Automotive thru the years at CESThe Consumer Electronics Show provides a mountain of Intel to take in every year and the automotive sector is a big part of it.
Ever since, then Ford CEO Alan Mulally first keynoted at the event back in 2009, CES has become a showcase for an evolving business that has innovated, pivoted and marched to its own beat.
Suddenly, after Ford’s appearance, the shape of the show regarding automotive dramatically changed before our eyes and other car manufacturers and OEMs followed suit.
Ford first was primarily focused on their My Ford/Touch driver connect technology which incorporated Sync and My Ford touch, as Ford first developed a connected destination for mobile devices.
Ford was very focused helping drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road while evolving into software based platforms that fundamentally changed the way consumers and businesses would interact with vehicles on the road.
Mulally would return to keynote for multiple years later and his theme regarding the car becoming a computer on wheels would strike a chord for the changing face of the dash.
Speech recognition would also be an important theme for Ford and the other automotive companies that would ultimately be part of CES in the coming years.
Luca de Mayo from Audi called the next generation of cars, “the fastest and most powerful mobile device.”
Adaptive cruise control to heads-up displays would grow along with mobile hot spot connectivity and the radio business would begin to be educated about the immense challenge that we would face.
This would lead to an important dialogue around our business and how industry leaders need to be aligned around the connected car and it’s present and future impact.
Does radio “sell” the value it brings to consumers everyday?
With the business selling against each other rather than selling the medium should that mindset be reconsidered?
I truly believe this is a priority for our industry.
Has the business to this day truly acknowledged how consumers desire to ingest content?
This is critical to the future.
The dashboard has become part of a cohesive strategy for automotive manufacturers and the radio industry needs to consider every channel of distribution and how audience behavior impacts consumption.
As the years would evolve we would see the automotive footprint grow at CES, specifically regarding OEM’s with over
400 of them attending debuting new products, including multiple automakers like: BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota and more.
Autonomous driving continues to be a major topic for our industry and the ultimate impact is still not fully understood.
I vividly remember attending the Radio Ink/Convergence Event back in 2012 where futurist Nolan Bushnell first mentioned the reality of autonomy in our lifetime and I thought he was way out in front of his skis, but obviously I was wrong.
Back in 2015, we first began to see assistive vehicle elements such as sensors, driver active and fail safe mode as part of the road to self driving vehicles.
Along the way we would see major automotive manufacturers invest heavily in self driving tech for example:
Ford invested one billion dollars in Argo AI
Toyota invested one billion in their Toyota Research Institute
General Motors acquired self-driving car start-up Cruise Automation for 581 million dollars.
This illustrates further prove self driving vehicles are here although we are still not at the stage of Level 5 autonomy(no human interface).
The Radio Industry’s reaction to the continuing changing face of the dashboard is critical to the future.
Some years ago at the Convergence Event I moderated a panel about the changing face of the dashboard and how radio can best be prepared for the challenges.
My fundamental conclusions:
Excellent content will always win.
Unduplicated content will always win.
CES 2021 will hopefully open our eyes to the reality that “in car” listening is under multiple attacks and we need to boldly adapt and prepare for our future.
Check out jacobsmedia.com/ces2021 for information on their virtual CES tour.