With vAnalytics, Continental is unveiling at Automechanika in Frankfurt an innovative, cloud-based service. It allows the operation of mobility-related services for both B2B and B2C product ranges – in other words, for services aimed directly at the end customer. The company provides the necessary model-specific data with its remote data platform, which is also being shown at Automechanika.
Visitors to the trade fair will be able to get a first-hand impression of the solution at a special show called “Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility”, located in the Forum at Stand A04. Here it will be demonstrated how a sensor defect can be quickly detected through remote data access and how the app and front end facilitate communication with the customer. The defect is then rectified using innovative features such as augmented reality.
One of the first services provided as part of vAnalytics is Customer Relationship Management, “CRM+”, which connects dealers and auto repair shops to their customer’s vehicles. This means that, with the approval of the customer, the vehicle systems report information about faults or wear and tear directly to the auto repair shop. Based on the analysis of vehicle data in the cloud, the platform can also predict the remaining life of wearable parts or calculate failures that may arise with a certain degree of probability. An appointment for repairs or maintenance can then be made online and the auto repair shop can advise the driver of upcoming inspections or maintenance work. At the same time, the platform also supports the communication of marketing activities, such as special offers or discounts.
The vehicle data relevant to the services are recorded by a dongle, which is connected to the OBD-2 interface of the vehicle, and communicated via the mobile network. This allows vAnalytics to be used in virtually all modern vehicles. Dealers access the platform via a web interface, while a smartphone app is available to their customers. Using an application programming interface (API) implemented in vAnalytics, it will also be possible in the future to connect on-board infotainment systems installed ex works to the platform and display specific information and tips for customers.
A wide range of services from the very beginning
The worldwide operation of vAnalytics will be launched in autumn 2016. From the beginning, services available will also include Floor+, a GPS-based tracking system that can be used by rental firms or fleet managers, for example, to monitor the positions of their vehicles. The system supports geofencing, allowing it to limit the operating range of rental or fleet vehicles to certain permitted areas. If the dongle is removed from the vehicle, a warning signal is sent to the vehicle owner. Furthermore, especially for car sharing operators, vAnalytics incorporates configured versions of all the services listed here in Fleet+.
Several months of practical application in China
vAnalytics has already been able to demonstrate its reliability and practical viability in a large-scale test on the Chinese market. Together with BestDrive – a subsidiary of Continental specializing in spare car parts and auto repair shop services – Continental has been performing trials in Shanghai concerning the acceptance and application of the CRM+ service since early summer 2016. Experience and customer feedback from this test project have been incorporated into the process of optimizing and further developing CRM+ and the vAnalytics platform. The results of the test have been extremely positive.
“With vAnalytics, we are launching a service platform that will revolutionize communication between suppliers and auto repair shops on the one hand, and customers and car drivers on the other,” says Pasula Reddy, Head of Product of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) at Continental. “In the future, we will be expanding our platform with even more innovative services, for which we already have plenty of interesting ideas.”