2/. Embracing the Next Generation In-Vehicle-Infotainment

This is the second part of a series of blog posts we’re publishing over the next few months on the topic of “The In-Car Roadmap: A Definitive Guide to IVI.” Subscribe to The Multiscreen Blog to be notified when the next instalment of the series is available. A PDF version of this blog can be downloaded here.

Executive summary

  • IVI and connectivity are key buying criteria (especially for millennials) that will grow with the arrival of autonomous vehicles.
  • IVI and linked mobile apps offer powerful two-way communication for OEMs to finally engage directly with vehicle owners that transcend the dealer network.
  • Embracing digital services – such as an in-car streaming solutions – will allow for new types of engagements and revenue streams.
  • A dual strategy of supporting key mobile device brands – such as Google and Apple – while still retaining control of the in-vehicle experience offers the most benefits for the automotive industry.
  • This approach will allow the automotive industry to capitalise on new partnerships with content and service providers while strengthening customer engagement and brand loyalty.

For most consumers, purchasing a car is the second largest capital outlay after buying a house.

There are a host of reasons that people choose the car they buy, ranging from ‘curb appeal’ to what the brand means to the driver. Does it feel special sitting in the driver’s seat? Will the kids love sitting in the back? Does it come with all the extras I want at the right price? Of course, all these factors matter, but increasingly the in-car entertainment system can be the decider. So, getting the IVI system right really matters for OEMs.

Although increasing showroom sales are critical, a connected OEM branded In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI) system also helps to build longer-term relationships with the driver and passenger along with generating new, recurring revenue streams. At the same time, it enables the OEM to define the in-car experience rather than ceding control to Silicon Valley media tech giants. All of which means that the in-car entertainment experience has never mattered so much to people in cars and those that make them.

Capturing the market

Research companies report that in-vehicle infotainment and connectivity capabilities are becoming a major requirement; according to 2016 IHS Automotive research (which focused on the US market), up to 40% of millennials said they wanted in-car IVI based apps that ‘help to enhance the driving experience.’ Additionally, Gartner L2 reported in 2016 that 40% of surveyed consumers would switch their car brand for more connectivity, up from 20% in 2014. As autonomous vehicles start to emerge – freeing the driver to participate in more activities – IVI will take on an ever more important role in the vehicle purchasing decision making process.

The connected age

The overall vehicle experience has evolved in recent years through the arrival of more advanced in-vehicle technologies. The simple radio and cassette decks from the 1970’s have been updated in modern vehicles with cellular enabled in-car Wi-Fi offering streaming audio, GPS-based location services, and for rear passengers, the option of live and on-demand video.
But IVI is more than just a consumer benefit. With the combination of touchscreen and voice-based interface, on-board software and cellular communications; automotive brands will finally have a powerful touchpoint direct to the car owner. This two-way interaction goes beyond the dealer network relationship and allows brands to engage directly with end-customers to share information, collate data and provide additional value-added services.

The OEMs can increase the possibility of success in IVI by working with telcos to create multiple data plans to cater for differing levels of content access. Additionally, new content and data models in which certain services are already included in the cost of the car could be interesting and popular in some markets.

Adding value

According to the 2018 Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study, between 50% and 63% of car owners would be interested in additional connected services provided by car manufacturers. The list includes maintenance updates and vehicle health reporting; updates regarding traffic congestion and suggested alternate routes; and access to parking information, including availability, booking and payment. The same study suggests that 59% of consumers were not contacted by the manufacturer after purchasing their vehicle.

Yet most new cars sold are still not equipped with a modern ‘connected’ IVI. Although this is changing, many existing car owners and passengers still rely on bring-your-own-device (BYOD) offerings based on smartphones and tablets to broaden their in-car entertainment experience beyond the radio and CD player. This option is far from ideal; it suffers from intermittent connection, can be poorly integrated with the car’s entertainment systems and does not provide experiences tailored to individual journeys. It is important when specifying next-generation IVI that OEMs and Tier-1s look for integrated BYOD solutions that provide greater benefits for both automotive brands and the consumer.

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Integrated apps

Developing integrated apps that can span both IVI and BYOD is critical. Tighter integration between vehicle functions, such as satellite navigation, cellular Wi-Fi, audio systems and rear passengers’ screens, enables advanced in-vehicle features such as instrument cluster integration and rear seat casting to be much more streamlined for the enjoyment of all car occupants.

By offering value-added features, brands can retain control of the user experience through car owners obtaining a superior experience by installing the OEM’s IVI equivalent app on BYOD devices. This dual strategy offers brands a way to keep direct contact with owners as vehicles are resold into the secondary markets, especially if the sale is outside the dealer network.

At the same time, this model also builds stronger relationships and greater loyalty amongst the next generation of car buyers. Offering a branded, value-added app tied to each vehicle creates a direct touch communication path which is directly in the control of the OEM. This means the OEM can reach every car owner, globally, with localised content.

Vehicle app stores

The opportunity to have a set of apps that not only span multiple models and devices but can also be made available from a dedicated vehicle app store, represents an innovation that car brands can use to avoid a dependence on either the Google or Apple app store. The combination of the manufacturer branded IVI alongside integrated branded apps on BYOD, provides the ability to deliver additional value-added services that are both simplified and more reliable.

Alongside popular streamed music applications such as Pandora and Spotify, brands can now look at offering additional content services such as Video-on-Demand (VOD), live TV and premium content that can be delivered as part of a monthly subscription or within an advertising supported model. Global brands such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix – along with regional champions such as iROKOtv in Nigeria, Hotstar in India and ClaroVideo in Brazil – are all vying for subscribers and are looking at the in-car market as an intact space for business growth.

A world of content

It will be vital for OEMs to create content propositions which entail both large international SVOD and streaming services with local broadcaster content across several countries. ACCESS has built a substantial partner portfolio for automotive, which allows for a mix of content in a white-label product. This allows for an OEM to hold the customer relationship across all its facets.

Are you ready?

By 2040, there will be over 2 billion cars in use and it is likely that autonomous vehicles will make up most new car sales. Brands that can deliver true value-added benefits to drivers and passengers will be able to capitalise on an untapped market. Those that don’t will be letting a great opportunity slip through their fingers.

40% of millenials want IVI apps to enhance the driving experience
40% of drivers would switch cars for greater connectivity
50% of car owners want OEMs to provide additional connected services

ACCESS Insight

The car industry is embracing next generation IVI through standard-based application and connectivity platforms. Leading this shift is ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car), which enables automotive OEMs to provide branded Infotainment services on the car head-unit (HU) and rear-seat entertainment (RSE) displays. With software development kits for Android, iOS, QNX and Linux, OEMs can now also extend their branded IVI experience to customer brought in devices (BYOD) to form a seamless offering. Twine4Car spans the gap between the automotive and the content industries by enabling a content portfolio, helping to increase the safety, the comfort, and the flexibility of content consumption for drivers and passengers. Through our extensive contacts and experience, ACCESS can also act as the single point of contact for the OEM, engaging with app store providers, broadcasters, media owners and the OEM’s Tier-1 suppliers to enable the integration and provisioning of state-of-the-art content and streaming services.

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1/. Why does In-Vehicle-Infotainment matter to the automotive industry?

This is the first part of a series of blog posts we’re publishing over the next few months on the topic of “The In-Car Roadmap: A Definitive Guide to IVI.” Subscribe to The Multiscreen Blog to be notified when the rest of the series is available. A PDF version of this blog can be downloaded here.

The automotive sector has a 150-year history with its production lines having manufactured over 2 billion vehicles – and it’s still going strong.
However, times are changing as this global industry realigns itself to a new, always connected, consumer-centric digital era.

But of course, it’s an industry that has always anticipated change to find new ways to make the most of advances in technology. Commentators increasingly describe the modern car as a “computer with wheels” and use this as a reason to expect new market entrants from Silicon Valley to take car leadership away from the incumbent automobile manufacturers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). We believe that’s an extrapolation too far.

With the average car having over a million lines of code, OEMs are already making “computers with wheels”. It’s the job of the OEMs and their sub-system suppliers to make sure that car passengers and drivers get the best experience possible from the next generation of digitally driven and connected cars.

Major shifts such as the rise of autonomous vehicles are looming. Yet, in the here and now, the industry is dealing with major challenges that, if handled successfully, will define the respective fortunes of each car brand.

Emerging trends

The first trend is a perennial issue that has vexed automotive industry executives from day one – how to convince car buyers to pick their product versus a rival brand? With most new cars purchased by 25-35-year olds’, this internet savvy generation are demanding more features and related services from car makers. The situation is getting more complex as urbanisation prompts millennials to own less cars per household; instead turning to pay-as-you-drive models and ride-sharing in which the rear seat experience is far more important.

This leads to another trend, as automobile manufacturers vie to build closer relationships with consumers that go beyond the dealer network. The rise of ride-sharing services such as Uber was confirmed when its stock market capitalisation overtook that of Ford several years ago. The automotive industry is aware that on-demand transportation and related services offer a highly lucrative business opportunity that they are well placed to capitalise upon. This car transportation as-a-service model is not new, but the key to tapping into this market is based on accruing data and building brands; an area where the automotive industry is lagging behind the firms born in the internet era.

Another key shift has come from the Chinese market. China is the largest manufacturer of cars and yet at the same time, is well behind the G7 countries in terms of per capita car ownership – so there’s plenty of potential growth. Venture capitalists have also invested billions in Chinese EV companies, although according to the research company PitchBook, VC investment has dropped by 90% within the 12 months from mid-2018 to mid-2019.

Car production in 2018
Car production in 2018

The trend that heralds the greatest impact is of course autonomy. For infotainment this really changes everything. Front seat legal issues over consuming video will change, making video consumption the no. 1 in-car entertainment medium. As ever, the industry will also need to ensure that current and future generation of vehicles meet all the requirements for safety, security, entertainment and connectivity that are vital to serving both consumers and businesses.

Learning from the digital revolution

Alongside these challenges, the world outside automotive can offer some valuable insights. Mobile connectivity has revolutionised almost every societal interaction and at its core are software apps and the cloud.
The automotive industry should note Nokia and RIM’s failure to respond to rapid shifts in consumer demand and their reluctance to move away from their respective Symbian and Blackberry platforms at a time when Apple had transformed the market with the launch of the iPhone. The modern automobile is increasingly a software driven experience. As BMW board member, Pieter Nota, highlights: “Increasingly, people want to bring their digital lives, their digital systems, into the car with them.” Embracing this shift represents a major opportunity – but standing still will allow competitors to transform tomorrow’s automotive market.

The connected age

This shift is most evident in the In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI) platforms that are increasingly acting as the connection point between car manufacturer, consumers and additional services. The modern generation of IVI provides anything from connected entertainment and audio offerings, to navigation, booking and payment services. In the future, IVI will offer an interface for additional services such as streaming video and location-based advertising. The opportunity is broad and increasingly global from Netflix to Youku Tudou; consumers want localised content with flexibility to change as markets evolve.

Catering to the connected consumer is not a goal that can be achieved in isolation. OEMs will need to work with telecommunication service providers to build data plans to cater for differing levels of content access. Additionally, new content and data models in which certain services are already included in the cost of the car could be interesting and popular in some markets.

Consumers travelling within cars offers valuable real estate and a potential battleground, as Silicon Valley brands such as Apple and Google vie to convince automotive brands to let them into the vehicle. However, if the smartphone market is anything to go by; the internet giants driven either by advertising revenue or a walled-garden user experience may not prove the best ally for car brands keen to strengthen and ultimately monetise their customer relationships.

Video and rear seat entertainment

The potential for new video-based services is a massive and untapped opportunity for the automotive industry. The rise is happening now, ahead of the arrival of AV. It’s happening at a time when demand for minivans/sport utility vehicles (SUV) is increasing in tandem with growing use of ridesharing designed vehicles that need to differentiate services for the rear seat passenger. For the automotive industry, delivering upon the video opportunity requires navigating complexities such as managing content deals, securing access and balancing between the rival Internet giants and media companies keen to reach the 286 million connected passenger cars that are expected to be added globally during the 2019 – 2025 period (2019 Counterpoint Research).

As we enter this inflection point of the automotive industry, we believe that successfully designing cars for three and six years out will be an incredible challenge. This is why we are reducing the content access challenge by functioning as a one-stop shop for OEMs, by acquiring content rights for TV, VOD, audio, games and apps for global usage. By enabling OEMs to focus on the service with a single point of contact for multiple markets, it is our belief that we are bringing a unique offering to the market.

Future Insight

Within this complex landscape, ACCESS, an industry leader which has deployed its technology in over 1.5 billion devices, including over 30 million cars worldwide, offers an informative series of guides on how the automotive industry can benefit from innovative IVI platforms. This series provides guidance on solving the many IVI challenges the automotive industry faces today and explains how to become better placed to meet short and longer-term strategic goals. This multi-part guide covers key areas, including:

  • Enabling the car industry to embrace the next generation IVI and how it impacts the buying decision.
  • The importance of in-vehicle connectivity for delivering content and services for the modern consumer.
  • The evolution of entertainment including next-generation radio, video and interactive options.
  • A deeper look at the potential of video within the automotive landscape and how it can be harnessed to provide a compelling differentiator and value add.
  • An overview of the potential service delivery models with a focus on simplifying implementation of next generation infotainment and futureproofing system to ensure longevity in a highly adaptive landscape.
  • How the automotive industry can successfully partner with key brands such as Apple, Disney, Google, Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, Tencent and other leaders across multiple types of relevant services delivery models.

The series also offers deep insight into how the visionary car manufacturers are creating breakthrough new services using ACCESS Twine™ for Car, along with guidance on critical considerations such as security, privacy, technical integration and emerging standards. Perhaps the most important message for OEMs and Tier-1s is that if the industry does not embrace next generation IVI, someone else will – with dire consequences for today’s market leaders.

Enabling the car industry to embrace Next Generation IVI
Enabling the car industry to embrace Next Generation IVI

1 Year: Twine for Car will enable video content in vehicles, it will focus on RSE and BYOD; HMI for control and front seat playback when EV charging.

3 Years: We will see more sophisticated HMI involvement and higher usage of autonomous vehicles. The user experience will be customised, with content specifically created for the car. The growing app ecosystem will be open to third parties, while 5G will help propel the use of video on-the-go.

10 Years: Twine for Car will enable all services, ranging from audio to a full living room experience in autonomous cars. Key features for video will include content specifically created for each journey and car user. New business models will enable video playback on several screens, providing ‘surround video’ as part of a truly immersive user experience.

Executive summary

  • New generation of car buyers want more connected car features and the automotive industry is adapting to meet this demand.
  • In-Vehicle-Infotainment offers valuable real estate to enable new value-added mobile services – yet, the automotive industry is in danger of losing out to the internet giants.
  • The rise of Electric Vehicles (EV) and Automated Vehicles (AV) offers a foundation for the automotive industry to realign its offering to capitalise on exciting new opportunities and recurring revenue business models.
  • The untapped potential of video and rear seat entertainment services is set to explode as the needs of millennial drivers and increase in ride sharing impacts the market.
  • An attractive initial approach is to provide a substantial app store so that car users can use their existing subscriptions to access the 3rd party content services they love and cherish.
  • With technology present in over 1.5 billion consumer electronic devices and tens of millions of cars, ACCESS is perfectly positioned to help the global automotive industry develop innovative new services for today that are ready for tomorrow.

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The TV Everywhere experience is hitting the road

It’s an absolutely fascinating time for the automotive industry. The global market is worth over $200 billion, and there’s now an amazing opportunity to provide cutting edge in-car entertainment experiences. Already, connected and autonomous cars and electric vehicles are joining traditional cars on the road. With greater connectivity and, in some cases, more free time for drivers, we believe that there is a need for more cutting edge entertainment experiences to be made available to road users.

We created our Twine for Car ™ solution to make our vision of the future a reality. It is an OEM white label solution which has the ability to combine the user’s own content library with an international content catalogue and adjust the experience to each journey and user. Twine for Car is a result of ACCESS’ extensive experience of being at the forefront of technological innovation in the connected entertainment world. To date, our technology has been deployed on 1.5 billion devices, including over 30 million cars worldwide.

Twine for Car is an end-to-end platform, which is a first for the automotive world, but it is a familiar delivery mechanism in the media and entertainment industry, which is where a lot of ACCESS’ experience comes from. We have a unique opportunity to provide not just a technology platform but also the content aggregation platform to provide that solution for the car companies. With Twine for Car, we’re providing a solution that helps offer a range of in-car entertainment applications and services.

We ensure that passengers can OEM’s entertainment platform and watch personalised entertainment that adjusts to the length of their journey via screens in the rear seats. This includes when parents take their children to school, and they want to keep them quiet in the back. With an in-car entertainment system, children can watch family-friendly cartoons in the backseat. The passenger in the front seat can also enjoy the same type of content via the dashboard.

These revolutionary in-vehicle infotainment experiences are a direct result of our partnerships with a number of pioneers in the automotive space. Faurecia, a leading automotive technology company, is one of our most recently announced collaborations. Our partnership will see Twine for Car integrated into Faurecia’s innovative cockpit intelligence platform, which is an intuitive and fully connected experience for road users. We held the very first joint demonstrations with Faurecia at Auto Shanghai 2019, and we look forward to continuing our work with them as consumer demand for next-generation in-car experiences continues to grow.

It goes without saying that cutting edge in-car entertainment systems benefit consumers, but they also provide OEMs and the content industry with a number of competitive advantages. OEMs can design a brand offering that is only available in their vehicles and both enhances and extends their relationship with their customers. This ensures that they can boost revenues through advertising and distribution agreements with media and entertainment companies. For the content industry, the car is a new revenue stream. It enables new advertising models and new consumer experiences so broadcasters and content suppliers incentivizing them to take their content onto the roads and become a part of a true TV Everywhere experience.

People are already watching entertainment in the car via 4G, and soon 5G, as well as via in-car WIFI. But soon consumers will be able to enjoy a hyper-personalized in-car entertainment experience that combines the lean-back experience of TV and car manufacturers will have deeper relationships with road users as they protect and enhance their brand.

Turning the Car into a Tailored Entertainment Hub at NAB Show 2019

Since the start of the year, it’s become clear that the automotive and entertainment worlds are getting much closer together – so much so that the main business conference for the media & entertainment industry, NAB Show (April 8 – 11, Las Vegas, NV), is dedicating a full theatre to the In-vehicle Experience in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. To celebrate the inauguration of the In-Vehicle Experience, we will be sponsoring it alongside our partner the GENIVI Alliance and Audi.

In addition, we will be hosting a panel discussion entitled‘Turning the car into a tailored entertainment hub’ on April 8 at 2:00 pm PT. I will be joined by Evan Stalter, Digital Product Manager at BYTON and David Couret, Technical Director at France24. Together, we will debate the discrepancies between the rise of in-car connectivity and the current state of in-car services, and discuss the opportunities of multimedia in-car infotainment as a fully personalized, tailored experience that adjusts content to each viewer and the duration of the journey. To register for the session, please contact us and we’ll add you to the list of attendees.

We have also been hard at work ensuring that we are at the forefront of all developments in in-car infotainment. Over the past few weeks, we have been certified by the German Media Authority as an Official Media Platform – making us the very first automotive services company to be recognized with the same rights as video streaming companies such as Amazon Prime or Netflix. 

We have also secured new partnerships, with 7digital to provide the latest digital radio services in the car; and with Irdeto to guarantee that all premium content, services and data made available in the car are fully secure. These new partnerships enable us to extend the reach and offering of our ACCESS Twine™ for Car solution, which was revamped at the start of the year to accelerate the in-car infotainment revolution. Our unique solution combines a white-labelled content streaming service with an infotainment services platform, enabling carmakers to brand and personalize each journey. 

The industry is definitely gearing up for more entertainment inside vehicles, and we’re proud to be at the heart of this revolution. Drop me a note if you would like to meet in Las Vegas. And for those of you who won’t be headed to the US for NAB Show, fear not: Sven Eckoldt, our Global Product Director, will be in Europe for MIPTV (April 8 – 11, Cannes, France), while one week later, the ACCESS team will be making the journey to Asia for Auto Shanghai (April 18 – 25, Shanghai, China). Drop a note to automotive@access-company.com to arrange a meeting with us at an event near you this spring!

TU-Automotive Detroit: collaboration in the driver’s seat

Last month, all of the car industry’s major players congregated at TU-Automotive Detroit, the world’s biggest conference and exhibition for autonomous and connected cars, to showcase the latest technological innovations and discuss where the industry is heading and how we can get there.

On the show floor, there were more than 150 booths offering live product demonstrations on everything from cybersecurity through to payments. Yet the one major trend that stood out at the show was the huge amount of collaboration between technology service providers, OEMs and Tier 1s. A good example is Hyundai’s partnership with Xevo, an automotive telematics provider. At the show, the two companies showed a new solution that enables payments to be made straight from the car’s screen, which opens the door to new services available in connected cars.

We have always strongly believed in collaboration and bringing the best solutions and expertise together – and it is absolutely crucial in infotainment service innovation.

Today’s consumers live in the multiscreen era and enjoy intuitive services that provide tailored recommendations that can be accessed at any time and from any device and location. As the multiscreen landscape continues to evolve, the vehicle will become part of the wider multiscreen ecosystem rather than an isolated environment. Consumers will be able to press play on one device with one particular type of content and continue that same experience within the car moments later.

However, in order for this to happen, it will require knowledge both of the consumer’s viewing habits, but also of the journey (taking the kids to school, going to work, being stuck in traffic or driving for hours for the holidays). This specialist skill set requires better collaboration between the automotive and content industries, which are slated to converge once driverless cars become commercially accessible to the public. For the content industry, the potential for monetisation is enormous: studios could offer exclusive content to passengers inside the car, while broadcasters and content distributors can strike deals with manufacturers to extend their pay TV services outside of the home and build a stronger relationship with their subscribers.

To bridge the gap between the content and automotive industries, we created ACCESS Twine™ for Car, our new solution that enables passengers to combine their own multimedia library with the manufacturer’s catalogue, and adjusts the experience to each journey and user, tailored to the specific demography and duration of the ride. With ACCESS Twine for Car, we are enabling drivers to enjoy specific audio centric content or news on demand, while passengers can watch videos, play games, listen to music or read eBooks from the comfort of their seat.

TU Automotive Detroit is always a great opportunity to meet with our partners, customers and industry friends to discuss the future of the car industry and which key trends are emerging. This year, we were pleased to see a greater focus on collaboration and we look forward to working with manufacturers and Tier 1s, as well as studios and content owners, to bring premium multimedia and entertainment services to the car.

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