General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s Phil Abram said that he is General Motor’s infotainment officer. He also added that he dislikes the word infotainment. Today’s big industry question is whether technology can come to the rescue of the car industry.
According to Abram, software won’t devour the car industry but take a big slice of it if the people in car industry let it. As the car industry gets closer to technology, they should look at examples such as Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE:KODK) and Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE). The latter two companies did not adapt to market changes and hence suffered greatly.
Car companies tread a solitary path for years. In this period, they make their proprietary software systems ultimately disliked by most consumers. Nearly all car companies have an in-house program as well as control systems. The main reason is the huge ramifications that flaws can entail.
According to Abram, smartphones are tailored to captivate users as well as engross them. However, the objective of an infotainment system is exactly the opposite. Firstly, it should not be very engrossing. Secondly it should be productive and offer freedom. Thirdly, users should be able to execute their stuff and come out quickly.
Making stuff that works within a limited space is certainly a design challenge. Most car makers haven’t succeeded very much in this aspect. According to Abram, what matters is the usability, convenience and discoverability in a quality system.The big issue is whether Apple and Google which are certainly not established car companies help in any way? Are Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android Auto and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s CarPlay good enough?
GM is also working on self-driving cars. In Abram’s opinion voice assistance such as Siri are not required. A truly autonomous car will run without the passenger or driver frequently talking to it.
Abram is heading the auto department during the era of the car hackers. However, according to Abram any problems with car systems till now came because of curious researchers than by folk having criminal intentions. Impressively, none of the currently demonstrated problems has affected any car.