Extending Consumer Lifestyles to the Car with the Cloud
HARMAN provides cloud solutions to create an in-car experience that rivals, and in some cases beats, the personalization of a smartphone or other consumer devices
The driving experience of today is vastly different than it was only a few years ago—a change fueled by consumer’s need for seamless interconnectivity. In a recent episode of the HARMAN Experiences Per Mile podcast, I explain how an automotive marketplace can transform vehicles into an extension of the digital lifestyle of the driver. This blog post highlights the discussion, but you can listen to the whole segment here.
In-vehicle marketplaces or app stores became a priority for OEMs in the early 2010s. Consumers were accustomed to getting the latest and greatest software features with their mobile devices and wanted the same connectivity in their vehicles as well.
Today, the industry is moving towards offering apps and services in vehicles for a couple reasons. From the OEM perspective, they’re seeing this as a opportunity to innovate on the existing pay per vehicle business model into new services oriented models for subscription based products and features. But more importantly, consumers want the vehicle to act as an extension of their digital lifestyle, meaning, they want a seamless transfer of their experience from outside of the car to inside of the car, and OEMs want to address this need.
In the vehicle environment, especially during a commute, media, news and audio books are some of the most widely consumed content, making third-party apps like Spotify and Audible near the top of their categories. Location-based services or navigation and maps are commonly used, and with recent advancements in connectivity, services such as TripAdvisor and Yelp offer near real-time dynamic data—reviews, hours of operation, etc. When paired with intuitive voice assistant interfaces, the experience becomes unparalleled. The arrival of 5G and increases in data plans for the car, we’ve seen many OEMs desire to bring in services for video streaming (while parked) and e-commerce. All these aspects come together to create a feeling of accomplishment and productivity for the driver. Time in the car becomes time well-spent.
At HARMAN, we have several ongoing programs and partnerships with leading tech companies like Salesforce and Microsoft to improve driver productivity while in transit. Seeing as the average daily commute is 30 to 50 minutes, a person can spend that time sifting through messages, clearing up emails, or pulling up accounts for a sales meeting. Tasks that are typically done when in front of a computer can be done while in transit, thanks to cloud solutions. This can be achieved inside of a car using voice or seamless HMI controls, giving the end consumer opportunities to be more efficient while traveling from one location to another.
We introduced HARMAN Ignite Store, based on an automotive cloud platform, to lead this industry shift. A key differentiation with the HARMAN Ignite Store is that we provide a more automotive-friendly relationship with OEMs. Specifically, we allow OEMs to keep control of their user experience and maintain that connection and relationship with the customer. This means that if an OEM incorporates the HARMAN Ignite Store into a vehicle, it's powered by the technology, but OEM can continue to build that curated user experience to ensure it gels with the rest of the car, which is an important advantage for many premium automotive brands.
Some automakers are developing their own marketplace ecosystems but there are many benefits to OEMs working with HARMAN/Samsung to provide this service instead. The general trend I've seen in the past is when automotive companies developed it themselves, they invested heavily into building a purpose-built singular app store that only works only for their brand of vehicles. And in some cases, only certain models of that brand of vehicles.
This creates a challenge for attracting producers—the content developers providing the assets that go into this marketplace or app store. When you're only developing an app store that'll work on a specific vehicle, it's not as attractive to the developer because it may have very low volumes and it’s costly to maintain the code over time.
That’s where partnering with a supplier, specifically a partner like HARMAN, with brand presence in technology, and experience in software stacks, can help. At HARMAN, we've leveraged our connection to Samsung to bring attractiveness to developers for automotive as well.