Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Report from CTIA Wireless: Apps in the Car

You wouldn’t think that CTIA Wireless, a mobile show, would be a good venue for a car guy. But automotive journalist Doug Newcomb put together a set of panels that managed to attract everyone from the automotive industry who attended the show.

I met a good number of friends from a variety of automakers, tier one suppliers, and hardware and software vendors. I also had the distinct pleasure of participating in one of Doug's panels, which was moderated by Damon Lavrinc of WIRED.

The topic was the future of apps in the car, and it generated a spirited discussion. Panel participants included Geoff Snyder from Pandora, Michelle Avary from Toyota, Henry Bzeih from Kia, and Scott Burnell from Ford — all experts on the topic.

Andy speaking on the
apps panel. Videos of all
the panels are now online.
In general, we agreed: apps are coming to the car. They have already arrived in several cases, and it’s only a matter of time before they come to mass-market vehicles. And apps are not for North American alone: it's a worldwide phenomenon.

Mind you, we engaged in lively debate on a number of questions: What role does the mobile app developer play? How to deal with the fragmentation caused by different OEM app platforms? How to deal with driver distraction? And when will the "one man app" ever make it into the car? We all had good and varied opinions on these topics, and the session was very well received by the audience.

Derek Kuhn, QNX vice president of sales and marketing, also participated in a panel session, titled "Can we all just get along… for the consumer's sake?". That panel focused on how the industry as a whole can create a more seamless experience for the consumer. Derek's co-panelists included Mark Harland from GM, Leo McCloskey from Airbiquity, Brian Radloff from Nuance, and Niall Berkery from Telenav.

Did I mention? Videos of all the panels are now on Doug Newcomb's website — check them out!

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