Making devices, processes, and even people continuously better is not a new idea. Case in point — we were watching a documentary about Henry Ford last week and one of his main business principles was ‘good isn’t good enough’, and he continuously made improvements to an already revolutionary factory floor. He implemented processes and technology — mainly the conveyer belt – to make sure building the Model T was more seamless, bringing automotive parts to employees instead of employees going to find parts. Fast forward almost 100 years, and the same principle is executed by successful companies.
The browser wars were won because Google ensured Chrome was always being improved with seamless updates increasing speed, enhancing security and introducing new features. In the automotive world, where software is now a driving force, vehicle manufacturers are continuously making the consumer experience better with over-the-air software updates. The problem is they are not always seamless.
For example, a friend recently received a letter from his car manufacturer explaining that an update to fix the infotainment system was available. The options were to take the car to the dealer or to update the vehicle on his own. A link to instructions on how to do the update himself was in the text of the letter. Going to the noted website, he landed on a YouTube page with a video of how to do the update. When he went to his vehicle to follow the instructions — they were totally incorrect, and the UI in the video didn’t even match the UI in the vehicle. Not very seamless.
Tesla is always used as an example of how to best do seamless over-the-air updates offering new features and functions that consumers will look forward to and enjoy. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those that think updates are “Big Brotherish” and should not be allowed at all.
However, continuously better will always win. But, unlike mobile phones and laptops, ‘continuously better’ for the vehicle requires a great deal more effort on technology testing, quality assurance, third-party certification and regulation. The generation coming up in the world expects their vehicle to mimic their phone, and they want the same user experience. The generation building these solutions today is responsible to make sure ‘continuously better’ keeps the next generation safe while simultaneously meeting their expectations of personalized and satisfying user experiences.