Each year brings new technologies and advancements in the auto glass industry that will impact your business. Knowing what to anticipate will help you make the necessary adjustments to stay busy – and profitable. Here are a few items to watch for in 2018.

The Growing Prominence of ADAS

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are becoming more commonplace, helping alert drivers to specific dangers.

Their widespread availability will see demand for them continue to increase. In fact, a 2015 survey by McKinsey & Company estimates that 89 percent of the drivers currently using ADAS want to purchase a car with these systems in the future.

Of special importance to glass repair shops, most ADAS technology is on the windshield. And that means repair or replacement jobs involving ADAS glass will continue to increase as well.

ADAS Recalibration is Essential

That also means recalibrating ADAS after replacing the windshield is a crucial service.

ADAS must be carefully recalibrated to ensure the technology operates as it should, and at maximum capacity and precision. If ADAS sensors are not in correct working order, they could go offline and remain unusable, and compromise driver, passenger, and pedestrian safety.

Often, recalibration means heading to the car dealer as they are normally the only ones with the proper recalibrating equipment. Complicating matters further, insurance companies are specifying only dealer logo’d glass be used for claims involving ADAS glass.

If you’re able to recalibrate ADAS, your shop will be well-positioned to profit from this additional and necessary function. If not, it’s wise to stay knowledgeable about recalibration issues, and manufacturer and insurance policies.

Glass Design Changes

Constant efforts by auto manufacturers to improve vehicle design and reduce fuel usage are also leading to changes in glass design.

Windshields are becoming thinner, stronger, and more curved, and also increasing in size, making cars more aerodynamic.

For example, Corning recently introduced its Gorilla Automotive Glass. The company said the new glass adds to vehicles’ energy efficiency, is five times stronger than standard glass, and reduces vehicle weight by more than 12 pounds.

Designed in three layers, it’s also up to 30 percent thinner than the industry standard. While it’s currently being installed in a few higher end vehicles, it’s also being tested by such manufacturers as Ford as a way to meet fuel economy standards.

Smart Glass Getting Smarter

Glass design goes hand in hand with manufacturers continuing to find ways to make glass “smarter.”

Along with ADAS compatibility, glass is becoming lighter, greener, and more flexible, durable, and resilient. Smart glass can take many forms, such as windows and windshields using electric current to change glass properties in response to light, temperature or moisture.

With demand rising for energy-efficient and eco-friendly products, North America leads market production of smart glass. And with a compound annual growth rate above 19 percent, the global smart glass market is expected to reach $6.56 billion by 2021, according to Zion Market Research.

Personalized Customer Contact with the Omni-channel Experience

It’s not just changing glass technology that will affect how you do business. Rapid changes in communication technology means digital-savvy customers looking to control how they contact you.

The Omni-channel Experience (OCE) is all about personalizing the customer experience by taking advantage of today’s technology. More and more, customers want the choice to be able to reach you by text, email, web chat, online forms – and yes, maybe actually calling your business phone.

Insurance companies are employing an OCE in their interactions with policyholders, including their handling of glass repair claims. By incorporating an OCE into your business, you can strengthen your customer relationships and increase customer satisfaction.