We speak to Laurence Harrison of Digital Radio UK and Chair of the WorldDAB Automotive UX Group, on progress for automotive DAB in 2016 and what he wants to see next year.
What have been your 2016 highlights for in-car DAB?
“Picking highlights is always difficult, but the continued growth (for many European markets) in new cars being sold with DAB as standard has been fantastic. In the UK we now have over 86% of new cars sold with DAB as standard and, as new data from JATO showed earlier in the year, other markets are not far behind.
“2016 has also seen big announcements from automotive OEMs. Recently Ford and Hyundai said that they will be including Amazon’s Alexa in connected cars, which will have big implications for radio in cars in the future, and back in May at WorldDAB’s Automotive event, Audi said that one day FM could be removed as part of its work with hybrid radio.
“Of course, the other highlight from this year was setting up the WorldDAB Automotive User Experience (UX) group. This is an area we need to address to continue to deliver the best experience to drivers – something the radio and automotive industries both support.”
What are your predictions for 2017?
“Next year I’d expect the continued growth of DAB as standard in new cars, and we may also see the first hybrid DAB/IP radio in a new car as standard announced.
“For the automotive aftermarket, the switchover in Norway is already boosting the market for adapters, so next year it would be great to see further innovation in that market and a decent, sub-£100 product that’s easy for drivers to install.
“With the UX group, we’re carrying out research into the consumer experience of using radio in the car and developing a guidelines document for both broadcasters and car manufacturers to use. The aim is to get this supported by companies from both industries, plenty of whom are already involved.”