The new Mercedes multimedia system can be profitableJune 10, 2020
The company predicts that its MBUX system could create an important new source of profit.
Mercedes-Benz invests heavily in its MBUX infotainment system because of the opportunity to make money by offering online services that can compete with the profits from car sales in the future.
Mercedes introduced the latest version of MBUX for the A-Class in 2018, and now the system is available in almost the entire line of models.
The key focus of the system is voice control. Mercedes is currently introducing wireless software updates in some markets, which allows the use of any language. In China, the company also launched a feature that allows users to order and pay for takeaway products using voice control while on the move. A movie ticket reservation service is also available.
A recent report by the company predicted that the market for automotive artificial intelligence systems (including hardware, software and automotive services) will grow from £ 1.6 billion today to £ 21 billion by 2025.
The desire to capitalize on this has prompted Mercedes to invest millions in custom-made systems rather than seek a partner for a smartphone provider such as Apple or Google, as some rival car manufacturers do.
In an interview to the question whether Mercedes can make as much money on AI systems as it does on car sales, the head of the MBUX user interaction department Nils Schants said: “This is what we are striving for, and that is why we invest so much in MBUX. We see that there is a huge business potential. ”
Schantz, explaining that his work is focused on user experience rather than developing revenue models, said Mercedes currently has no plans to charge car owners for using services such as ordering food.
Potential sources of profit, in addition to selling MBUX equipment, include charging companies for access to the food ordering service and selling access to the platform to third-party application developers. Services, including Yelp, Tripadvisor and Apple Music, are already available.
Shants said: “We see how the business model can develop as a significant source of income, although now there is no revenue distribution model.”
He noted that the development of MBUX voice control is also part of the effort to improve security. The system can be controlled using the touch screen or using physical control, but, according to Shants, voice is the safest way.
However, Klaus Frenzel, head of the Mercedes user interface department, said in a separate interview that “there is no perfect way to interact with the car,” so voice control will not be the only Mercedes control interface in the future.
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