What feature or trend will become hot technology in automotive infotainment the next year?

Scott MacDonald, Area Vice President, Avnet Embedded
The next wave of innovation in automotive infotainment will center around connectivity and personalization. As more cars are enable to connect to cloud based applications via the internet, more features will be added allowing passengers to engage with their social network, update location and access specific content. Service providers such as Netflix and others that deliver on-demand streaming media will take advantage of this to extend their customers subscription experience. The connected car will also open up new models for tourism features such as the ability to preview local attractions, make reservations and get directions all based on geo-sensing and profiled interests. These functions will also create the need for increased security, authentication and big-data analytics. From a hardware perspective, enhanced screens with touch and glasses-free 3D will start to be introduced into higher end model cars and family vehicles. Additionally, smaller scale storage networks leveraging solid-state technology will be required to house content in order to minimize streaming disruptions due to network congestion (a virtual traffic jam). These storage networks will also be tied to the individual’s home storage network. OEMs looking to capitalize on these trends will benefit from partners like Avnet Embedded whose experience and suite of technologies and services align with these emerging opportunities.

Yuji Nakanishi, Strategic Marketing Manager, Murata
The hottest technology for automotive infotainment is aptly called WiFi hotspots.  The next 12 months are all about car connectivity and WiFi capabilities make this possible.  According to IDC, about half of the U.S. population uses a smart phone, so what better way to entice car buyers than by allowing them to treat their car as a smart mobile device? With WiFi installed in vehicles, the car itself serves as a hotspot allowing passengers fast and reliable Internet access. Some motor companies are using the technology already found on the customer’s smart phone as the WiFi hotspot and syncing it with the car’s on-board technology. Either way, cars are taking the term “mobile device” to a whole new level.  Kids confined to the backseat can stream videos using mom and dad’s mobile devices, while drivers can search (hands-free, of course) for information on the closest gas station or receive real-time traffic reports.  The other benefit of on-board WiFi is that it can be used for diagnostic purposes as well.  While consumers love the idea of having WiFi built into their vehicle for infotainment uses, the communication also helps dealers identify any maintenance issues before they become a problem. Car infotainment is a huge selling point and now with WiFi hotspot capabilities, consumers have even more reasons to purchase a new car this year.

Brian Pluckebaum, senior product marketing manager, Renesas Electronics America
The next 12 months will see many technologies introduced into the automotive infotainment space.   Ethernet AVB and Miracast are two technologies that will drive many of the automotive infotainment future requirements.   Both technologies seek to enable Audio / Video transfers to be realized in the automotive space with reduced (or no) wiring. Ethernet AVB achieves this functionality by building upon the robust established Ethernet network adding four standards:  IEEE802.1 AS, IEEE802.1 Qat, IEEE802.1 QaV, and IEEE1722.   These four protocols work together to allow for guaranteed audio/video transfers with no loss in fidelity even among additional data transfers.   The attractiveness of Ethernet AVB is the ability to transfer multiple HD Video streams over a low bandwidth, 100Mbps. Miracast is a certification program being developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance.  The objective of Miracast is to enable the functionality of a wired setup without the wires.  This functionality includes the aforementioned audio/video streaming capability as well command and control.  The security of a Wi-Fi certified connection allows for Miracast to be utilized in an automotive environment.  The attractiveness of Miracast is the wide targeted devices and the foreseen ability to stream content to integrated displays as well as portable devices.

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