I just finished watching a webinar on “The Paradigm Shift in Auto Mobility” presented by TU-Automotive Detroit 2015 (www.tu-auto.com/detroit). It was fascinating hearing Doug Claus of BMW talk about self-parking cars. Imagine, you pull into a parking garage and get out of your car and your car goes into the garage on its own and seeks out a free parking space and parks. It then patiently waits until you summon it to pick you back up using either your Smartphone or Smartwatch technology.
Doug pointed out that car sharing vs. car ownership is where many young adults see the future. Autonomous vehicles are also on the horizon, though he pointed out that European countries have better painted roads, better road signage and better road maintenance than we do here in the United States. It’s another example of our crumbling infrastructure and how it makes us a less competitive place in the world when it comes to implementing these coming new technologies.
But the reason I attended this webinar was to hear about the future of AM/FM radio in the car dashboard of the future. What Raj Paul of LochBridge calls “Infotainment Systems.”
Raj said that each OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) has built a unique proprietary system. He mentioned a couple of them like Honda’s HondaLink, Ford MyTouch, Toyota Entune, Chrysler UConnect, Cadillac Cue and Mercedes mBrace2. There are also the Google Android and Apple iOS systems that are being developed. Expect that every OEM will seamlessly work with their own proprietary system as well as both Android and iOS.
When Raj put up the slide about existing infotainment architecture, you couldn’t help but notice the Pandora button on the screen. The other two symbols were apparently there to represent how Apps from your Smartphone would load into the car’s system.
The next generation integrated infotainment interface was packed with GPS maps, live traffic, navigation, routing, parking locator, gas & price locator, etc. A lot of information displayed in front of the driver. Yes, the Pandora button was once again prominently displayed on this slide, but only to indicate the accessibility of streaming audio services. I was happy to see an AM/FM button there too.
The competition for utilization of each point of access has never been greater. It makes the AM radio with push buttons for favorite radio stations seem quaint by comparison.
You won’t have to set your favorite applications, because your car will learn what you like and what you use and put that configuration up when you sit in the driver’s seat and push the button for your personal seat position. This is what OEM’s call adaptive profiling.
For radio station operators, being at the top of your game has never been more important. Advertising and promoting your brand will be critical to make listeners aware of what you offer and why they should care.
In a way, I see it as history repeating itself. For before there was radio, those early pioneers needed to tell people why they needed to go out and buy one. Then they had to program those radio stations and promote themselves to be the “must listen to” radio station and keep those listeners returning each day. Those days are back, only this time the game has changed to how do you brand your radio product and stand out in an car infotainment world where audio programming options are ubiquitous.