Consumer Telematics is Best of 2009 CES – An Overview

Consumer Telematics is Best of 2009 CES – An Overview

Show Overview

CES continues to offer an amazing assortment of products/technologies, estimated at 20,000. Therefore the shear size of the show makes it quite a challenge to “walk the show” to see them all. CES is, by far, the biggest technology and consumer product trade show in the United States with 1.85 million net square feet of exhibit space, featuring more than 2,700 companies and with 110,000 attendees walking the show. The official attendance number will be released in 90 days.

Spanning eight halls and more booths than you can walk past in a couple eight hour days, the show gives those in the Consumer Electronics industry a great opportunity to show their latest products and to provide a taste of those that are coming in the next year. According to PC-World, more than 110,000 people, as the preliminary estimate, attended CES last week. The CEA expected "more than 130,000" people to attend this show, but various sources are confirming the 110,000 number which would mean a decrease of about 22% from last year’s offical attendance number of 141,150. The cabbies, who have their finger on the Las Vegas pulse, indicated that business is down my 30% (source WSJ). All agree that the hallways were relatively uncongested.

In spite of the “recession”, a significant number of exhibits were focused on technologies specific to the automobile and introduced a new product area, what is termed Location Based Services or Consumer Telematics. Each of the following technology areas was well represented: audio systems, navigation devices as accessories (PNDs and {2} DIN “brick” systems), displays, rear view mirrors (with integrated LCD displays and Bluetooth), safety technologies, and location based services. Other vehicle related products were presented in tents across the road from the main exhibit halls. Microsoft Automotive had an impressive showing of their partners (Ford SYNC, Continental, TellMe, etc) which showed vehicles equipped with the Ford SYNC system and a Hyundai vehicle, an announced Microsoft Mobile partner. Visteon (and 3M), because of Delphi’s absence this year, was the leader in showing elegant solutions for integrating of a variety of Infotainment and safety solutions for the automobile.

Even though we are all reeling from the recession as indicated by the reduced attendance at CES, the show continues to be the premier event showcasing the new products/technologies that will be on our cars soon. There was less hype or spectacle and more focus on product execution as indicated by close door meetings. Give attendance figures. Many automotive exhibitors, downsized or had no visible presence at all notably Delphi. Many Automotive OEMS and suppliers, notably Ford visits CES to “benchmark” new CE technology. The Ford Microsoft SYNC product is an out growth of this visit and recognition that the CE industry will drive automotive electronics, built-in is supplanted by “beamed in” (wireless or Telematics) and “brought-in” (e.g. “smart phones”).

Here are my top picks or highlights of the important developments and announcements:

Telematics related

  • New Ford SYNC services (turn-by-turn nav. by DeCarta and TeleNav) with a TellMe interface as announced by Mr. Mulally, Ford CEO key note, I had a front row seat at his keynote. An outstanding presentation by Mr. Mulally and his team.
  • Toyota Telematics announcement at Telematics Update, a result of Toyotas methodical customer driven process with the appropriate focus on quality of execution (as expected)
  • New high quality traffic services are now available. The leadingtraffic content providers, distributors, aggregators and devicemanufacturers recently formed the North American Traffic Working Groupunder the sponsorship of the ITS-America, with the mission to maketraffic advisories better for drivers through adopting quality drivenstandards and processes.
  • Microsoft Mobile 3.0 announcement as a viable alternative to QNX and the “Open Infotainment” platform from the WindRiver, Intel and BMW team.
  • Continue growth in more connected and location capturing devices (GPS). Cameras as automotive accessories were showcased throughout the show.
  • 3G Smart phones available from all carriers, with the Palm Pre (Web OS) capturing the Best of Show.
  • The “touch phone fray”, the continued emergence of the “smart” phone as the personal device of choice, whether it be iPhone, Blackberry or now new Palm Pre (received "Best of Show")

Infotainment Related

  • Visteon (with 3M) showcased many new automotive interior design concepts.
  • Mobile TV which has become affordable and available – many offerings. I test drove the new ICO Mobile TV offering. AT&T AutoCruise with 25 channels and Audiovox Flo received much media attention.
  • Internet radio was showcased by many. An example is Blaupunkt and MiRoamer's Internet radio streaming service, with a Bluetooth-paired mobile phone with data connection.
  • New TV/display technologies, OLED and LED TVs for example. This years’ focus being on thinner and brighter, not necessarily bigger.
  • The Yahoo Widget tool kit developed with Intel creates widgets that will scroll along the bottom of the internet connected TV screen to access web content.
  • 3D display and gesture controlled large panels by Samsung, LG and others.
  • Gracenote CarStars, having an avitar in your car help you with your music selection.

Did I miss anything????

Websites with related information are:…

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