Digital Transformation Energy and Utilities

The automotive industry and a Telco analogy

ecosystems and platforms

As an expert on ecosystems and platforms, I am nevertheless taking the risk to share some thoughts I have had to go through lately. I am sure it will trigger some impactful discussions.

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Ecosystems and platforms

It all started with this McKinsey’s article, from a year ago. It depicted how much car manufacturers are struggling with their embedded car software platform.

This article talks about the dilemma of keeping such a complex and high-cost competency of developing an OS as an internal business or could they could delegate it to another company more suited to keep up with the latest innovations.

Thus, the question became: What are the core activities that are contributing to differentiate a car manufacturer, and what are the ones now considered as a commodity business.

And immediately the connection with the Telco industry appeared in front of me.

Nokia case reminder

From 1995 to 2007, Nokia was the undisputed best worldwide phone seller. Everyone using a mobile phone by this time should have been the owner of the famous Nokia 1100 or one of its similar followers.

I owned a Nokia 3410 (grey-green). The Nokia 8110 was also very famous after being featured in the Matrix movie.

After being so successful, Nokia failed to understand that the iPhone was not an OS but a whole platform ecosystem.

Android went even further by becoming a platform-independent from a unique phone company, allowing the ecosystem to expand to a new direction where new strong actors appeared.

In 2007, the iPhone was born. In just six years, the Nokia market value declined by 90%.

The Mobility as a Service opportunity

Pushing the analogy, a bit further, I was comparing how I’m buying a phone and how I’m buying a car.

I remember when I was spending hours looking at these new smartphones trying to figure out which one could provide me with the most exceptional experience and then… looking at which Telco operator could support it — not such a long time ago.

Today, with the consolidation of “communication service” providers, I am more inclined to look for a full package of services where the phone/TV are just part of the evaluation. I know I will be able to change the device easily.

I also know that it will be a platform on which I will be able to activate services such as access to Netflix.

What is more important to me now, is to have a powerful bandwidth (especially these days) and a provider on which I can rely to satisfy my needs, provide me with the latest innovations automatically, and with the highest customer experience possible.

That is the journey the car and transportation industries still have to go through. My dream is to have a Mobility Services Provider best suited to my needs.

If I’m living in the countryside, I would be interested in subscribing to such a service where I have access to the best car suited for going around and also included the access to the car, I’ll use for my next holiday trip. All associated services included. Insurance, car maintenance, highway, and parking subscription.

If I am living nearby a big city, I would be interested to subscribe to a service allowing me to access all transportation services, trains, buses, scooters, bicycles, shared cars.

If I am a company, I would like to subscribe to services more specific and well suited to companies who are maintaining a truck fleet.

Or even more specifically, if my company activity requires accessing very specific vehicles to travel on water, snow, and mud.


Ecosystems and open platforms are effectively contributing to digital transformation strategies.

More than connected cars, the automotive industry, like others, needs to rediscover the business opportunity of their existing partner ecosystem and probably expand it further.

Mobility as a Service is not a new thing. And as we can see with the MaaS Alliance which started five years ago, to federate an ecosystem around this exact same idea, if existing actors are not working toward this new experience, it will open the doors for newcomers.

With the Commute project, we can see another example of an initiative led by an ecosystem rethinking the citizen’s experience through collaboration.

Nature doesn’t like empty spaces… it’s certainly the right time to react and open everything.

Are you ready to open everything? Learn more in this video!