes Telematics was completed last summer, for example. But this story punctuates the need for the independent repair service community to determine its place in the future of the automotive industry. Internet-enabled vehicles send a service provider vehicle health checks and allow remote “repairs” in some cases via software updates, and this can be accomplished via equipment installed on the factory assembly line or by an aftermarket provider. As vehicle systems continually become more connected and interdependent, we can assume a whole slew of new and improved headaches will emerge for service technicians — dealership and independent alike. The question is, will the headaches be a result of the technology or will they result from technicians and facilities that aren’t up to speed in terms of skills and equipment? In other words, you might think you are tech-savvy today, but just how tech-savvy are you ready to become, given that the future has arrived? Websites, social media and texting have all been preparation for

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - June 2013

ACtion Magazine - June 2013
Freeze Frame
Virtual View
Under the Southern Cross
Leonard's Law
News & Updates
Air Flow Out of Control
Customer Education
Association News
Quick Check
New Products & Services
Last Watch

ACtion Magazine - June 2013