GM Introduces Ultifi Software Platform As Business Model Changes
In its first big move to grow into a software company, General Motors is introducing a new software platform it has created called Ultifi.
The automaker will start putting Ultifi (all T-shirt) on certain internal combustion and electric vehicles starting in model year 2023 in the hopes that this will help keep consumers loyal to GM cars and open up new revenue channels. beyond car sales.
“Ultifi is a big, big step in our software strategy,” said Scott Miller, vice president of software-defined vehicles at GM on Wednesday. “Today cars are activated by software, with Ultifi cars will be defined by it.”
Last week, Alan Wexler, GM’s senior vice president of innovation and growth, announced that GM has a new business model that extends beyond car building equipment, to become an innovator of software platform.
Wexler said GM vehicles will only be a platform to provide software developed by GM to provide services to consumers beyond driving. These services can then be used in their home and in other areas of their lives. Wexler called GM’s new business model a “potential game changer for providing subscription services that create recurring revenue.”
Ultifi is the first step in GM’s new business model, Miller said. It builds on GM’s current Vehicle Intelligence (VIP) platform. Think of VIP as a smartphone and Ultifi as the operating system that provides the functions.
Ultifi holds the potential for more cloud-based services, faster software development and new ways for GM to increase customer loyalty.
“At the heart of our concerns, we will make great cars, trucks and vehicles,” Miller said. “What we’re talking about is adding a platform with Ultifi. (Customers) will love it when they buy it, but they’ll love it even longer as it gets better. the next new thing comes out, they can add it to their vehicle and not have to buy a new car, which improves the relationship with them.
Similar to software on a smartphone, Ultifi can provide regular updates and allow customers to choose from a variety of over-the-air upgrades, customization options, and apps.
For example, imagine a camera inside your car that recognizes your face and starts the engine for you. Or, the camera can detect if there is a child in the back seat. Miller said these services will not be subscriptions.
Another example would be a weather forecast with the ability to close the windows of a vehicle if it is parked in an area where it is expected to rain, Miller said. Or an alert that alerts drivers to specific ice spots on the roads.
GM will open Ultifi to allow third-party developers to create content for it and there will be the option to add subscription offers, for additional revenue for GM. But Miller declined to say how much revenue GM expects it to generate.
A GM spokesperson said the automaker will discuss earnings in more detail next week, most likely on its investor day on October 6.
But Miller said GM will work out a revenue-sharing formula with third-party software vendors, noting, “They won’t come to our platform for free, but neither are we going to give up our platform for free, so this is a problem that we will solve in the future.
A customer will buy a car with Ultifi on it and then choose different plans or tiers based on how many upgrades they get, what types of services and software or apps they want to access.
“The key thing about Ultifi is that we like to call it continuous integration,” Miller said. “We separate the software from the hardware so that we can continually upgrade the applications. This will allow us to be very agile and constantly learn to improve it.”
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The content of this story was changed after publication.