CASE

PARTNERSHIP OF PIONEERS: BMW AND ICON INCAR

TL;DR

(TOO LONG; DIDN'T READ)

When we first met BMW Design in 2008, we would never have dreamed of where this journey would take us. At a time when “User Experience Design” wasn’t on everyone’s lips yet and the design of the “Human-Machine Interface” (HMI) was only understood by a few people, BMW placed a lot of trust in us – and certainly bet a little on our enthusiasm.

How to deal with this new interface to the end customer, how to design in digital space and how the corresponding  “mental model” actually works and looks: it was up to us to figure out all of that. Until then, there were no standards on which one could build – neither in design nor in technology. A lot of things had to be developed from scratch, and we were able to derive a lot from our experience in the mobile sector.

Since then, we have done pioneering work together with BMW. The first digital instrument cluster, the first real-time 3D UI, the first eco trainers, Connected Apps and many other innovations could only be developed within the framework of a long-term partnership.

SEAMLESS USER EXPERIENCE

To this day we support BMW in UX/UI design – without interruption for six iDrive generations. Our shared design maxim is always to create a consistent user experience. To achieve this, we consider all digital interfaces equally – from the central information display to the head-up display, the digital instrument cluster, the rear seat entertainment, to apps and the connected drive portal – and develop solutions that are optimized for each channel and yet communicate a uniform brand image.

Our cooperation with BMW also includes the development of showcars. The most important thing here is to tell an inspiring story in order to create radiance and communicative power. It’s about great visions: with their studies “BMW Vision Next 100” for the 100th anniversary of the BMW Group, the Munich-based company showed what the mobility of the future could look like.

In addition to UI design, our tools also include hardware and software prototyping to make strategies for the future of mobility tangible at an early stage.

OUR ROLE: THE CRITICAL SYMPATHIZER

Our partnership has developed just as much as the requirements of the industry – and is characterized by joint growth.

Especially in the early days, when development cycles were longer, we had the opportunity to try out a lot of new things according to the “trial and error” principle – and to find out how the processes work. We were the “accelerator”: those who quickly built up knowledge for the transfer of know-how to the in-house team.

Today, in times when development cycles are getting shorter and shorter, we benefit from this. As a partner, we are still “a critical sympathizer” for BMW today: a discussion and development partner at eye level who brings maximum flexibility and agility as special added value – and of course the passion to always go beyond what is feasible.

What would an equivalent of the iconic BMW exterior look like in their HMI? With the Operating System 7.0, BMW says goodbye to the classic physical gauges and traditional circular form. The characteristic “kidney” design language now continues directly into the vehicle.

DEVELOPING THE FUTURE TOGETHER

We have proven it together: in a sustainable partnership you can create real innovations. Fastly and efficiently. After all, it’s all about joining forces and taking different perspectives on a problem. With our experience from other industries, we can make a valuable contribution to this. At the same time, our many years of cooperation have given us an understanding of what specific solutions BMW needs.

We are looking forward to what we have achieved together, but even more so to the future: because we want to remain at the forefront of innovation and jointly develop successful products.