Stingray and ACCESS make every journey a sing-a-long

Oberhausen, Germany, 22 November 2022ACCESS Europe GmbH announces that it will integrate Karaoke services, powered by Stingray, into the ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car) in-vehicle infotainment platform. Stingray Karaoke supports both a touch screen and voice-controlled in-car experience that is designed to enable drivers and passengers to safely learn, practice, and perform their favourite songs and make every journey more fun!

Stingray Karaoke offers drivers a unique in-car experience by allowing them to tap into a catalogue of up to 100,000 licensed songs. Local and international content can be enjoyed in many languages, including English, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and German. The platform has high-quality original concept background videos and images with easy-to-read, synchronized scrolling lyrics cues that appear directly on the screen. The innovative user interface is customisable to bring a more personalised experience to the customer.

Aono Masahiro, CEO, ACCESS Europe, said: “Karaoke is popular globally, and is something I really enjoy. By integrating Stingray Karaoke with our in-vehicle entertainment solution we are providing an experience similar to that provided by the recent growth in Asia of single-person karaoke rooms. OEMs can be confident that the ACCESS and Stingray solution will provide an in-car entertainment experience that drivers and passengers look forward to every journey, allowing them to sing along to the songs and lyrics they know and love in the comfort of their own vehicle.”

Tom Adams, Managing Director, Stingray Germany GmbH, said: “Through this partnership, ACCESS and Stingray have a shared vision of providing the best possible experience to our song-loving, connected car users. By integrating our APIs with the ACCESS in-vehicle entertainment solution, we move closer to our goal of connecting with Karaoke fans anywhere and anytime.”

The new version of Twine4Car includes content from several media partners and a wide range of apps, TV services, and VOD offerings for many markets. Features such as Sync Play will be beneficial when using Stingray Karaoke as it enables multiple passengers to relish a more group-centric experience.

Other features in Twine4Car include:

    • TWINE App Store:
      A dedicated in-car app store enables OEMs to make a wide selection of apps available to drivers and passengers within their own branded in-car platform.
    • Monetisation and data support:
      OEMs can forge new business models within the car through pre- and post-roll video advertising for Head Units and Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE).
    • Native Android app support:
      Twine4Car allows for the seamless integration of Android native applications, creating an immersive user experience via the OEM-branded IVI interface. This enables OEMs to completely control the services and create an ideal UX for native apps and embedded or API-based services.
    • Sync Play:
      Twine4Car enables two devices to synchronise the playback of the same video content, allowing the passengers to enjoy content on the screen in front of them simultaneously as other passengers.
    • Parental/Remote Control:
      Along with content-related control from any screen in the vehicle, Twine4Car can put parents in charge of the type and length of content consumed by their children.

    About Stingray
    Stingray (TSX: RAY.A; RAY.B) is a leading global music, media, and technology company with over 1,000 employees worldwide. Stingray is a premium provider of curated direct-to-consumer and B2B services, including audio television channels, over 100 radio stations, SVOD content, 4K UHD television channels, FAST channels, karaoke products, digital signage, in-car entertainment, in-store music, and music apps, which have been downloaded over 160 million times. Stingray reaches 400 million subscribers (or users) in 160 countries. For more information: www.stingray.com

    About ACCESS
    Since 1984, ACCESS CO., LTD. (Tokyo Stock Exchange Prime Market, Index, 4813) has been providing advanced IT solutions centred on mobile and network software technologies to telecom carriers, consumer electronics manufacturers, broadcasting and publishing companies, the automotive industry, and energy infrastructure providers around the world. The company develops mobile software solutions that have been installed on over 1.5 billion devices and network software solutions that have been used by more than 500 companies. Utilising its network virtualisation technology expertise and knowledge, the company is currently focusing on developing and commercializing the DX and IoT that combine embedded and cloud technology. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, the company maintains subsidiaries and affiliates in Asia, Europe, and the United States to support and expand its business globally. Learn more about ACCESS at www.access-company.com.

    © 2022 ACCESS CO., LTD. All rights reserved. ACCESS, the ACCESS logo, and ACCESS Twine are registered trademarks or trademarks of ACCESS CO., LTD. in the United States, Japan, and other countries. All other trademarks, logos, and trade names mentioned in the document are the property of their respective owners.

    BYD is already delivering, could the Tesla crown be slipping?

    Tesla has enjoyed a successful reign on the EV throne, appearing to be untouchable as Elon Musk’s empire innovated and conquered the automotive market. However, earlier this month, a much less-known yet just as ambitious company overtook Tesla to take pole-position as the king of the battery-powered car.

    BYD, short for ‘Build Your Dreams’, is now the world’s fastest selling EV manufacturer, recording 641,000 sales in six months, beating Tesla’s 564,000. Based in China, BYD, which has U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet as a shareholder, is dominating the Chinese market through launching EVs on time and at scale.

    How has it done this? BYD has the benefit of having an already-integrated supply chain due to its investment in manufacturing critical parts – from batteries to semiconductors. By doing this, BYD has provided itself with the key components to build its vehicles and avoided the well documented pains of many other automakers.

    So far Tesla and BYD haven’t really been in competition – BYD and Tesla until very recently made quite different vehicles; and in Tesla’s US backyard, BYD doesn’t sell vehicles due to the tariffs on car imports. But internationally, they are about to compete, with the BYD Seal having the Tesla Model 3 firmly in its sights. In China, BYD reported that it had over 22,000 orders in just a few hours after the Seal launch. The car is an attractive well priced package (equivalent to $32,000) in China. BYD has reported a fast ramp-up of production, and it appears likely to be attractive to consumers outside China too.

    So BYD are now making increasingly luxurious cars to compete with Tesla and the traditional OEMs, such as VW, Ford, GM, etc., as they also become EV vendors – but how are BYD going beyond the Tesla playbook?

    One really key difference is that although all its vehicles are manufactured in China, BYD has been able to avoid the worst of the China lockdown supply-chain issues by making its own chips through its BYD Semiconductor subsidiary, for which there are plans to float on the Shenzhen ChiNext market.

    When it comes to batteries, again BYD is ahead of Tesla through making its own batteries. Yes, Tesla has a joint venture with Panasonic to produce batteries through The Sparks, Nevada, Gigafactory, but for all its China and many of its US produced cars, Tesla buys off-the-shelf batteries from third-party companies such as CATL.

    BYD makes BYD Blade batteries, a specialised Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery, which it sells to other automotive OEMs and there have been rumours that they are about to provide batteries to Tesla too. The automotive OEMs said to be choosing BYD Blade’s for cars made for or aimed at the Chinese market include Ford, GM and Toyota.

    To ensure that BYD has a continued source of Lithium for its batteries it is involved in lithium mining projects, with more rumours that it is to buy six lithium mines in Africa. BYD is also thought to be planning new higher-end vehicles, moving its average sale price higher. It appears that BYD is finding it easier to launch new vehicles than Tesla, which has delayed new models multiple times and may go through 2021 – 2023 without shipping any new models.

    So, for BYD, going beyond the Tesla playbook means that is the company is already doing things that Elon Musk has only talked about: it makes its own chips, sells a model priced at $25,000, is rumoured to be buying Lithium mines so that it can make enough batteries to meet its own demand, and sells batteries to third parties. And critically, BYD appears to have cracked designing and launching new models quickly, something Tesla has struggled with recently: and BYD does all of this profitably.

    The automotive industry and the public is used to seeing Tesla as the tech leader in the automotive space. As BYD continues to be able to do things that Elon Musk has only talked about but so far failed to deliver, we can expect the competition between the two companies to push the EV landscape to new heights.

    BYD is already delivering what Tesla and Elon Musk eulogise, could the crown be slipping?

    Tesla has enjoyed a successful reign on the EV throne, appearing to be untouchable as Elon Musk’s empire conquered the automotive market. However, earlier this month, a much less-known yet just as ambitious company overtook Tesla to take pole-position as the king of the battery-powered car.

    BYD, short for ‘Build Your Dreams’, is now the world’s largest EV manufacturer, recording 641,000 sales in six months, beating Tesla’s 564,000. Based in China, BYD, which has U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet as a shareholder, is dominating the Chinese market through launching EVs on time and at scale.

    How has it done this? BYD has the benefit of having an already-integrated supply chain due to its investment in manufacturing critical parts – from batteries to semiconductors. By doing this, BYD has provided itself with the key components to build its vehicles and avoided the well documented pains of many other automakers.

    So far Tesla and BYD haven’t really been in competition – BYD and Tesla until very recently made quite different vehicles; and in Tesla’s US backyard, BYD doesn’t sell vehicles due to the tariffs on car imports. But internationally, they are about to compete, with the BYD Seal having the Tesla Model 3 firmly in its sights. In China, BYD reported that it had over 22,000 orders in just a few hours after the Seal launch. The car is an attractive well priced package (equivalent to $32,000) in China. BYD has reported a fast ramp-up of production, and it appears likely to be attractive to consumers outside China too.

    So BYD are now making increasingly luxurious cars to compete with Tesla and other EV vendors such as VW, Ford, GM, etc. – but how are they going beyond the Tesla playbook?

    One really key difference is that although all its vehicles are manufactured in China, BYD has been able to avoid the worst of the China lockdown supply-chain issues by making its own chips through its BYD Semiconductor subsidiary, for which there are plans to float on the Shenzhen ChiNext market.

    When it comes to batteries, again BYD is ahead of Tesla through making its own batteries. Yes, Tesla has a joint venture with Panasonic to produce batteries through The Sparks, Nevada, Gigafactory, but for all its China and many of its US produced cars, Tesla buys off-the-shelf batteries from third-party companies such as CATL.

    BYD makes BYD Blade batteries, a specialised Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery, which it sells to other automotive OEMs and there have been rumours that they are about to provide batteries to Tesla too. The automotive OEMS said to be choosing BYD Blade’s for cars made for or aimed at the Chinese market include Ford, GM and Toyota.

    To ensure that BYD has a continued source of Lithium for its batteries it is involved in lithium mining projects, with rumours that it is to buy six lithium mines in Africa. BYD is also thought to be planning new higher-end vehicles, moving its average sale price higher. It appears that BYD is finding it easier to launch new vehicles than Tesla, which has delayed new models multiple times and may go through 2021 – 2023 without shipping any new models.

    So, for BYD, going beyond the Tesla playbook means that is the company is already doing things that Elon Musk has only talked about: it makes its own chips, sells a model priced at $25,000, is rumoured to be buying Lithium mines so that it can make enough batteries to meet its own demand, and sells batteries to third parties. And critically BYD appears to have cracked designing and launching new models quickly, something Tesla has struggled with recently: and BYD does all of this profitably.

    The automotive industry and the public is used to seeing Tesla as the tech leader in the automotive space. But as BYD continues to be able to do things that Elon Musk has only talked about but failed to deliver, we can expect the competition between the two companies to push the EV landscape to new heights.

    Tesla has enjoyed a successful reign on the EV throne, appearing to be untouchable as Elon Musk’s empire conquered the automotive market. However, earlier this month, a much less-known yet just as ambitious company overtook Tesla to take pole-position as the king of the battery-powered car.

    BYD, short for ‘Build Your Dreams’, is now the world’s largest EV manufacturer, recording 641,000 sales in six months, beating Tesla’s 564,000. Based in China, BYD, which has U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet as a shareholder, is dominating the Chinese market through launching EVs on time and at scale.

    How has it done this? BYD has the benefit of having an already-integrated supply chain due to its investment in manufacturing critical parts – from batteries to semiconductors. By doing this, BYD has provided itself with the key components to build its vehicles and avoided the well documented pains of many other automakers.

    So far Tesla and BYD haven’t really been in competition – BYD and Tesla until very recently made quite different vehicles; and in Tesla’s US backyard, BYD doesn’t sell vehicles due to the tariffs on car imports. But internationally, they are about to compete, with the BYD Seal having the Tesla Model 3 firmly in its sights. In China, BYD reported that it had over 22,000 orders in just a few hours after the Seal launch. The car is an attractive well priced package (equivalent to $32,000) in China. BYD has reported a fast ramp-up of production, and it appears likely to be attractive to consumers outside China too.

    So BYD are now making increasingly luxurious cars to compete with Tesla and other EV vendors such as VW, Ford, GM, etc. – but how are they going beyond the Tesla playbook?

    One really key difference is that although all its vehicles are manufactured in China, BYD has been able to avoid the worst of the China lockdown supply-chain issues by making its own chips through its BYD Semiconductor subsidiary, for which there are plans to float on the Shenzhen ChiNext market.

    When it comes to batteries, again BYD is ahead of Tesla through making its own batteries. Yes, Tesla has a joint venture with Panasonic to produce batteries through The Sparks, Nevada, Gigafactory, but for all its China and many of its US produced cars, Tesla buys off-the-shelf batteries from third-party companies such as CATL.

    BYD makes BYD Blade batteries, a specialised Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery, which it sells to other automotive OEMs and there have been rumours that they are about to provide batteries to Tesla too. The automotive OEMS said to be choosing BYD Blade’s for cars made for or aimed at the Chinese market include Ford, GM and Toyota.

    To ensure that BYD has a continued source of Lithium for its batteries it is involved in lithium mining projects, with rumours that it is to buy six lithium mines in Africa. BYD is also thought to be planning new higher-end vehicles, moving its average sale price higher. It appears that BYD is finding it easier to launch new vehicles than Tesla, which has delayed new models multiple times and may go through 2021 – 2023 without shipping any new models.

    So, for BYD, going beyond the Tesla playbook means that is the company is already doing things that Elon Musk has only talked about: it makes its own chips, sells a model priced at $25,000, is rumoured to be buying Lithium mines so that it can make enough batteries to meet its own demand, and sells batteries to third parties. And critically BYD appears to have cracked designing and launching new models quickly, something Tesla has struggled with recently: and BYD does all of this profitably.

    The automotive industry and the public is used to seeing Tesla as the tech leader in the automotive space. But as BYD continues to be able to do things that Elon Musk has only talked about but failed to deliver, we can expect the competition between the two companies to push the EV landscape to new heights.

    How ACCESS and TomTom IndiGO are driving brand loyalty in today’s market

    The in-car entertainment landscape is booming, and the demand for sophisticated features and systems is increasing. This technology evolution is being driven by consumers looking to get advanced entertainment as part of their everyday driving experience. However, the market is fragmented and would require a lot of investment to develop their own solutions, let alone obtaining access to content and media. Fortunately help is at hand: OEMs can partner with technology providers such as Tom Tom and ACCESS to integrate advanced IT solutions centred around mobile and network software technologies. As a result, companies will not only be able to meet the market’s demands but also reap the rewards of staying ahead of the game.

    ACCESS is putting this practice into action, through its partnership with TomTom’s IndiGO platform, which enables OEMs to provide the services they wish to deploy today while offering the flexibility to match fluctuating demand. OEMs can therefore provide a dynamic entertainment experience to customers, elevating their after-sales experience and generating economic growth.

    ACCESS is one of these companies working to bridge the gap between the media industry and the automotive market through its Twine4Car platform. Twine4Car is the company’s industry-leading In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) solution that empowers OEMs to offer customers a range of infotainment applications and services that are consistent with their brand identity. Video-on-demand, live TV, music, radio, karaoke, games, and news – Twine4Car accommodates a wide variety of content offerings to provide the customer with the ultimate user experience.

    Twine4Car efficiently delivers and presents the apps through a combination of cloud-based and in-car embedded technologies, entertaining both front and rear passengers for short and long trips – a perfect answer to one of the market’s most pressing issues.

    With TomTom IndiGO, carmakers can provide a futureproof infotainment system built on a platform that makes app development fun, easily testable and highly efficient.

    Through ACCESS, TomTom is able to take advantage of Twine4Car’s capabilities which aggregates content from partners worldwide to support a personalised brand experience across all devices, giving OEMs the tools to offer best-in-class infotainment solutions and thrive in today’s industry.

    If you would like to know more about how ACCESS and TomTom are driving the in-vehicle entertainment revolution,  please get in touch.

    What lessons can OEMs learn from Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ in the connected car era?

    Netflix has a clear vision of what its viewer experience should be and sticks to it. I wonder if automotive OEMs need to adopt a similar level of razor-sharp focus as they enter the era of the connected car? What can the automotive industry learn from digital services?

    If there is one thing that the big success stories of our time have in common, it is a clarity of vision as to what the end user experience should look like. It’s a way of thinking that Amazon refers to as “working backwards”. Netflix is no exception. Its focus on QoS drives it to get viewers to content as quickly as possible, cutting out the time they would otherwise spend on loading an app and searching for content. This extends beyond the app, the company pioneered the idea of having a button on remote controls that immediately opens its app.

    Netflix’s user experience is consistent on almost all devices. It is determined to be the best and the biggest in the world at VoD. Its primary way of achieving this goal is to provide its users with the very best possible video experiences, and this laser-focussed approach is at the heart of every decision it makes.

    So how does this translate into automotive? Do OEMs have the same level of vision when they think about IVI and in-car entertainment? There’s no doubt that they should, as all the evidence suggests that we’re well on the road to a major change in the way drivers and passengers interact with their cars. According to Counterpoint Research, 75% of cars will be connected to the Internet by 2025. Through integrated eSIMs, better mobile coverage and the advent of 5G, cars will become connected hubs (you can read more in this blog from my colleague Paul Krammling).

    Connectivity is a game changer and increased coverage and bandwidth will transform the driving experience into an entertainment experience. OEMs need to prepare now to make sure they are ahead of the curve and can capitalise on new post-sale relationships that are based on digital and connected services. For evidence of how transformational the change will be, look no further than Disney which has recently restructured its entire business around Disney+ and its other content apps.

    It’s not just Disney that is moving to connected services, of course. The streaming wars are in full flow with the likes of HULU, Tubi, Pluto TV, IMDbTV, Peacock and HBO Max set to be joined by Paramount+ in battling for viewer attention. All of these apps have a vested interest in increasing viewing time and the connected car is a rare greenfield opportunity in this respect. For content providers being available to early adopters, just like Netflix pioneered streaming video to the home, gives the opportunity to learn and adapt to the new environment, and evolve as the industry moves to an even more immersive environment when autonomous driving becomes normal.

    For OEMs, there is a clear opportunity to capitalise on in-car entertainment, but to succeed they must ensure they have the right approach from the outset, including:

    1. Maintaining control of the user experience
      This is pretty much a necessary condition for success, and it will be a key differentiator as streaming within in-car infotainment will turn into a hygiene factor at some point.
    2. Make sure you own the user data and protect it
      Data is gold in the connected car. Make sure users remain customers long after they’ve purchased the car. OEMs need to build the relationship to ensure owners stay with the brand when it’s time to buy or “subscribe” a new car.
    3. Create lowest hurdles possible for people to use (and subscribe to) a service
      Introducing something new will create the biggest impact if people can get to it without hassle and in a smooth and clear process. Simple sign in, simple packaging, fewest steps to get going.
    4. Place the essentials of an experience first in your decision-making
      Give the users access to the right services for them, without fuss. Follow a clear vision and the rest will come.

    A last point is that getting the business model right is also important to long-term success. Car makers can learn from the clarity and flexibility of subscription-based services to make sure they have a timely and valid offering to suit people’s expectations on day one.

    For an example of what can happen if you get the business model wrong, look at the backlash faced by the English Premier League when it recently announced pay-per-view plans at $19 per match. Meanwhile, the UK’s digital advertising body, the IAB, revealed that television is the only form of advertising that has seen growth in 2020. Such resilience is starting to drive a surge in the popularity of AVOD and FAST channels as viewers reach their monthly subscription limits.

    Lastly, it is not only in IVI where user data can provide valuable insights, but to the overall way we own and drive a car. If, as many commentators are to be believed, we’re moving towards a car-as-a-service way of working then user data will be critical.

    So, work backwards to move forwards: it will make user experience decisions so much simpler if there is a clear focus on the end goal.

    Find out how ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car) brings content to vehicles within a branded IVI interface on the ACCESS Europe website.

    Copyright © 2022 ACCESS Europe GmbH