Looking at the future of automobiles from industry and media

  Takahiro Fujimoto of the University of Tokyo established his unique position in the industry by analyzing the competitiveness of Japanese cars. He not only bases his theoretical framework on evolutionary economics, but also introduces the concept of information science slantingly when explaining the fundamental issue of “organizational capability”, and proposes “product = information + medium”. , That is, the products produced by the enterprise every day are regarded as the products after the product design information is integrated into the raw materials as the medium. Therefore, the so-called deep-level organizational capabilities of an enterprise are, in the final analysis, an “information system” for continuously designing information exchanges.
  Takahiro Fujimoto borrowed the core logic of “storage-transmit-process” from Shannon-Wiener’s information theory. He believes that the process of product manufacturing explores where information comes from, where it is stored, and where it flows. The purpose of this is to see the source of organizational capabilities.
  Fujimoto Takahiro’s product view and enterprise view are related to the effective transmission of information, whether it is manufacturing or service industries, the purpose is to provide a medium for carrying design information. For the manufacturing industry, quality represents the accuracy of information transmission, and production efficiency represents the speed of information transmission. The “field power” emphasized by Japanese companies is actually the system feature of designing and transmitting information, and “field power” is often regarded as the winning ability of the Japanese automobile industry.
Architecture is the route

  Product architecture can be divided into two types: modular and integrated. The difference between the two lies in the complexity of the relationship between functional groups and component groups-modular products can have standardized interfaces and components have higher functional independence; integrated products have complex internal group relationships, and one part often Responsible for multiple functions, it belongs to the superposition state of one-to-many and many-to-one, so on-site fine-tuning must be carried out between the parts, which Fujimoto Takahiro calls “run-in”.
  Combined with the characteristics of the cooperative relationship between enterprises, there is a difference between an open and a closed structure. The closed architecture requires all interface standards to be enclosed within an enterprise. Open and closed, module and integration, combined together, there will be three combinations of “closed + whole”, “closed + module” and “open + module”.
  From the perspective of the cross-development of the Internet and the manufacturing industry, openness and closedness are a state where you are in you and you are in me. In other words, openness and closedness are always relative. As for why these three combination methods continue to be unfailing, you can see Tangao from the introduction of the concepts of “information” and “media” by Takahiro Fujimoto.
  If the framework is based on the way of information transmission and provides an analytical framework for the competitiveness of the Japanese automobile industry, then the concrete understanding of the connotation of industrial competitiveness must be viewed from the perspective of “media”. Fujimoto Takahiro uses the term “medium”, but judging from the ease with which the information he distinguishes can be written into the medium, the medium cannot exist without the information. This is what we call the “media” concept in the general sense. . The “product=information+medium” mentioned above can be rewritten as “medium=information+medium”, so “product=medium”. This is also in line with our original intention to analyze cars as a medium.
  Fujimoto Takahiro believes that the strong point of the Japanese is to deal with “mediums that are not easy to write information”, that is, raw materials such as steel plates, resins, and silicon wafers. He calls this writing process “making.” What is “difficult to write”? It is durable, which is a very interesting place, and it is also an important intersection with the “time and space bias” in media theory.
  In the industry theory, strong durability means higher demand for inventory processing capacity. Toyota’s JIT (Just in Time) has made excellent improvements to inventory and has become a global management model. For the service industry, JIT is not needed, because the products (media) of the service industry are immediately deteriorated or disappeared, or the products provided by the service industry have a strong sense of space and a weak sense of time.
  The different degrees of bias of the media with respect to time and space determine the business model of an industry, just like the difference between a car and a radio. If we combine with enterprises (organizations) and examine the Canadian school’s “time and space bias” view in media theory, we can draw the conclusion that the dominant media in manufacturing is more time-oriented, and its organization is vertical integration; The service industry, especially the new service industry spawned by information technology, tends to be organized in a horizontal integration mode. This understanding can be mutually confirmed with the three combinations of “closed + whole”, “closed + module” and “open + module” mentioned in the previous article.
  In fact, both the Japanese auto industry and the global auto industry as a whole have been pursuing a “closed + overall” architecture so far, and modularity that has been skillfully used in the computer industry has not really risen. Even Tesla’s “super production”, which represents the so-called advanced manufacturing capabilities, is at best realized the modularization of the factory under Musk’s bold vision, that is, at most in the “closed + module” position as a whole. Even so, the Tesla model was scorned by Toyota. The Toyota model believes that the factory should be human-centered, rather than building it as a product with universal interface capabilities.
  But we have to see that the organizational model of the auto industry is in the midst of a transition from a single model to a complex model. The important reason for this is that the information attributes of automobiles have undergone mixed changes. For example, the intelligence of the center console, the real-time information and continuous optimization of algorithms as the front station of intelligent driving, the time attribute of the vehicle as the medium is being reduced, and the space attribute is being strengthened. When the car is regarded as a product that provides users with social and entertainment information, it will fall between “manufacturing” and “non-manufacturing.” Users’ needs for real-time road conditions and online entertainment are as important as their needs for comfort and safety, and even the former’s needs are even more satisfied. Therefore, NIO will adopt the concept of “user operation” and achieve rapid development.
  Behind the changes that are taking place in automobiles is a huge driving force of the times: traditional manufacturing and information industries are moving towards a high degree of integration. There is not only one path for integration. Huawei’s strategy is to adopt the Inside model, which obviously fully borrows the integration model of the personal computer industry; Tencent adopts the connection model and does not appear as the protagonist; the traditional car company Volkswagen adopts the integration model developed by itself. Mode; Xiaopeng, Weilai and ideal modes are also different. In short, everyone is still groping, and there is not yet a clear and dominant path.
  If Toyota represents “closed + overall” and Tesla represents “closed + module”, then can companies in the smart car industry and existing automakers in China develop a real “open + The “module” approach is very much to look forward to. Fujimoto Takahiro once wrote, “China’s industry has the ability to change the structure of products,” and this ability is reflected in motorcycles that were once a closed integrated product. Through continuous imitation and improvement, Chinese companies have created products with an almost open modular structure.
  The ability to change the product structure is where Japanese manufacturing is most afraid of Chinese manufacturing. Of course, it must be admitted that the structure of a car is a hundred times more complicated than that of a motorcycle.
  For the current Chinese automobile industry, the opportunity lies in whether we can change the product architecture (or ecology), and the risk lies in the fact that smart cars are now in the stage of connected cars, and there is still a long way to go before the perfect realization of autonomous driving. In other words, in this transitional period, everything is still unclear.

“Experience” instead of “Perception”

  We regard the emergence of smart cars as a milestone in the mobile era, and the standards of this era are often equated with the Apple model. The endorsement vocabulary of the Apple model is “experience”, and in addition to the “closed + overall” integration of software and hardware, there is a new complementary relationship between iOS and the App Store that builds an Apple-style experience. Hou Hong of the National Development Research Institute of Peking University listed 9 major events in the evolution of the mobile phone industry from 1999 to the present in the article “Strategic Enlightenment from the 30-Year Evolution of the Mobile Phone Industry”. One of the latest things is “complementary product innovation.”

  He believes that the mobile phone industry has experienced two complementary product innovations, one is the complementarity between mobile phones and networks (telecom operators), and the other is the complementarity between operating systems and applications. “Why do operators lose control of mobile phones? It is because of the emergence of another industry control point and another important complementary relationship, namely operating systems and applications. Complementary product innovation is an important picture for the expansion of industry boundaries. For the Chinese market In other words, for the changes in the relationship between the two complementary products mentioned above, it is more for spectators and receivers, and the complementary operation of smart hardware and mobile phones may be the first time that a Chinese company has consciously led the expansion of the industry boundary. ”
  This is still the station. Interpreting from the perspective of industry, how should we understand it from the perspective of media ontology? First of all, “experience” must exist because of information. In the industrial age and the electrical age, we praised McLuhan’s “medium as an extension of humans”. Whether it is electronic media or automobiles, they are considered to be the extension of human organs. For this extension, we can “perceive”, for example, we perceive the acceleration of information, and we perceive the strong power brought by the engine. But this is not “experience”.
  ”Perception” is the content enhancement with the human body as the core, while “experience” is the technical construction with the medium as the core. What we “perceive” is the content brought by the media, which has already existed in the past development experience of human beings and has been constructed in advance. What we “experience” is the experience that humans have never had before, brought about by the autonomous operation of the media. For example, speed is the content of the engine, we just extend our legs, because “speed” is the ability we have always possessed. For smart cars, extensive information technology, complex network interconnection and classic driving design are intertwined, which must bring about “super perception”, which is what we have never experienced in any era. state”. This “state” is “experience”. For example, we use voice conversion technology while driving, chatting where to eat at night on WeChat in the car. When you and your companion on the other side of WeChat say the name of the restaurant, the navigation will automatically recognize it immediately and locate the restaurant as a new destination.
  The premise of “experience” is that digital replaces analog. MP3 provides “experience” and Walkman provides “perception” because MP3 uses digital compression technology. Then the online audio-visual software that appeared can be seen as a continuous upgrade of the “experience”. The upgrade of “experience” is based on the infrastructure of media, such as the “storage-transmission-processing” information logic composed of cloud storage, bandwidth, and cloud computing.
  Each of us is a product of information logic. We always maintain the state of being based on “bus” and “address” in the media environment. Whether we use social accounts, entertainment software, or even online office, it is just a set of behaviors presented by complex calculations. In the pessimistic direction, we are just the result of digitization. Kittler, the famous media philosopher after McLuhan, said bluntly that the information machine surpassed human beings, that is, its inventor, and the computer itself became the subject, operating through the feedback mechanism of cybernetics. It may be said that in Kittler’s eyes, digitalization has ended.
  At the “experience” level, smart cars are not smart phones. It can provide “experiences” that smart phones cannot provide, and these “experiences” must be unavailable by a single medium technology. In other words, it is the product of the convergence of media technology. The medium represented by the car requires users to decode them based on their own experience, such as whether the running-in between the engine and the gearbox is smooth, whether the brakes are soft or hard, and whether the steering assist is light or heavy. The intelligent network represented by the center console represents a medium that users do not need to decode. The user’s experience is not in itself, but is stored in the car, mobile phone, or even the cloud. The objects of the two experiences are also quite different. The car represents the “perceived” experience or the physical experience. Intelligent network connection represents the creativity of “experience” or the activeness of emotion and thinking. For users of smart cars, engine indicators may be far less important than the ease of use of high-precision maps or on-board WeChat.
  Why do we say that smart cars are a milestone in the mobile era? Because its complexity has reached a new height, two types of contradictory media must be merged together to create a new “experience”. This cannot be explained by installing four wheels on a smartphone, let alone adding more to a car. It can be solved with a few chips. The integration is still in the process, and as a result, all the unclear situations mentioned in the previous article will appear-Internet giants, solution providers, and traditional car dealers are pulling and pulling each other, each advancing and retreating. As for when the new industrial laws contained in it will surface, that is, what industrial methods the two media use to break the current chaos, may have to wait for the mature application of autonomous driving technology.