All previous UX boundaries have been broken by the smartphone ecosystem. These advances have played a significant role in how the [older] auto industry has found inspiration to ‘fuel-inject’ the passion back into their developers and designers to deliver unique driver and passenger experiences in cabins. The automotive industry is older than a century. Fleets of all kinds have been living in developed markets for a long stretch, where saturation is as common as long replacement cycles. In its most basic definition, market saturation is the state that emerges when the volume of a product or service has been maximized in a marketplace.
When it comes to in-vehicle UX, part of the OEM play here relies on building “digital personas” for drivers and occupants so that user’s preferences are captured, dissected and insights, then, provided. All the data gathered and the mining of analytics through ever-more-complex algorithms is aimed at connecting operators with their vehicles in more meaningful ways.
Substantial investments by automakers are flowing into designing mechanisms to allow drivers to engage with their cars (and be engaged) in touchless conversations with voice-enabled virtual assistants. By doing so, the hope is buyers will factor in the switching costs when considering another Automotive brand. Buyer: “I am kind of torn…this car knows me so well, and it took a while to get here… I will probably stick with my brand.”
Having learned much from decades of genuine development in mobile tech, OEMs have been inspired by smartphones to build and/or acquire new technology to deliver on the promise to make drivers and passengers’ daily routines more meaningful. The challenge has been how to adapt and adopt the schizophrenic one-year consumer electronics change cycle (let’s call it “CES ready.” Here we go, Vegas!) without giving up much of their heavy-labor margins to the electronics industry.