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At the 2016 Mobile World Congress, Visa showcased a mobile payment concept with Honda for parking and fuel. Similar initiatives have been announced by Ford for parking payments through its FordPass solution. Parkopedia is rolling this out with other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as well. With cars offering a new payment medium, there are many opportunities for manufacturers to differentiate…and fail. How do auto manufacturers, OEMs and even financial services companies design and implement this technology so drivers adopt and value this feature resulting in a leading market position?
There are many applications of payment systems within the connected consumer's car. In the very short-term, vehicles will increasingly be able to pay for services in isolated situations. Some will be passive, such as tolling, and some will be partially passive, such as parking or drive-ins where the car will be an option for payment but will have to be confirmed on a screen.
The question is, will consumers prefer to use their car as a form of payment or simply continue to use an application on their phone? Will security and privacy concerns continue to prevent adoption of using your car for making payments in the same way it is stalling adoption and usage of mobile payments? What segments of the market will be more apt to desire this feature? With so many ways to apply new technology, understanding and prioritizing user needs will be the first step towards creating a successful experience. Adoption will depend on how well solutions meet these needs, with the goal of a smooth and seamless experience. Imagine if electronic toll collection, like EZPass, a successful system used for northeastern and midwestern toll roads in the US, required active driver engagement – it would have resulted in much less adoption and success. Similarly, passive features that seem to work as the driver intends (accessing credit cards stored on phones for example) will be seen as extensions of the driving experience and not as disconnected activities. Deciding on the right solution (mobile web, app-based, dashboard or other built-in auto controls) will depend on understand user expectations, satisfying existing pain points and uncovering requirements. Involving drivers and passengers early and throughout the development of these solutions will ensure successful adoption.
As we’ve seen with the introduction of new technologies into the automotive environment, such as heads-up displays or Bluetooth synchronization, the driver’s focus must remain on the driving tasks. And the experience of the new technology should be designed around this foundation. By enhancing the driving experience, rather than competing with it, drivers will be delighted and actually less distracted, with the goal to actually improve safety rather than detract from it. For example, fumbling for a wallet at the drive through or toll takes driver attention from the driving tasks; difficult to use Bluetooth controls can cause focus to be removed from the road, with potentially disastrous effect.
The connected car space is still very new and players from all ecosystems are trying to find a value proposition to tap into this ecosystem. Initially “car-based payments” will probably fit passive / semi-passive needs, as they are more easily implemented and don’t cause a distraction. As vehicles become more autonomous, the task of driving will become secondary in certain circumstances, leaving drivers free for other tasks. Through this, the car could become a portal to the internet, similar to a phone or tablet. While there are many questions and opportunities for this incredible technology, the winners in the market will be those who not only design the features their users want, but also localize and deliver them the way users expect them to be delivered.
What is your opinion on this topic? Please email me to share your thoughts at Tim.Spenny@gfk.com.
Jack Bergquist, UK Automotive Lead
Lauren Zack, Senior Vice President, User Experience
Tim Spenny, Vice President, Financial Services
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