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Radio: Why Connected Cars Don’t Matter


From Radio Ink:

While the radio industry grapples with what it should be doing about the connected car, there may be some comfort in knowing consumers are still a bit baffled by the connected car as well. Nielsen’s new AutoTECHCAST report shows that nearly one-third of consumers have never heard of these technology-enabled vehicles. “These consumers don’t know what connected cars do, and are not associating vehicle brands with infotainment badging.”

Both the auto and radio industries still don’t get it: What’s connected isn’t the car, it’s the consumer.What's connected isn't the car, it's the consumer. Click To Tweet

You should take no comfort in the notion that consumers are “baffled” about the “connected car,” because consumers doesn’t care about the “connected car.” They care about themselves and the connections they already have to the Internet.

And, of course, no automaker will ever come close to reflecting the custom-tailored perfection and habitual comfort of the connected device in every consumer’s pocket.

In other words, your mobile phone will always be easier to use and more preferred than any particular automaker’s wonky dash unit.

Unless, of course, that dash unit features Android Auto or Apple Carplay, which are reflections of those same mobile device operating systems and all the content on them.

As you drive around town look at the cars at the stoplights around you. These drivers are not staring into the dashboard console, they’re staring into their mobile devices, traffic laws be damned.

So the radio industry should stop being confused about the dashboard where (for now at least) radio is still readily accessible and part of every commuter’s expectation (unless you’re an AM radio fan in certain electric cars, that is).

Indeed, that’s the real point: Focus on being worth listening to and you will drive consumer demand for radio content, regardless of platform, forever. Focus strictly on technology, however, and you will rise and fall with the fates of whatever tech solution you fancy. This was the fundamental mistake of HD Radio: “Pushing” technology over the real value of content. Don’t make that mistake again.

Meanwhile, I see much more concern in radio circles about dashboards than I see about mobile devices, which is yet another mistake.

On the day in the future when many cars drive themselves, commuters will be messing with their mobile devices for the entire drive. The dashboard will either facilitate that or cease to be relevant.

The center of all gravity for audio entertainment in a car is the consumer.

Connected cars don’t matter.

Only connected people do.

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