RAIN Summit Orlando to host experts from Ford, Pioneer, Pandora to discuss in-dash Internet radio

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 12:20pm

As roughly half of all radio listening in the U.S. takes place in the car, it's no surprise the industry wants to talk (and learn) about the latest in connecting the car's information and entertainment systems to the Internet. Last year 4.3 million cars sold supported in-car infotainment services that connect the car to online news, weather, social networking, and music streaming. A recent forecast from mobile industry group GSMA (with research firm SBD) predicts that number to be over 32 million in 2018 (read more in RAIN here).

Today we introduce three experts who'll join us at RAIN Summit Orlando to discuss the "connected car."

[The RAIN Summit $99 "early bird" registration expires tomorrow. Register to attend (here) today!]

Scott Burnell (upper right) is global lead of business development and partner management for Ford Motor Company. He concentrates on mobile apps, wireless operators, and handset makers for the Ford Developer Program. (Previously, he co-owned indie label The Revolution Music.)

Ford's in-dash audiotainment system is called SYNC, and includes apps for Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, Slacker, MOG, and SiriusXM Internet radio. With SYNC AppLink, listeners can activate other apps on a connected smartphone using voice commands and radio buttons on the steering wheel (read more here).

Ted Cardenas is Pioneer Electronics' VP of marketing for its car electronics division. Ted (left) focuses on educating consumers about Pioneer’s in-vehicle entertainment, navigation, and connectivity solutions through overall brand strategy, sales initiatives, promotional activities, and advertising. He's been with Pioneer for 17 years.

In May Pioneer debuted its new AppRadio 3 in-dash platform with iPhone 5 compatibility, and is now compatible with more than 40 Android devices as well. The platform enables a mobile device-to-dashboard connection for music, apps, and information that’s displayed on the Pioneer in-dash receiver.

Geoff Snyder (lower right) is director of automotive business development for leading webcaster Pandora. He's responsible for Pandora's automotive distribution strategy and partnership management.

Pandora has always been aggressive about expanding its reach beyond desktop computers and mobile phones, and this year announced its in-car integration has topped 2.5 million "unique activations." The Pandora app is now available in 23 major automotive brands (plus eight aftermarket partners) -- making the service available in more than 100 different cars.

We'll soon announce more speakers for the dashboard discussion panel, as well as other panels and presentations for RAIN Summit Orlando. The event will also feature a keynote presentation from Entercom Communications president/CEO David Field, and the presentation of the fourth-annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards (more here). RAIN Summit Orlando is an Official Partner Event of The Radio Show produced by the NAB and RAB. See the latest here.

Summit panel examines the steep challenges the "connected dashboard" brings

Monday, April 8, 2013 - 1:00pm

Delivering Internet audio to the car is hard. Everyone on the "Dashboard Discussions" panel, which led off yesterday's RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas, agreed on that.

So far, implementations are all unique and different, and it's expensive to work with carmakers. Entercom Director of Digital Operations Amy Van Hook (top right) explained that's why her company is sticking with aggregations like TuneIn, or Entercom's mobile apps, to connect to cars for now. Chia-Lin Simmons, Aha by Harman VP/Marketing & Content, said it can cost a million dollars to get integrated into the car "head unit." Moderator Roger Lanctot of Strategy Analytics verified that automakers make hard to "scale" integrations.

But it's incredibly important to be in the car. Broadcasters can't walk away from this vital listening "theater," and newer audio sources need that audience to grow. jacAPPS president Paul Jacobs reminded the crowd that the car is both radio's number-one listening location, and carmakers are radio's number-one client.

Simmons said we're living in a world now where customers expect their content to be delivered everywhere (and introduced the concept of "round tripping," where a listener can bookmark a place in their listening in the cloud, and pick it up where they left off once they're in the car).

"The DVR has changed consumers' expectations," agreed Van Hook. She also reminded the crowd that radio's dominance in the car won't be a given.

Of course, safety is a top priority. TuneIn's VP of Business Development Carl Rohling (lower right) explained his company's "car mode" interface, which simplifies and limits the controls to only the most basic (like "favorites"). But Panasonic Executive Director/Product Planning & Innovation added some historical perspective: in the 1930s, authorities were afraid audio entertainment in the car (that could travel at speeds of 40 mph!) might be a dangerous distraction. He predicted many of the safety concerns of Internet-enabled cars will be addressed by very exciting -- and somewhat futuristic -- advances in dashboard displays in just a few years.

So what are the strategies? Simmons' company is trying to bring the interactivity we've learned to expect from the desktop and mobile, in a safe way into the vehicle. The data her company collects can help content providers like webcasters better program, and better target ads. Rohling's TuneIn is also working at ways to help broadcasters monetize streams outside their local market.

But it's still that "local imperative," Jacbos said, "that makes radio important."

Look for more coverage from RAIN Summit West 2013 later today and in the coming days.

Expert Summit panelists will discuss competing in "Darwinian" battle of content

Monday, March 25, 2013 - 1:15pm

In today's USA Today "Money" section (here), journalist Chris Woodyard suggests the very existence of AM/FM radio may be endangered by a wave of Internet-delivered audio entertainment in the car.

Most of us closer to the webcasting, broadcasting, and automotive industries doubt IP-delivered content in cars spells doom for American broadcasters. But that's certainly not to say it's not a crucial issue. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs wrote last week (here), "The automakers are perfectly content to give consumers lots of choice and let Darwinian-driven choice take over. May the best content win. And that’s where radio needs to rethink its assumptions and givens."

RAIN Summit West (now just two weeks away on April 7 in Las Vegas) leads off by picking up this very important discussion. Moderated by Roger Lanctot from tech-focused research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics, the "Dashboard Discussions" panel will hash out some strategies for competing for the attention of drivers and passengers with a world of media options at their fingertips.

Paul Jacobs is president of jacAPPS, the mobile development division of Jacbos Media. At January's Consumer Electronics Show, Ford Motor Company named jacAPPS a "recommended mobile app development house" for its new Ford Developer Program. This means jacAPPS will develop, as well as work with other third-party developers, to create voice-activated smartphone apps for radio to work with Ford's SYNC AppLink (RAIN coverage here). Paul (pictured top-right) returns to RAIN Summit to share his insight on this topic. (Another panelist from the application side is TuneIn Radio's Carl Rohling.)

Chia-Lin Simmons is VP/Marketing & Content for electronics maker Harman International's Aha unit. Aha delivers entertainment and information content to connected vehicles, mobile phones, and in-home devices. She's responsible for all marketing strategy, she works to secure content partnerships, and she co-markets the Aha service with affiliate car makers, OEMs, and electronics makers. Simmons (left), who also co-hosts the On Digital Media podcast, will be a part of the panel. (Panasonic is another electronics manufacturer innovating in-car integration of mobile content. Panasonic's Hakan Kostepen will join us too.)

Obviously, we wouldn't have this discussion without hearing from broadcasters. Entercom Director/Digital Operations Amy Van Hook (lower-right) is a seasoned radio and digital veteran whose experience includes time as COO of radio-focused streaming media company Liquid Compass and Susquehanna Radio as Group Director of Interactive. Entercom makes its streams available in the TuneIn directory, works with social radio service Jelli on more than 100 of its stations, and is experimenting with on-air/online royalty deals with record label groups.

Read more about our "Dashboard Discussions" panel in RAIN here.

RAIN Summit West is Sunday, April 7 in Las Vegas. The annual full-day Internet radio conference is a co-located education program of the NAB Show. Now in its 12th year, the Summit focuses on the intersection of radio and the Internet. Keynoting will be RAB president and CEO Erica Farber (more in RAIN here) and Rhapsody International president Jon Irwin (more here). Register today, while space is still available, via the RAIN Summit West page. And look for the RAIN Reader Discount Code in the P.S. of your RAIN Daily e-mail (subscribe here).

Meet three of the connected car professionals speaking at RAIN Summit in Vegas

Friday, February 8, 2013 - 12:10pm

Following this year's Consumer Electronics Show (see our January 8 issue "A flurry of new deals from CES will make Net radio more accessible in the car" here), the hottest topic in Internet radio is the connected automobile. Webcasting is about to cross an incredibly important chasm of connectivity, and establish itself as a major source of consumer audio with the aim of becoming as ubiquitous and easy-to-use as AM/FM in the car. Three of the professionals leading the way will join us for our "Dashboard Discussions" panel at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas in April.

What should your strategy be for optimizing the automotive opportunity? Here are the experts who will steer you in the right direction:

Hakan Kostepen (pictured right) is Director of Product Planning, Strategy & Innovation at Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America. He's part of the leadership behind the company's in-car integration and development of all Panasonic Company technologies and products to optimize the "in-car user experience."

Hakan, who's appearing at a RAIN Summit for the first time, was responsible for "industry first" Jaguar S-Type Voice Recognition Infotainment System.  

Roger Lanctot (left) is Associate Director in the Global Automotive Practice with tech-focused research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics.

Roger has 25 years experience in the technology industry as an analyst, journalist, and consultant. Roger has conducted and participated in major industry studies, created new research products and services, and advised clients on strategy and competitive issues throughout his career. His experience also includes five years at Telematics Research Group.

Like Roger, Carl Rohling (bottom right) is a RAIN Summit veteran. He's VP/Sales & Business Development with TuneIn Radio.

TuneIn software is integrated into the MINI Connected system, making it the first car to enable drivers to tune to Internet radio via the car's dashboard and steering wheel controls. TuneIn also works with the Dension Internet Radio Stick and Livio's USB/Bluetooth system for in-car connectivity.

Carl's background is in legal and business, with managerial experience in digital media and consumer electronics. He's led business development at digital audio software firms Passalong and Creative.

RAIN Summit West is Sunday, April 7 in Las Vegas. The annual full-day Internet radio conference is a co-located education program of the NAB Show. Now in its 12th year, the Summit focuses on the intersection of radio and the Internet. Keynoting the even will be RAB president and CEO Erica Farber (more in RAIN here) and Rhapsody International president Jon Irwin (more here). Register today (then you can get a jump-start on your travel plans!) via the RAIN Summit West page.

Livio founder Sigal wins "Entrepreneur of the Year" in Automation Alley awards

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 6:45pm

Livio Radio founder and CEO Jake Sigal was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the 12th annual Automation Alley Awards Gala in Troy, MI. Automation Alley is a technology business association for tech professionals and engineers in southeast Michigan.

Livio creates mobile apps, a Bluetooth device, and manages Livio Connect, its "APIs" that work with car companies and app developers -- all designed to connect the mobile phone experience to the car dashboard.

General Motors announced in September its plan to work with Livio for in-dash radio functionality for the 2013 Chevrolet Spark equipped with MyLink Radio (here).

Read more in Crain's Detroit Business here

Livio Connect tech will integrate TuneIn app in MyLink Radio for 2013 Chevy Spark

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 12:35pm

General Motors today announced it will work with both Livio and TuneIn for in-dash Internet radio functionality for 2013 Chevrolet Sparks equipped with MyLink Radio.

Livio's "Livio Connect" technology, used here in the company's first OEM integration with GM, will connect the TuneIn music smartphone app with the MyLink Radio. Livio Connect is a middleware framework protocol that enables hardware devices and mobile apps to connect to and interact with one another.

A press release says all of the TuneIn buttons and controls from the mobile device will be available on MyLink’s seven-inch touch screen, while the app on the phone itself will be disabled to help promote safer driving.

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