Mobile Electronics Magazine

Switch to desktop

February Issue Feature: What's Happening - CES 2017

2-1-2017, Mobile Electronics -- For 50 years, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), has delivered on its promise to showcase the latest in electronic technology. In the summer of 1967, its first year, the event hosted 117 exhibitors featuring transistor radios, stereos and black and white televisions. The next four decades saw innovations like cassettes, CDs, DVDs and plasma televisions take center stage. Today, one concept has dominated the show floor like no other: a fully connected life, harnessing the power of handheld digital devices and pursuing the dream of autonomous driving.

For the 12-volt industry, many of the innovations on display at this year's CES in Las Vegas won't have much of an impact on a retailer's bottom line. However, in the North Hall, which houses the automakers and 12-volt industry manufacturers, there were a number of trends that could have a significant impact in the near future.

Connectivity and autonomous driving were promoted with purpose with companies like Ford, Hyundai and Toyota, all eager to showcase what the roads will look like in the future. Connected driving products on display, such as Alpine's wireless CarPlay head unit, offered a more practical view of that future. Chris Cook, president of the Mobile Electronics Association, discussed the impact connected driving will have for the entire automotive industry in the Connect2Car panel during the four-day event.

"Consumers want to be able to connect their device with the car confidently. By 2020, 250 million cars will be connected to the Internet. What does this mean? It means the vehicles will be connected to the Internet and everything else. This is a good thing for all of us," Cook said. "Consumers are demanding to be in the forefront of the vehicle. When they're picking up their used Mustang, they usually want more than the OEM offered at the time it was sold. They want the latest technology. So to connect with confidence, automakers are responding. They are working to upgrade new vehicles with the latest aftermarket technologies."

With the safety category being one of the primary catalysts for this trend (all new light vehicles in 2018 will require backup cameras by law), automakers and the aftermarket are pushing for ways to fully integrate the latest technology into cars for an all-in-one solution. That doesn't account for the rest of the vehicles on the road, which average 11 years in age.

For all those in attendance, the aftermarket's response to consumer demand and OEM competition seemed clear: innovate.  

An Integrated Necessity

Regardless of the excitement generated by a new concept car or gadget, time has proven that the demands of consumers are what drive a successful innovation of new products. One category that the aftermarket has jumped on this year is high-resolution audio, which is more easily attainable for the average listener than ever thanks to an innovation in DSP technology.

Several companies have announced new DSP amplifiers that are designed to work as solutions for OEM sound systems. The Kenwood eXcelon XR600-6DSP is designed to capture signals before they reach the factory amplifier, resulting in cleaner output and retention of factory notifications, according to the company. The device works in cooperation with the iDatalink Maestro AR integration module, which links into the CAN bus of specific vehicles.

"I'm looking for the new products and looking forward to seeing some of the OEM stuff like built-in technologies and what we need to do to integrate with them," said installer Shaughnessy Murley from Visions Electronics as he began to walk the show floor. "I think OEM integration is going to be a necessity moving forward. You get in there, unplug the factory amp, plug their module in and then it's a blank slate. Integrating telematics in the vehicle will be a big thing, too."

Audiocontrol has also joined the OEM integration trend by making three of its recent products compatible with the Mastro AR. The DM-608 and DM-810 processors and the newly announced D6-1200 six-channel amplifier are all compatible with the ADS product.

"Hats off to ADS for what they're doing. For somebody who wants to keep the door chime muted without blowing your ears out, it'll make the interface that much easier," said Chris Kane, National Sales Manager of Audiocontrol.

In addition to the OEM integration trend, manufacturers focused efforts on what makes the 12-volt industry stand apart from OEM offerings. It discovered that clients are still eager to upgrade their sound systems to the best on the market, especially if high-end, high-resolution products are affordable. Sony's solution was on display in a demo vehicle featuring its RSXGS9 high-resolution single-DIN head unit and GS1621C component speakers.

"With the hi-res frequency range, you're basically getting more head room in your music. You don't get the sharp cut-off in the higher frequencies at 20K-ish. We've got about 60K going through this. It's a really good-sounding, smooth system," said Kris Bulla, National Product Trainer, Sony Car Audio. "We're all about hi-res this year. This GS system is the hi-res that you want to hear. It provides studio-quality sound."

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Copyright - Mobile Electronics Association 2020

Top Desktop version