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June 28, 2012

Cloud an Enabler for Vehicle Manufacturers: Agero Innovation Director

The so-called consumer frenzy over smartphone applications will continue to drive vehicle manufacturers toward cloud computing, leveraging it as an integral part of next-generation dashboards.

That’s according to Agero’s chief innovative director, Frank Hirschenberger, who believes that the cloud is here to stay although that doesn’t necessarily mean that the vehicle’s center stack control display is destined to resemble a tablet screen. In fact, Hirschenberger foresees a more complex transformation emerging.

Agero, which provides cloud-based infotainment and service programs in the consumer vehicle market, developed Hyundai’s Blue Link about a year ago.

“We’re certainly hearing about cloud-based smartphone apps inside the car opening up opportunities as both a revenue generator and brand differentiator, but we have already turned to the cloud to achieve a more fundamental objective – integrating off-board technologies into a flexible platform that hosts continually improving system responses,” Hirschenberger said in a press release.

Nearly half of Blue Link’s 30-plus services are accessed via voice commands through the off-board speech system, rather than relying on a live operator or in-vehicle speech technology that often becomes outdated early in a vehicle’s lifespan, he explained. Agero’s cloud also allows for one of the most complex tasks for voice-based artificial intelligence requests – destination routing.

Hirschenberger said that apps will evolve much differently in the car than on the phone, and that most importantly, in-vehicle apps will have to be relevant to the driving experience.

“I think what you will see are apps that are blended into a vehicle-centric service offering, tailored to minimize the potential risk of driver distraction,” he said.

As the automotive OEM industry and federal regulators at the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration consider and deliberate guidelines over what constitutes appropriate visual displays within the vehicle, Hirschenberger doesn’t necessarily foresee a dashboard cluttered with icons indicating Facebook updates or Twitter feeds.

However, he speculated that drivers and manufacturers will be more interested in rich content relevant to the driving experience, ranging from real-time, location-based parking availability to alerts about adverse upcoming roadway conditions along the driver’s intended destination. 

He said that based on what Agero has already experienced, the cloud is an enabler for the industry since it ensures vehicle electronics are compatible with a range of hardware and devices, as well as human machine interfaces and the latest developments in safety research, especially in the realm of cognitive distraction.

Above all, the cloud allows for vehicle manufacturers to differentiate their services.

“The critical point is the need to deliver differentiated, updated content long after the initial purchase of the vehicle and regardless of what advances are introduced in the mobile device spaces,” Hirschenberger said. “We’re relying on the cloud to integrate what we don’t even know is coming.”

Want to learn more about today’s powerful mobile Internet ecosystem? Then be sure to attend the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5 2012, in Austin, TX. Co-sponsored by TMC Partner Crossfire Media the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo provides unmatched networking opportunities and a robust conference program representing the mobile ecosystem. The conference not only brings together the best and brightest in the wireless industry, it actually spans the communications and technology industry. For more information on registering for the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo click here.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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