There were many big automotive names in today’s “Connect2Car: The Automobile’s Convergence with Consumer Electronics” CES session including BMW, Chrysler, Ford, and Garmin. The panel discussed how to effectively integrate music, movies, GPS, phones, location-based services, automatic 911 calls, and more into cars and planes.An acknowledged key challenge for the industry is that Consumer Electronics is developing faster than automakers can adapt. An open implementation approach with an open protocol will help and will benefit consumers with more choices, lower prices, more flexibility, and better services that will come to market faster. BMW just announced it is working in conjunction with Connexis and WirelessCar to develop the “Next Generation Telematics Protocol” (NGTP). Chrysler rep, Bill Mattingly, stated that these devices need to work just like cars do – you get in, drive, and it just works – you don’t have to read a manual to figure it out. Panasonic Avionics rep, Steve Sizelove, described how they are working to bring some of these great personalized services to air travel as well. We all have this “huge cloud” of things we want to take with us from home, to the office, to the car, and when we travel. His job is to work on how that can be as seamless as possible. Ford and Microsoft just announced last night updates to the SYNC* system to enable free 911 calls when airbags are set off and with no monthly fees for the service, as well as “Vehicle Health Reports” with on board diagnostics to transmit an electronic report card to the owner of any issues with their vehicle. The convergence of the car and CE devices is clearly exciting with lots of innovation to come!
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