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.
Read any car review and you can tell how important the IVI experience is these days. If you need further evidence, the PwC Digital Auto Report 2020, reported that 63% of US drivers rated in-car entertainment as one of the car’s most important features. With IVI now a key factor in the buying decision, it’s critical that OEMs offer car users access to the content they want. At ACCESS, we’re making sure that this happens by working with the world’s leading media and entertainment organizations to ensure that a wide range of content is available to the car OEMs and the Tier-1s through the car-centric App Store that we have built into our IVI solution, ACCESS Twine™ for Car.
The car is a different environment to the living room, but consumers don’t completely change their behavior because they’re in a car. All over the world consumers want both global and as importantly their local content heroes and they want it in their own language.
It’s also important to cater for every age group. We’re already doing this, for instance, you may have noticed our recent announcements with Kidomi, the super app for kids, and N-Dream, a gaming app that’s perfect in the car. It’s our task to work with global and local brands so that OEMs deploying our Twine4Car app store can meet their customers infotainment needs in every territory that they sell their cars.
As car ownership models change and the move to electric powertrains flatten the differences between brands and models, it’s increasingly clear that controlling the IVI experience and owning the data it generates is critical to all OEMs. We at Access enable car OEMs to meet this challenge through our technology and a global network of leading media and entertainment partners. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.
We already watch video on a multitude of devices, wherever we are, for business and pleasure. We enjoy TV to relax in the evening, news on the way to work, news clips at our desk and catching up with the latest action from your favourite sports.
So, when I’m asked: How will video consumption in the car differ from how we consumer video elsewhere? The answer is it won’t – we will do all of the above, but the mix will be different. And flexibility will be absolutely critical, because there’s a huge difference between a long drive with the family and your commute to work. In-car video consumption will largely be shaped by the type of journey and time of day.
Anyone that’s heard a child shout “Are we there yet….?” knows just how important it is for the back-seat royalty to have access to video and Internet. It’s equally important that the people in the front have access to great navigation and location-based apps and 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?
I’m a big fan of Liverpool FC. If I’m in the car waiting for someone, or something, I often catch up with the highlights on my smartphone. This experience will be so much better through the larger screen of a connected car. When there’s a big match, such as a Champions League tie, I try and make sure I’m able to watch it on a big screen. There are times however when that’s not possible and I’m driving. So, I follow the action through the car radio, but in a next generation connected car I will have the option of pulling over and watching that critical penalty live through the IVI system! And of course, when autonomous driving hits its stride, I will be able to watch the whole game from the front seat in total comfort.
EV’s, with their requirement for charging stops, will drive video consumption from snack to substantial main-course. While you’re waiting for the charging dial to rise, you will have time to watch your favourite sit-com or the end of that movie you didn’t get around to finishing a few days ago.
The rise of the Connected Car, enabled by 4G and increasingly by 5G, means that the integration of the In-Vehicle Infotainment system with your work cloud and your home entertainment packages will enable you to watch video important for work or to relax with your favourite content. Drivers and passengers will do both.
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.
At ACCESS we are working with OEMs and Tier-1’s to ensure that we build on our experience of powering over 1.5 billion consumer electronics devices so that our ACCESS Twine™ for Car solution, which combines video and audio playback and management software with an app store and global and local content, ensures that OEMs can provide video snacks for well as catering for car drivers and passengers with larger appetites.
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.
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.
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:
Launch connected IVI in your next generation of cars.
Make sure you provide compelling and super easy to use connected audio and rear seat video experiences.
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.
Integrate a dedicated app store for cars that provides audio, video and journey specific apps.
Make sure you provide great experiences wherever you sell cars – this will require local content and apps.
Listen to your customers – and what they listen to and watch. If they want Netflix and Spotify, provide it to them.
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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This is the sixth 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 our Automotive Newsletter to be notified when the next instalment of the series is available. A PDF version of this blog can be downloaded here.
In-vehicle video (IVI) is an untapped market that will grow rapidly, thanks to automotive trends such as Electric Vehicle (EV) charging, increased ridesharing and the arrival of fully autonomous vehicles.
An approach that embraces IP, cloud and software allows OEMs to build an infotainment strategy that decouples the country of manufacture from the service delivery agreement.
The fragmented SVOD market and simmering rivalries between content providers makes delivering a flexible, integrated service a significant challenge for the automotive industry.
ACCESS has removed all the stumbling blocks around content deals, so that one single service can be provided across all OEM markets. ACCESS functions as a one-stop shop for acquiring content rights for TV, VOD, audio, games and apps for global usage.
Delivered as either a managed or co-managed platform, an OEM’s in-house development team is relieved of the burden of having to maintain continual updates to ensure BYOD device compatibility, access security and ongoing content agreements.
Vast and untapped
The economic potential of video in vehicles should not be under-estimated. To provide perspective; at the end of 2019, Netflix, the largest single global SVOD, had 167 million subscribers worldwide (60 million based in the US) and revenues of around $20 billion. Estimates in recent years suggest that there could be as many as 2 billion cars on the road by 2025. Even if just one in five of these drivers subscribe to an RSE/SVOD package, the revenue would potentially eclipse even Netflix.
Although services such as Netflix are popular, there are regional and demographic differences that need to be considered. For example, the Disney+ service potentially has more content suitable for children in the backseat than a service such as ESPN, which provides live sports streaming to viewers of all ages.
In the multi-seating-row minivan / Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) market offering, there is a huge potential for OEM brands to differentiate by delivering various content streams to any seat across the vehicle through an on-board media server, via 5G streaming or gaming apps. This presents the possibility for a new recurring revenue profit engine to emerge.
IVI – the video enabler
Across all these examples, the IVI offers that natural focal point for service delivery as well as future flexibility through software-based adaptation. This also offers a benefit for regional customisation with Over-the-air (OTA) IVI updates, providing access to local services without requiring a dealer visit.
As of 2018, there were approximately 1.5 billion active pay-TV or SVOD subscription worldwide, a figure which is expected to reach 1.87 billion by 2023. The global demand for content offers the potential for OEMs to include video content as standard for the underserved RSE audiences. This can range from free-to-air (FTA) channels such as news and sport, to ad-supported premium content that generates a small revenue stream – in effect carriage charges – for the OEM. In this model, a potentially more valuable offering is through in-vehicle video advertising – although this is a concept that has yet to be tested on the open market.
The wider SVOD market is fragmenting to support more operators, with leaders such as Netflix, joined by Amazon, Fox, Disney and HBO, plus an overlap from traditional pay-TV providers with mobile SVOD, such as Sky in Europe and Star in Asia. Added to the mix are premium sports brands like NBA, MLB and NFL that are increasingly looking at direct-to consumer SVOD as a way of bypassing traditional broadcasting structures.
Flexibility and reliability
Although great for consumer choice, these shifting sands mean that OEMs keen to deliver more RSE must prioritise flexibility and reliability as their top two criteria. Just like the smartphone market, every RSE-equipped vehicle must be able to effectively access every major SVOD service with little friction. In a similar way to progressive TV manufacturers such as Samsung and Sony, the RSE must have the capability to receive FTA channels. It must deliver access to built-in content portals, plus a range of SVOD apps ready for activation with just the addition of subscriber credentials (such as username and password).
Avoiding the content turf wars
OEMs need to insulate themselves for these types of competitive rivalries by ensuring the IVI and RSE systems are developed with independent technology vendors that do not have competing content businesses. To meet this need, IVI must also be independent of the vested interests of the internet platforms dominated by the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google. These giants have traditionally made it difficult to access content from a perceived rival’s walled garden. For example, Netflix and Apple TV recently cited “technical issues” which prevent Netflix from working on recent versions of Apple Airplay and, in some instances Apple CarPlay.
With the assumption that access to multiple video service providers is needed, the IVI can provide additional value-added features. However, to overcome the need for continuous 4G/5G connectivity on the road, combined capabilities are required. They include pre-caching, to create pools of HD content using cellular connectivity while the vehicle is off-the-road; live video caching, for advanced controls such as pause and rewind; and unified search.
Signing content deals to provide services for all OEM markets is a real challenge. ACCESS has removed this heavy lifting by functioning as a one-stop shop for OEMs, acquiring content rights for TV, VOD, audio, games and apps for global usage. This is unique in the market and enables OEMS to focus on the service with a single point of contact for multiple markets. One of the more attractive approaches in the shorter-term is for OEMs to provide users with a substantial car-centric app store so that car users can use their existing subscriptions to access the third-party content services they love and cherish.
Ready for growth?
Live TV and SVOD services for cars are part of an untapped market that has many elements converging. If unlocked, this represents a major revenue opportunity for the automotive industry. Consider again the potential in respect to the Netflix story.
In 2008, the year after the SVOD leader launched its services, Netflix had an audience of under 10 million subscribers, all based in the US. By 2018, Netflix had accrued an estimated 55 million US subscribers – more than half the total number of pay TV subscriptions in the country (94 million). Today, by our analysis, less than 1% of vehicles have video enabled RSE. However, the combination of reduction in cost, growing demand for minivans/SUVs, AV and increased ridesharing usage – as well as increasing 5G connectivity – suggests this figure will grow.
Until the arrival of mass market automated vehicles, the adoption of vehicle based SVOD is unlikely to match the staggering growth rate of Netflix. Near-term scenarios such as waiting 20 minutes in an EV at a high-speed charging stations will start to increase demand and use of RSE.
Automotive brands can learn from the pay-TV industry by adopting open standards and ensuring that technologies are fit-for-purpose. To do so, they need to lay the groundwork in preparation of the rise of video. If AV arrives faster than expected, OEMs without an RSE (or potential Front Seat Entertainment) option will be left out in the cold.
ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car) comprises a content services layer that includes a pre-built catalogue of content that has been sourced from a wide range of national, regional and international content partners such as ViacomCBS. This broadcaster, studio and content provider network is growing continually. Management is enabled via cloud-based rights management capabilities that can allow OEMs to build optional, basic and premium packages that are adaptable and based on country of vehicle purchase.
This approach simplifies the content acquisition and service process for OEMs and provides a one-stop-shop for handling future rights management and content licensing agreements. Through an IP-based delivery method to head units and OEM Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) apps, OEMs can gain the benefit of an integrated and branded service, localised to the customer without the complexity of having to manage hundreds of separate content agreements and ongoing service and software maintenance challenges.
Content monetisation and service profitability are perfectly supported by Twine4Car to allow the creation of a unique and highly differentiated selling proposition that outperforms all non-integrated offerings.
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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.
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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