How ACCESS got into the driving seat of in-Car Entertainment from i-mode to Jaguar Land Rover and beyond

I’m often asked how ACCESS got into the car business. As I retold the story again last week, I realized that it could make a pretty interesting blog. So here goes…

1979: ACCESS is born Just like Apple, Microsoft, HP, and other 70’s start-ups, ACCESS had a humble beginning.

It was founded in 1979 by a couple of students working on implementing the then-new TCP-IP specification. ACCESS was built upon the belief that connecting devices – and people – would change the world and was incorporated in Tokyo in 1984. It came to prominence through its browser software, a core component of the hugely successful and pioneering mobile internet, i-mode data service of NTT DoCoMo in Japan (for anyone interested, take a look at this great post by Jay Hoffman: “Before There Were Smartphones, There Was I-Mode”).

ACCESS then moved on to providing software for a wide variety of software for connected and mobile devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs, video game consoles, and set-top boxes. Primarily due to the deployment of its NetFront™ browser family, ACCESS has now surpassed software shipments for over 1.5 billion devices

2006: First moves into automotive as cars started to incorporate built-in displays, the industry realized that HTML gave them a flexible approach to presenting information to drivers, from in-car manuals to points of interest as an extension to built-in navigation solutions. As early as 2006, ACCESS began providing its NetFront browser solutions for the automotive industry in Japan, other APAC countries, EMEA, and the Americas, primarily through Tier-1 partners.

Due to previous experiences, even then, ACCESS could foresee that the car would evolve to be a fully connected environment using the Internet technologies on which the company was founded.

2010: Connected TV and HbbTV Initially, ACCESS provided browser engines for connected TV (CTV) services, but quickly broadened its range of media-centric software through solutions for HbbTV, the newly launched industry standard aimed at harmonizing the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment to the end consumer through CTVs (smart TVs) and set-top boxes. ACCESS also embraced media sharing solutions based upon the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) Technology Component™ solution aimed at enabling Pay-TV operators and device manufacturers to quickly and efficiently implement multi-room and Multiscreen services.

2016: ACCESS Browser Solution Chosen to Power Next-Generation In-Vehicle Connected Infotainment Solutions for Jaguar Land Rover.

ACCESS’ NetFront™ Browser NX Automotive Profile software solution was chosen as the browser for the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) next-generation connected infotainment system InControl Touch Pro, which has been deployed across the latest range of JLR vehicles available on the market.

Discussing the reasons for JLR’s selection of the ACCESS solution, Kiyo Oishi, Chief Executive Officer of ACCESS CO., LTD. said: “The choice of the ACCESS browser by Jaguar Land Rover is testament to the base performance and raw speed of our browser technology and the R&D effort we’ve put into supporting the automotive industry’s continued drive to produce in-vehicle entertainment experiences of the very highest quality.”. We continue to work with JLR today.

2017: ACCESS scoops GENIVI Best of Show award for In-vehicle infotainment product portfolio.

In May 2017, ACCESS’ In-vehicle infotainment (IVI) product portfolio received a Best of Show award at the GENIVI All Member Meeting & Open Community Days in Birmingham (May 9-11, 2017). This industry accolade provided confirmation that car OEMs were looking to enhance their infotainment solutions and that ACCESS were developing the features and functionality the OEMs desired.

2018: Enter ACCESS Twine™ for Car In order to meet the future needs of automotive OEMs and Tier-1s looking to provide connected information and entertainment services across multiple screens in a vehicle a standalone browser solution is not sufficient. For an integrated cockpit experience, the screens would need to be able to show different apps and share media, and the streamed content would need to be protected by – something ACCESS had transferrable experience for from the broadcast industry.

In early 2018, ASE launched ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car), a state-of-the-art in- vehicle infotainment (IVI) solution built upon our combined broadcast and automotive knowledge. There was just one piece of the in-car entertainment jigsaw missing: content.

2019: Twine4Car App Store ACCESS understands that a technology solution alone is not enough for OEMs to launch their new generation connected service; to be successful, the platform needs access to content. ACCESS knew how the media industry worked, as it already collaborated with many of the world’s largest content owners – but it didn’t have in place a content acquisition strategy. This final piece of the in-car entertainment jigsaw was secured through the acquisition in April 2019 of NetRange, a pioneer of the Smart TV ecosystem, enabling interactive services and connected TV.

The NetRange Smart TV App Store provides content to consumers in over 100 countries. A key enabler of this is the commercial agreements that NetRange has with content companies, such as the massively popular JioSaavn music service, which is available in over 100 countries worldwide, and Radioline, the global radio provider, which has access to over 100,000 audio feeds. As part of the ACCESS family, NetRange gives ACCESS the relationships to provide the same coverage and reach to the automotive market, through an end-to-end technology and content solution for in-car entertainment. This resulted in the July 2020 launch of a car-centric App Store, which is part of the ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car) in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) solution.
2019 to today: Through the toughest times, ACCESS has continued its relationships with car manufacturers and Tier-1s working towards powering the next generation IVI solutions in many of the world’s most exciting brands. We recently announced our integration with Harman Ignite and look out for more exciting announcements in the coming months.

The future of in-car entertainment is incredibly exciting. At ACCESS we are looking forward to building on our experience of providing technology solutions for over 35 million vehicles to date; as our Twine4Car media platform, App Store, car-specific HTML5 browser, media sharing and streaming solutions enable automotive OEMs and Tier-1s make the most of their in-car entertainment opportunities in their fantastic media enabled, multi-screen vehicles in the pipeline!

If you would like to know about how the unique expertise of ACCESS can benefit the automotive industry, please visit out website here.

Published by Doron Shorr

Doron is Business Development, Automotive at ACCESS Europe GmbH. He isProfessional Sales executive with 18+ years of experience in management and development of US and Asian markets include Account Management, Business Development, Marketing and General Management across diverse industries, cultures, and geographical territories. Extensive B2B and B2C products and solutions sales in the telecommunication, IP security, broadcasting and multimedia industries for MSO, Telco’s, satellite, cable, IP, NSP, ISP and mobile operators. Consistently exceeds key performance metrics while focusing on successfully delivering sales and business objectives. Develop and execute effective strategies from ground up into greenfield and mature markets.
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