BMW's Of The Future: The Virtual Marketplace

With brands like BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is one of the leading premium manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world. The company's success was built on forward thinking, efficiency, and an everlasting hunger to be at the top. Today, BMW Group's Research and Technology team is in pursuit of creating the perfect virtual marketplace for its drivers.

Direct advertising, restaurant reviews, and special offers based on one's current location already exists, we are exposed to them on cable and satellite television, smartphones, and computers. Why not in our cars, too? The BMW Group believes that having the luxury of location-based offers and services delivered to your car will be of legitimate value. With the assistance of a smartphone and iDrive infotainment system, BMW's ConnectedDrive already offers location-based information services. The difference here is that this evolved system will also take into consideration a driver's specific route and final destination, while offering deals, information, and services that are based on the needs and preferences of each individual user.

4 Virtual Marketplace Of The Future

Virtual Marketplace of the Future, as the prestigious company has entitled their latest project, is currently in its research phase. It is getting tested in order to provide accurate, personalized information and services to users. The upcoming system will, essentially, be able to provide BMW drivers with up-to-date offers and suggestions that are based on their surroundings, as well as personal preferences relevant to their location and final destination. Since early on in 2012, BMW Group's Research and Technology team has began a project in association with the international software manufacturer, SAP.

Powered by location-based service providers, their collaborative goal is to evolve and produce solutions for context-adaptive, individualized, filtered information from a greater pool of real-time information, offers, and services. So far, the joint venture has built simple technologies that provide coupon and parking offers. As they continue to push their boundaries, each manufacturing company has taken up a task in its own expertise. SAP has recently created a cloud-based, virtual marketplace solution, which will be vital for the user experience. On the other hand, BMW Group's Research and Technology team has created an in-car prototype that runs on a BMW-backend-based software system. Working together, information and services from SAP's virtual marketplace is, then, delivered to the driver, tailored to his or her personal preferences.

3 How it Works

The BMW 7-series research vehicle allows drivers to set their own personal preferences for customized filtering of services and offers via the SAP application. Real-time vehicle data is, then, used to predict the driver's needs throughout the trip. For example, when a car is approaching its destination, BMW's backend-based software system receives a request for parking information. Then, the SAP platform responds anonymously with real-time parking information that includes availability and fees. Taking into consideration the driver's personalized application settings, the backend-system chooses the most convenient parking spots and displays its suggestions, allowing for the location to be chosen and directed to by the car's navigation system.

Smartphones, mobile internet, and location-based services are widely accessible. Applications are now available that permit users to acquire information at anytime, from anyplace. Whether it involves events, offers, or various services within the immediate area, location-based recommendations and information according to the start-finish route at hand can prove advantageous. Ultimately, the added value that location-based services can provide relies heavily on the amount of filtered information regarding the individual's interests and preferences.

2 A Greater Level of Comfort & Convenience


Virtual Marketplace sets the stage for a greater future in comfort, convenience, and luxury. In the near future, navigation systems will be able to offer information about the fastest routes, a variety of specials on gas stations, the best parking deals, and current offers at shops on route. A rather comforting aspect of all of this, which provides drivers with the peace of mind they so often enjoy and require, is that they will ultimately have the option to turn the Virtual Marketplace off. Over the years, the BMW Group has tackled environmental and social sustainability, product responsibility, and the conservation of resources. While they have been leaders of innovative technology and luxury performance for a long time, one must beg the question, will they reach a point where technology outshines performance?

What we once looked ahead at and envisioned the future would be like is already here, and every year that vision expands itself and pushes the limits of the year before. So it does not come as a surprise that the world's leading-edge technology is being utilized in our day to day lives, be it in our cars, cellular phones, televisions, or computers, to merely name a few. Technology is everywhere and in everything, it is what keeps us thriving and has enriched the quality of our lives. With its many positive attributes, come the negative as well. However, without the negative, we probably would not have much to learn from. Keeping in mind that BMW customers are drivers, and not merely users, there is great potential for improving the experience along with its technology.

1 The Future is Now

The BMW Group has fixed up a 7-series research car with the necessary software and navigation technology to test this endeavour, so that in due time, they could potentially put it on the consumer market flawlessly. Essentially, using a software that will notify them of various deals within the area, Virtual Marketplace of the Future will offer informative and useful entertainment to BMW drivers. To some, the idea of being exposed to more deals, information, and services may seem outrageous and like yet another marketing scam to gain more money.

However, it is no different than the amount of advertising we are currently exposed to on a daily basis. The Virtual Marketplace just has the added value of being advantageous, convenient, and useful. With the ability to turn ads off, the concept is not as invasive either, which makes this a much more appealing advancement. Keeping that in mind, it does not seem like there is a tacky hidden agenda lingering deep in the background, overshadowing everything that consumers hoped they would get out of the experience. If that were the case, the BMW Group would most likely be putting their prestigious brand image on the line.

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