iPod Integration in the Top Ten Automotive Technologies of the Decade

It’s amazing how far reaching MP3 technology has become since the introduction of the iPod in 2003. Apple’s vision of the iPod has truly extended to just about anything consumers can imagine. We can play our iPods anywhere. At home, at the gym, on a hike and in the car. But it’s the car stereo application that seems to have fallen short for consumers. But its not Apple’s fault. They foresaw the OEM car stereo application when they first introduced the iPod and even approached Alpine Electronics, the OEM car stereo maker for a huge majority of vehicles you see on the road. They wanted to collaborate with Alpine to integrate the iPod with the factory car stereo’s so that consumers could enjoy having their iPods on the road. It raised the a big question, “wouldn’t that kill the CD changer market?”. The honest answer was yes. The short story is the cry that came back from the manufacturers of the CD changer was too big and the result is consumers are today left with the poor fidelity options of FM modulation, cassette adapters and 3.5mm jacks. Fear not however, because this isn’t the only option anymore.

Earlier this year Edmunds.com named iPod Integration in their Top Ten automotive technologies of the Decade. “We’ve come a long way from carrying around bulky multi-CD cases. Today drivers can bring along all their favorite music with a device that fits in a pocket and can be integrated with most vehicles.” – Automotive Industries, Jan2010, Vol. 190 Issue 1, p53-53. And it’s not as expensive as you might think. But let’s explain how it works first.

iPod and iPhone Car Modules Play HIGH QUALITY music from your iPod and iPhone HARDWIRED through various available ports of your vehicles factory car stereo (ie: CD changer port) creating a truly integrated iPod Car Stereo. One of the most innovative and simple to install and use integration solutions is from DICE Electronics. Read what Stephen Witt, Dice Electronics new VP of Marketing has to say. Steve is the former VP of marketing at Alpine Electronics and was there when the struggle of integrating the iPod with factory car stereo’s began.

“In today’s digital world, consumers want a simple plug and play and cost effective integration solution for their cars. Everyone wants easy to understand value that will work in their cars. This “keep it simple” consumer behavior plays right into our strategy of promoting the complete solution integration including the connector to hook up their iPod/iPhone.” – Stephen Witt EVP, Dice Electronics

Here is a list of the features and benefits of installing a iPod/iPhone Car Stereo Integration Module:

Hard-wired Connection
Seamless Connectivity with CD Quality Music
No Cassette Adapters
No Bulky FM Transmitter
Stereo Head-Unit Control
Music Control at Your Fingertips
Album/Artist Text Display
Album/Artist Information at a Glance
Constant Charging
Keeps Your iPod Charged on the go!
No Cigarette Lighter Charger
Steering Wheel Control
Easily Change Tracks and adjust volume
Keeps Your Hands Safely on the Wheel
Bluetooth Connectivity (optional)
Allows Hands-Free Calling
Music is Paused or Silenced When Answering Calls
Incoming Calls are Heard Over the Speakers
Vehicle-ignition-controlled playback
Music automatically pauses when ignition is off and resumes when ignition is turned back on

Auto Partnerships Resulting In Top Automotive Technology

Back in the days automotive companies would focus on their own individual projects. However, lately the trend is for major manufacturers to work together either with one another or with software companies in order to develop innovative new technology. The result are cars that are more efficient and technology that is more cutting edge than ever before.

A good example of partnership creation in order to open new markets is what has happened in China. That country, with the largest population on earth, became a major target of auto manufacturers in the U.S., Europe and Asia. At the same time, the Chinese government was taking major steps to develop that country’s own auto industry. Each side knew that they could help the other. So major partnerships were created between Chinese and European, American and Asian auto manufacturers. The auto manufacturers from Europe, America and Asia used the Chinese companies as a conduit to sell their cars in the Chinese market. In return, they assisted the Chinese auto makers to develop their own vehicles. Today China is the largest auto market on Earth and just about every major brand of car is sold there.

Next came the issue of new technologies. In the old days the auto manufacturers developed their own technologies. Now they are creating partnerships with such companies as Microsoft, Gracenote, NAVTEQ, Nuance Communication, Sony Corporation, TeleNav, ViaMichelin and others to help them create new technologies. The result, for example, are infotainment systems like the Ford Sync and MyFord Touch which was developed through a collaboration between Ford and Microsoft. Microsoft has since developed partnerships with other car manufacturers to help them create their own infotainment systems. These infotainment systems are using technologies developed by Gracenote, NAVTEQ, Nuance Communication, Sony Corporation, TeleNav and ViaMichelin. Gracenote is providing upgraded music entertainment, NAVTEQ the maps, traffic and location data for the navigation systems, Nuance Communications is offering the voice recognition technology so that the driver can control elements of the car via voice command. Audio manufacturers like Sony are creating the super sophisticated audio and audio-video systems that are now appearing in cars. TeleNav, known as the largest global wireless navigation services provider, is supplying the technology that connects navigation in the car to GPS. ViaMichelin makes the Michelin hotel and restaurant guides accessible to drivers and their passengers.

Auto manufacturers also have to tackle the development of new technologies that assist in improving fuel efficiency. So they have formed partnerships or joint ventures among themselves in order to share the cost. So we are seeing Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, partnering with Chinese battery and auto maker BYD to help in the development of electric vehicle technologies. PSA Peugeot Citroen is known worldwide as an expert in diesel technology. It has partnered with Japanese auto maker Mitsubishi to produce electric cars. Volkswagen partnered with Porsche to help the luxury car maker develop high performance engines that meet environmental regulations. Later Volkswagen acquired Porsche.

When auto makers finally decided to develop electric cars, partnerships were formed to develop the technology. General Motors and Ford joined with South Korean battery manufacturer LG to develop and supply them with the next generation lithium-ion batteries used to energize electric cars. Moreover, General Motors and Reva have partnered to produce a zero emission car for India. In addition, Daimler became the first major auto maker to buy a stake in Tesla Motors, an electric car manufacturer.

Volkswagen has purchased a percentage of Suzuki and Suzuki has acquired shares of Volkswagen in a move that is helping both companies. Suzuki is getting access to VW’s technologies and Volkswagen is using Suzuki’s expertise to enhance its small car production.

As a result of the recession automotive companies are working together and the results are spectacular. Let’s hope that this trend of team work will continue in the future.

Telematics and Big Data: Next Generation Automotive Technology

Telematics, Big Data, and Analytics are the three big important ways that are driving the auto industry forward. In this article, we will see how big data analytics, with the insights of information processing, can help transform the automotive and transportation industry globally.

The future of telematics is with big data.

Traditionally, in most automotive and transportation enterprises, specialized business processes have always been analyzed and modeled on whatever limited empirical data or contextual information was available to them. Proper data was few and far between. Or, even if the required data was available, enterprises hardly had any technological know-how with them to harness all the information necessary for their use. It was quite a difficult task to deal with such a situation where enterprises heavily relied upon conventional methods such as going through previous driving records, including taking into account people’s age and gender, locale demographics to accurately predict risk levels among its consumer base. This was something haphazard, awkward and unreliable.

Now with the advanced big data analytics, accessibility to scores of information and the science of telematics are putting the current understandings in new light, offering new conversation starters, and creating new potential outcomes that were not really possible before. “Big Data” as we know it is changing everything for the better. It is changing how the vehicles are built, how they work, how we use them and how they collaborate with everything else in this world: From vehicle-assembling to insurance underwriting, to traffic modeling to optimizing traffic routes, Big Data is changing the world of car/fleet transportation industry in a big way.

Big data analytics plays a very important role in the telematics field. The fact of the matter is that the science of telematics which involves telecommunications and vehicular technologies demonstrates how big data analytics can improve supply chain management, fleet management, increase yield and drastically reduce material costs, not to mention the quality and safety issues that never get compromised using proper big data analytics. In fact, the use of relevant data directly leads to more opportunities. It is in this context we will see how Big Data is bringing transformative elements into the various industry sectors especially in insurance, financial, automotive and transportation and other sectors and improve their business processes.

Telematics All The Way

Telematics is ushering an era of big changes. The way vehicles are insured and how they are driven or repaired are all changing for the better.

Earlier, we have seen that insurance and maintenance standards of vehicles were based on some kind of conjecture and the rough utilization of crude data that was available at hand. But with the use of telematics, a strong evidence of data is promptly accessible that can revamp entire branches of the commercial enterprises and change drivers’ driving behaviors.

Thanks to telematics, the wealth of data that can be derived from vehicles can also be made available to drivers. This is also one of the big changes that telematics promises. As far as valid data is concerned, there are simple ways people can immediately access from their connected car, and this same data can also be transmitted to the manufacturers or insurance companies for that matter. So when data is available and is accessible to users then there is going to be better understandings of their vehicles’ performance, ultimately resulting in helping drivers adopt good driving behavior. Drivers will have access to GPS-related data that will let them know their driving styles, including real-time information on fuel consumption, speed limits, hard acceleration, braking, phone distraction, etc. All this useful information can impact not only their driving performance but also can extend the longevity of their cars.

Driving Innovation and Continued Growth for Auto Insurance

To give you just one example: Consider the insurance industry. Using the great combination of telematics and big data analytics, insurance companies are able to enhance their business processes to an extent that was not possible before.

Basically, the insurance industry is based on analytics and probability. Therefore, to have a proper access to accurate and in-depth data that identifies with every customer’s lifestyle and risk always works in the best interest of the insurance industry. This is an area where telematics has been adding quite a lot of significant value propositions that matter greatly to both insurance companies and their paying clients alike.

With telematics and big data analytics, insurance companies don’t have to resort to guesswork to fix premiums for their customers. It has enabled insurers to reward policyholders, who display good driving conduct and check their vehicle health stats, with lower premiums and rebate offerings by taking the guesswork out of the equation. This is nothing but a big data approach to telematics insurance.

Telematics is a positive trendsetter and has grown exponentially in recent years. The positive impact that it has over companies and consumers alike is proving to be a win-win deal for everyone. And as far as telematics is concerned Big Data would be there too, working hand in hand. Not only consumers but automotive manufacturers and service providers as well are going to get greatly benefitted from the marriage of big data and telematics. And since the relationship is really symbiotic, big data is going to be the future of telematics. Embrace big data and telematics in a big way!