DASH Conference Day Two -- A Deeper Dive Into What's 'Under The Hood' In The Connected Dashboard
October 24, 2013 at 12:27 PM (PT)
Day two (NET NEWS 10/23) of the DASH CONFERENCE, sponsored by JACOBS MEDIA, RADIO INK and VALERIE SHUMAN at the WESTIN HOTEL in DETROIT, opened with remarks by ERIC RHOADS and FRED JACOBS.
First session -- What’s New in the Car? Moderator JEFF GILBERT,who hosts "Car Chronicles" and is WWJ/DETROIT's Automotive Reporter, took the attendees on a tour about the state of the art in connected audiotainment from the folks who are selling systems today, what systems are out there, what content powers them, and how consumers are interacting with content and services.
In the session were THEODORE CARDENAS, VP/Car Electronics Division, PIONEER ELECTRONICS (USA) INC.; HAKAN KOSTEPEN, Exec. Dir./Product Planning & Innovation, PANASONIC AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS CO. OF AMERICA; WAYNE POWELL, GM/SEE, TOYOTA MOTOR ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING, NORTH AMERICA, INC. and GREG ROSS, Dir./Product Strategy and Infotainment, Global Connected Consumer, GENERAL MOTORS.
"PIONEER is a tier one and OEM supplier and our goal is about delivering the latest content and identify what the consumer wants -- specifically how do we define and keep up with changes to smartphones," CARDENAS said. "On the after-market side, they want their iPHONE 5s to work with our platform and that's an ongoing challenge.
"Local football, baseball, and weather cannot be replaced. I was a player, and having your name mentioned is huge. And that localism will always keep radio as an important medium."
"At PANASONIC, so much of our business is B2B," KOSTEPEN said. "The millennials see things differently and we must tap into their tastes to bring effective products to market. Safety is very important. However, search, find and buy are three keys -- and car makers need to look at this to make this engagement a business transaction."
"At TOYOTA we love radio," POWELL stated. "We have put three tuners in most cars, and work with CLEAR CHANNEL closely to marry voice and data. We offer a hybridized signal using the CLEAR CHANNEL HD signal for data that switches over to the cellphone on demand. We are all about partnerships and we use carriers and other OEM and tier one partners. And we are open to other partners in all areas."
Auto Execs Speak
How will car dealers monetize the connected car? There are several important points to this and JACOBS MEDIA VP/GM and JACAPP Pres. PAUL JACOBS brought dealers to the dais to learn about entire automotive customer life cycle, sharing their experiences with the newly connected cars, and the challenges dealers face with initial sales, ongoing customer support, services and resale."
Included in this session were EXTREME CHRYSLER/DODGE/JEEP/RAM, INC. JACKSON, MI owner and MICHIGAN AUTO DEALERS ASSN. Pres. WES LUTZ, GRAND LEDGE FORD LINCOLN Pres./GM BARRY MERRILL and DUNNING AUTOMOTIVE GROUP VP/GM JOHN TAYLOR.
"The technology is selling cars and moves the metal," MERRILL said. "They are interested in the technology, what it can do for them and how it will impact their driving. We have to understand that there is work involved to learn this technology and all they want to do is drive off. So there is apprehension and a learning curve -- and we have to be patient with them. We have to make this process simpler.
"We need to have salespeople who can operate the system, explain it well, so the customer is happy."
There was a groan from the audience when MERRILL disclosed that he no longer spends money on radio and has scaled back on TV, too -- with 60% of his marketing now in digital. "One of the biggest traffic drivers for us is reputation management and so we know that by treating our customers correctly generates additional business," he said.
"Our group is interested to find a way to let the consumer and dealers find a way to use this technology to help sell the car," TAYLOR said. "We are constantly having to stay on top of the technology and learn to quickly deliver cars to our customers.
"My personal opinion is that it's harder to reach Millennials, and we see social media as a good path to do that, to build a relationship and make them aware of the technology. The way to go about this is social media. We are going to use radio to showcase the benefits of our services like repairs and other values for our customers."
"Gas mileage has been a big player in getting folks to upgrade their cars," LUTZ noted. "When we do a test drive, we pair their cellphone to the car, we call them and they are sold. We have a 40% turnover in salespersons, so we have to train and retrain a lot.
"The challenge is younger consumers. They don't listen to radio; they listen to PANDORA or their downloaded music. I don't see how radio reaches these consumers."
The View From Advertisers And Investors
So what's the advertiser and investor perspective? Moderator and RADIO ADVERTISING BUREAU Pres./CEO ERICA FARBER took the audience through this area. Advertising has long been the primary revenue model for broadcast radio in the vehicle. Connected vehicles open up an array of additional options, for both enhanced advertising and other revenue generation and sharing. Advertising and marketing experts talked about where the dollars are headed and how radio can best position in the evolving audiotainment ecosystem.
In this session were MINDSHARE PROMOTIONS Dir./USA Broadcast Promotions SCOTT BROWN, SNL KAGAN Analyst/Media & Communications JUSTIN NIELSON and INITIATIVE+ EVP/Managing Dir. FRED SATTLER.
"The dashboard is very fragmented," NIELSON said. "Three tiers: Basic with audio, CD bluetooth pairing and USB -- Midrange; embedded apps, touch screens with partner content that's hardwired in. High End: GOOGLE and BING search.
"By 2017, 51 million cars will have embedded connectivity. And we see a big ramp up in cellular connectivity to account for 35.8% of cars by 2017.
"DJs have a great relationship with the audience and they can encourage them to take test drives," BROWN said. "The digital elements are driven by these personalities. If you can target listeners with the perfect message to drive traffic and sales that's where we will target our money. The success at the dealer level will come as a part of where the consumer feels comfortable shopping."
"How can we use spikes created by offline media to maximise the curve of shopping for cars?" SATTLER asked. "Traditional media will always be part of the mix where we create desire as there are limits to what digital can do. We can see traditional that involves digital creates a more complete solution.
"We're trying to move metal, so it's about getting consumers to make brand choices based on benefits. There is so much possibility here in terms of understanding the consumer and how we get a driver who listens to MICHAEL BUBLE an offer to win tickets that upcoming show. That's more valuable than an oil change offer. Cars can already offer these things tied to maintenance schedules. The car knows so much about us; it's real-time information.
"There is a wealth of data to be collected -- from moods and emotions of the driver and deliver messages that are appropriate to that person and their moods. Local initiatives are what drives local sales; they create tribes among your listeners, and don't blow out your local morning shows in favor of syndicated shows."
Roundtable And Drivers' Insights
VALERIE SHUMAN introduced Roundtable discussions. Anti-trust rules applied, attribution-free, and all ideas were welcomed. The attendees considered:
* Where do you see the new opportunities for revenue?
* How might connected car audiotainment integrate with existing broadcast and digital approaches?
* What can we learn from other industries?
* How can we partner to build new opportunities?
VALERIE called on a number of tables who all shared their creative thoughts on these questions, with some innovative ideas coming to the surface.
Consumer perspectives are an important part of this whole process. Driver's-Eye View was moderated by EDISON MEDIA RESEARCH Pres. LARRY ROSIN, who shared insights from connected-vehicle owners who have had their systems for six months, including candid videos of the user experience. This showed what consumers think about their new audiotainment options, how they actually use them, and what they want next.
ROSIN set up the presentation: "I saw the videos from the RADIO SHOW and some were really funny, watching consumers try these connected dashes out for the first time. So we spoke to a half-dozen folks from NJ and PA and took video interviews with folks who've had their connected dash cars. Overall they are pretty comfortable and some have made major changes in their habits while others have made minor differences. One person said the changes were 'miles different.'
"There are so many choices, and on top of these new options they almost always get a trial SIRIUSXM option too, and they all kind of go crazy with this stuff," ROSIN continued. "And it's made changes in their listening habits."
A number of the interviewees noted that they listened less to radio and more to their own collections or SIRIUSXM or PANDORA. ROSIN noted, "They still turn to radio for live and unique content that they can't get from curated services."
Voice commands are not as easy as it would seem, with many folks not having a fun time with it and others having no problem. "It's a huge behavior modification to have people to talk to their cars -- and despite the challenges, they were patient."
Most of those in the videos were satisfied and all of them admitted that they would miss the system if they didn't have it available. "It would be hard to go back, and if this group is representative, then you have to take this input seriously as this will spread fast from word-of-mouth. They want to try out the new and justify the expense by using it.
"We fail to think about the word 'new' and the in-car features are new, while so many of our formats, shows and talents are the same -- there is so clearly limitless competition."
Behind The Mic, Behind The Wheel had a terrific video presentation moderated by GREATER MEDIA VP/Program Development BUZZ KNIGHT, featuring first-hand experiences from some of DETROIT's leading radio personalities and their first interactions with connected audiotainment systems and how it might change what they do. On hand were WXYT's TERRY FOSTER and MIKE VALENTI, WNIC's JAY TOWERS and WRIF's DAVE HUNTER, LISA WAY and CHUCK URQUHART.
"I have a FORD SYNC, which was more like a computer, and the car I test drove was more intuitive," URQUHART said. "The changes from even two years ago are moving very fast -- faster and faster. If it wasn't about social media and technology and ease of use, we would not be as big as we are today. You should be able to hit a button and hear your local show anywhere.
"We just need to be ready for this stuff -- we weren't radio for FACEBOOK and now we use it all the time. Top-quality talent is the key to the future."
"The presets are all different," TOWERS noted. "#1 could be the weather, then your wife's cell and #3 could be your favorite station. Local advertisers care about local talent -- they can talk about what's going on locally and a national platform can't.
"I think we in radio can do a much better job of getting the message out about these new connected systems. They make the driving experience great if you understand the system."
"This drives home the need to keep our listeners entertained and listening longer since they have so many options," HUNTER said. "This has made us stronger. And when I purchase a new car, this will be a big factor in my decision.
"The ability to rejoin our show if you have to leave the car works for us -- and enhances our program. Make the systems similar to the other electronics people are using.
"Ease of use is important," WAY asserted. "I have an older car, so it's not an integrated system. It was so easy on this new system. I enjoyed it. Make sure that programmers have the latest technology. If we don't have it, then we will lag behind."
"This system gives us local choices and we all have our roots and in my business, you fail if you do not differentiate," FOSTER noted.
"We don't care what happens outside of our bubble -- in places like DETROIT, you have to be hitting the issues of the day, which is why people keep coming back to local," VALENTI stated. "Content can't be faked; you either have it or don't. This doesn't change; what we do from a local angle can't be faked. Short of creating a hologram program, content is unalterable.
"We need to take more chances and that creativity and boldness will level the playing field. I believe content is king, so don't be afraid to shake things up."
Consumers' Eye View
Following lunch was a look at Consumer Perspectives: Part Two, with a look at Cross-Platform Insight & Opportunities with moderator DR. ED COHEN, VP/Measurement Innovation, NIELSEN AUDIO. He took the session on a journey to discover how they're tracking what consumers are doing with the new audiotainment systems, what the consumer experience has been so far, what consumers like, what they are using, and what they want next.
Session members included LISTENER DRIVEN RADIO Pres./CEO DANIEL ANSTANDIG, MAGNETI MARELLI Dir./Advanced Engineering & New Concepts GARY STREELMAN and NIELSEN AUTOMOTIVE EVP IAN BEAVIS.
"Most consumers are willing to pay $250 for an equipped center stack," COHEN said. "Making calls from the car, navigation/traffic and checking e-mails are actually ahead of audio. The less problems with the connected dash, the more likely you are to have brand loyalty to that OEM."
"LDR is working with 300 stations around the world now," ANSTANDIG said. "Each station uses us differently and it features the ability to crowdcast giving your listeners control of a segment or even a whole day. They can send open mic audio and vote songs up and down in this highly interactive platform.
"We believe that interactive voice technology is a part of our future as well. Users are moving in that direction and the question is to design things in a safe manner, without a lot of face time while in the car."
"We have been following connectivity and vehicle connectivity for a long time now," STREELMAN said. "Vehicles are now talking to each other and to traffic signals -- they tell each other who they are and can make every light green and user interactivity in cars are going to change over the next five to 10 years ... helping to keep these cars out of trouble with each other.
"HMI (Human Machine Interface) is designed by the OEMs and we work with them to make these HMI's efficient and safe."
"There are some demographic shifts taking place in AMERICA and as we have found that if you don't have this technology, then younger buyers will go to another brand," BEAVIS warned. "We are like in an arms race. Moving forward fast -- and just because you have the technology doesn't mean you should do it or use it, as safety is a big concern. Ease of use is very important to consider, too.
"To get these connected cars talking to each other will require a lot more infrastructure to carry the connectivity and we're lagging behind other countries like CHINA and RUSSIA. Having ridden in an autonomous car is quiet an experience."
VALERIE SHUMAN conducted the final Audience Roundtable. The questions before each table included:
* What's the most surprising/interesting piece of consumer feedback you just heard?
* What questions do we need to ask about what consumers are doing in the car? Outside the car?
* How can we partner to find out?
The final DASH CONFERENCE session focused on Practical Next Steps. Moderating was FORD MOTOR COMPANY Global Lead/Business Development & Partner Management SCOTT BURNELL, who talked about what's really involved in getting audio content onto the connected dash. How will the connected car impact the content radio produces? What needs to be done in order to get content active in the "connected car"?
Session members included CCM+E Pres./Digital BRIAN LAKAMP and NPR VP/Content Strategy & Operations SARAH LUMBARD.
"We had a wealth of content from such great stations like Z100, but it took a lot of planning on how to integrate this content across an end-to-end platform," LAKAMP said. "There were a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, but with a lot of hard work, we've now become partners with every OEM out there to have iHEART on connected dashes.
"One of the things we had to do was take a minimalist or simplistic look at our apps for mobile and car," he continued. "It was about simplicity and convenience. Each of our six screens have a different mentality for each of them based on use. It's about taking the nuances and displaying features in the simplest ways. And yes, a single platform would be an interesting thing; it's all about how easy the platforms are to use -- embedded or connected.
"We first needed to discuss where the audience was going and how much it was going to cost," LUMBARD said. "There are limited resources and those are hard conversations. Following lots of discussions, we had to show that this was going to work, so we built a prototype and showed OEMS that we knew what were talking about
"We have a great design team and having designed for mobile and iPAD," she continued. "We considered what the audience needs and meets the needs for our OEMs. If there was a standard platform it would be great. We are still learning what's working and what's not. It won't be a 100 apps so it will be interesting how this consolidates.
"There won't be a FORD apps store, but you will see an apps catalogue and that will have some pre-approved apps that do work," BURRELL said, "And then there will be a place for users to install these."