Nissan 3E – Google Glass for drivers?

Nissan is launching a ‘Google Glass’ for drivers, called 3E ‘third eye’ at the Tokyo Motor Show on Nov. 22nd.

3E Glass connects to the internet in real-time. Drivers can see information overlay on the glass just like Google Glass, record images and also share information. It is still under development and the public reaction at the Tokyo Motor Show is much awaited.

Tokyo seems to be the right market to announce the launch of 3E being technologically advanced and have the maturity to accept such products. Wonder if Google will regret not launching the ‘Glass’ in Japan and only restricting it to the US. Surely Google Glass has a much diverse use as compared to the Nissan 3E but why not test your products in advanced markets like Japan where people literally grow up with devices.

Nissan already had another tech product launch, a Smartwatch, at the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show designed to connect drivers to the cars to track data, monitor efficiency and even use social networks.

A really good initiative from Nissan to take innovation in their products to the next level by investing in sub-products to provide a complete package. It certainly adds much more trust in the brand and its services if offered by the parent brand. Tom-Tom was a good idea, but it will never be the same as an in-house produced product because one does not get access at an early stage and cannot adapt the product to the car and plan updates year-round making it exclusive and special.

We must remember that gadgets and technology are much more accessible today than ever before and one must not be intimidated by what giants like Google are doing. If we believe in an idea we must develop it and continue to improve it. There is no pass or fail. Today it is all about continuous improvement as long as it adds value.

Looking forward to the Nissan 3E debut. Stay tuned!

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Small cars with big perceptions – Ford, Smart Car & Chevy Sonic

A few car brands are looking into gaming to involve people in demonstrating some key features and capability of their cars. By involving people in games it adds fun to the process of knowing what the car can do and the fact that the cars features help a person to win and feel a sense of achievement makes the users attached to the car and adds a positive memory about the car in use and its features. However, if one loses the person can blame the feature to feel better but not entirely if the process is fun and leaves the user educated about the car a lot more than before.

The brands below have installed games promoting their cars but sadly don’t do enough to get leads into the nearest dealer. If the game can be spread to include the nearest dealer a lot of people who don’t take part in the game due to inhibition or not getting a chance to, can still find a hook strong enough to take them to dealership. Why lose these engaged audience at the venue and not take them to the dealership.Similarly for the art stunt, why not involve Facebook fans to design with this robot car – crowd source the design or let a few lucky Facebook fans get involve with the stunts. Read more below to understand what the activity was and how these brands missed the potential to involve their local dealers with these activities. It might not be a part of the brief but there is no harm experimenting with how dealers can be involved with such activities pre-post-or-during the event.

1) Ford – Promoting their “Active Park Assist” technology using Pinball game on a digital billboard

The game is developed based on the insight of problem of parking in Paris and also the attitude of people about dealing with a space available to park. Parisians will squeeze their cars wherever possible and bumping about the cars in the front and at the back is an everyday norm. To save the parked cars from being damaged and to ease out the frustrated Parisians over parking Ford installed a digital Pinball game. A digital billboard was placed right above an empty space between two parked cars. Every time a person tried to park their car they end up hitting the cars in the front and at the back which triggered a score on the billboard for that particular vehicle.The person with the highest score won a Ford just by proving how deserving he is of the car since he just can’t park without an assistant.

The cramped space set up was quite deliberate I believe just to project as to how Ford’s “Active Park Assist” technology works in the most tight parking situation and making sure that the person who wins the car is naturally the most deserving of them all and can use this feature to make his life easier in the parking mania of Paris.

A very clever idea by Ogilvy, Paris for Ford to show how a simple game has helped the user to win a better driving experience and also spread the word of mouth on big features in small city cars today.

2) Smart Car – “eBall” Ping-Pong game installation

Smart Car installed a huge ping-pong game billboard at the Frankfurt Motor Show to let participants experience the car in action. Two people compete against each other using the car pedal to drive back and forth to control their game. Showing the car is able to do such stunts shows it may be small but it is powerful and can sustain repeated handling going back and forth and respond quickly to the users needs of driving a small car. It shows positive performance of a small sized car like Smart Car.

A game like this lets the users test drive the car in a different way, which isĀ  more exciting and lets the user emotionally connect to the car by attempting to use it to win the game. The game helped Smart Car reach more than 500,000 audience and received 3,000 participants, a lot more than the booth could have done ever for Smart Car. It also helped the car reach audience online via sharing over social networks and also made it to the national news channel considering the huge participation at the venue. A simple idea by BBDO, Germany that made a small car make big news for themselves.

3) Chevrolet – Chevy Sonic Street Art stunt

Chevy Sonic and Jeff Soto, a street artist, teamed up to create the world’s first robot car that can paint. The documentary shows how the car was modified internally to add the robot and gadgets to create street art. A lot of people might think that the art has nothing to do with the car but watch the video first and then imagine doing the same activity with a bigger car. I think the small car has its advantages here, it shows that it is easier to maneuver a small car for such an activity and also shows how much space the car has to accommodate a robot, machinery, various gadgets etc. The basic message here is that the car has features which can help a modern robot and is equipped with features to serve modern needs. Obviously the car does not come with a robot installed but it is the message we are trying to give here on the small car’s capability of having big features.

The street art stunt site www.letsdothis.com shows interesting behind the scenes videos and also gives downloads in form of wallpapers and the song played in the video. What I like is that they also created Facebook cover photos celebrating the Street Art and encouraging art enthusiasts to display it on their Facebook page, thus reaching more people and engaging the art lovers by providing them cool content they can share to communicate their appreciation on art. Besides the street art, the site also shows more stunts done using the Chevy Sonic. Another small car with a big idea going big!