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Turning Car-Generated Data Into Meaningful Products, Services a Billion-Dollar Market

According to a recent report, data from connected cars could be a $750 billion market.

In September, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a set federal guidelines for autonomous vehicles that deciphered what the federal government is responsible for and what the states are responsible for when regulating the new technology.

Of particular note was the stipulation that developers share data about failures with each other and with the government — a move that is being met with resistance from both the tech and automotive industries. And it's not surprising; the companies worry that sharing that data will mean they'll lose their competitive edge and risk another manufacturer "borrowing" their technology.

But there's another layer of potential when it comes to this data, and data from all connected cars, driverless or not, according to a McKinsey and Co. report: The revenue potential from turning car-generated data into valuable products and services could be as high as $750 billion by 2030.

According to the report, the two largest areas for monetization are data-driven solutions to make mobility safer or more convenient for vehicle owners, and to save them time and money.

Through roundtables, interviews, customer clinics and problem solving with industry leaders, the report's authors identified more than 30 use cases that customers would find valuable, such as vehicle usage scoring and usage-based insurance, to name a few.

Added data-generated features and services could be charged to customers in a few ways, the report stated: rolling their cost into the vehicle price; selling them as a one-time purchase after initial vehicle sale; offering them via subscription or rechargeable credit; or they could be provided free of charge when customers agree to receive advertising as part of the deal.

But are customers even willing to pay? Depends on the service. According to the survey, 73 percent of consumers worldwide would pay for predictive maintenance services, but that drops to 43 percent when it comes to connected navigation services, given the availability of credible, free alternatives already on the market.

The players in this car data monetization landscape are many; they include high-tech companies, startups, alternative mobility operators, data management services, insurers, roadside assistance providers and infrastructure operators.

"Car data monetization will challenge all of these current realities and compel incumbents to quickly make pragmatic changes to their approaches," the report states. "In order to succeed, industry players can start making their way now with some practical early steps."

For more information and early steps, read the report.

Ryan McCauley was a staff writer for Government Technology magazine from October 2016 through July 2017, and previously served as the publication's editorial assistant.

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