Happy New 2018! The old year is gone and the new one just begun. After the high days and holidays it is again time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work. It is time to do something for the GDP to make 2018 a successful one.
But before we start I want to share some thoughts with you. I always use the time between Christmas and New Years Eve to read a lot and to reflect the old year, before the new one starts. This time I spend a lot of time reading about the car industry.
Yes, I must admit that I am a Petrol- or Gearhead. I like the technology and its impact on our daily lives. This time Elon Musk and Tesla caught my attention. In the recent press and on YouTube channels I was following the verbal sparring between Tesla and the long-established, ancient car industry with great interest. In one corner the Challenger Tesla, in the other corner the combustion engine fraction.
A representative of the latter is Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the managing board at BMW, who recently bashed the new kids on the block Tesla and Google. In an interview he said, that also in the future mobility will not work without hardware. It is a different story to scale up a smartphone production than a production of a very complex product like a car and also to maintain the quality. I think he wanted to point indirectly to Tesla with its recent issues among quality and delivery of their new car the model 3. And he promised, that BMW will not rest on their laurels and prove that they can deliver.
On the other hand we have Elon Must who also made a couple of statements regarding the "old world" trying to successful in the electric vehicle market and secure its own piece of the cake (-> Elon Musk laughs at BYD, BMW & BOEING).
This whole discussion reminds me very much of software vendors entering the telephony marked more than 15 years ago. The established players in the industry were laughing at Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya and others. Some had a great heritage and a long history in the industry for several decades. They brought the telephony to perfection and were pretty sure to know their customers and needs inside out. They were resting on their laurels and were trying to milk the market to get the last drop of ROI out of their products. Also their believe was, that functionality and quality is key, and that people won't change to something that is unreliable and has a poor quality. They completely underrated the new competitors.
And indeed, VoIP in its early stages had a lot of issues. The hardware wasn't ready, the networks were not ready and the products just offered - compared to traditional phone systems - only a few basic features. But it was more flexible and much more cost effective.
Just like the electric vehicle manufacturers today. Not enough charging points, quality and build issues etc. But the electric motor is much more efficient, environmentally friendly and low maintenance.
Coming back again on the telephony industry we see, that VoIP is winning the race. People and Companies are going software. Less Deskphones more Soft Clients. The customers just accepted a lower quality and less features if they got flexibility and innovation in return. The world is changing. Everything goes "Software Defined". One of the big buzzwords in the IT industry nowadays. Decouple Hardware from Software! Make things flexible and adjustable.
But wait a minute! This rings a bell. Have you seen the Tesla Model 3 interior?
Where are all the buttons and switches? The interior is dominated by a large touch screen. The majority of the buttons have been removed and virtualized. Everything is pure software! Makes it highly flexible, adjustable and configurable. Less moving parts that can break and need to be fixed. Tesla is able to improve their products and deliver new functions, features and bugfixes over the air! A product that can be adapted to changing consumer needs during its product life cycle.
But Tesla is taking the whole Software Defined idea to the next level. In the Model 3 they have implemented a feature which allows easy car sharing. You don't need a car key to unlock a Tesla Model 3, you can use a smartphone. Like airbnb you'd be able to share your Tesla Model 3 with the community when it is not in use. To facilitate this business model all personal car settings are stored in the cloud and applied once you get into the car.
That's very innovative and also shows, that their vision of future mobility is miles ahead of the vision their competitors have.
Tesla understands software very well, but has issues in the hardware world. Yes, Peter Schwarzenbauer might be right, it is not everything gold that shines. But I bet that Tesla will be able to close the gap fast.
Who laughs last, laughs loudest...
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On behalf of the MyWigWam Team
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