Tuesday, December 23, 2014
There’s experience, and then there’s experience
"Liked your blog post. It was so random.” That, believe it or not, is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. You may think it funny that I see this as a compliment. But truth be told, randomness is part of my mental DNA — as anyone who has attempted to hold a conversation with me can attest. Even Google seems to agree. A few years ago, they temporarily closed my Blogger account because, according to their algorithms, my posts consisted of random, machine-generated words. I kid you not.
So why am I going on about this? Well, someone asked me about QNX Software Systems’ experience in the automotive market and, sure enough, my mind went off in several directions all at once. Not that that’s unusual. In this case, however, there was justification for my response. Because when it comes to cars and QNX, experience has a rich array of meanings.
First, there is the deep experience that QNX amassed in the automotive industry. We’ve been at it for 15 years, working hand-in-hand with car makers and tier one suppliers to create infotainment systems, digital instrument clusters, connectivity modules, and handsfree units for tens of millions of vehicles.
Next, there’s the experience of working with QNX the company. In the auto industry, almost every automaker and tier one supplier has unique demands — not to mention immovable deadlines. As a result, they need a supplier, like QNX, that’s deeply committed to the success of their projects, and that can provide the expert engineering services they need to meet start-of-production commitments. No shrink-wrapped solutions for this crowd.
Then, there’s the experience of using QNX technology to build automotive systems — or any type of system, for that matter. Take the QNX OS, for example. Its microkernel architecture makes it easier to isolate and repair bugs, its industry-standard APIs make it easy to port or reuse existing code, and its persistent publish/subscribe technology offers a highly flexible approach to integrating high-level applications with low-level business logic and services.
And last, there’s the experience of using systems based on QNX technology. One reason we build technology concept cars is because words cannot express the rich, integrated user experiences that our technology can enable — experiences that blend graphics, acoustics, touch interfaces, natural language processing, and other technologies to make driving simpler and more convenient.
Nor can words express the sheer variety of user experiences that our platform makes possible. If you look at the QNX-powered infotainment systems that automakers ship today, it soon becomes obvious that they aren’t cookie-cutter systems. Rather, each system projects the unique values, features, and brand identity of the automaker. For evidence, look no further than GM OnStar and the Audi Virtual Cockpit. They are totally distinct from each other, yet both are built on the very same OS platform.
On a personal note, I must mention one last form of experience: that of working with my QNX colleagues. Because that, to me, is the most wonderful experience of all.