Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Will radio miss the in car entertainment boat?

I think this may well happen. Been trying to explain to the European radio industry that they HAVE to get involved in the discussion about in car entertainment platforms. Renault first talked about it at Le Web in 2010.

Back then, Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn suggested that despite the recession there will always be a market for personal mobility. The car industry needs to adapt to maintain its position as the most desirable object for most people. That means responding to concerns about energy - also opening up the car as a platform for application developers rather like the iPhone and Android.

Hopefully the personal mobility industry, worth 2 trillion dollars we're told, will be able to agree on some open standards to avoid the developer nightmares we've seen in the mobile handset space. Sit back and watch the demo of the first in a series of new Renault electric cars. And then join me in working out what radio needs to do to be part of the application boom that is coming to in-car entertainment. Radio needs to remain part of personal mobility as the car radio disappears as a discrete device.

Renault, the Twizy Electric Car and Apps from Jonathan Marks on Vimeo.

Since that video was made, more than 2 years have passed. Renault has launched that platform R-link, although it seems to be only known amongst French developers. It's clear to me that the car industry is still struggling with apps. Which is why those who are media savvy have a small window of opportunity to help them get it right.



I note that the streaming services as well as catch-up feature prominently. Radio is still a frequency. I maintain that most people don't shout frequencies at the dashboard, no matter how catchy the jingle. Major problem with Renault is that they haven't spent any more to explain the story in English.

It turns out that R-LINK consists of three things: an integrated tablet in your car with a 17-inch screen, a connection via a local agreement with a mobile operator, and a combination of both integrated services and a Renault app store, an iTunes-like store. Technically, it's all working. But the extent of implementation seems to vary from market to market with France leading the way. I would suggest that language might have a lot to do with it.

 
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