Konka selects NetRange to power HbbTV on its Android-based Smart TVs

Hamburg, Germany, Aug 30, 2022NetRange MMH GmbH (‘NetRange’), an ACCESS company and a global provider of white-labelled, turnkey Smart TV and OTT ecosystems, today announced that it has been selected by Konka to power HbbTV on its Android -based smart TVs. NetRange will provide the ACCESS NetFront™ Browser BE HbbTV for Android solution to enable Konka to support the growing numbers of operators in the MENA region that have chosen to launch interactive and smart TV services via HbbTV.

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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.

Media aggregation: the Holy Grail of infotainment?

The automotive industry is innovating at a faster pace than ever before.

Electrification, autonomous cars, regulations for improved fuel economy and fewer emissions are all pushing manufacturers to continuously innovate and improve. Smartphone penetration and innovation from ride share companies are already challenging traditional services such as taxis and public transport because of their convenience and ease-of-use. The sheer speed of this has now led to the concept of ‘Transport-as-a-Service’, where consumers choose to no longer own vehicles.

Imagine subscribing to a car service the way you do to Netflix or Spotify? Today, this may sound alien, but digital innovations could lead us to a world where mass car ownership as we know it will no longer exist. Simply put, the convenience of being able to jump in your car for a visit to the shops can be met via a subscription ride service, with no additional costs or hassle to get where you need to, and no need to search for cash for a cab. For car manufacturers, this can sound like a daunting proposition at first glance since they are not selling as many cars directly to consumers. Yet, as so frequently happens with change, it also enables further innovation: manufacturers will have a different route to their end customer and may develop relationships that are even more personal, perhaps garnering even stronger brand loyalty. Cherry on the cake: manufacturers will have the option to monetize these relationships too.

The industry needs to look beyond the performance-comfort-novelty trope and view their relationship in a new way. Manufacturers should strive to offer in-car experiences that adjust to each user, journey and time of day to increase engagement and promote brand loyalty. Today, the best way to achieve this is through customizable infotainment services that offer content at the tap of a finger, or via voice commands. By creating these experiences today, car brands are setting the stage to be able to deliver personalized service that respond to evolving transportation needs. These services can even be moved beyond the owned vehicle to others to provide a journey-based service. The aim must be to bring together content from free, subscription, pay-per-use and personal sources into a single aggregated environment to make content discovery and consumption easy. By achieving this, manufacturers will have a relationship that extends beyond four wheels and embed themselves more deeply into their customers’ lives.

This is easier said than done. Infotainment services face a fundamental hurdle beyond technological challenges: content provision. As manufacturers look to offer more content options, they will need to create commercial frameworks with games publishers, Hollywood studios and publishing houses, to name only a few. Apart from the legal implications of so many contracts, this also makes manufacturers responsible for the management of all these content sources. They will need to guarantee content delivery to all screens inside the car – both built-in and brought in (BYOD). Plus, there are content protection rules and the requirement for “rights management” that are new to manufacturers. These rules vary for each piece of content, destination device, region and delivery method.

Manufacturers also need to manage content across borders. Within the EU, this means complying with the EU Content Portability Rules, which allow services to offer the same content catalogue in many countries. Moving out of the EU may incur geographical restrictions or additional content costs. Working with experts in content rights management can solve this headache.

Ultimately, usability will be key. Consumers will expect to start playback from any service (or screen) within the car, on any device in the vehicle. Aggregated and shared content libraries will become the norm: we will soon be able to see and play music from all registered devices in the car over Wi-Fi rather than the point-to-point link provided by Bluetooth. Seamlessly shifting the media experience from one device or screen to another within the car will become commonplace. This will be a blessing for parents, who will be able to use their smartphone to start a cartoon for a child in the rear seat without having to reach around and try to press buttons on a screen they cannot see properly. Playback devices will include BYOD smartphones and tablets, rear-seat entertainment units and even the main In-Vehicle Infotainment console – which are all subject to legal restrictions such as viewing in motion. To provide this capability, a flexible software solution is needed so that the service can be varied by manufacturers based on vehicle model and target demographic. This feat of engineering shouldn’t be mired by a poor content catalogue and/or user experience. Luckily for manufacturers, there is a solution: implementing high quality media aggregation solutions handled by experts.

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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