The HARMAN ExP Creator Studio is a new concept that brings the power of a professional recording studio to inside the vehicle for the ultimate user-friendly audio, video, and photographic set up. In a recent episode of the HARMAN Experiences Per Mile podcast, I describe the technology behind Creator Studio and how it’s turning the car into a ‘third living space.’ This blog post highlights parts of the discussion, but you can listen to the entire podcast here.
The inspiration behind Creator Studio came from the need to turn the car into a space where someone can capture the best content, express themself and connect with others in an intuitive and safe way. To start, we reached out to members of this community and we heard their biggest challenge was finding enough time to capture content. We all would probably agree that there are a lot of moments where we are just waiting in the car. Waiting for kids, waiting for an appointment, charging our car and more. As a result, we set out to convert those moments from wasted time to time well spent.
What we also understood was that a lot of the technologies needed to develop a Creator Studio in the car—good sound, lighting, cameras, and video processing—are already there for other reasons and could be repurposed. For example, we can use driver and occupant monitoring systems that are being deployed in the car to also improve the quality of the lighting. While the cameras are trying to understand if the user is distracted or drowsy, it is also able to judge the quality of their facial image, and then uses that information to adjust the lighting to get the best view of the person's face.
We also incorporated the notion of building in a retractable steering wheel for Creator Studio. When someone is producing content while the car is stopped, they can move the steering wheel out of the way to create more space, as well as to control the recording and playback of the system. This is because the editing controls are conveniently placed on the steering wheel for easy access.
Audio quality plays a key role in recording videos, too. With ClearChat, we can use world-leading beam forming microphones, echo cancellation, and noise reduction algorithms to remove any unwanted cabin noise. Creator Studio also uses the HARMAN Ignite Store, allowing automakers, service providers, or other developers to introduce and easily deploy and manage new apps and value-added services in the car.
One of the hurdles we faced while developing Creator Studio was synthesizing all the needs of the community of digital creators, we spoke with against what we know is either being deployed in cars today or will soon be introduced in automotive. One thing we learned is that even though technology is progressing very quickly, people still feel that they have a lot of downtime in the car and a lot of time feeling unproductive, bored or even stressed. 51% agree that the need to take a break in the car is not being met, which is ironic because for many people, the car is viewed as a last oasis in their life. It simply isn’t true for this community. 48% agreed that the need to stimulate creativity in the car is not being met, which is a huge concern for this creative group.
What this research really unveiled is we all have micro moments of downtime in the car and today, many people fill those moments by taking out their mobile phone and trying to get something done. The issue is most of the tasks aren't completed in the time that you have, which results in people starting to drive while doing something else such as sending a text message, completing a social posts, or choosing a new song. Our goal at HARMAN is to work with automakers to create solutions that recapture these moments with more appropriate behaviors, so that people can view the time in their car as time well spent, not as a point of frustration.
To hear more from me on this topic, listen to this episode of the Experiences Per Mile podcast.
Tim VanGoethem, Vice President, Automotive Product Management at HARMAN International