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GM, IBM Watson Team To Market Brands In Connected Cars

Marketing and advertising is starting to find its way into connected cars.

It’s been a long time coming, but some major brands are starting to find ways to deliver new contextual, personalized content through car dashboards.

General Motors and IBM just detailed a partnership to link OnStar and IBM Watson to create a new service they describe as the auto industry’s first cognitive mobility platform.

The intent of the new service, called OnStar Go, is to provide content to make the most of the time spent in the car.

IBM says its Watson will be used to create experiences for drivers and passengers to achieve greater levels of efficiency and safety, such as avoiding traffic when low on fuel, getting news and in-vehicle entertainment tailed to personality and location in real time, activating a fuel pump and paying from the dashboard or ordering a cup of coffee on the go.

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The service will be available in early 2017 giving millions of GM drivers the ability to connect and interact with brands. It will be extended to more than 2 million 4G LTE connected vehicles and millions of GM vehicle brand app-enabled mobile devices in the U.S. by the end of next year.

Watson will learn the driver’s preferences, apply machine learning and sift through data to recognize patterns in the person’s decisions and habits, presuming the driver agrees to participate in the service.

The information gleaned will allow brands and marketers to deliver individualized, location-based interactions that directly impact their target audience.

Companies in retail, fuel, hospitality, media and entertainment, restaurants and travel and transportation can use OnStar Go to build individualized, mobile, in-vehicle experiences for the growing population of connected drivers that opt-in, according to GM.

Brands that already have signed onto the platform include:

  • ExxonMobile, which will use the cognitive capability platform to help drivers quickly locate Exxon and Mobil retail fuel stations, recommend the best fuel and lubricant product for their vehicle and authorize payment from inside the car. Of course, a driver also could simply use the GasBuddy mobile app to find the lowest prices of gas near them.
  • Mastercard will let drivers and passengers make payments from their car by integrating the Mastercard security system and Masterpass digital payment service into OnStar Go.
  • iHeartRadio will use Watson insights to curate personalized radio stations, including local content from radio stations across the U.S. Drivers will be encouraged to share information from their calendars, social media, location and music preferences to create dynamic and locally relevant entertainment.
  • Parkopedia will provide parking spot information, including opening hours and up-to-date prices as well as booking and payment capabilities.
  • Glympse will enable consumers and businesses to manage customized, real-time location sharing with anyone on any device.

On average, people spend 46 minutes a day in their car, GM estimates.  GM and IBM look to leverage some of that time for marketing.

3 comments about "GM, IBM Watson Team To Market Brands In Connected Cars".
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  1. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , October 27, 2016 at 3:07 p.m.

    "The Invasion of the Mind Snatchers"

    Could you not leave the sanctuary of a car , alone?  Looks like the "off Button" will be the knob of choice.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, October 27, 2016 at 4:08 p.m.

    All of this planned marketing is opt-in, Mark.

  3. Doc Searls from Customer Commons, October 30, 2016 at 6:50 p.m.

    Thanks, Chuck. Good point.

    To be clear, here's what the original GM release (http://bit.ly/gmbrandspy) said:

    With the customer’s consent, Watson will learn the driver’s preferences, apply machine learning and sift through data to recognize patterns in their decisions and habits. This information will allow brand and marketing professionals working with IBM and OnStar to deliver individualized location-based interactions that directly impact their target audiences. Companies in retail, fuel, hospitality, media and entertainment, restaurants and travel and transportation and more can use OnStar Go to build individualized mobile, in-vehicle experiences for a growing population of connected drivers that opt-in.

    And here is what I wrote in response to a similar piece <http://bitly.com/watspy>, sourcing the same promo, at AdAge:
    Earth to GM, IBM, and brands of all kinds: nobody buys a car for its marketing system. This article just talked me out of ever wanting to buy a new GM car.

    Drivers want to drive. Not to be driven.

    It doesn't matter how well Watson thinks it understands what a driver might want. If the system steers the coffee snob driver toward Starbucks instead of a better coffee shop that isn't paying for placement on the dashboard, that driver is going to to feel betrayed and hate the whole thing.

    Markets need vehicles customers drive. Not just more ways for marketers to push stuff at people.

    Here's some work in that direction: http://j.mp/vrmdevwrk.



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