8/. IN-VEHICLE INFOTAINMENT: THE KEY TAKEAWAYS

This is the eighth part of a series of blog posts we’ve been publishing over the last couple of months on the topic of “The In-Car Roadmap: A Definitive Guide to IVI.” A complete eBook will be published soon. Subscribe to our Automotive Newsletter to be notified when it is available. A PDF version of this blog can be downloaded here.


Executive summary

  • The In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) function will evolve from an optional to a fundamental element of the in-car experience. Investment in this area will grow, as will the sophistication and the feature set needed to meet the use cases that drivers and passengers want and will come to expect.
  • As connected cars become the norm, IVI will benefit society through increased safety, improved navigation, faster journey times and, as a result, a reduction in pollution levels.
  • IVI offers valuable real estate to enable new value-added mobile services and build incredibly strong relationships with car owners and users.
  • Branded IVI allows OEMs to own the relationship with car owners and users and to control the in-car experience, which is crucial as Internet giants that are moving into IVI threaten to beat them to it.
  • A dual strategy of supporting key mobile device brands – such as Google and Apple – while still retaining control through IVI technology such as ACCESS Twine™ for Car offers the most benefits for the automotive industry.


    This blog is a summary of the previous seven in the series, which explain how in-car entertainment will progress from today through to the next generation of cars and onwards to level 5 autonomous driving. This summary explains how automotive OEMs and tier-1 technology suppliers can get there.

Maximise 4G networks – start preparing for 5G

4G networks are already widely deployed and provide a pathway for high-speed connectivity across audio, compressed video and two-way communication for BYOD and on-board apps. In Europe, all new car models approved for manufacture after 31 March 2018 must have the 112-based eCall system installed which uses a cellular modem within each vehicle.

Although 4G is ideal for streaming low bandwidth content, the cellular connectivity that will be fitted into all new cars is likely to be 5G ready – allowing a software / SIM upgrade to take advantage of new networks as they arrive to the market.

This move to 5G is more than just a gimmick; due to the short wavelength of 5G radio signals, cars, which have capacity for larger and better integrated radio antennas, will offer far superior reception than that of smartphones. With the car acting as a reliable 5G access point, the ability to project a Wi-Fi hotspot for occupants provides increased reliability and performance across the entire journey for driver and passengers alike.

Key takeaway: Cars that embrace 5G will hold a big advantage when it comes to purchasing decisions.


Don’t forget radio

Audio is still the most favoured infotainment option for drivers and passengers alike and is going through an evolution with the addition of streaming. The first generation of connected cars have yet to fully integrate radio, streaming and BYOD services, leading to lower consumer satisfaction. IVI will increasingly act as a primary interface for audio service aggregation and integration including control pane functions such as voice recognition.

Value-added features – such as audio search and caching to overcome connection outages – enabled through IVI integration are a considerable consumer benefit. A software and cloud-based approach to in-car audio increases flexibility for consumers and allows OEMs to make service and feature enhancements without requiring a dealer visit.

This shift is most evident in the 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, parking and payment services. In the future, IVI will enable services such as streaming video and location-based advertising. The opportunity is broad and increasingly global from Netflix to Youku Tudou with consumers looking for localised content and IVI services that have the flexibility to change as markets evolve.

Key takeaway: Simplicity matters. As IVI grows in service offerings, OEMs will need to replicate the ease-of-use of traditional radio.


Get ahead in automotive: Deliver a unique IVI offering

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 that 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 will be appealing to car buyers.

As we enter this inflection point for the automotive industry, we believe that successfully designing cars for three and six years out is an incredible challenge. This is why ACCESS is simplifying the route to premium content by functioning as a one-stop shop for OEMs. We enable this through securing content rights for TV, VOD, audio, games and apps for global usage in combination with the ACCESS Twine™ for Car IVI platform. By providing OEMs with a single point of contact for multiple markets, it is our belief that we are bringing a unique IVI offering to the market.

Key takeaway: OEMs have an opportunity to differentiate through IVI. Long-term planning is challenging in the automotive industry but IVI systems like ACCESS Twine™ for Car can help them bridge the gap.


Embrace the autonomous future

Ask any two senior executives within the automotive industry when autonomous vehicles will arrive to market, and the answers will almost certainly differ. What is clear is that it’s a race that everybody is keen to win!

By 2040, there will be over 2 billion cars in use and it is likely that autonomous vehicles will make up most, if not all, 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. For IVI, the arrival of autonomous vehicles is a game changer and shifts the perception of the technology from luxury to necessity. The big question is when will this happen? If the tech industry has taught us anything, it will probably be sooner than you think.

Key takeaway: Autonomy will turn IVI into a necessity, and it may arrive sooner than you think.


IVI: the route to success

We think there are 7 critical steps to IVI success:

  1. Launch connected IVI in your next generation of cars.
  2. Make sure you provide compelling and super easy to use connected audio and rear seat video experiences.
  3. Deploy a dual strategy of launching your own app store while supporting key mobile device brands – such as Google and Apple – through your own branded IVI. Retain control of the in-vehicle experience through an IVI solution such as ACCESS Twine™ for Car.
  4. Integrate a dedicated app store for cars that provides audio, video and journey specific apps.
  5. Make sure you provide great experiences wherever you sell cars – this will require local content and apps.
  6. Listen to your customers – and what they listen to and watch. If they want Netflix and Spotify, provide it to them.
  7. Implement your connected IVI strategy as soon as possible.

If the automotive industry does not embrace next generation IVI, someone else will: however given its 150 year history of anticipating change and finding new ways to make the most of advances in technology, I’m sure the OEMs, Electric Vehicle (EV) & Automated Vehicle (AV) companies and Tier-1’s will drive next generation connected IVI experiences. Given the rise of EV and AV, we can already see today how there is a foundation for the automotive industry to realign its offering and capitalise on the exciting new opportunities and recurring revenue business models on offer. So embrace the future. Combine your existing app store, alongside a solution such as ACCESS Twine™ for Car which is designed to support key mobile device brands, and operate a winning strategy that will protect you brand and drive it towards an exciting new future.

I hope you’ve found this blog and the entire series informative. If you’d like to know more about how we can help car manufacturers and Tier-1’s create breakthrough new services using ACCESS Twine™ for Car, along with guidance on critical considerations such as security, privacy, technical integration and emerging standards, then please get in touch.

Yours truly,
Dr Neale, Foster, CEO at ACCESS Europe


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5./ The video entertainment revolution begins

This is the fifth part of a series of blog posts we’re publishing over the next few weeks 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

  • The growing adoption of Rear Seat Entertainment across luxury, MPVs and taxi/ ridesharing will accelerate as AV enters the market.
  • Delivering new video services will take advantage of a combination of IP, cloud and software technologies along with cellular networks to meet consumer demand.
  • Innovative middleware and service platforms such as ACCESS Twine™ for Car help OEMs overcome technical
    and IAM hurdles through extensive support for key operating systems, media sharing protocols and security controls.
  • Creating the foundation for video-based services today will help progressive OEMs prepare for wider adoption through BYOD apps and cloud / software updates.

“Are we there yet….?” Parents with children know just how important it is for the back-seat royalty to have access to video and Internet.

It’s also important that the people in the front have access to great navigation and location-based services. Imagine you’re a visitor to a strange city. Wouldn’t you just love to have voice directions to the nearest free parking spot and have the payment handled automatically? And of course, when autonomous driving hits its stride, the front seat passengers will be able to enjoy video entertainment too.


Slow wave quickens

Video in cars is not a new concept. After all, the first factory installed rear seat entertainment units appeared in the 1990s. However, considering that approximately two-thirds of car journeys in major cities such as London involve just a driver and no passengers, the demand for these systems has remained relatively low.

The Video Entertainment Revolution begins

Nevertheless, Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE) has proven popular within the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) / minivan / Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) segment, where reviewers of models such as Chevrolet Tahoe and Chrysler Pacifica have been vocal as to the benefits, especially for inter-state journeys with kids in tow.

High end luxury vehicles such as Mercedes-Maybach – which come at a sticker price in excess of $200,000 – tend to easily upsell RSE packages that may cost a couple of extra thousand dollars. Yet, China seems to be the growing epicentre of factory installed RSE that is now common on premium models.

However, the market with potentially the biggest growth is within purpose-built taxis and vehicles which are increasingly designed to serve as ridesharing services. Uber, and its rival service Ola, have already trialled RSE services in India while in the US, a growing number of third parties are offering rideshare advertising services.

Yet, with the majority of RSE installed privately through DIY kits, there are very few accurate statistics around the number of vehicles with this capability and by extension, access to video-based services. However, industry analysts Market Study Report LLC suggest the automotive display market is expected to surpass USD 30 billion by 2025.

Expected value of the video display market in 2025


Fully autonomous vehicles shift the market

By law, front seat video systems are deemed as illegal in most jurisdictions as they are considered a driver distraction. Yet demand for RSE is growing, and this position is likely to accelerate over the next decade as fully autonomous vehicles start to enter the market. Innovators such as Tesla already allow drivers to access video content on the front screen when the vehicle is parked within a charging station.

Part of this growth is due to consumer electronics commoditisation that has reduced the cost of factory installed RSE. The rise of low-cost tablets has led to a reduction in the optional RSE systems with $1000 the starting point for OEM branded packages. Factory installed options tend to be more reliable and integrated than BYOD equivalents and have safety benefits compared to the possibility of handheld tablets becoming dangerous projectiles in the event of a crash.

The physical aspect and economics of RSE, either as standard or as optional extra, is still an evolving landscape. In general, almost every major brand has several models that have this capability. Perhaps the biggest challenge is to ensure that every passenger can enjoy a video experience that is at least comparable to the at-home equivalent.


IP, cloud and software centric

Irrespective of which business model OEMs decides to adopt, the video content service delivery method is likely to rely on IP-based streaming via cellular networks. This approach overcomes the limitations of technologies such as DVB – although that could potentially change over the next decade – while allowing service delivery to be handled through software, either in the car or from the cloud. This offers a major benefit by allowing cars to be manufactured in any market, and exported to any market, with the IVI and RSE configured by remote software update and configuration.

The analogy would be the smartphone; on first use, it can connect to the local carrier and ask the user for their account details, which in turn builds the GUI and app profile based on the supplied information.

As cars change owners in the secondary market, the IVI and RSE resets and the process starts again – as it did when the vehicle left the dealer showroom – and the connection between driver and the OEM is extended to the entire lifecycle of the vehicle!


Video – delivering quality, flexibility and profit

When it comes to the user experience, the IVI has a critical role to play in ensuring popular video services are seamlessly enabled. This starts with handling the Identity Access Management (IAM) layer to ensure secure and trusted access to subscribed services. This single sign-on process simplifies the user experience and is linked to additional features such as parental control and billing management for payment services.

Consumers that already have active subscriptions are unlikely to want to pay for a separate RSE package. However, when bundled with 4G/5G connectivity and sold as a package upgrade, this business model offers a tantalising glimpse into the potential of untapped video service revenues that OEMs could unlock.



ACCESS Insight

ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car) enables OEMs to integrate all kinds of content sources, be it public, private or premium content. Sitting as a middleware layer, Twine4Car enables OEMs to define look, feel and style of the UI while the platforms handle the technical enablement of providing secured media access and enabling secured multiscreen media sharing to any head unit within the vehicle along with BYOD devices.

Additionally, by pre-integrating IAM, Conditional Access (CA) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions, OEMs can both simplify the consumer experience and meet the security requirements of the SVOD and broadcaster community. ACCESS Twine™ is CA/DRM technology agnostic and is open to be integrated with any of such systems, including Microsoft PlayReady®, Verimatrix VCAS® and ViewRight™ technologies, and to provide great support for further solutions like Google Widevine® and Apple FairPlay Streaming™.

For OEMs with multiple brands, Twine4Car can help optimise costs by overcoming the issue of device fragmentation. This is because its SDKs are available for all major operating systems, along with integration with leading in-car systems such as GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 4G/5G, DNLA and key automotive software technologies such as Apple CarPlay and Google Auto. Additionally, operators benefit from ACCESS’ wide experience of the consumer electronics market having deployed on more than 1.5 billion devices.


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3/. Entertainment content for the connected car

This is the third 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

  • 4G and the adoption of 5G cellular connectivity for new car sales is growing rapidly, making the connected car the de facto standard within 5 years.
  • The technical characteristics of 5G signalling gives automotive platforms reliability and performance benefits for occupants compared to personal mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones.
  • Buyers are prepared to switch car brand loyalty to gain better connectivity and seamless access to additional services.
  • Modern IVI will help OEMs deliver flexible networking to achieve the best possible experience for vehicle occupants – across all platforms.
  • Once connected, OEMs can streamline direct communications and start building stronger relationships with driver and passengers.
  • This IP, cloud and app approach to IVI meets the needs of the automotive industry to manufacture vehicles that are independent of the market of eventual sale.

Across the developed and developing world, consumers expect that the Internet connectivity provided through mobile devices should offer them access to entertainment wherever they are.

As we enter a new decade, basic radio and rather awkward bring-your-own-device (BYOD) experiences are unlikely to satisfy drivers and passengers as the only forms of in-car entertainment. The car OEMs understand this and are all evaluating the best way to deliver on the potential of the connected car concept. As BMW board member, Pieter Nota, suggests: “It’s not just about having big screens in your vehicle, it’s about the content you can have on those screens and what you can offer that’s so important, in terms of things like the best possible integration of music in your vehicle.”

The combination of smart software with stable 4G and advanced 5G cellular networks unlocks a future in which the car becomes an OEM-branded communications hub that offers entertainment, BYOD access and value-added services.

The relatively low cost of shipping 4G systems in a car has already seen a rise in its inclusion in next generation vehicles. There will be around 250 million connected cars on the road by 2020, and connected functionality has moved up the list of features consumers value. A 2018 survey by mobile app developer Metova found that two out of three respondents would switch from their current entertainment service provider to one that was included with their vehicle. Buyers are increasingly prepared to change both their car brand and loyalty towards their content distributor to gain better connectivity and seamless access to in-car entertainment services. Data from Counterpoint Research suggesting that 75% of cars will be connected to the Internet by 2025, with the vast majority utilising 5G networks, supports the notion that the connected car is on its way to mass-market adoption.  

66% of consumers would switch content providers to get in-car connected content services
66% of consumers would switch content providers to get in-car connected content services

 

5G mobility benefits

4G networks are already widely deployed and provide a pathway for highspeed connectivity across audio, compressed video and two-way communication for BYOD and on-board apps. In Europe, new car models approved for manufacture after 31 March 2018 must have the 112-based eCall system installed which uses a cellular modem within each vehicle.

Although 4G is ideal for streaming low bandwidth content, the cellular connectivity that will be fitted into all new cars is likely to be 5G ready – allowing a software / SIM upgrade to take advantage of new networks as they arrive to the market.

This move to 5G is more than just a gimmick; due to the short wavelength of 5G radio signals, cars with larger and better integrated radio antennas will offer far superior reception than that of smartphones. With the car acting as a reliable 5G access point, the ability to project a Wi-Fi hotspot for occupants provides increased reliability and performance across the entire journey for driver and passengers alike.

With connectivity built-in, automobiles finally gain several real-time capabilities that aid driver comfort, safety and utility. From instant updates for traffic and route guidance, to delivering new forms of infotainment such as streaming audio services and video for rear-seat passengers, 5G means, that for example, a built-in IVI system including a service such as Netflix will perform far better than BYOD devices running a Netflix app.

IVI acts already as a connectivity hub allowing various media formats – via Bluetooth and USB drives – to be merged into a single source of entertainment. The next generation IVIs will also be a central access point to the services offered by the OEMs, allowing them to shape these in the most attractive and efficient way for the driver and passengers.  

Data on the move

Always-on connectivity also allows automotive brands to gain deeper insights into car and driver usage. As part of an opt-in model, brands can now start to directly communicate with vehicle occupants for practical issues, such as car servicing reminders and promotional activities including OEM and third-party offers.

For car brands, built in connectivity combined with value added services unlocks the potential for direct-to-consumer subscription services. Early pioneers of this approach include OnStar, with its package of services such as roadside assistance, remote vehicle unlocking, and automatic crash response. This helped to showcase the potential of connectivity being available across entry level and mid-tier vehicles. Through this connectivity, OEMs can begin to streamline their direct communications and start building stronger relationships with drivers and passengers.
 

Infotainment unlocked

The connected car approach will also allow car brands to offer integrated infotainment services through partnerships with existing or emerging music, video-on-demand and gaming services. In a similar paradigm to the smartphone market, vehicles are likely to be a showroom with connected services that are enabled through activating pre-downloaded apps within the IVI – along with companion apps for mobile devices.

Adoption of the connected car as standard is accelerating across the industry, fuelled by consumer demand. All current consumer and car industry research points towards an evolution in which the connected car becomes the standard option. Looking to a medium-term future where electric vehicles and charging stations become the norm, the in-car entertainment experience will play a key role in how car brands are perceived.  

ACCESS IVI how does the content get into the car
How does the content get into the car?

Twine4Car connects the in-car infotainment system components seamlessly with BYOD devices via the in-car Wi-Fi network. It provides a decentralised control of content that enables a multi-device user experience far beyond common single device streaming applications or screen mirroring technologies. This platform approach aggregates content into a single point, offering enhanced features such as the ability to index digital content along with music and video from all devices – including USB drives, smartphones and tablets – within the car. Aggregated content can be played on any Twine4Car enabled device such as RSE units, tablets and smartphones. It allows OEMs to deploy a single IVI system across multiple brands and enables the delivery of new features simply via software updates or through changes to cloud-based interfaces rather than through physical upgrades.

This combined IP, cloud and app approach matches with the needs of the automotive industry to manufacture vehicles that are independent of the market of eventual sale. For example, a car build in a factory in Germany, sold to a dealer in Netherlands and bought by a customer that lives in Belgium, would offer an IVI experience that could be automatically reconfigured based on the owner’s preference through a simple system login process – without the need for a dealer visit.

In addition, as the vehicle’s owner changes or as new BYOD devices or content services appear, the IVI interface can be remotely updated from the cloud – without the need for new software to be pushed to the vehicle – and again, without a dealer visit. This innovative concept is ready here and now and under testing at several larger automotive manufacturers.

100% of new cars sold in Europe have a cellular modem
100% of new cars sold in Europe have a cellular modem

 

75% of cars will be connected to the internet by 2025
75% of cars will be connected to the internet by 2025

 

250m connected cars expected to be on the road in 2020
250m connected cars expected to be on the road in 2020

ACCESS Insight

ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car) supports automotive OEMs in creating successful multi-device in-car platforms that facilitate flexible driver and passenger consumption of media services. It enables exploration of new customer engagement approaches through the HMI and business models to create recurring revenue streams. Twine4Car allows OEMs to start with the services they wish to deploy today and add new services over time as the industry moves towards more advanced levels of autonomous driving.


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