The Thursday Radio Show session, “Radio Futures: New Developments for the Connected Car,” sounded some fascinating notes about where the car will be taking audio in the days to come. “Broadcast is never going away, but the consumption of media is going to the digital side,” believes Scott Burnell, global lead, Business Development & Partner Management for Ford Motor Company. “Radio will always be there but as you scale younger, consumer habits will change—and these are the [consumers] who will be buying vehicles for the next 40 or 50 years.”
Producing those choices doesn’t happen overnight. Ford says it takes about five years for in-dash development to actually make its way to the company’s new-model cars. “We’re always playing catch-up. But we are fully aware that our buyers under 30 don’t care about a button that [identifies] AM and FM. They say put it all on the screen and I’ll find it,” Burnell said.
The lighted, pad-centric screen of the future is likely to offer a laundry list of technologies, from terrestrial radio and HD Radio to USB inputs for smartphone connectivity and Applelink.
Cisco Systems director of Smart Connected Vehicles Andreas Mai noted, “The car has historically been a sanctuary for radio, but people no longer just want to be broadcasted to. They want it when and where they want it. That fundamentally changes the game for radio.”
That translates to radio becoming more of an on-demand medium in order to maintain its health. “Look at how TV has changed,” said Joe Mosele, VP of Business Development & Internet of Things Solutions for AT&T Mobility. “Now that there are DVDs, I watch primetime TV whenever I want. That’s where I see content in the car going. Your morning drive or favorite DJ will all have to be on-demand.”