GM partners with IBM to deliver personalized brand content to connected cars

Image: GM

Connected cars are barely upon us, but already brands are looking for more ways to market users' newly connected dashboards.

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That's the impetus behind GM's newly announced partnership with IBM, which will use IBM Watson, with a user's permission, to track their usual activities and deliver personalized brand content at appropriate times.

The partnership, which the companies announced earlier this week, will implement IBM Watson APIs in the in-vehicle OnStar platform in what the companies call “OnStar Go.” The press release touted quality of life improvements like paying for gas from your dashboard or ordering a cup of coffee that will be ready when you arrive.

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“On average, people in the U.S. spend more than 46 minutes per day in their car and are looking for ways to optimize their time,” said Phil Abram, executive director of GM Connected Products and Strategy. “By leveraging OnStar’s connectivity and combining it with the power of Watson, we’re looking to provide safer, simpler and better solutions to make our customers’ mobility experience more valuable and productive.”

Connected vehicles, while still limited in adoption, have made significant advances in recent years. They serve as a promising opportunity for carriers, which stand to sell data connections to a brand new market segment.

As additional use cases for connected cars come online, carriers will be called upon to deliver more and more data to them. Some of that data will come through new IoT data plans that will connect cars directly to wireless networks, while the rest will come indirectly through smartphones.

RELATED: SAM solutions such as Apple CarPlay leave users frustrated with their cars, study finds

Consequently, advertisers will be looking for ways to use those new avenues of connectivity. Gifted with new contextual information brought by IoT sensors, and machine intelligence provided by IBM Watson, advertisers can use that context to reach users when brands are most relevant to them.

RELATED: GM launches new OnStar service that can deliver promotions to connected cars

So far, five brands have signed onto the platform: ExxonMobil, Glympse, iHeartRadio, Mastercard and Parkopedia.

  • ExxonMobile will use the platform to help drivers locate Exxon and Mobil fuel stations, recommend the best fuel and lubricant product for their vehicle and authorize payment from inside the car
  • Mastercard will let drivers and passengers make payments from their car by integrating the Mastercard security system and Masterpass digital payment service into OnStar Go
  • iHeartRadio will use Watson insights to curate personalized radio stations, including local content from radio stations across the U.S.
  • Parkopedia will provide parking spot information, including opening hours and up-to-date prices as well as booking and payment capabilities
  • Glympse will enable consumers and businesses to manage customized, real-time location sharing with anyone on any device
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