A groundbreaking service plays a part in the digital transformation of the tyre sector.
Nokian is the world’s northernmost tyre manufacturer and the only one to focus primarily on tyres for challenging conditions and demanding customer requirements. In 2015, the company’s net sales were approximately EUR 1.4 billion, and it employed 4,400 people.
Nokian Tyres and Vianor wanted to improve road safety. In most countries, worn tyres are a contributing factor a significant percentage of car accidents. Improving drivers’ awareness of the condition of their tyres and their impact on the safety of their loved ones would decrease road accidents and increase tire sales.
For most consumers, safety is one of the primary criteria for choosing a tyre, but very few will go out of their way to get their tyre condition checked later on. Thus the two key challenges were getting data about tyre condition and providing drivers with easy access to that data. IoT technology offered the best solution.
As in most IoT projects, it was - first and foremost - a service design challenge, so user interviews were a natural first step. They revealed most drivers weren’t aware of the condition of their tyres or the impact that worn tyres have on things like braking distance, aquaplaning and other safety issues. The interviews also found that people were open to discussing tyre-related safety issues.
For validation purposes, Futurice built and advertised a fake service to see how people react and interact with what was offered. The results were very encouraging.
A service that automatically measures the condition of the tyres and increases the driver’s awareness of its impact on safety and then offers the driver the option of accessing the data, while offering information about the impact of tyre condition on safety and an opportunity to purchase new tyres was chosen as the approach.
The resulting IoT service uses 3D scanning technology, machine vision and the newest web technologies.
A busy parking garage operated by Q-Park in downtown Helsinki was chosen as the staging ground for the pilot. All the driver needs to do is drive over a laser scanning strip placed at the entrance of the garage. The data about the tyre surface condition is stored in a database.
Special attention was paid to data security. The car’s registration number is scanned into a separate database and the data about the tyres is not associated with a registration number until the driver provides expressed permission by requesting a report - by either accessing the service’s device independent website or ordering it via SMS.
Snapskan is a new, groundbreaking IoT service that measures tread depth and tyre safety. By taking the measurement service where the drivers are, Nokian and Vianor can raise awareness of tyre condition and improve road safety.
The pilot proved that people are willing to buy tyres in conjunction with the measurement. In northern markets where tyre sales are traditionally seasonal, Snapskan provides Nokian with a new channel for sales outside the market served by tyre storage facilities.
The service launch generated a massive amount of international interest, with over 400 articles in the press all over the world, with an estimated media audience of 66 million during its first six weeks in operation.
Plans are in place to roll the service out at parking garages and other facilities in Finland and, eventually, internationally.