A big challenge for carmakers is guaranteeing a high quality consumer experience when drivers and passengers access in-car infotainment services. Very different to B2B telematics services that play to carmaker strengths, B2C services are more complicated because consumers often bring their own smartphones and MNO (Mobile Network Operator) contracts into the car with them. Their personal devices will have bundled content packages ready to play, whether it’s Spotify or Apple Music.
Carmakers are aiming to change consumer habits and content provisioning is the battlefield, including the provision of outstanding consumer in-car experiences. One option, carmakers may provide, is B2B2C service bundles to consumers, including connectivity to allow them to use the in-car infotainment system to access such services. Access to local content must be underpinned by reliable and affordable connectivity.
In order to realise the full potential of this change in habits, it is imperative that the carmaker has access to a global platform, giving visibility into performance and usage while opening up new revenue models. Bringing individual services from multiple operators into the car in a way that enhances the experience and adds value is a labyrinthine task – there are typically three or four MNOs and a further five or six virtual operators in each country.
Accessing high quality internet radio
A simpler way for carmakers to monetise infotainment is by making web radio available from the dashboard. With the global internet radio market size projected to rise from around $31million in 2020 to nearly $60m by 2027, it’s a way for carmakers to bring cost-effective broadcasting to a large in-vehicle audience and start to differentiate on infotainment offerings.
Car radio could use some help, as anyone who has driven long distances and constantly had to retune will testify. If you’re roaming and accessing the service over a Bluetooth-attached phone, it can get be fiddly to set up and expensive to use – especially if you are roaming. If the service was embedded in the dashboard rather than a mobile phone, it would use the car’s antennae and a much stronger signal would be guaranteed.
Cubic is working with carmakers on an alternative, an out-of-the-box web radio package that guarantees a high quality audio experience and covers the licence cost of the music service – it could be an annual subscription or bundled at the point of purchase. In this business model, the carmaker provides connectivity to vehicle owners that facilitates access to the streaming services. SIM registration and regulatory complexities are overcome by leveraging the existing licences held by Cubic.
To provide B2B2C service bundles to consumers, carmakers will need to understand the user experience and be able to optimise the total cost of data consumption. With our PLXOR solution, Cubic provides a virtual APN in the cloud to help manage the connection and the different services running over it. Essentially, it facilitates granular service monitoring with real-time visualisations and reporting on specific web radio data usage, by region or fleet.
Extracting value from usage data
Through a dedicated portal, carmakers can analyse bandwidth utilisation and set threshold alarms – ensuring the capacity is always there to deliver the best possible experience. PLXOR can also monitor different combinations of B2C and B2B services and help split costs between retail infotainment and the carmaker’s own wholesale services. All data used has been anonymised and complies with data privacy regulations, a big bonus for carmakers as they look to own the in-car experience of their customers and turn it into revenue-generating insights.
Broadcasters and third parties could use web radio data to target in-vehicle audiences and buy airtime based on geographic customers as well as demographic groupings. Usage data could inform future roadmaps for carmakers on what services consumers prefer in different countries, while network performance data provides evidence of service issues when negotiating with MNOs.
By enabling in-vehicle internet radio services, carmakers can satisfy their own customers with intelligent and tailored services, while partnering with broadcasters and other parties in targeted marketing and shared revenue models. As business models remain uncertain around other forms of in-car infotainment, web radio offers a straightforward path to new sources of income. It also offers a fast return on investing in Cubic, using platforms that will deliver more value as the connected car ecosystem grows.