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Key to ‘Winning’ in Mobility Is Data, According to Blockchain Startup

Rideshare, autonomous vehicles, tech companies getting into manufacturing — these trends, among others, have prompted traditional carmakers to review their own business processes.

So, what’s the key to “winning” in this new world? Data, according to Chitra Ragavan, chief communications officer at blockchain startup GEM.

“With Uber and Lyft and other companies in the space, carmakers are feeling like they have lost control of the car selling process,” she said during the Blockchain + Digital Currencies conference yesterday. The car ownership model has shifted, “With drivers not necessarily owning, but sharing their cars,” she added.

Telematics and automotive data, like who’s driving, how well they’re doing, and for how long, will become increasingly valuable, Ragavan said, and startups like GEM want to become one of the players to help OEMs capitalize on that data.

“A vehicle is a depreciating asset, it loses value immediately, once you drive off the dealership. But OEMs have data, which is an appreciating asset, so they need to view themselves as data companies, rather than solely carmakers,” she said.

GEM applies blockchain technology to identity, data, login and network management across multiple industries, starting with healthcare. Recently, the company teamed up with Toyota Insurance Management Solutions to develop subscription-based insurance for drivers.

“We are looking at a very big problem to solve here,” she said. “With blockchain, you can have this holistic picture of the driver, so we teamed up with Toyota to look at blockchain in usage-based insurance.”

Lenders and OEMs equally can sense the threat coming from non-traditional players, Ragavan said. “They have to understand that the world is changing, whether you like it or not. Data is an asset class now, so we seek to provide more ways for them to leverage shared intelligence for greater monetary and intelligence value.”

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