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You Must Be HD to Compete in The Dash

10-7-13
The digital dashboard, now being called the consumers fifth screen (after TV, the computer, the smartphone, and the tablet) is quickly becoming a must-have feature when consumers purchase a new vehicle. Americans have become a people who honestly believe they must be connected at all times, and its a way of life automakers are incorporating as they build new vehicles. The smartphone has not only changed the way people behave every day, its revolutionizing the way cars are built. Consumers expect their cars to do everything their smartphones can do. On the infotainment front, if a smartphone displays album art, a dashboard radio must show album art. If a smartphone can tell me what song is playing, show it to me in the car, too. If I can use one click to purchase a track I love, get that on my dash. If youre running a radio station thats not on the HD Radio bandwagon, good luck with that. And good luck competing with Pandora, iHeartRadio, aHa, and the many other content providers consumers are warming to. They all want a place on the dash too, and auto manufacturers are happy to oblige.
 
iBiquity Digital CEO Bob Struble spends a lot of time convincing radio this is the right path to travel. Hes been at it from the beginning. He also spends a lot of time, on radios behalf, in front of the automotive world, showing off the strengths of your business to an industry now being bombarded with content thats getting easier and easier to install.

You spend a lot more time with auto manufacturers than most radio people do. What are you hearing from them in terms of what consumers want on the dash?
Everything, basically. Automakers are responding to consumer demand to have the dashboard provide them with all the same options for information and entertainment that they have in their houses or on their phones or tablets. And these services must be easy to use. If youve bought a new car recently, youve seen what we (and others) have been saying for years: The days of AM/FMs near-monopoly as an infotainment source are a quaint memory.
 
What do you mean by that?
I just bought a new Toyota Sequoia for our family. It doesnt have a radio button, it has a media button and an apps button. These buttons take the driver to menus where they can access satellite radio, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Facebook, Twitter, Bing, and OpenTable. They can connect their phones or iPods through USB or Bluetooth links to the dash and have immediate access to their personal music libraries. All these services are intuitive. I never went
to my owners manual, and it had a state-of-the-art look and feel. Oh, and it also has a spectacular HD Radio implementation, easy to use and understand, with all the latest features, which helps position broadcast radio competitively against all the other services automakers are building into the dash.
 
How can HD Radio technology better prepare radio for these sophisticated systems?
Its fundamental. Again, take my new Sequoia as an example. It has one screen layout that is the same for all audio services Sirius, Pandora, iHeart, iPod, and analog or digital AM/FM. The screen has all my presets, from any source, on one side, and the content screen on the other side. Like all the digital services, HD Radio technology allows a station to fill that screen. There is an album cover or station logo in the middle of the screen, there are
indicators that there is an HD2, HD3, or HD4 station available, there is song and artist info, there is an iTunes Tagging button to store song info for later purchase. Overall, it looks and feels like an audio service should in the digital age.
Read more about our DASH cnference later this month at www.dashconference.com

 
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