With Switzerland due to start digital switchover (DSO) from 2020, one of the biggest challenges will be in converting the millions of existing cars to DAB+.
Ernst S. Werder from WeEr GmbH has been working with drivers and dealers to get cars switched over as early as possible.
Can you tell us what you’re currently working on?
“My work consists of meeting and briefing car dealerships and sales people. In partnership with a DAB+ automotive expert, we conduct technical training for DAB+ aftermarket products for all sales employees and mechanics. So far we have trained around 400 dealerships but there is a lot more to do.”
How are the plans progressing for switch off in Switzerland and how will this impact drivers?
“At the moment we are right on schedule. Ofcom has been working with a communications and marketing agency to take the lead in promoting DAB+ and we will stop supporting FM by 2024, starting the DSO process gradually from 2020.
“All major companies are installing DAB+ as standard in new cars so that is great news. However, there are roughly 4.5 million cars registered in Switzerland and only 740,000 have DAB+ installed. By starting now, we aim to have converted the majority by 2024.”
How has Switzerland achieved such great coverage and when will you complete coverage of tunnels?
“By the end of 2018 all autobahn tunnels longer than 300m will have DAB+. There has already been a lot of work put into building and extending the DAB+ network across Switzerland. By 2019 we hope to have closed all the remaining gaps and the coverage is already better than the old FM network.”
How are Swiss broadcasters working towards promoting DAB in cars?
“Ofcom is working with the marketing agency and broadcasters to organize a large marketing and communications campaign to run twice a year. The first campaign started in June this year.”
How are you working with auto dealerships?
“We are conducting technical training workshops and providing information and marketing related to DAB+. These half-day sessions involve looking at the most popular aftermarket products and showing dealers how they should be installed – usually we do this on a couple of different car models.
“An important aspect is installing the antenna correctly, so we spend time showing people the tests to run, in order to check the antenna has been installed properly. We also help them with managing customer issues – for example in switching on service following or understanding when some stations drop out and why.
“We’ve found that dealers are more and more aware of the upcoming switchover but not always about the exact timeline or what it means for them and their customers. The dealers appreciate the help we can provide with both training and understanding the overall switchover. We started this process earlier than Norway and there is still a lot more to do.”
How can car manufactures’ head offices better support local dealers and importers?
“If all imported cars had DAB+ installed that would be a big help! It’s important for drivers in Europe to be able to travel between countries and continue listening to the radio. We encourage closer collaboration between all parties involved in the switchover process.”