BMW considering in-car ads

Tailored suit? Made-to-order watch? Customised car? How about personalised ads to go with all that?

Remember how annoying pop-up ads were 10 years ago? How about those annoying commercials tacked on in front of your favourite videos on Youtube? Well, if BMW have its way, those irritating ads will make it all the way to your car.

BMW has announced a partnership with SAP, an international software manufacturer and according to the press release, is going to "develop solutions for context-adaptive, personalised filtering of large volumes of real-time offers generated by location-based service providers".

What that means in plain English is the German carmaker is working to bring personalised ads, based on your current location and previous history, to their iDrive infotainment system.

It's calling it a virtual marketplace.

"The vehicle will provide customers with context-adaptive, preference-based and timely offers and information relevant to their route," says Dr Jörg Preißinger, Project Manager at BMW Group Research and Technology.

Let's say, for example, you are on a family road trip, somewhere out in the country. Your BMW could flash up with a commercial for a McDonald's that is only 6km down the road. Or you were simply cruising near a shopping strip and pure merino wool suits were half price, the car would notify the driver.

The technology could feasibly be offered to Australian BMW owners, but Scott Croaker, Product Communications Manager at BMW Group Australia, explained that the technology was only in its infancy.

"This is in the research and development stage, there is no in production time frame. But it is obviously being developed with a view to add it into the ConnectedDrive features in production," said Croaker.

Australians will be able to experience the ConnectedDrive system that integrates BMW vehicles with smartphones roughly midway through 2014, and like that system, customers would be able to switch off the 'adverts' if they wanted to, stated Croaker.

"If they don’t want to have these features in the car, they don’t have to," he said.

"When we get ConnectedDrive in Australia towards the middle of the year, there will be a feature in terms of being able to identify the car in relation to various other services, but if the customer doesn’t want it, they tick the box and have it disconnected."

To be fair, it would be interesting if, as you were approaching your destination, say an evening at the ballet, you received parking information like availability and pricing direct to your sat nav.

BMW has also stated that the virtual marketplace advert delivery service would be available "only if the driver wants". Given the choice, would you turn this feature on?

Published : Friday, 24 January 2014
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