Mercedes-Benz has announced a new generation of app-based products and services, alongside its own developer platform, with the aim of creating a new "digital ecosystem".
Initially comprising three main Mercedes Me apps available to download with immediate effect, the new features will be offered in 40 markets by the end of 2020. The firm claims the intention was to improve "base functionalities with an even more attractive customer experience", alongside shorter update cycles and more intuitive operation. One login is now required for all three apps.
The Mercedes Me app links the car to the user's smartphone and enables information such as range, mileage or tyre pressure to be easily displayed. Where applicable, users can also operate pre-conditioning, the convertible roof or the side windows via the app, with a new feature enabling a flash of the headlights to locate the car.
The second app, Mercedes Me Store, provides the digital ecosystem that Mercedes claims will become a core part of its revenue streams in years to come. Users can easily access digital products, connected services and on-demand features, which can be purchased via the smartphone - for example features such as the enhanced smartphone integration package that weren't optioned when the car was originally purchased.
Finally, the brand also offers a Mercedes Me Service app, which can remind owners of service or maintenance appointments, displays warning alerts and recommends appropriate actions to fix or prevent further issues. Users can also book workshop visits through the app.
Mercedes claims the real innovation of the new apps is its standardised development platform, called Software Development Kit (SDK). It allows independent programmers to construct apps that function with the vehicle interfaces with data security "guaranteed at every point in time". It follows on from the brand becoming one of the first of its kind to offer external developers access to its vehicle functions.
The firm says it is also "seamlessly blending physical retail with the digital channels" in a new sales initiative. It expects to achieve a quarter of its global passenger car sales via online channels by 2025.