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Wards Industry Voices contributor Ryan Gerardi.

Auto Industry Changing, You Should Too

This is the last of a three-part series on what’s ahead as the age of mobility matures.

In the first part of this series we introduce the composite of Larry, a young dot-com-era car dealership employee who takes to blogging and social media, becomes a star but grows apathetic.

He becomes dispirited, feeling the change around him wasn’t really change, it was just noise.

In the second part, we identify some truly innovative developments impacting the auto industry. This is where we pick up.

This year for the first time I attended the annual Automotive Customer Experience Summit, an innovative event. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I was there to capture the essence of the event with my camera and microphone. I did proactive interview planning but once there, anything could happen. There was a lot of spontaneous creativity.

I went into sponge-absorb mode. New people, new companies, and new technologies. To give you an idea of the content, here are some session titles:

● Unlocking the Omni-Channel Experience for Auto Consumers.

● Amazon Alexa and the Audi e-tron: A Look at Voice in the Car.

● Flexible Ownership and Innovative Mobility Models.

● The Science Behind Delivering Aspirational Automotive & Mobility Experiences at Scale.

● When the Car Becomes the Card.

● The Changing Landscape of Mobility Insurance.

Do you see a theme? As the executive producer and host of the AutoConverse Mobility Tech & Connectivity podcast, I am on the prowl for people, ideas and technologies that influence how we are connected and get around.

Anyone in this industry who plans on sticking around should be, too. Here is why:

In 2018, during an unfriendly conversation with a business colleague with whom I was parting ways, he told me, “I don’t think people in this industry really care that much about mobility.”

This was mainly why we were parting ways. He did not believe my vision of the future was relevant. I was taken back. Not deterred, more humored than anything. About two years prior to that conversation, I had launched AutoConverse.com focusing on the future of mobility.

At the time, “mobility” wasn’t the buzzword it is today. Some people thought it referred to wheelchairs or mobile phones. But with General Motors trying to get into the mobility business, I knew I was headed in the right direction.

Case in point, check out PlanetM, Michigan’s mobility initiative representing collective efforts across the state.

Why Convergence Matters and Why You Should Care

Why do I share all this? Larry is not a real person. Larry is a persona. Hopefully, Larry is someone you and dealership people can relate to. We are here, in a tight niche space, but a space that is in the process of C-O-N-V-E-R-G-E-N-C-E.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a definition of “convergence” is “the merging of distinct technologies, industries, or devices into a unified whole.”

This is precisely where we are. Emerging technologies and businesses across multiple industries are in the process of converging.

The auto industry as we knew it is not the auto industry of today, let alone tomorrow. From data brokers, robotics developers, energy companies, logistics enterprises – you name it – all are converging.

For all we know, Apple could acquire Tesla, Amazon could buy Ford, Uber could buy UPS.

Over time, how we are connected and the way we get around will become synonymous. The data that flows from personal device to personal device, from cloud to cloud and from broker to broker will be your currency.

That data will be generated by you, but you won’t own it.

This convergence is occurring before your very eyes, and it will continue, most likely for the rest of your life. So yeah, you need to look up. Look as far ahead as you can. Get out of your comfort zone. Put distractions in their place. Don’t let them blur your vision of the future.

Automakers force franchised auto dealer to do business in monthly cycles. Don’t let this fog the windshield. Work around it. Keep your eye on not only what’s happening but what will happen to understand what lies ahead.

Ryan Gerardi is a 20-year industry veteran who has worked with several tech startups, including HomeNet, HookLogic, and SOCIALDEALER. He heads AutoConversion, a live streaming network, and is executive producer of the AutoConverse podcast. His company website is www.autoburstmedia.com.

TAGS: Dealers
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