The views expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect those of BodyShop Business magazine.
Are there any lessons the collision industry can take from the latest innovation in automobile technology? The Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) thinks it can and should.
Technology has inundated the collision industry, from new vehicle materials to new tools to new processes to the new software we use. And now, the vehicles themselves are becoming even more complex and smarter.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced in February that it would propose making all new cars “talk to each other” so they can “warn” drivers of approaching collisions.
This technology is called V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) communications, and it has been proven to work in the real world. Cars with V2V wirelessly transmit safety information such as speed and location among themselves 10 times per second. It can work more than hundreds of yards between cars that aren’t visible to each other. The real-time data can feed on-board warning systems that tell drivers when a collision is imminent. It could prevent common types of accidents such as rear-end collisions, crashes in intersections and collisions during lane changes.
The DOT is analyzing the results of a pilot program and plans to publish a report, then seek public comment, before crafting a proposal to make the technology mandatory. It said its road test involved almost 3,000 cars and showed that products from different automakers and parts companies can work together. This was accomplished by the development of a set of voluntary standards that were implemented by the different automakers and parts companies. (For more information, search “DOT v2v” online.)
This is an example of the power of voluntary standards and a willingness to collaborate for the benefit of an industry and its consumers. It’s difficult to find a more competitive arena than OEM vehicle manufacturers, yet, along with the parts companies, they’re making significant progress toward important innovations and improvements by working together.
Time for an Upgrade
What’s the lesson the collision industry can take from this? It’s time the industry upgrades to the newest data exchange technology.
The CIECA Business Message Suite (BMS) has operational advantages over its predecessor, EMS. The BMS has been fully developed and proven to be an upgrade to the EMS. Rather than sending an entire EMS file and all the estimate data, the BMS provides repairers with the flexibility and security to transmit specific subsets of estimate information.
The industry needs to keep pace with the latest advances in vehicle and consumer technology. Therefore, when you purchase, lease or build your next application suite, insist that it contains the CIECA BMS.
Fred Iantorno is the executive director of CIECA. He can be reached at (847) 498-6945 or [email protected].