Automotive in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems are comparable with smartphones, both in terms of functionality and complexity. Although IVI does not have to deal directly with intricate connection topics,
Everyone knows the value of experience and how critical it is for the success of our business. We are a services company. Our employees and their capabilities are the core of our value proposition. In the automotive sector, we've recently rediscovered this value’s potential in several consulting engagements.
Many of us have been a part of the smartphone industry over the last 15 years - starting with PDAs, Symbian, the Razr or the "Crackberry" and riding the wave of the iPhone revolution followed by Google's response. A central theme of the smartphone's rise was the emergence of software as a key differentiator for mobile devices.
Software went from being an enabling technology to one of the driving factors in any consumer purchase. Along the way, several of the once-powerful and strong brands like Nokia have fallen from grace by not paying attention to this experience value.
Automotive in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems are comparable with smartphones, both in terms of functionality and complexity. Although IVI does not have to deal directly with intricate connection topics, it does have to share its power supply, diagnostics, and networks with a variety of other electrical components in the vehicle while incorporating more peripherals, screens, speakers, and input devices than your average phone.
There are direct parallels between the smartphone emergence and recent developments in IVI systems. They are closely linked, as modern consumers are not willing to accept anything less from their cars than they get from their mobile phones.
There is a strong trend for automakers (OEMs) to take a direct interest in steering and even owning their IVI software - a role traditionally handed off to their Tier 1 suppliers. This shows the importance of this software as a differentiating factor.
OEMs need to tackle a steep learning curve to consider everything from prioritizing non-functional requirements through agile development methods to configuration management.
In the past 12 months, we have been engaged by multiple OEMs to help them through this process. The feedback has been positive about the value of our experience. They are eager to understand how to repeat our successes and avoid our failures from the past 15 years.
We are also supporting our OEM customers on more complex issues such as platform security, installable applications (and in-car payments), over-the-air updates and the ownership of data generated in the car.
For new topics such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) or driver identification, our depth and experience enables us to determine the most relevant skills and specializations and be the partner of choice for prototype or production development. This all puts us in a strong position to secure further "regular" project business with these same customers.
As OEMs continue to take over responsibility for their software products, they will face further business challenges such as executing software and system integration, handling multi-cultural international teams as they look to balance local and offshore operations or managing multiple branches of software across multiple products and variants. I am confident that we will be able to create tangible value based on our experience in these areas as well.
While there's no iCar yet, there is Apple CarPlay and there's the Open Automotive Alliance to bring Android into the car. I don't know if software will ever have the leading role for cars that it has for mobile phones, but I'm sure that whichever way IVI software develops, we will continue to find new ways to turn our experience into customer value.
Combined with a little creativity and hard work, I would say we are well-armed for the Internet of Things and whatever else will come next.