Rosemary Smith, WorldDAB Project Manager, Automotive
This year’s WorldDAB Automotive conference saw record attendance, with over 190 registered delegates coming together to discuss the key issues affecting automotive manufacturers and broadcasters, from the plans for switchover of FM to DAB+ services in European markets, the potential impact of proposed European digital radio receiver legislation and the latest guidelines for digital radio user experience in the car.
Several key themes emerged during the conference:
France and Italy on the move
With DAB+ fitted as standard in the majority of cars in advanced markets, there was a lot of attention on the countries set to mature in the next few years; and France and Italy are leading the charge. With new cities rolling out DAB+ in France this year and the announcement of a mandatory inclusion of digital radio in all receivers (including in-car) in Italy by 2020, OEMs are closely watching DAB+ progress in these markets.
There has been steady progress in the adoption of DAB+ in cars over the last few years, backed up by figures discussed at the conference from WorldDAB and JATO. With new services and expanded consumer marketing campaigns taking place, announcements of the mandated inclusion of DAB+ and confirmation from more markets that advanced plans are being made to switch off FM networks, demand from drivers for digital radio will only increase.
WorldDAB’s work on improving the experience for drivers is making a big difference
In just two years the WorldDAB Automotive group has produced several significant pieces of work which are already having an impact and being implemented by automotive OEMs – showing the benefits of close collaboration between the radio and automotive industries.
Our research on the digital radio user experience (UX) in-car were the first of its kind and we can now talk with confidence about how drivers use their digital radio and what they want to improve this experience. We were the first to produce guidelines for the car industry on the user experience of digital radio, to ensure clarity of what is supplied by broadcasters and an understanding of what a driver would like to experience when using a digital radio. These guidelines are a starting point and more work on UX is ongoing.
Meanwhile our work on antenna and receiver sensitivity is providing a vital link between network operators and car manufacturers. This work is in its infancy but is also seeing results. The next steps will be to design suitable test tracks for auto manufacturers and to produce guidelines on how to achieve the best possible experience to drivers.
Involvement from the automotive industry continues to impress
Every year WorldDAB Automotive brings together the biggest names in the car industry and 2018 was no different. All of the major brands were represented with those unable to attend being sent full details of the presentations post-event.
The conference is the only place where broadcasters and automotive OEMs can discuss together the future of digital radio in the in-car, market developments and growth and share plans and work being undertaken by broadcasters and the wider digital radio community to promote DAB+ in cars. These discussions are essential in delivering the best experience for the driver.
To find out more about our work with the automotive sector please get in touch with the Project Office. Details on WorldDAB Automotive 2019 will be announced later this year.