BMW Launches Supplierthon, a Crowd-Sourcing Initiative Aiming To Innovate the Metaverse

For those unfamiliar with the metaverse, it’s an immersive 3D virtual space where humans can experience life and interact with each other in brand-new ways. BMW identified an opportunity to enhance the customer experience by integrating virtual experiences into its offering. The Supplierthon is an excellent method of enabling applicants to come up with fresh ideas that, if successful, can be integrated into BMW vehicles.

In December last year, BMW became one of the first automakers to join the Metaverse Standards Forum, a venue for cooperation between organizations and companies that aims to develop interoperability standards for an open and inclusive metaverse. The brand has taken a holistic approach and devised three strategic dimensions: a Corporate Metaverse, a Commercial Metaverse, and an In-Car Metaverse – the Supplierthon only focuses on solutions for the latter dimension.

Experts from the BMW Group have identified three key areas for Metaverse development: Vehicle Readiness, In-Car Experience, and Virtual Ecosystems. I’ll discuss them individually and explain what the company expects for each segment.
Vehicle Readiness
This challenge is all about fitting BMW vehicles with new technologies and creating the appropriate infrastructure. For instance, the company sees technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, and human interfaces, including wearables, biosensors, and smart glasses, as critical to the brand’s evolution. Moreover, it believes mixed reality technologies like AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality), IoT (Internet of Things), machine learning, and sensor technology allow the physical vehicle to merge with the virtual world and can reshape the future of premium mobility.
In-Car Experience

In-car experiences, especially for passengers, are being redefined with the use of technology. Special equipment, like headsets, glasses, and sensor systems, will allow the driver and passengers to interact with the vehicle and metaverse in various ways. Different platforms will be merged into a single system that will enable users to access a vast range of content, opening the doors to developing even more personalized and interactive experiences.

Virtual Ecosystems

One of the most important details about the metaverse is that it boasts an open and decentralized nature – besides creating a new virtual society, it provides fresh opportunities for the automotive industry by integrating blockchain-based technologies such as cryptocurrencies, NFTs, assets, and smart contracts in the customer journey. Automakers can create a new virtual ecosystem that might reshape how customers engage with the brand.

Registration for the Supplierthon starts today, and the first deadline for submission is March 15, 2023. All submitted ideas will undergo a peer-review process – a panel of experts will select the finalists. The second round is where the proposals will be further developed to produce real business use cases by May 10, 2023. It will end with the finalists presenting their solutions, and the winners will be selected on May 24, 2023. They will have the opportunity to collaborate with the BMW Group to implement their project into the company’s ecosystem.

Is the shift to the virtual world beneficial for automakers? Are you excited to experience the metaverse? One thing’s certain – in-car experiences will look drastically different in the coming years.

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