Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Jamming on a theme of connectivity at Automotive Megatrends 2013

Justin Moon
"The only time I really don’t feel connected is when I am driving in my car.”

You can always tell you’ve had a successful conference if you come away with a few “ah ha” or “oh no” moments. The above quote, which I cannot take credit for, was my “ah ha” moment at Automotive Megatrends 2013. The conference saw leaders and forward thinkers in the automotive industry come together and discuss (or debate) three technology streams: powertrain, safety, and the stream I participated in, connectivity.

The day began with a panel discussing the Big Picture of in-vehicle connectivity. Five panelists presented their views on business model pros and cons, where connectivity is headed, how it could change consumer expectations, and steps for ensuring success. Following the panelists’ presentations, the floor was opened for questions and dialogue with the audience. It was a great introduction and it set the stage for the rest of the day.

After a brief “networking” break, a panel discussing hardware and the effects associated with connectivity began. The format continued as before: each panelist spoke on their area of interest or expertise, then the audience joined the conversation. I was intrigued by the state of persistent storage in infotainment systems, including the problems and potential solutions for maintaining performance and reliability.

Lunch was just as engaging as the panels and discussions. I participated in a lively table-wide discussion with several analysts and industry thinkers on how the connection in my vehicle needs to become a seamless part of my lifestyle, just like my smartphone or the connected entertainment equipment in my home. This discussion was a great lead-in to the panel I had the pleasure of participating in — Software and Apps.

Clearing a path
The panel followed the same format as the others. Panelists discussed the role of the software platform and where application models fit into the future of the connected vehicle. One engaging panelist, after a rousing lunch discussion, explored how ubiquitous connectivity will clear a path for bigger possibilities with ecological initiatives, safety strategies, and making the vehicle a part of the connected lifestyle consumers already relate to and expect.

The final panel of the day was about wireless networks and had some industry big thinkers jam about infrastructure requirements, futures, and business models.

All in all, my experience at Automotive Megatrends was very positive and I look forward to doing it again next year.

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