This will increase the need for cross-industry cooperation, especially to ensure the various services available on audio systems can be easily found. These are the key findings of the VAUNET study entitled ‘Fast Forward: The Future of In-Car Audio’ addressing the development of in-car infotainment over the next few years.
As digitalization progresses, cars are increasingly becoming mobile infotainment centres, making in-car audio systems an important factor in purchasing decisions. “The future of in-car infotainment is radio and audio. This offers huge potential for both the automotive industry and the radio and audio sector,” explains Dr Nina Gerhardt, Vice Chair of the Radio and Audio Services Division at VAUNET and Managing Director of RTL Radio Deutschland. “By stepping up cross-industry dialogue, we’ll be able to successfully harness these opportunities for both industries to jointly create additional value for customers.”
Findings in a nutshell: Linear radio to remain pivotal; significance of audio on demand as well as digital and internet radio to rise
The experts from the automotive and audio/radio industries who took part in structured interviews for the study are unanimous that audio and radio (especially linear radio) will remain the central elements of in-car infotainment. What’s more, the already very high importance of in-car audio will increase. In particular, as the relevance of digital and internet radio as well as audio on demand services rises, potential growth is especially high among younger target groups.
Greater personalization and more hybrid solutions
Another important future trend will be personalized and hybrid radio and audio services offering a blend of individual music and traditional broadcasting such as news and traffic reporting. In technical terms, the future will belong to hybrid radio combining broadcast and internet radio.
Greater integration and pairing of devices
The number of audio-capable devices that can be integrated and paired will keep growing. One reason for this is that Google and Apple will play an increasingly important role in radio and audio usage via paired smartphones as well as the close integration of their services into in-car systems.
Due to the increasing presence of global tech corporations in our cars as well as the increasing fragmentation of services, competition for in-car media time budgets will intensify. Data access and usage will become a key issue, as will the creation and availability of metadata structuring increasing amounts of data and also enabling new services and more usability. Particular attention will need to be paid to ensuring simple, non-discriminatory access to tomorrow’s numerous radio and audio services. Given this, all the experts interviewed see a mounting need to continue and expand collaboration between the automotive industry and the radio/audio sector.