Is 2015 the year when the car turns into a fully functional media platform?

This blog is part of our 2015 focus on the connected car and the role it will play in enabling connected entertainment everywhere.

Consulting firm Accenture (ACN) reports that technology ranks as the most important selling point for 39% of U.S. car buyers, almost triple the 14% who care most about horsepower and handling. This new trend has been further confirmed by OEM demonstrations at CES and Mobile World Congress, two of the biggest trade shows of the year. Visitors to both exhibitions were able to discover how car companies are hoping to digitise the automotive experience by using telematics and in-car communication to create new business models through the Internet of Things. For example, telematics can provide OEMs and customers with considerable and valuable data on assets.

The start of the year has already seen a host of innovations, demonstrating that this really is the year when cars will evolve into media platforms that will eventually drive and park themselves, allowing its passengers to work, communicate and relax as easily as they would in an office or at home. At CES, Hyundai showed how a car could be unlocked and started with the simple tap of a smart-watch, while BMW was able to park a vehicle by simply saying “go park yourself” to a smart-watch. Audi went even further, auto-piloting a vehicle more than 500 miles from Palo Alto to Las Vegas for the show.

Although autonomous driving was a real highlight at both CES and Mobile World Congress with impressive demos on display, it has a long way to go before it moves from technically feasible to commercially viable. More and more companies, such as Ford and Hyundai, are increasingly positioning themselves as mobility companies including enabling everything from car-sharing, data driven analytics, parking guidance and payment, tolling, user-based insurance services and in-car entertainment. These services, which can transform the car industry in the near future, rely on advanced data capture and analytics combined with in-car entertainment.

There was also evidence to suggest that rear-seat entertainment will prosper in 2015 with the help of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) strategies enabling tablets, smartphones, gaming devices and other portable media players to become an integral part of rear-seat entertainment. BYOD has opened up the market to the majority of consumers who want to use their smartphones or tablets in the backseat rather than pay for an expensive embedded in-car solution. It is likely that we will see OEMs leverage the BYOD trend in the coming months and use this to add value to their products.

Software solutions such as ACCESS Twine™, NetFront™ Browser NX Automotive Profile and NetFront™ Living Connect, which are tailored for in-car infotainment, automated data and analytics functionality, can enable the car industry to easily offer connected services without requiring additional R&D or investment in hardware.

Providing new services such as remote diagnostics, preventive alerts, more efficient servicing and tailored insurance, all help increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. By integrating data, car OEMs will be able to truly understand consumers as individuals: it will be interesting to see which companies best capitalise on this in 2015.

About the author:

Robert is VP Product Management at ACCESS Europe GmbH, with a focus on HTML5 platforms and media sharing solutions, including industry specific extensions such as HbbTV and W3C Vehicle APIs, so that ACCESS customers can deploy standards based state of the art products. He has been involved in projects with major customers in both automotive and TV and ensures a customer focused development strategy for ACCESS. His role involves working with telcos, middleware suppliers, STB OEMS, automotive tier 1s and automotive OEMS to ensure that ACCESS products deliver the features needed in these fast evolving markets. Follow him on Twitter / Linkedin

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