Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PACE (The leading manufacturer-independent connected-car platform, disrupting value creation and customer communication in the automotive aftermarket)
Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2021-08-31
Aftermarket experts predict Big Data and Advanced Analytics to become an indispensable asset in the future: as cars increasingly get connected, certain players like OEMs are gaining unfair competitive advantage and are positioned to create data and value silos, lowering competition and creating barriers. The losers will be the independent parts wholesalers and workshops, and car owners would not benefit from potential value of higher competition, quality and value creating by the connected car ecosystem.
New technologies and major shifts in the aftermarket industry will be game-changing factors that all players must react to, to remain competitive in the future. Additionally, new technologies can play a major role in levelling the playing field and opening up competition for all actors, ultimately benefitting the final customer, the car driver. But currently, there is a lack of comprehensive tools able to bridge connectivity between car drivers with the IAM.
PACE is the first manufacturer-independent data cloud and connected services platform that enables data-based and connectivity-enabled services in the Aftermarket – an open system that can connect all cars from as far back as 1996. At the core of the PACE solution is the proprietary and highly secure PACE Cloud, with Big Data capabilities that collects, processes and analyses car and driver data. PACE Cloud connects the car to the Aftermarket, allowing the workshops to proactively engage with both the car and the car driver, drastically changing the dynamics and procedures which create huge new value in the market.
The core elements of the solution, that were developed further, are the PACE Dealer Dashboard, which was improved significantly in its functionality for workshops and its scalability, the PACE Car App, where the main focus for further development was the enhancement of the functionality for the car driver (end user) as well as the PACE Cloud and Developer Hub, where expanded the functionality by adding the connected fueling layer, we scaled the infrastructure, added state-of-the-art performance monitoring and improved the APIs and SDKs for our B2B partners.
One crucial element to increase user acceptance and retention of the PACE Car solution was the implementation of the ""payment for fuel"" functionality. To achieve this, PACE had to create an independent and brand-neutral Connected Fueling platform which allows gas station providers to offer mobile payment directly at the fuel pump. Customers can pay with their smartphone app without having to enter the shop.
At the end of the reporting period, Connected Fueling was already available at over 700 gas stations in Germany with a fast pace of further roll -out. The current state of this can be seen online at: https://www.connectedfueling.com/
Aside from the large-scale changes Connected Fueling and PACE ID, the PACE Car App was regularly updated with performance enhancements, general improvements and additional features. The PACE Car Application manual was also expanded and updated during the reporting period and a new PACE Dealer Dashboard Manual was developed. As additional help for customers, the new PACE Community was launched; a forum where users can help each other with problems and questions are also answered by the PACE support team.
Unfortunately, the Corona Crisis had and still has a severe impact on the market success of our solution, as all of our potential B2B customers are in the automotive industry. Due to lockdown and economic recession, the good momentum of our business development efforts in late 2019 was slowed down significantly during 2020."
In our first pilots, we have been able to provide to the workshops comprehensive, low-maintenance, easy to install, user-friendly solutions that will help them to increase productivity and drive efficiency and save costs. At the same time, they are able to improve their customer experience, run more effective marketing strategies and find new revenue streams. With the PACE system, they are also putting themselves in a much better position to keep their competitive advantage and market share in the aftermarket space.
By launching our Connected Fueling Platform to enable us to provide the ""Payment for fuel"" functionality in our apps, we achieved significant additional socio-economic impact that was especially relevant due to the unexpected Corona Crisis. With Connected Fueling, car drivers are able to pay for fuel with their smartphone directly at the fuel pump. This not only offers more convenience and helps to save time, it also eliminated the social interaction of the payment process and therefore helps to significantly reduce infection risks across the population."