Turning the car into a full entertainment hub

Car drivers and passengers can look forward to highly personalised premium multimedia and entertainment services that will transform their journey, says Dr Neale Foster, chief executive of ACCESS Europe


We are now accessing content in and out of the home, live or on demand, on a range of platforms: smartphones, tablets, e-readers, TV, game consoles and many more. Yet the car has traditionally been a frontier for entertainment. But this is coming to an end with the advent of in-car infotainment.

In-car infotainment refers to a series of integrated systems that deliver a variety of content, including information and entertainment directly in the car. While each system is unique and performs its own function, typical tasks that can be performed include managing and playing audible content, such as audio books, radio, or music; managing and playing video content by utilising the rear-seat entertainment screen or a tablet; displaying content, such as movies, games, music videos; and playing traffic reports, sports scores and weather forecasts.

So far we have seen huge discrepancy between the ease of use of connected TVs, smartphones, game consoles and tablets to access content or information and the car due to a lack of reliable connectivity within the vehicle. However, the rise of connectivity and BYOD (bring your own device) is turning the tide for the better.

The automotive industry can offer video alongside other services that will offer a unique experience for each passenger and each journey. Effectively, cars will be turned into entertainment hubs that adjust to each situation, from offering the right selection of content options depending on the type of passenger and journey duration, through to enabling parental control and simplifying the selection process to empower drivers with children in the back seat.

As ride-sharing apps, such as CleverShuttle, Lyft and Uber, continue to grow in popularity, offering hyper-personalised infotainment services means car manufacturers can maintain deep and meaningful connections with drivers and passengers, even if they do not own the vehicle. In addition, by ensuring their content can be accessed in the car, the likes of the BBC, Netflix and YouTube can increase engagement by turning the moving vehicle into an additional platform for their assets.

Effectively, cars will be turned into entertainment hubs that adjust to each situation

Cars are no longer simply used for commuting from point A to point B. Instead, next generation infotainment services enable each journey to become a unique multimedia experience. For example, a parent picking up children from school in a spacious family-friendly car with a journey of over 30 minutes will be offered family-friendly cartoon episodes or educational games.

This differs wildly from a taxi picking up a customer for a 20-minute inner-city ride, where short-form comedic videos, most commonly found on YouTube, casual games or the latest weather forecast will be the best options.

Through their infotainment systems, equipped with solutions for secure content distribution, car manufacturers will be able to offer popular content, such as Celebrity Big Brother, while complying with the requirements for content protection that studios and broadcasters are demanding worldwide.

In the past, content protection rules have proved frustrating for viewers, who have all faced messages informing them that they do not have the right to access a specific video because they are not in the right location. For in-car infotainment content, this frustration will be a thing of the past very soon.

Recently implemented European Union content portability rules, which affect all EU countries including the UK before Brexit, state that a subscriber to a specific service can access their local content catalogue even once they have crossed borders with another European country. This is great news for those who love road trips, who will be able to watch full feature films, for hours on end.

We are steadily moving towards a fully integrated and ubiquitous future. With entertainment at the heart of the future of the connected car, drivers and passengers alike can look forward to enjoying highly personalised premium multimedia and entertainment services that will transform their journey.

Find out more at access-company.com