Home Analysis Collaboration is key to making cars the ‘second living room’

Collaboration is key to making cars the ‘second living room’

As the automotive industry continues to make strides towards driverless vehicles, the car has the potential to become a second living room, office or even gym. We could be heading for “a revolution of dead time”, as one advertising executive notes. The implications for content providers are also clear. But the building blocks for standardisation need to be put in place to give users the best entertainment experience. Collaboration is key.

Robert Dube at Super RTL (centre) outlines the in-car entertainment opportunity for content providers
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As the automotive industry continues to make strides towards driverless vehicles, the car has the potential to become a second living room, office or even gym, a panel at the 2022 Connected TV World Summit concluded. But the building blocks for standardisation need to be put in place to give users the best experience.

These key themes were echoed in two sessions at the event: first in a discussion with Matt Jones, Chairman & President of COVESA and Director of Global Technology Strategy at Ford Motor Company, and then in a panel discussion featuring Pierre Donath, Chief Product Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at 3SS, Robert Dube, Head of Product TOGGO at Super RTL, and Amanda Phillips, Regional Client Lead Europe at WPP | Ford. Dr Bernd Riefler, Founder and CEO, veed analytics, chaired the discussion.

Though the idea of sitting back and watching TV in a car may seem a long way off for most people, the space is ready to explode, and there is an abundance of in-vehicle entertainment systems already in existence. “There are many new car brands coming to the market and they have to come up with a clear differentiation,” Donath expanded. “And I think they are looking towards entertainment as one differentiator.”

Phillips agreed, noting how car manufacturers are looking beyond selling “just metal, and instead thinking about a whole user experience”. But some panellists were concerned that this could lead to further market fragmentation which could negatively affect user experience. “It’s a new cake, and everyone wants a piece of that cake,” Dube said. “But the problem is that many companies don’t look from a user perspective. They see the new business opportunity and go for it, and then the product does not serve user needs. I really fear that customers will face some issues within the next ten years.”

As part of COVESA – the Connected Vehicle Systems Alliance – Ford’s Jones is at the forefront of creating standardisation in the sector, and he said collaboration between both traditional OEMs, new vehicle manufacturers and tech companies can help create a high-quality universal entertainment user experience. “We need content aggregators, content producers, the people that understand how to create a compelling set of interactions and user experiences participating actively within COVESA.”

On the subject of content, Phillips speculated that automotive companies will look towards local providers, especially as they build out content that fits around the specific setting of the car. “This is a revolution of dead time,” she asserted. “​​If you have either ten minutes or 20 minutes available, it would be great if we could actually select content based on that. So, there’s an opportunity to really look at content, both the partnerships, and also curation and creation … for specific use cases.”

Dr Bernd Riefler leads the discussion

Dube agreed that specialised content types could be created for a car setting and that access to the unique data points within vehicles can help content creators to tailor their output for this new environment.

Donath added: “The car has unique data like speed of drive, time until destination is reached, and these can be used to personalise or adapt the experience. So, if I am taking a journey for five hours, I will get a completely different set of recommendations than if I was just taking a 10-minute trip to the office. This is something that is very unique.”

Advertisers can also take advantage of these new inputs, creating something that is palatable and satisfying rather than distracting, Phillips stated.

With 1.5 billion cars on the roads, the opportunity is there for in-car entertainment to elevate the car to a second living room, but all panellists agreed that user experience must be seamless and effective if it is to become, as Phillips put it, “an extension of our life”.


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