Directed advertising, restaurant reviews, and special offers based on your current location are already a reality; you already receive directed advertising on your cable and satellite television, smart phone, and computer. Why not your car? BMW believes that location-based offers and services that consider your specific route and final destination, delivered to your car, offer real value (without answering the question, "Value to whom?”).
BMW ConnectedDrive offers location-based information services now, but what if that information and the services offered were based on the needs and preferences of the individual user? BMW Group Research and Technology is trying to figure out just how that might work in its research project, “Virtual Marketplace Of The Future.” (After all, you don't have enough spam or robomarketing now, do you?)
“In our vision for a virtual marketplace of the future, the vehicle will provide customers with context-adaptive, preference-based, and timely offers and information relevant to their route,” says Dr Jörg Preißinger, Project Manager at BMW Group Research and Technology. In early 2012, BMW Group Research and Technology began a joint project with the international software manufacturer SAP. The partnership’s goal was to develop solutions for context-adaptive, personalized filtering of large volumes of real-time offers generated by location-based service providers. To start with, the joint project developed basic technologies for the sample use cases of “parking” and “couponing.”
SAP developed a cloud-based, virtual marketplace solution, while BMW Group Research and Technology developed a prototype in-car and BMW-backend-based software system for delivering information and services from this marketplace to the customer. An application implemented in a BMW 7 Series research vehicle allowed drivers to set their own personal preferences for customized filtering of services and offers. At the same time, real-time vehicle data was used to predict drivers’ needs during the course of the trip. For example, when the car is approaching the navigation destination a request for parking information is sent to the backend system, which then sends an anonymous query for real-time parking information, including information about availability and fees, to the SAP platform. The BMW-developed system selects the most appropriate parking locations considering the user's custom application settings. The in-car app displays those recommendations and allows a location to be selected as a destination in the navigation system.
BMW says this joint research project can be the foundation for an even greater level of driver comfort and convenience. Future navigation systems could not only provide information about the quickest route, but also recommendations about special coffee deals at gas stations, the best parking deals, or even real-time offers at a sports shop along the route—but only if the driver wants.
Owners of new BMWs have pretty much accepted that their cars are going to contain leading-edge technology, but many are concerned that the company will reach the point where technology will trump performance. So far, BMW has maintained its position as the premier luxury performance car. They can still improve the BMW experience with technology, as long as they remember that their customers are first and foremost, drivers—not users.—Scott BlazeyBack to News