The connectivity of modern cars allows you to improve them by downloading only applications that you pay for as you do now for a mobile APP. With a simple update that is downloaded directly to the vehicle and installed as it is now on smartphones. Once you are done with these updates, your car will suddenly speed up, extend its electric range or integrate more infotainment systems, among many other extra services that you can access via a single payment or subscription and without the intervention of a workshop.
Electrification, new mobility, sharing, and all the transformations the industry is going through are forcing brands to create new business channels to reap benefits beyond the sale and repair of cars.
Moreover, with the advent of autonomous driving, the importance of the vehicle’s performance and dynamics will be definitively broken, which will take a backseat or tenth place in terms of elements such as the vehicle’s additional functions of infotainment and connectivity. This is where OTA (Over The Air) updates come into play.
Ability to install or update software remotely
The ability to install or update software remotely, simply by accessing it from the vehicle menu or with the brand’s application on the smartphone, allows brands to unlock important revenue streams. So much so that in December 2021 the CEO of Stellantis, Carlos Tavares, predicted that another 20,000 million euros would come up to 2030, thanks to the technologies linked to the connected vehicle.
The connection of the cars is progressing at an extraordinary pace. By the end of this decade, almost all vehicles driving on our roads will have some kind of connectivity system to communicate with other cars, with the environment and with the brand’s data center. Now they are doing it with 4G technology, but much sooner than later it will be normal to use 5G networks, which will multiply data transmission and optimize security, infotainment and car connectivity.
Which applications can I install in the car?
How could it be otherwise with Elon Musk at the helm, one of the first brands to use this to pay to improve the car with remotely downloaded applications was Tesla, who continues to promote this company in their cars. The Model S and Model X could increase their acceleration with a reprogramming of their ECU, and even increase their range by unlocking an unused portion of their battery pack. But not everything was focused on performance, as there was also a function to turn the car into a megaphone.
Now there are many brands that join this kind of business as we explained with the example of BMW as their cars will have all the extras by default but they will only work if you pay to ‘unlock’ them.
How does OTA work?
Over The Air (OTA) updates allow you to use extras only when you need them, for a temporary fee, much cheaper than paying everything this option would cost at once when buying the vehicle. For example, if installing the heated seats is 1,000 euros (not a real figure), but activating it during the winter months is a fee of 100 euros, as long as you sell or modify the car within 10 years, paying per use will be more profitable for you to be. And we have to take into account that fewer and fewer cars are being bought and more and more forms of renting or leasing.
Another big advantage of subscription optimizations is that you can have a ‘fully equipped’ car at a much lower price and then only use the extras you really need by paying for an affordable subscription.
Autonomous driving will multiply application installation
As cars increase the level of autonomous driving, the range of applications and enhancements via OTA services will grow enormously, as there will no longer be a need to pay attention to driving and more infotainment services will be needed to distract themselves during the routes . That is why cars already mount gigantic screens such as the Hyperscreen of the Mercedes-Benz EQS, that of the Mustang Mach-E or that of Tesla itself.
In these huge panels, you can see the content of the pay TV you subscribe to, view the information publications you pay for monthly, play games, manage the applications you have downloaded from the brand’s own platform, or simply use it as a ‘mirror ‘ from your mobile or PC screen to work while you arrive at your destination. Features you can probably only enjoy if you pay to ‘unlock’ them.
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