Connecting with the Millennial driver

The two trillion dollar automotive industry is going through a seismic shift. Alongside massive demand from emerging economies, new electric based vehicles and tougher emission regulations; the notion of Big Data and connectivity is starting to dramatically alter the way drivers and passengers interact with carmakers and service providers.

Of the 70 million passenger vehicles sold each year, Millennials accounted for 27% of new car sales in the US last year, up from 18% in 2010, making them the second largest group of new car buyers. This group, which has grown up in a connected world with ubiquitous access to the Internet, is also the most likely to make buying decisions based on connected car functionality.

Millennials and many other car users expect the car to be a hub for information sharing and intelligent application usage. This can range from collaborative satellite navigation system like Waze that allow drivers to easily share their knowledge, such as diverted routes, accidents and traffic jams to interactive entertainment systems and fault diagnostic data, useful for car maintenance and breakdown services.

In a parallel to the Internet, with its free services like Google Maps or Dropbox, many of these Millennial car owners are prepared to gain useful services in exchange for data. A recent global study released by SDL found that 89% of Millennials in the US and roughly 75% in Europe would accept brands tracking personal data provided they’ve built trust with the user. Another study conducted last year by New York based agency MRY found that Millennials value cars and smartphones for similar reasons, including accomplishing daily tasks, keeping connected with friends and family, exploring new places and shopping.

To address this increased consumer demand for personalised information and media services, car manufacturers are developing hybrid infotainment systems based on embedded functionality. These systems support both the driver and passenger device to project a vehicle-optimised version of popular apps from the smartphone to the dashboard and rear-seat screens.

These converging trends provide a great opportunity for OEMs to strengthen their relationships with those Millennials who show a willingness to share personal information to personalise the car experience. In order for OEMs to offer custom experiences to their customers, solutions that provide better driver insight such as ACCESS Twine™ will prove crucial, allowing OEMs to receive information about the driver’s habits, media consumption, devices connected to the infotainment system and combining them with real-time feedback on the car use.

This granular data on the driver and the vehicle will enable manufacturers to improve the in-car services, customise the content catalogue available to the driver and passenger, offer tailored information about the next petrol station or rest area, and even deliver targeted advertising directly to the dashboard.

With the connected car concept still relatively new, developing the skill sets and technologies to offer innovative use cases to a largely untapped market offers early access to a multi-billion dollar market.

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.

How the Connected Car is Transforming In-Car Entertainment

This is the first of our Automotive focussed blogs on The Multiscreen Blog. These blogs will discuss current and upcoming trends, as the car becomes another channel for connected entertainment.

In the past, the purchase of a new car could also spell the end of the relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer if the vehicle was not going to be ‘dealer maintained’. However, the advent of connectivity in the car with the Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) developments means that OEMs can now forge a closer bond with consumers.

The connected car era has enabled the vehicle to become a fully evolved ecosystem providing a richer user experience and a host of new product offerings such as advanced diagnostics, enhanced driving safety, voice recognition, automotive apps, regularly updated car firmware and rear seat entertainment. These new features are increasingly becoming integral in the buying process both for high end and midrange cars, and enable OEMs to increase monetization opportunities over the life span of the vehicle.

The consumer desire for increased connectivity can be partly attributed to the connected car’s ability to control cost by proactively addressing performance issues. For example, new services that allow easier identification of wear and tear ensure problems are easily addressed and solved. Receiving performance related insurance could help offer a fairer tariff system based on driver performance rather than age and ultimately ensure lower rates for many road users.

However, data has a bigger role to play in transforming the automotive industry. Data and analytics enable the car to automatically communicate levels of wear and tear, providing drivers with accurate information to share with mechanics without waiting for the compulsory car inspection. Efficiently aggregated and analysed, data can also help the industry to offer tailored advertising and media strategies. For example, a tyre company could advertise for its products directly via the head unit as soon as the car informs the driver that its tyres need changing. OEMs and Tier Ones have already shown their desire to protect this data through agreements on privacy and data security principles that regulate how automakers collect, use and share information.

Connectivity in the car will enable a greater range of services to become available. For example, rear-seat entertainment has moved from an OEM controlled experience to a more personalised one that integrates connected devices such as smartphones, tablets and more. This trend forecasts increased use of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) in the car and the possible advent of ‘All seat entertainment’. An immediate consequence of Internet access everywhere and increased media consumption on every connected device has led to what is referred to as the ‘multiscreen era’ in the entertainment industry. In the multiscreen world, consumers demand a seamless experience on every device in and out of the home, and now even in their car. This creates additional challenges for OEMs and Tier Ones as they look to safeguard content on billions of different screens across the globe.

We created the first mobile web browser in the 1980s for NTT DoCoMo and we have seen the market evolve to offer more connectivity on every screen, from smartphones to game consoles and smart TVs. For us, it was only a matter of time before entertainment pervaded every aspect of our lives, including our cars.

Yet, to enable consumers to get a seamless experience everywhere, OEMs and Tier 1s need solutions that bring the latest connected entertainment experiences to the vehicle. This is why we have developed a suite of software products for the automotive industry including ACCESS Twine™, a multiscreen management platform that provides this seamless experience on any device. Furthermore, the solution can be deployed by any OEM and Tier 1 without additional developments, and caters for both embedded screen and BYOD offerings. A complete solution for the automotive sector, ACCESS Twine provides OEMs with full control over branding and the in-car experience.

We live in the age of automation in which we can talk to our phones and remotely pilot drones. It’s high time that the car industry implemented solutions that enable vehicles to become smarter in order to play a leading role in the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution that is taking off right now.

How IoT can be turned into a Secure and Personal Multiscreen Consumer Proposition

Over a short space of time, web technologies have evolved rapidly in order to create new immersive web experiences such as tailored web browsing, multiscreen TV and the mobile web. For example, the web has matured considerably since the first mobile web browser developed by ACCESS for NTT DoCoMo, and has played an integral role in transforming consumer interaction with devices. With the emergence of Internet-enabled devices including smart TVs, wearables and the connected car, operators looking to deploy multiscreen services have room to create immersive services spanning the entire connected device spectrum, which combine to create the Internet-of-Things (IoT). A recent Gartner report predicts that the number of connected devices will increase by 30% in 2015 to 4.9bn before growing fivefold to 25bn by 2020. Due to the sizeable scope of IoT, this article will focus on the Internet of Connected Entertainment.

From linear TV to multiscreen
A few decades ago, the TV was a dumb screen offering linear programming on a few channels. However, consumer adoption of Internet-enabled handheld devices such as smartphones provided the breeding ground for operators to bring interactivity into the connected home and radically transform the TV experience. The emergence of IoT has facilitated the increase in the number of devices used for ‘at-home’ entertainment. The average British household has six devices or more to watch content, allowing operators to create a fully immersive multiscreen experience both in and out of the home.

However, the increase in Internet-enabled devices has also caused security concerns around content transiting over the open Internet. With more devices connecting to the service, the risk of unauthorised access is on the rise and operators need to integrate robust support for Conditional Access (CA) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions within their multiscreen solutions to offer ‘studio confident’ streaming that earns the studios’ trust.

By deploying solutions that can ‘trans-crypt’ different types of CA and DRM systems on the fly, operators can secure the delivery of any type of content to any screen within the home via the home gateway, reducing the need to invest in cloud infrastructure. Additionally, using the in-home network increases quality of service, while limiting the risk of that content being accessed or streamed illegally over the Internet. Content can also be downloaded in the appropriate format to companion devices such as smartphones and tablets, opening the door to video consumption out of the home, and it’s likely that wearables and the connected car will enable TV Everywhere to truly emerge.

An important part of the explosion in IoT will be down to the connected car, according to recent Gartner research. A new report states that one in five vehicles will have some form of wireless network connection by 2020, accounting for more than a quarter of a billion cars across the globe. Bringing connectivity to the car is the first step for OEMs and integrators to offer video content in the confines of the vehicle, enabling TV services to extend to any environment.

Processing data in multiscreen, multi-device environment
This multiplicity of connected devices inside and outside of the home leads to a host of challenges for operators, including offering a seamless experience on all devices. As consumers now expect a single service spanning the entire connected home, it is imperative for operators to create a familiar UX (User experience) across all supported browsers, operating systems, screen sizes, device types and interaction methods. Integrating solutions that support HTML5 and the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) and Media Source Extensions (MSE) can help operators to develop this seamless UX including a security framework on all screens automatically.

While providing a seamless experience is a pre-requisite for operators, constant access to web browsing and social media has led to a tremendous increase in the amount of data produced and shared by consumers. This has triggered increased subscriber demand for personalised services that are accessible on every device everywhere. Recent research from BI Intelligence predicts that IoT will contribute to $1.7 trillion in value added to the global economy in 2019, demonstrating considerable opportunities for operators looking to deploy large-scale multiscreen services both in and out of the home.

Operators are increasingly looking for solutions that automatically aggregate and analyse data to help them better understand subscriber behaviour, the types of devices used to watch content and more. They need to be able to offer more targeted services and content, including tailored advertising on multiple platforms and better search and discovery options. It is clear that data and analytics will play an integral role in determining the future of multiscreen and it is those operators who can be entrusted with their subscribers’ personal data and utilize it to tailor services that will benefit from multiscreen connectivity.

The article was by-lined to Dr Neale Foster, COO and VP Global Sales, ACCESS

Dr Neale Foster is COO and VP Global Sales at ACCESS, a global provider of advanced software technologies to the automotive, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and digital TV markets. Since 1984, ACCESS has provided advanced software solutions and services for over 1.5 billion mobiles, smartphones and tablets, connected TVs and set-top boxes. ACCESS will be demonstrating its multiscreen product portfolio including ACCESS Twine™, the NetFront™ Browser series and NetFront™ Living Connect at TV Connect at the ExCeL in London on April 28-30 (stand 93)

This article was originally published on

Multiscreen’s 4 biggest challenges of 2015

Multiscreen is maturing at a rapid rate thanks to increased operator competition and consumer adoption. However, there are still challenges to overcome before we reach true TV Everywhere:

1. Secure high quality delivery to multiscreen, in and outside the home

As well as overcoming the challenges of a consistent user experience (UX) on multiple devices, operators need to ensure that their multiscreen services offer high quality content catalogues to attract and retain subscribers. To achieve this, they need to comply with the content industry’s stringent security requirements and ensure the high quality of service that consumers expect. Home gateway solutions that can ‘trans-crypt’ multiple types of Conditional Access and Digital Rights Management systems on the fly enable operators to deliver any type of content to any screen within the home, reducing the investment into cloud infrastructure. This also increases quality of service by using the in-home network, while limiting the risk of that content being accessed or streamed illegally over the Internet. Content can also be downloaded in the appropriate format to companion devices such as smartphones and tablets for viewing when away from home.

2. Knowing the user and reacting to changes quickly

Consumers have more choices to consume content than ever before, whether OTT or alternative pay-TV providers. Operators need to provide the highest quality of content and service in order to attract and retain consumers. It is highly critical for operators to better understand the consumer requirements and detect any change in subscriber behaviour. Better understanding of how consumers use the service will enable operators to make the right decisions in a timely manner. This will help reduce subscriber churn, increase subscriber satisfaction, improve the operator’s service and gain new subscribers.

3. Seamless experience on all devices

The proliferation of devices and systems used to access content means that operators have to deploy solutions that support multiple browsers, operating systems, screen sizes, device type and interaction method. A key requirement for every operator consists in creating a familiar UX across all supported devices. For the consumer, the ideal solution is a seamless service spanning linear and catch up TV services, OTT, multi-room, PVR and other personal content. Solutions that support HTML5 and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) and Media Source Extensions (MSE) help operators deliver a seamless UX on all screens.

4. Monetization

Providing the best experience and offering the best content catalogue everywhere is crucial to retain subscribers, but operators need to ensure that their multiscreen services are profitable. For the past fifty years, advertising has been the TV industry’s main means of increasing revenue and it’s unlikely that this will change in the near future. To ensure that advertisers also see a benefit from multiscreen, operators must offer data analytics on subscriber behaviour, devices used to watch content and more. This in turn helps advertisers tailor their campaigns to deliver them to the right audience at the right time and on the right screen.

2015 will see operators launch effective business models based on advertising and high quality content catalogues to consolidate the multiscreen market. Aggregating and analyzing consumer data will be pivotal in enabling operators to offer a successful multiscreen experience. This business intelligence data will be particularly crucial as pure OTT players and broadcasters start fighting head on for multiscreen supremacy.

The 2015 International CES is focusing on integrating CE devices in with the multiscreen mix, and taking TV Everywhere a step further by deploying it in smart cars. This demonstrates that once more, technology plays a crucial role in enabling the industry to refresh and create new personal stories that will resonate with all audiences, in every location and on every device.

This blog was originally published on IP&TV News

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