By Alan Ewing, President and Executive Director, Car Connectivity Consortium
One year ago the CCC attended the very first Connected Car Expo here at the LA Auto Show and we were thrilled to take part in what was essentially an exhibition of possibility: more than anything, the CCE was a place for dreaming. Participants had enough technology and enough prototypes on display to convince all attendees of the infinite possibilities in vehicle connectivity. In the months since, the entire connected car ecosystem has been hard at work. For the CCC, that hard work has transformed the promise of MirrorLink into reality.
This year, the MirrorLink dashboard is open for business.
Today the CCC announced that developers are free to begin coding apps with version 1.1 of the MirrorLink standard. MirrorLink 1.1 is optimized for devices and offers a one-stop-shop for developers who whose dreams of creating the next generation of driver-aware apps have been stalled by the paralyzing complexity of coding for different devices and different cars.
Not only does MirrorLink empower developers to see their apps quickly distributed to more dashboards, the standard makes it significantly easier for other connected-car stakeholders to reap the benefits of in-vehicle app consumption. Handset manufacturers can quickly boost customer loyalty and acquisition with MirrorLink’s promise of seamlessness and interoperability. Operators can deliver more services while their customers drive, immediately replenishing revenue lost to restrictive legislation on smartphone use while behind the wheel.
Perhaps most important at an event like LAAS is to mention the revenue opportunity for automakers in the extremely competitive infotainment space. Proprietary, in-dash units are cumbersome to update and are almost always slower and more difficult to navigate than handsets. By simply using MirrorLink as the connectivity protocol, automakers can offer users the fastest, easiest, most up to date infotainment on the market today: smartphone tech. Instead of standing in consumers’ way by forcing them to learn a new system, why not let them access the content they love and funnel more resources into building better engines and body styles?
At least among CCC members, this is the direction we seem to be moving in. Or at least we’re moving in the direction of offering consumers the choice of using MirrorLink alongside other connectivity options. My hunch is that the level of creativity and innovation in store with app developers coding with MirrorLink will dazzle us with new modes of consuming information on the road. And at that point, MirrorLink will prove itself the best way to navigate from point A to point B, no matter what screen you tap to get there.