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You won’t guess how BMW enhanced the customer experience of its i8

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Among all features of a car, some elements have remained desperately un-innovative for years if not decades.

Do you remember what you use to start your engine every morning … how different is it from 30 years ago ?

Some enhancements, but no real breakthrough

Sure, Keyless go (even available is some cheaper models like my wonderful Toyota Prius) has brought some improvements. It was even preceded by a more intelligent version on the Mercedes CL class more than 10 years ago where the key remembered the seat settings. Give one key to your wife, keep one for you, and the car seats will adjust automatically when you enter the vehicle (remember NOT to switch the keys however).

Yet, a car key has remained an element centered around one element only : starting the engine.

This is silly. Some visionaries have tried to convince us that the key could look different and could include much more functionalities. You don’t know whom I’m talking about? Ask David Hasselhof … he was commanding his car with his watch. At that time it looked like science-fiction, didn’t it?

BMW connects the car with the key

BMW has introduced the i8, an electrical vehicle that will be available in Spring 2014. It proposes a very cool feature to accompany the car: a sort of key that communicates with the car to provide you with information like how many kilometers you can drive with the car until you’ve to reload the batteries. It’s actually just one step away from having Samsung Galaxy-type of watch. The technology is pretty much the same (BMW has learnt from Android apparently) and it just a matter of time until K2000 gets real.

Advice for your innovation strategy

Watch again the old sci-fi TV series of the 80’s. I guess some of the cool objects and devices can now be turned real thanks to modern technology. Any proposal?

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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