Automotive Industry

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General Motors Relies on IoT to Anticipate Customers’ Needs

Steve Schwinke, a member of the original design team for General Motors’ OnStar service and director of its Global Connected Customer Experience unit, says that GM is leveraging the Internet of Things to deliver products and services that consistently ensure the safety of its customers. “I always talk to my team about the Wayne Gretzky quote — skate to where the puck is going,” he says. “How good are we at really anticipating? What are the things that our customers need but don’t know they need?”


Building a Better Car Company With Analytics

Using data and analytics to understand the complexities of modern business has become not only common, but essential. Gahl Berkooz joined Ford Motor Co. in 2004, eventually becoming head of data and governance and a member of the company’s global data insights and analytics skill team. Berkooz became acutely aware of how important analytics is to the company’s ability to thrive in the global marketplace. “What it boils down to,” he told MIT SMR’s Michael Fitzgerald, “is that we know how to make decisions. It’s about finding the opportunities to bring data and analytics to make better decisions.”

Image of Elon Musk courtesy of Flickr user Maurizio Pesce

How Do Innovators Spot Market Opportunities?

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

Executives need the ability to quickly spot both new opportunities and hidden risks. Asking the right questions can broaden perspective and shake up existing assumptions. For instance, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, has a noted ability to spot unmet market needs. Musk has said that his forward-thinking style, exemplified in his vision of commercializing electric vehicles for the mass market, comes from “just trying really hard — the first order of business is to try. You must try until your brain hurts.”


Audi Puts Its Future Into High (Tech) Gear

Cars have made the transition from offline to fully networked, which makes them social vehicles, able to communicate about traffic patterns and weather. The next decade will see cars integrate more fully into consumers’ lives, says Audi’s Ricky Hudi, head of electronics at the fast-growing unit of Volkswagen. The goal for the industry: making upgradable cars, so that cars will no longer lag years behind consumer technology trends.


Inside Renault’s Digital Factory

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 12 min 

Engaging with the digital technology in consumers’ lives creates unique challenges for traditional companies. Renault hired Patrick Hoffstetter, an executive with extensive Web experience, to shape its Digital Factory concept — a new way of marketing its cars. Hoffstetter says Renault must shift its mindset about the auto business and uses pilot programs in test markets to help the company respond more quickly to consumer interest in things like content for their cars or shopping online.



Stories That Deliver Business Insights

Companies are gaining value from ethnography, the in-person study of how people actually use a product or service. Through its attention to the details of people’s lives, ethnography can be a powerful tool to help executives gain insights into their markets. Ethnographic stories can also be indispensable in helping executives rethink their assumptions about what customers care about and about overall strategic direction.

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