The in-car entertainment space is getting really exciting. Initially, it was dominated by radio. In the last 10 years, audio remains still dominant, with other audio services such as Deezer, Radioline, Radioplayer, and Spotify, some of which we’ve successfully integrated into the In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems for some of the major auto brands. The next step that we’re working with the car OEMs on is bringing video streaming to the party, for passengers in the rear at any time and those in the front when the car is stationary, such as when an electric vehicle is charging.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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This is the second 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.
- IVI and connectivity are key buying criteria (especially for millennials) that will grow with the arrival of autonomous vehicles.
- IVI and linked mobile apps offer powerful two-way communication for OEMs to finally engage directly with vehicle owners that transcend the dealer network.
- Embracing digital services – such as an in-car streaming solutions – will allow for new types of engagements and revenue streams.
- A dual strategy of supporting key mobile device brands – such as Google and Apple – while still retaining control of the in-vehicle experience offers the most benefits for the automotive industry.
- This approach will allow the automotive industry to capitalise on new partnerships with content and service providers while strengthening customer engagement and brand loyalty.
For most consumers, purchasing a car is the second largest capital outlay after buying a house.
There are a host of reasons that people choose the car they buy, ranging from ‘curb appeal’ to what the brand means to the driver. Does it feel special sitting in the driver’s seat? Will the kids love sitting in the back? Does it come with all the extras I want at the right price? Of course, all these factors matter, but increasingly the in-car entertainment system can be the decider. So, getting the IVI system right really matters for OEMs.
Although increasing showroom sales are critical, a connected OEM branded In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI) system also helps to build longer-term relationships with the driver and passenger along with generating new, recurring revenue streams. At the same time, it enables the OEM to define the in-car experience rather than ceding control to Silicon Valley media tech giants. All of which means that the in-car entertainment experience has never mattered so much to people in cars and those that make them.
Capturing the market
Research companies report that in-vehicle infotainment and connectivity capabilities are becoming a major requirement; according to 2016 IHS Automotive research (which focused on the US market), up to 40% of millennials said they wanted in-car IVI based apps that ‘help to enhance the driving experience.’ Additionally, Gartner L2 reported in 2016 that 40% of surveyed consumers would switch their car brand for more connectivity, up from 20% in 2014. As autonomous vehicles start to emerge – freeing the driver to participate in more activities – IVI will take on an ever more important role in the vehicle purchasing decision making process.
The connected age
The overall vehicle experience has evolved in recent years through the arrival of more advanced in-vehicle technologies. The simple radio and cassette decks from the 1970’s have been updated in modern vehicles with cellular enabled in-car Wi-Fi offering streaming audio, GPS-based location services, and for rear passengers, the option of live and on-demand video.
But IVI is more than just a consumer benefit. With the combination of touchscreen and voice-based interface, on-board software and cellular communications; automotive brands will finally have a powerful touchpoint direct to the car owner. This two-way interaction goes beyond the dealer network relationship and allows brands to engage directly with end-customers to share information, collate data and provide additional value-added services.
The OEMs can increase the possibility of success in IVI by working with telcos to create multiple data plans to 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 could be interesting and popular in some markets.
According to the 2018 Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study, between 50% and 63% of car owners would be interested in additional connected services provided by car manufacturers. The list includes maintenance updates and vehicle health reporting; updates regarding traffic congestion and suggested alternate routes; and access to parking information, including availability, booking and payment. The same study suggests that 59% of consumers were not contacted by the manufacturer after purchasing their vehicle.
Yet most new cars sold are still not equipped with a modern ‘connected’ IVI. Although this is changing, many existing car owners and passengers still rely on bring-your-own-device (BYOD) offerings based on smartphones and tablets to broaden their in-car entertainment experience beyond the radio and CD player. This option is far from ideal; it suffers from intermittent connection, can be poorly integrated with the car’s entertainment systems and does not provide experiences tailored to individual journeys. It is important when specifying next-generation IVI that OEMs and Tier-1s look for integrated BYOD solutions that provide greater benefits for both automotive brands and the consumer.
Developing integrated apps that can span both IVI and BYOD is critical. Tighter integration between vehicle functions, such as satellite navigation, cellular Wi-Fi, audio systems and rear passengers’ screens, enables advanced in-vehicle features such as instrument cluster integration and rear seat casting to be much more streamlined for the enjoyment of all car occupants.
By offering value-added features, brands can retain control of the user experience through car owners obtaining a superior experience by installing the OEM’s IVI equivalent app on BYOD devices. This dual strategy offers brands a way to keep direct contact with owners as vehicles are resold into the secondary markets, especially if the sale is outside the dealer network.
At the same time, this model also builds stronger relationships and greater loyalty amongst the next generation of car buyers. Offering a branded, value-added app tied to each vehicle creates a direct touch communication path which is directly in the control of the OEM. This means the OEM can reach every car owner, globally, with localised content.
Vehicle app stores
The opportunity to have a set of apps that not only span multiple models and devices but can also be made available from a dedicated vehicle app store, represents an innovation that car brands can use to avoid a dependence on either the Google or Apple app store. The combination of the manufacturer branded IVI alongside integrated branded apps on BYOD, provides the ability to deliver additional value-added services that are both simplified and more reliable.
Alongside popular streamed music applications such as Pandora and Spotify, brands can now look at offering additional content services such as Video-on-Demand (VOD), live TV and premium content that can be delivered as part of a monthly subscription or within an advertising supported model. Global brands such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix – along with regional champions such as iROKOtv in Nigeria, Hotstar in India and ClaroVideo in Brazil – are all vying for subscribers and are looking at the in-car market as an intact space for business growth.
A world of content
It will be vital for OEMs to create content propositions which entail both large international SVOD and streaming services with local broadcaster content across several countries. ACCESS has built a substantial partner portfolio for automotive, which allows for a mix of content in a white-label product. This allows for an OEM to hold the customer relationship across all its facets.
Are you ready?
By 2040, there will be over 2 billion cars in use and it is likely that autonomous vehicles will make up most 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.
The car industry is embracing next generation IVI through standard-based application and connectivity platforms. Leading this shift is ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car), which enables automotive OEMs to provide branded Infotainment services on the car head-unit (HU) and rear-seat entertainment (RSE) displays. With software development kits for Android, iOS, QNX and Linux, OEMs can now also extend their branded IVI experience to customer brought in devices (BYOD) to form a seamless offering. Twine4Car spans the gap between the automotive and the content industries by enabling a content portfolio, helping to increase the safety, the comfort, and the flexibility of content consumption for drivers and passengers. Through our extensive contacts and experience, ACCESS can also act as the single point of contact for the OEM, engaging with app store providers, broadcasters, media owners and the OEM’s Tier-1 suppliers to enable the integration and provisioning of state-of-the-art content and streaming services.
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