It is a subject that has been in the news for quite some time, yet satellite radio fans and sites seem to ignore the news. In my experience one thing that no one should ever do is ignore Google. The company is a giant, has a bankroll bigger than many nations, and does not often fail at something they attempt to do. In news today it was speculated that the Google streaming music service will use audio ads.
MediaPost has been following the subject closely, and their latest information about audio ads for Google's Streaming to Android Smart Phones is yet another aspect of the service that makes it a potential to many audio entertainment services. MediaPost mentioned that a service like the one speculated for Google will compete not only with iTunes, but services such as Pandora. What audio entertainment fans should realize here is that Google does not tend to do things only part way. I would anticipate a full service offering that will compete with everything out there.
In addition to this news it is also being reported that Internet will be in 5 million cars by 2015. Analysts Frost and Sullivan note that, "Brought-in apps such as Internet radio are the latest developments in the automotive apps and services market. There is a gradual shift in the United States and Europe from embedded telematics to hybrid connected telematics in terms of allowing features to run from a smartphone inside the car. Within this hybrid connected space, vehicle manufacturers have enough traction to allow Internet radio apps to run inside the car from the smartphone and control it using vehicle Human Machine Interface (HMI)."
There are indeed challenges to such services gaining across the board integration, and even challenges of price points on cellular services for data plans, but the shift is already happening, and when a major player like Ford is taking the role of letting consumers decide, it is only a matter of time before others follow suit.
"Gen-Y'ers and technology usage trends in the United States and Europe are driving the use of mobile Internet on new generation smartphones and downloading apps from sites like Apple is becoming increasingly popular," says Frost & Sullivan's Global Programme Manager, Praveen Chandrasekar. "By using safe HMI to allow smartphones to be accessed inside the cabin, vehicle manufacturers are creating a superior brand image since consumers can continue to savour their digital experience inside the car." In Europe and the United States, Gen Y will continue to account for at least a quarter of the total population until 2030, but in South Asia, Gen Y will likely represent over 40 per cent of the population by 2030.
This market is not without its challenges though, with connectivity and driver distraction being the main problems. On the one hand, vehicle manufacturers are looking to offer connectivity and services using consumers' voice and data connection. On the other hand, telecom operators are objecting to this model and want vehicle manufacturers to put an additional security identity module (SIM) card with a dedicated voice and data plan to power services inside the car."
Many cars have already adopted iPod connectivity. There are even consumer solutions that allow consumers to utilize smart phones with the car through an auxillary input or USB slot. Personally I use the XM SkyDock. It is my preferred device because I can use Sirius XM, my iTunes library and even my cached Slacker stations all from an easy to control and navigate system. By this method there are already millions of cars on the road that are "capable" of Internet connectivity. The 5 million spoken of in the Frost and Sullivan report is the next phase in the process. Integration on a larger scale that truly connects the smart phone to the car. This is already happening with devices such as the SYNC system used in Ford vehicles.
As I have stated in the past, all existing media companies that deliver content to the car need to be developing strategies to deal with what will be a swift entrance into the OEM channel by other competing services. The time is here that the future of the OEM dashboard will change. It is no longer a question of if, it is a question of when. In the past I have written about the demographics that satellite radio appeals to compared to services like Pandora and Slacker. These services all need to figure out how too broaden their horizons and develop strategies to participate in the audio entertainment world of tomorrow. Satellite does indeed have some distinct advantages, but they are not advantages that are insurmountable by a big player that wants to enter the space. Through a smart phone anyone can deliver national or even global content without the expense of satellites.
I realize that this type of news may not rest easy with satellite radio fans. I also realize that satellite radio fans need to know these things. Three years ago I was not able to easily write an article from my phone. It required me tethering my Blackberry to my computer to act as a modem, and the speeds were cumbersome. Two years ago there were slight improvements. Today I can write and publish articles via my Android phone, and often do. Changes happen, and they are happening fast. If you are a satellite radio fan and felt no threat from Slacker or Pandora, the fact that Google is entering the space should wake you up.
[via prnewswire.com Report]
Position - Long Sirius XM Radio, No Position Google, Ford