NTT DATA’s Concierge Service for Rental Car Leisure Travel

Field test to confirm utility of new mobility experience

October 21, 2021
NTT DATA Corporation
ORIX Auto Corporation
JTB Communication Design, Inc.

TOKYO – September 28, 2021 – NTT DATA, a global digital business and IT services leader, today announces that it has developed a concierge service for leisure travel by rental car that aims to provide a new type of mobility experience, and together with ORIX Auto Corporation and JTB Communication Design, Inc., the meetings & events arm of JTB Corporation, has begun field test to confirm the utility of the service as a step toward commercialization.
This service utilizes special tablets attached in several places inside the vehicle, from which a mascot character acts as a travel guide, suggesting tourist spots and routes. The sense of togetherness created by having all the passengers see the same screen information, and having shared time for discussion, provides a new mobility experience. Suggestions for tourist spots are made based on the vehicle location and the attributes of the passengers, tailored to user preferences. Plans created on the tablets automatically link with navigation map application on the driver’s smartphone.
Going forward, NTT DATA, together with ORIX Auto and JTB Communication Design, will collaborate with mobility companies and other businesses to expand functionality and develop business models, aiming to begin providing the service in point of interest during fiscal 2022.

Background

NTT DATA, aiming to provide services for the automotive industry and other companies in a future with self-driving cars and “connected cars” with in-vehicle media, in June 2020 announced the “Mobility Commerce Service” concept1, intended to redefine the meaning of mobility through collaboration with a wide range of business partners. This concept gives seamless and frictionless for consumers, including providing recommendations such as guides to nearby sites and entertainment matched to individual preferences, together with reservations to use at their destination (commercial centers, leisure facilities, parking, etc.).
ORIX Auto aims to utilize this service to add the value of the car rental and car sharing experience, which serves as a means of transportation when sightseeing. The company is also seeking to respond to increasingly diverse and fragmented mobility needs, and establish a new business as a contact point with consumers.
JTB Communication Design has for some time maintained that self-driving cars and MaaS (Mobility as a Service) will lead to significant changes in travel styles for the tourism industry. The company engages various types of MaaS-related businesses in Japan, and participates in a wide range of projects. The company foresees a paradigm shift is occurring in the way communication is handled with prospective customers of sightseeing companies, and is considering how to convey tourism-related content to automobile users in ways that are optimal, timely, and exciting.
Through participation in NTT DATA’s Mobility Commerce Service concept, the three companies developed a prototype service2 for rental car travelers, and conducted field test.

Overview of the field test

As a step toward commercialization, the following demonstration experiments were conducted to verify that the functionality and achieve the user’s expectation, as well as to assess the feasibility of the service for business operators.

Period: February 2021
Participants: Approximately 20 employees3 from NTT DATA, ORIX Auto, and JTB Communication Design
Test Method: The system was tested by driving rental cars installed with a prototype of this system around the suburbs of Tokyo.
Service subject to test:

Dedicated tablet terminals were installed for the passenger seat and the back seats of the car, which all displayed the same information. Passengers are able to interact with all the tablets, allowing access to the same service from any seat.
The major features are implemented as follows. A mascot character acts as a tour guide, explaining the various functions and providing information, allowing users to make new discoveries and have fun.

Fig. 1: In-vehicle tablet installation image

Fig. 1: In-vehicle tablet installation image

Function Description
Recommendations Based on tourism information data, the system combines location data from the in-car tablet terminal with information on the attributes of the passengers, such as their ages, gender, and residence, and shows recommended spots in the area tailored to the user’s preference.
Guidebook Information is displayed for the selected destination, such as business hours of restaurants and commercial facilities, and recommended products.
Save list of favorite destinations and create routes Users can save interesting and favorite destinations, with the route adjusting automatically as users change destinations, or freely modify routes to the destination.
Automatic link with navigation system When a destination is registered, the route to that destination is automatically linked to the in-car tablet terminal and the driver’s smartphone to provide navigation.

Fig. 2: Character guide

Fig. 2: Character guide

Fig. 3: Tablet screen sample

Fig. 3: Tablet screen sample

Fig. 4: Routes and guides shared with all seat

Fig. 4: Routes and guides shared with all seats

Test Points: Inclination to use the service, willingness to pay for the service, identification of points for improvement in functionality to support practical application
Test Results: The following results of field test confirmed the utility of the service.

Inclination to use

Of participants in the field test, 59% said that they would want to use this service as an option with a rental car, with 35% responding that they were somewhat inclined to use it. Also, when renting a car, 94% said that all other conditions being equal, they would preferentially choose a rental car company that offered this service.
Overall, more than 90% of participants were positive regarding use of this service.

Fig. 5: Would you want to use this service when traveling by rental car with someone else?

Fig. 5: Would you want to use this service when traveling by rental car with someone else?

Fig. 6: If all other conditions are the same, would you preferentially choose a rental car company that offered this service?

Fig. 6: If all other conditions are the same, would you preferentially choose a rental car company that offered this service?

Willingness to pay

Asked if they would use this service as a paid option in a rental car, 94% of participants said they would use it if the price was in the range of 300 to 1,500 yen.
The result was sufficiently high to support practical application of the service.

Points for improvement in functionality to support practical application

Participants responded favorably to the system as a new in-vehicle mobility experience and service, and highly rated the ability to passively receive information by being automatically provided with nearby tourism information from the in-vehicle tablet, as well as receiving the same content as other passengers and sharing the experience. At the same time, the tests revealed the need for better recommendations and expanded content, as well as further modifications to the design, verifying the areas for improvement.

Feedback from participants (excerpts):

  • I appreciated how the system compensates for the difficult-to-use built-in navigation system.
  • During times when I felt it was a hassle to choose a destination, the recommendations from the character made me want to immediately go there.
  • The directions from the character were exciting, like a theme park attraction.
  • At first, I thought a smartphone would be sufficient, but after actually using the system, I recognize the value of having this service in the car, and felt a sense of togetherness with others.
  • I would like additional information such as congestion at the destination, sightseeing highlights, and specialty items. Reservations and coupons for destinations would also be welcome.

Consumer Survey

At the same time as the field test, NTT DATA conducted a nationwide survey of Japanese aged 20 to 40 who take trips at least once a year (approximately 1,250 people), on their inclination to use this service and their reasons. Interviews were also conducted with certain subjects. In general, the survey showed a high degree of acceptance of the service concept, with around 70% of respondents saying that they wanted to use the service even as a paid option for a rental car. The need for a recommendation function and automated links with the car navigation system was particularly high, with many respondents expressing a desire for greater integration with a range of nearby services.
In addition, 10 respondents were selected to experience this service installed in an actual vehicle, in order to confirm their inclination to use it. All 10 participants, including those who said in the survey that they had no desire to use the service, stated that they wanted to use it when it is available in a rental car. This result showed that actually experiencing the service increases the inclination to use it.

Role of Each Company

NTT DATA: Business and service planning, prototype system development, acquisition of vehicle location information, conducting of field test and analysis of results.
ORIX Auto: Consideration and verification for using this service in the rental car industry, provision of vehicles.
JTB Communication Design: Providing know-how such as behavior trends of travelers and people flows at tourist destinations, business production, proposals for communication methods such as tourism content in the automobile (mobility) space.

Future Plans

Going forward, NTT DATA, together with ORIX Auto and JTB Communication Design, will work with partners and other business operators to consider additional features and business models, aiming to begin offering the service in point of interest during fiscal 2022.
The mobile services consumption market is expected to reach several trillion yen in the future. For mobility business operators, in addition to rental cars and car sharing services, NTT DATA has already begun exploring introducing this service for automakers and parts manufacturers. For service providers, NTT DATA is working with tour companies, commercial facilities and other retailers, entertainment firms, financial institutions, and other businesses, planning to cooperate broadly with companies and local governments to develop new businesses in the mobility field.
NTT DATA and its partners will continue to envisage the mobility experiences of the future, promote innovation, and aim to create a new mobility culture and lifestyles.

Notes

  1. (June 18, 2020) “NTT DATA and uerry Conclude Capital and Business Alliance to Provide ‘New Mobility Experience’”
    https://www.nttdata.com/jp/ja/news/release/2020/061801/(Japanese)

    NTT DATA is also conducting demonstration testing to realize its “Mobility Commerce Service.”
    (June 8, 2021) “DENSO and NTT DATA Complete Verification Test Using Vehicle and People Flow Data to Innovate the Mobility Experience”
    https://www.nttdata.com/global/en/media/press-release/2021/june/denso-and-ntt-data-complete-verification-test-using-vehicle-and-people-flow-data

  2. The prototype was developed with support from SEGA XD Co., Ltd. (UI/UX design), Star Global Consulting Inc. (application development), HERE Technologies (map creation), and JTB Publishing, Inc. (provision of tourism information / Rurubu DATA).
  3. The original plan was to conduct the tests using ordinary tourists, but in consideration of preventing the spread of COVID-19, the testing was conducted with employees of the relevant companies.
  • Names of products, companies, and organizations are trademarks or registered trademarks of those companies.

About NTT DATA

NTT DATA – a part of NTT Group – is a trusted global innovator of IT and business services headquartered in Tokyo. We help clients transform through consulting, industry solutions, business process services, IT modernization and managed services. NTT DATA enables clients, as well as society, to move confidently into the digital future. We are committed to our clients’ long-term success and combine global reach with local client attention to serve them in over 50 countries. Visit us at nttdata.com.

About ORIX

ORIX Corporation (TSE: 8591; NYSE: IX) is a financial services group which provides innovative products and services to its customers by constantly pursuing new businesses.
Established in 1964, from its start in the leasing business, ORIX has advanced into neighboring fields and at present has expanded into lending, investment, life insurance, banking, asset management, automobile related, real estate and environment and energy related businesses. Since entering Hong Kong in 1971, ORIX has spread its businesses globally by establishing locations in 31 countries and regions across the world.
Going forward, ORIX intends to utilize its strengths and expertise, which generate new value, to establish an independent ORIX business model that continues to evolve perpetually. In this way, ORIX will engage in business activities that instill vitality in its companies and workforce, and thereby contribute to society. For more details, please visit our website: https://www.orix.co.jp/grp/en/
(As of March 31, 2021)

About JTB Communication Design

JTB Communication Design is a Japanese meetings & events specialist that manages events of all kind, both in Japan and the rest of the world. We believe that through events, we can connect people and the world. JCD can support you with your event, conference, meeting, party, ceremony, trade show, exhibition, show, incentive, promotion, Strategic Meetings Management (SMM), and more.

Contacts

Media inquiries

NTT DATA Corporation
Public Relations Department
E-mail: pr-team@kits.nttdata.co.jp

ORIX Corporation
Corporate Communications Department
Contact persons: ODA, KADOYA
Tel:+81-3-3435-3167

JTB Communication Design, Inc.
Public Relations Officer, General Planning Department
Tel:+81-3-5657-0860
E-mail: jcd-pr@jtbcom.co.jp

Product and service inquiries

NTT DATA Corporation
Technology & Transformation Officer, Consulting Department, Consulting & Solutions Division
Contact persons: MATSUSHITA, AKASHI
Tel:+81-90-5786-9901
E-mail: cnm-tt@kits.nttdata.co.jp

ORIX Auto Corporation
Mobility Service Development Dept.
Contact persons: SAITO, BANSAI, HIROSE
Tel: +81-3-6436-6030

JTB Communication Design, Inc.
Corporate Solutions Department, Production Bureau
Contact persons: KUROIWA, HIBINO
Tel:+81-3-5657-0611
E-mail: kuroiwa5188@jtbcom.co.jp

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