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Student project researched new data based services for K-Auto

Students were quick to grasp the challenges of the previously unfamiliar sector.
Sähköautojen latauspaikka, monta autoa rinnakkain ladattavana
Electronic car charging stations. Photo: Picture bank of K-Auto

Data collection has revolutionised the automotive industry over recent years. For example, vehicles have long provided data for service and maintenance purposes, but today analytics is being utilised more and more diversely. Analytics can be used to encourage drivers to drive in a safer and more economic manner than previously, and on the other hand, to add a wider range of services to automobiles. K-Auto is a company specialised in the import, retail sale and after-sales of cars manufactured by the Volkswagen Group, which also develops advanced automotive service concepts.

Over the past summer, Aalto University master's students Pilvi Luukkainen and Una Meriläinen executed a project in which together with experts from K-Auto they researched business models based on automotive industry data as well as possible future services. 

‘We are both students of the School of Business Master's Programme in Information and Service Management, which made the project especially interesting for us. It was fun to have the opportunity to apply concepts familiar from the lectures in practice. Although the two of us already had an understanding of how important data is in services, we have different backgrounds with regard to our bachelor's studies and work experience. We benefited from one another’s expertise throughout the project, which made the experience in its entirety exceptionally rewarding,’ the students explain.

Final report will benefit the client when they consider future projects

According to K-Auto’s Head of Digital Sales and Marketing Mikko Luoma, cooperation with the students was exceptionally uncomplicated and the project in its entirety developed steadfastly in the desired direction. Academics from Aalto University tasked with advising the students provided undeniable added value, in particular, in framing the research and during its intermediate meetings.

‘It was wonderful to note how soon after being given their assignment these students were able to get a solid grasp of the sector which was previously unfamiliar to them. They were able to gain a firm understanding of the business activities of the automotive sector and its related legislation in a relatively short period, especially as regards data-driven services. The students had also prepared the presentation of their case very professionally and did an excellent job of justifying their findings and position,’ Mikko Luoma explains.

‘The resulting documentation including preparatory study documentation will make it possible for us to evaluate our data business and data-based services as part of our own development plan. It will also facilitate the critical evaluation of initiatives or projects in which we will be prioritising our own resources in the near future. All in all, cooperation with Aalto students and staff was a breath of fresh air in the midst of daily life,’ Mr Luoma continues.

On Aalto University’s part, the project was headed by Senior University Lecturer Markku Tinnilä, according to whom the search for new business models is a daily endeavour in all sectors.

‘This project mapped the automotive industry’s new business opportunities, especially those that are data driven, in a broad-scoped manner. The students quickly identified the new opportunities with the most potential and assessed how realistic these were making use of various data sources and models. The project provided the client with a comprehensive overview of the sector’s new opportunities, on the basis of which the most interesting could be selected for closer inspection,’ Markku Tinnilä recaps.

The Customized Student Business Projects concept offers students the opportunity to work on solving current challenges faced by corporate business, giving the assigning company the possibility to develop and spar new ideas together with the students.

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