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AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY Enabling best-in-class after-sales services for the automobile industry – the telematics way

Jul 9, 2020

Telematics is one of the top developing sectors worldwide and the automobile industry altogether is inserting more and more telematics to keep performance track and spot any faults in its vehicles and live up to the demands of customers. This article by ATCS GmbH, a global IT consulting firm focused on providing digital and analytics solutions to global Fortune 500 companies, explores how, with the government’s BS-VI initiative, it would become compulsory for the entire auto OEMs to have new vehicles equipped with telematic devices; how telematics devices, equipped with Machine Learning capabilities, are using predictive algorithm to identify potential faults or probable breakdowns and how automobile companies can use telematics to the best. - Sven Sommerfeld, Managing Director, ATCS GmbH

The automobile sector in India may be witnessing comparatively challenging times in the near short-term. However, the country’s position as being among the top five markets in the global automobile landscape remains as intact as ever. While the focus generally is around the new vehicles sold, a key element of revenue contribution also comes from the after-sales provided by the automobile manufacturers and their dealerships around the country. The consumer is also constantly looking for a different level car ecosystem experience, even in the economy car section that was expected only from luxury vehicles in the recent past.

The after-sales segment within the automobile industry appears healthy amidst all the turmoil. For instance, according to a report by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) under the name ‘Transformation shifts in mobility and impact on aftermarket in India’, the after-sales market industry in India has grown at a rate of 14% CAGR between 2014 and 2019. The report elaborates that this market is bound to touch about ₹75,000 crores by 2020. While the after-sales services industry seems to be growing, there is a tremendous and consistent need for improvising on networking, introducing new concepts on mobility, electrification and innovations to meet the ever-evolving customers’ needs and demands.

Right measures using telematics data

Within after-sales, fault prediction or proactive maintenance now plays a prime role in managing the high expectations of customers. It is because of fault prediction that one can proactively identify potential breakdown points or major failure in the vehicle and thereby, score high on customer delight. With the government’s BS-VI initiative, it would become compulsory for the entire auto OEMs to have new vehicles equipped with telematic devices, so that the real-time running status of the vehicle is known. Right measures can be taken using this telematics data to check whether the vehicle is running at an optimum level. With electronically generated fault codes, it would be easier to know the parameter out of threshold value or whether any minor fault code could lead to a major fault code.

Furthermore, automobile manufacturers across the globe face tremendous challenges in getting timely information on the effective working condition of vehicles that are critical to reduce maintenance cost and undertake timely repairs. It is, therefore, becoming important to identify the faults and failures before they occur. With the emergence of technology as a key element in the overall scheme of things in the automobile sector, AI and IoT are the solutions to the problem statement at hand.

The many benefits of telematics

Telematics devices, equipped with Machine Learning capabilities, are using predictive algorithm to identify potential faults or probable breakdowns, thereby enabling continuity. Regarding the aspect of autonomous driving, telematics provides important inputs to the algorithms of autonomous vehicles through data sharing between all the vehicles.

But what exactly is telematics and how does it pre-empt potential eventualities? Telematics combines GPS with on board diagnostics, with a cross-reference on how a vehicle is behaving internally. With telematics, it is possible to map and record data (speed, position, weather conditions, etc) of each vehicle running on the streets. This data is then put into a data lake to steer the traffic in the most efficient manner; these aspects support the successful working and implementation of autonomous driving. Also, telematics records the internal issues (if any), along with the travelling pace. Digital thinking and networking through telematics device can offer manufacturers with a 360° view of customers and new ways of interacting with them by offering direct solutions to their problems. Telematics devices not only offer high quality maintenance solutions but also enhance the entire lifecycle management of the vehicle by offering solutions on the right parts and right labour quotes that need to be put in for smooth functioning of the maintenance process, allowing smooth customer service, where they can create a claim on the OEM, followed by the possible claim reimbursement.

Telematics equipped with ML & AI

Telematics has been playing a crucial role in increasing the uptime of fleets. It also has a significant part in logistics and fleet management services, where breakdown of vehicles would only add to the loss of time and increase lag time. In case of fleets, telematics can play a very interesting role as the database fed in the system, which is collecting data on various vehicles, would identify which truck or vehicle needs timely service. The device also helps to identify the potential breakdown, thereby allowing the company to send a mechanic to a certain spot where the breakdown is predicted ahead of time to fix it. This prediction warns truck drivers about a potential breakdown and then offers a nearby dealer’s contact to get it fixed. The dealer gets informed in prior, so that there is a spot reserved for the truck to be fixed, and since it is also known which part will fail, it is ensured that the part is either in stock or ordered timely.

With the rise in various models of vehicles, the services and maintenance tasks have assumed a complex nature. However, new age transformative technologies, such as digitisation, have emerged as saviours and are helping transform the after sales value chain for the automobile industry. Telematics equipped with ML and AI is one of the best illustrations of this phenomenon and the benefits arising out of it are all grabs for the automobile industry. Automobile companies can use telematics to the best as they can offer predictive maintenance, information or prediction on faults in the vehicle, personalised product offerings, etc. Companies can also utilise it to their benefit, where warnings can be given to drivers to reduce speed ahead if all other cars are reducing the speed on the road while driving to avoid accidents or any wear and tear of a part. Telematics also plays a good role in quality control, and research & development, ie, if the parts in the car or the truck are actually used as intended to be used.

Role in planning customised insurance plan for vehicle

What’s more, it can play a fruitful part in planning a customised insurance plan for the vehicle. Telematics is a very good indicator, as companies can offer insurance products which preferably fit the customers’ driving patterns. For example, if the driver or the owner of a vehicle sees a part which might be breaking soon, an insurance for wear & tear can be offered in the car / truck itself.

In the recent outbreak of the pandemic, telematics could be used to identify the routes of the cars, and hence, the ‘travelling’ of the virus. It could also be used to inform the public or the governments about potential threads; for example, if a lot of people from a hotspot are travelling on the same route and maybe have the same amount of fuel when they started. So, it can be predicted where they would fill up gas and warn the gas station in advance.

Offering best results

Telematics solution can offer optimum results based on apt providers, connectivity, coverage areas and network compatibility. To develop a good telematics solution infrastructure, the nation would need to develop all these aspects entirely.

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  • With telematics, it is possible to map and record data (speed, position, weather conditions, etc) of each vehicle running on the streets

  • Sven Sommerfeld

    Managing Director

    ATCS GmbH

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