TO THE EDITOR:
"Where metaverse meets 'motorverse' " (March 28) notes impacts of in-vehicle entertainment. There's more to the story. For example, ad effectiveness will be disrupted. If you're wearing an immersive headset and reveling in the virtual environment, you won't be looking out the window. That means you won't see advertising on billboards and related space, which means the value of those channels will decrease. But brands still need to message consumers; that need will continue the shift toward things like ads within, or bookending, virtual experiences. And that will disrupt conventional advertising metrics.
Yet the biggest impact may be on OEMs' ability to maintain the human connection with their buyers. OEMs spend immense amounts of time and money making the in-cabin experience as delightful, attractive and productive as possible. That's done to help sell the vehicle and ultimately drive brand loyalty by building a relationship. (With technology already changing so quickly, it's fair to say results are mixed.) With immersive virtual reality, the OEM-consumer relationship will be weakened. (Customers experientially may not even be in the car.) That could hurt loyalty, driving customer acquisition costs higher. Of course, VR suppliers might be forming relationships.
Think about smartphones: They've usurped a chunk of the OEM-consumer dialogue on one hand yet created new opportunities on the other. OEMs need to rethink how they measure customer engagement with the in-cabin experience entirely — and quickly — to keep pace.
LINCOLN MERRIHEW, Global head, brand and marketing, Pulse Labs, Boston, Pulse Labs is an artificial intelligence-powered data acquisition, management and analysis platform focusing on the intersection of AI and consumer behaviors.