It is no secret that tech giant Apple and Google have hundreds of employees and millions of dollars focused on the automobile industry. But exactly what their intentions are in this multi-billion dollar business is still shrouded in mystery.
What is clear is that there is no intention on the part of these companies to become car manufacturers on a global scale. In fact Philipp Justus, a Google VP in Europe said as much about the mostly internet-related services company "Google is not a car manufacturer and does not intend to become one…".
So if Apple and Google don't want to replace the likes of BMW and Volkswagen what is their interest in cars?
The answer could lie in the 'heart' of the vehicle, the operating system. With increasing regulatory pressures on car manufacturers around carbon emissions as well as a growing trend towards connectivity in cars, the car industry is fully focused on software. Software can reduce emissions by helping drivers avoid traffic jams or find the closest parking space preventing unnecessary driving. Likewise, software will also allow car manufacturers to make the shift from a focus on horsepower to remarkable electric cars built to perform, by utilizing software to build smarter cars that can optimize battery and consumption.
The car is also turning into a micro data center – sending and receiving information to accommodate for the connected lifestyle of today's consumer; as well as transmitting data around anything from fuel consumption to tire pressure.
The Car of Tomorrow
Rather than build the car of tomorrow, Apple and Google want to be the heart of the car of tomorrow.
By creating the software for intelligent cars, traditional automobile manufactures will ultimately shift to becoming hardware providers, leaving the software giants to provide the operating systems for intelligent cars. At least this is what Apple and Google want to happen.
Though carmakers are working tirelessly to avoid this scenario, the writing is on the wall when two of the most influential companies have their visions set.
The disruption of this industry, like others before it, will present fresh customer experience challenges, especially at the point of interaction between two brands. It will also bring up questions about who ultimately owns the service when something goes wrong.
To learn more about this next step in the IoT revolution check out our CEO, Barak Eilam's blog on the Experience of Things.