Business Centres Beware: Auto Industry is Driving New Competition

Mobile working
Mobile working

Who would have thought that two completely separate industries – the automotive sector and the workspace industry – could ever collide?

Well, it’s happening. And for all the hype and new business opportunities that surround the mobile working phenomenon, this is exactly where your new competition is coming from.

Just last week we reported on the superb workspace located at Club Auto Sport, an auto centre in San Jose that doubles up as a business and conference centre.

On the one hand, this spells opportunity for operators. Could you team up with other such businesses in your area, or beyond? After all, any business owner waiting for their car to be serviced or repaired is a pretty captive audience. Why not give them a desk so they can remain productive while they wait?

However, business centres can no doubt also see a potential threat in this scenario. If an auto centre can muscle into the workspace industry, who’s next?

Cars as offices

How about the vehicles themselves?

This article by Luke Kintigh for IQ Intel explains how vehicles are now being kitted out with advanced technology that acts as a temporary office for travelling workers.

Of course, it’s illegal and highly dangerous to carry out any business activities whilst driving, as one German virtual office worker found out to their peril. But cars are now rolling off the production line with high-tech gadgets that provide a form of impromptu touchdown space for today’s travelling professionals.

Could this pose a threat to the many touchdown spaces springing up across the world?

Regus has invested heavily in touchdown spaces to catch the mobile worker market, and continues to target travelling professionals with branded business lounges at airports, train stations, motorway service stations, even high street stores like Staples.

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We know that a car is no match for a professional office or a comfortable coworking space. Yet such technologies could lead a potential client to think twice about checking into a touchdown space if everything they need is already at their fingertips.

‘Mobile phone-like’ experience

Elliot Garbus, general manager of the Automotive Solutions Division at Intel, says that customers’ desires to take their digital lifestyle wherever they go is influencing their purchasing decisions – which means cars could soon offer a very ‘mobile phone-like’ experience, complete with Internet access and even inbuilt apps.

Research by iSuppli claims that by 2017, more than 42 million cars are expected to be equipped with Internet access.

And get this: Garbus claims that self-driving vehicles “are closer than ever before”. Does that mean mobile workers could, in the future, carry on working safely and legally, whilst at the wheel?

Business centres and operators who are keen to catch the mobile worker transition should be aware of the technologies out there – because they’re developing in the fast lane.

We know there’s no substitute for a professional office environment, so the challenge is to educate this future-mobile-working collective and to market your workspace based on value, professionalism, comfort, social community, networking benefits, business support, even your ergonomic chairs! (Surely a welcome change from beating a path up and down the motorway)

It might all seem a long way off, but it’s happening. Kintigh sums this phenomenon up nicely: “Soon, the mobile device you use most often might not be in your pocket, but in your driveway.”

What do you think? As ever, do let us know.

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