The Automotive Industry: Moving with Mobile (PointAbout Case Study with Ty Beltramo)


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PointAbout Inc. COO Daniel Odio chats with auto industry expert Ty Beltramo about how the auto industry can get up to gear with mobile.


Ty Beltramo and his partner started out making native iPhone apps featuring astronomical projections that could track down where a user was located in the world – except the North or South Pole - and then calculate where the sun or moon was in relation to the user. It also featured details on moon phases.

“That was a lot of heavy math, a lot of trigonometry, a lot of geometry to figure that stuff out,” Ty said. Success required keeping memory small and making heavy calculations fast. “We had to calculate pieces of data every 10 minutes over a 28-day period,” he said. And the universe was just where he started.

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The Automotive Industry: Moving with Mobile (PointAbout Case Study with Ty Beltramo)

  1. 1. POINTABOUT CASE STUDY: The Automotive Industry: MOVING WITH MOBILE PointAbout Inc. COO Daniel made a Safari clone app that Odio chats with auto indus- allowed companies to report try expert Ty Beltramo about all browser activity for a how the auto industry can person, thereby increasing get up to gear with mobile. accountability at organiza- tions. CAPTURING THE UNIVERSE Then he moved on to the Ty Beltramo and his partner automotive industry, first started out making native making an application for iPhone apps featuring astro- the Chevy Cruze that enabled nomical projections that sales staff to capture infor- could track down where a mation in the field, search user was located in the world inventory, do basic configu- – except the North or South ration and inventory search- Pole - and then calculate es mixing model and car where the sun or moon was features, and then return a in relation to the user. It also list of all inventory, listed by featured details on moon percent match, to the sales phases. and marketing department that processed leads. “That was a lot of heavy math, a lot of trigonometry, a He didn’t stop there. He lot of geometry to figure that made the iPhone Onstar stuff out,” Ty said. Success Experience app, which was required keeping memory really two apps in one. small and making heavy calculations fast. “We had to One part of the app allowed calculate pieces of data every a user to engage with and 10 minutes over a 28-day connect to a Chevy Volt, period,” he said. providing command and control, charging options, And the universe was just door lock/unlock, horn where he started. honking, light flashing, and location capabilities. Ty started making high- frame-rate old school arcade The second part of the app games, as well as children’s engaged a user to a Chevy educational games. He also Volt simulator so people CONTACT POINTABOUT AT 202.391.0347 OR INFO@POINTABOUT.COM
  2. 2. THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY: MOVING WITH MOBILE 2 could experience the app and “People are becoming more road conditions, population all the action of the first part and more connected, and all densities, and population of the app without owning that connectivity is starting migration.” the vehicle. to revolve around the mobile device as a nucleus – some- Additionally, the car gives off WHERE THE MOBILE INDUSTRY thing they are putting in their information about the heat IS HEADED... AND QUICKLY pocket.” it generates, the pollution particulates it gives off – “the Ty says as the number of car knows all these things” – “The number of people who people with smartphones and as people become more own smartphones - that increases over time, network eco-conscious, they will be have browsing capability, capabilities will also improve. interested in capturing this web capability and applica- And with that, consumers’ information, Ty said. tion download capability – is expectations will rise. Con- going from 90 million world- sumers will demand more in “You will see a bunch of wide today to 190 million terms of how they are con- communities developing,” in three years,” Ty said. In nected, who they are con- Ty said. “People will relate to addition, industry leaders nected to and how they can each other in ways we’re not are coming out with entirely use data, he said. thinking about today, such new class of mobile devices, as everyone who drives on a such as the iPad. “It’s not going to be about certain stretch of highway at texting,” Ty said. “It’s going a certain time of day - that “People live in a connected to be about communities is a community, and those ecosystem,” said Ty, “and that are going to be formed people want to share infor- that connected ecosystem ad hoc out of data that we mation about that trip.” used to be tied to their home haven’t even thought of yet.” computer or their work com- Additionally, navigation puter, and now it’s follow- MOBILE AND THE “ought to become free,” ing people around in their AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY Ty said. “There is a whole phone.” market segment - like Tom Toms and Garmins - that As this transition occurs, “The automotive space is is going to disappear or be traditionally separate tech- unique,” Ty said, “because fundamentally changed,” nologies are collapsing into cars are meant to be in Ty said. He said the iPad’s mobile devices – camera, motion, and location-based turn-by-turn feature, for news reader, music/movie/ services are becoming more use while docked in a car, is TV players, email, texting, and more important.” already changing that. Twitter. “Just the range of applications alone is stag- “The car generates a tremen- “What people need to be gering,” Ty said, citing the dous amount of data that is thinking about are what 190,000 apps currently in important to the person in kinds of things are going to the App Store (the number the car as well as to a whole disappear or be assimilated has risen to 225,000 since series of people who aren’t into this technology - like publication of this article). in the car – including traffic, turn-by-turn navigation and CONTACT POINTABOUT AT 202.391.0347 OR INFO@POINTABOUT.COM
  3. 3. THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY: MOVING WITH MOBILE 3 media streaming,” Ty said, centers around the mobile “and how devices can col- device, not the car.” Car- laborate with other devices.” makers need to accept that their customers are bringing CARS ARE PERIPHERALS their media, data contract and applications into the car. As the mobile device becomes “If the auto manufacturers the center of reality, other can engineer new vehicle objects in consumers’ lives hardware properly so it can will have to adapt accord- adapt to the ever changing ingly. and ever evolving consumer electronics industry, […then] The biggest mistake busi- the sky is the limit,” Ty said. nesses make is thinking that the mobile device is For auto manufacturers, the peripheral, when in actuality, rapid evolution of the mobile it’s the total opposite. The world is difficult because mobile device is the hub, not consumer electronics such the spoke. “You’re going to as mobile devices can be see the car be a huge periph- developed at a faster rate eral for mobile devices; it than cars. “Cars may have a is inevitable. It doesn’t take fundamental disadvantage much of a prophet to see it – because it takes a long time it’s happening now.” to go from engineering to production, so they cannot The auto industry isn’t compete with the rate of immune to the mobile change in the mobile space, revolution and will need to which is changing every six start thinking of the car as months,” Ty said. a peripheral instead of the mobile device, if the indus- To deal with the long pro- try wants to stay relevant, duction cycles, car manufac- Ty said. “The car drives and turers will need to develop a is designed to provide the “delivery mechanism for what function of transportation in is happening on the mobile a way that people enjoy being device,” Ty said. The inte- transported - and anything gration of the mobile device beyond that is peripheral to to the car will require a flex- it,” Ty explains, “but when a ible interface that can accept person gets in a car, the car is changing mobile devices. peripheral to the person and The car will then feed their mobile device, and that information on the engine, person’s idea of connectivity transmission, brakes, etc. CONTACT POINTABOUT AT 202.391.0347 OR INFO@POINTABOUT.COM
  4. 4. THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY: MOVING WITH MOBILE 4 to the mobile device via the be able to make calls, read auto industry, give them interface. and send texts, search and marching orders, and let play music all without ever them create the culture,” Ty Carmakers need to focus on touching their mobile device. said. “It’s not an automotive providing capability instead project; it’s a project that has of applications themselves. The new electric cars, start- an automotive element to it. “Right now people are creat- ing with Ford’s Focus Electric And its not a mobile project; ing single-purpose boxes in 2011 models, will provide it’s a project that requires the factory,” Ty said. “They drivers with key information mobile integration,” he said. need to get away from that.” allowing them to plug in their cars during non-peak “Don’t be afraid to innovate, It will require a change of hours for more efficient and to create something new and thought; “the automotive more affordable recharging. independent that is free to companies in a sense have Ford and Microsoft are even experiment and fail, to try to give up control,” Ty said. working with local utility crazy things that might seem companies to create an entire insane,” Ty said. “Everyone MOBILE STRATEGY FOR CAR energy ecosystem. needs to be thinking about it, MANUFACTURERS:TY’S ADVICE but how they play in the space 2. “Start identifying and build- depends on the company – ing key capabilities – software its character, its culture, and 1. “Get a good partner.” “There distribution, building inte- its will,” Ty said. “I can’t think is a breadth of disciplines gration specs.” of a [single] industry that that have to be mastered – wouldn’t benefit from this.” from social networking and Ty said these pieces would application and communi- not fall under the umbrella 3. “Develop prototyping ties to software provision of the automotive organiza- capability. Test on a fleet, distribution models, plus the tion, but should be done via a then integrate feedback and business side of monetizing joint venture that allows the ideas.” and marketing,” Ty said. organization to be physically and culturally isolated from The auto industry typi- Ty cited Ford’s partnership the manufacturing side. cally cycles through a 36- to with Microsoft. Ford’s stra- 54-month product develop- tegic partnership with Micro- Current developments in ment cycle. “If you wait two soft has allowed it to become speech recognition, internal years, you’re going to have a an industry technology information projection onto problem,” Ty said. “Ford will integration leader with SYNC the mirror, dash and wind- be able to ride that wave as and Hohm, both powered by shield, hand-gesture recog- acceleration in technology Microsoft. Between SYNC, nition, in-car cameras that continues to ramp up.” Com- and Hohm, a Ford driver track drivers’ eye movement, panies who start early will be will be able to control their and other technologies can able to generate more veloc- mobile device via voice acti- make this area a designer’s ity for themselves, while if vation to get real time car playground. they start behind, they will health data, traffic data, and be lower on the momentum directions. They will also “Get them isolated from the curve. Prototyping allows a CONTACT POINTABOUT AT 202.391.0347 OR INFO@POINTABOUT.COM
  5. 5. THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY: MOVING WITH MOBILE 5 company to test new technol- ogy with agility not afforded in the typical industry cycle. Much like consumers demand side air bags and anti-lock brakes today, pre- viously seen as luxury add- ons, consumers will start to demand enhanced in-car technological features, Ty said. It will be crippling for any automotive manufactur- er to disregard the current mobile movement and not innovate. As a last piece of advice, Ty said, “Know your company. If you don’t have the will, then outsource it. If you can gen- erate the faith and belief that it is core to your business, then make it core. Knowing your customer is second only to knowing your own prod- ucts.” “Everyone needs to be think- ing about it, but how they play in the space depends on the company – its character, its culture, its will,” Ty said. “I can’t think of an industry that wouldn’t benefit from this.” CONTACT POINTABOUT AT 202.391.0347 OR INFO@POINTABOUT.COM