In January, WorldDMB announced that they will be holding this year’s workshop focused on the automotive industry in Brussels on 20th May 2015. The event will provide a forum to discuss topics including coverage of digital signals, technical issues such as service following and user interfaces in the car, usability in-car, updates of digital radio developments in markets across Europe and radio as part of the connected car.
Previous WorldDMB automotive events have been held in Germany to benefit from the close relationships between German manufacturers and the digital radio industry. Last year the German and Swiss digital radio organisations, Initiative Digital Radio Deutschland and MCDT, held a successful event in Switzerland targeting automotive manufacturers and plan to do the same again this year. Therefore WorldDMB has made the decision to move their event into the heart of the European Commission, Brussels.
It has long been discussed by the automotive sector that one way to ensure digital radio as standard in all vehicles, is a mandate from the European Commission. While this would add to the long-term stability needed by the automotive industry, after the issues of mandating other technology standards (3G/DVB-H), digital radio in-car is not something which the broadcasting community would regard as a priority.
While TV remains high on the EC agenda, digital radio is not. There is a lack of understanding of the progress and growth now being experienced in the digital radio market especially the increases seen within the European automotive sector. The UK is leading this growth with over 60% of new cars with DAB line fitted, alongside this 45% in Switzerland and 10% of new cars in Germany. In addition, the growth of cars being installed with after-market products in major European digital radio markets demonstrates that Europe is going digital. 2015 also sees Brussels taking centre stage as the World Radio Conference approaches in November, with all technologies lobbying for spectrum; whether to grab new spectrum (mobile) or protect currently internationally planned and allocated spectrum (TV & radio). Although the main focus of discussions will be between the TV and mobile phone sector, with the release of 700MHz and 800MHz to mobile, there is more and more discussion about radio spectrum and its future use. To ensure that radio spectrum is not encroached upon the “use it or lose it” motto remains highly relevant. The use of digital radio to fulfil the ITS Directive on emergency warnings via DAB+ which is currently being rolled out in Germany, not only uses it, but uses it for a nationwide service, something which the newly elected Parliament members can see benefiting their constituents.
Along with inviting members of the Commission staff, WorldDMB will also take the opportunity to invite lobbyists from the automotive industry and from automotive associations based in Brussels again to update them on the progress seen in getting digital radio in cars.
WorldDMB 6th European Automotive Event – 20 May 2015, Autoworld Museum, Brussels. To reserve your place at this event, visit the website.