The Grand Convergence – Where Are You in the Mix? (Part 3)

Part III (see previous blogposts for Part 1 and Part 2) of a 3-part series on how perceptions in the auto industry have changed, what it means, and where it’s all headed.

In the first part of this series we introduce Larry, a young dot-com-era dealership employee who takes to blogging and social media for enrichment purposes, becomes a star, but then grows apathetic to change. He grows apathetic because all the change he could see around him wasn’t really change, it was just noise. He was looking down, not up, and it defeats him.

In the second part, we identify some of the more truly innovative developments impacting the auto industry. And as Larry begins to see this emergence, it excites him. But at the same time, Larry also realizes he has to innovate, too, if he wants to remain relevant. This is where we pick up.

Innovation, Education, and Industry Events

At a recent industry event – the 2019 Auto CX Summit – I had the fortune of participating for the first time at one of the auto industry’s truly more innovative events, at least content-wise. Since it was my first time attending, I wasn’t sure going into it what to expect, let alone how to make the best use of my time.

As a media partner and representative, I am there to capture the essence of the event. Sure there are networking benefits and some informative takeaways, but unlike dealers and vendors – which constitute the majority of attendees – I am able to have a truly unique experience through the creation of objective media.

For starters, I attend with a camera and microphone, for the purpose of recording my interviews with folks there. Leading up to the event I scan the sponsors and the speakers and study the agenda, and I do some proactive planning with as many people as I can. But once I arrive, anything can happen really. There is a lot of spontaneous, creative decision-making while I am there.

At the Summit, there were about 200 attendees and maybe a dozen or so brands represented either as sponsors or with speaking engagements. Some of these brands I was already familiar with, but many I was not. This is unusual for me because I have been in the auto industry for nearly 20 years and attend several events each year.

As you might imagine, my interest was piqued and I went into sponge-absorb mode. New people, new companies, and new technologies. To give you an idea of some of the content that was featured there, here are some session headlines:

  • Unlocking the Omni-Channel Experience for Auto Consumers
  • Amazon Alexa and the Audi e-tron: A Look at Voice in the Car
  • Flexible Ownership & 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 here? As the Executive Producer and Host of the AutoConverse Mobility Tech & Connectivity Podcast, I am constantly on the prowl for people, ideas, and technologies that influence how we are connected and the way we get around.

After attending the summit, I feel even more convinced that you and anyone in this industry who plans on sticking around should be as well.

Here’s why …

Less than two years ago, in the spring of 2018 during an unfriendly conversation with a business colleague I was parting ways with, he told me, and I quote, “Ryan, I don’t think people in this industry really care that much about mobility.” This was a major factor in why we were parting ways. He did not believe that my vision of the future was relevant.

As you might imagine, I was taken aback by this. Not deterred, more humored than anything. You see, just more than two years prior to that conversation, in 2016, I had launched AutoConverse.com – The Future of Mobility. At the time, the word “mobility” wasn’t the buzzword it is today. Some people thought of wheelchairs and artificial limbs. Some even thought of mobile phones. Yes, this is what some people told me they thought of when I said the word “mobility.” But General Motors was just beginning to try and rebrand itself as a mobility company, and so I knew I was headed in the right direction.

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

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