Consumers turn online for car purchases

AutoNiches ( more than ever are heading online to get purchase critical “information.”  Given the tough economic times, the value of every spare dollar means that people have to be more thoughtful about how they spend it.

As a recent article in the Wall Street Journal reveals, auto purchases are no exception.  Not only is general information about a car important but finding/affiliating with like consumers is spawning a growth in “niche” online sites.  Even as U.S. auto sales have fallen by about 30% this year from a year earlier, more than 100 new auto-related Web sites have been launched, says research group Hitwise. Continue reading “Consumers turn online for car purchases”

Augmented reality set to blast off

Augmented reality set to blast offFor over a year now, the Lab has displayed AR or Augmented Reality technology on a fixed platform in our DOOH room. However, AR is rapidly moving its way beyond a fix platform.  Location-based social networking site Brightkite recently entered into a partnership with Dutch startup SPRXmobile to integrate the Layar augmented reality features into its solution.  This solution leverages Location-based social networking, GPS, camera and compass phone functions to overlay 3D location-based information on the screen in real time. Called Layar, it’s their browser designed to be used on smart phones and give users the chance to point and experience. As the Lab’s resident “car guy” I couldn’t help but think about Intel’s progressive in-car efforts and their drive to create rear-seat entertainment/navigation architectures, along with LBS.

Brands however could really move AR forward through sponsorship initiatives.  Continue reading “Augmented reality set to blast off”

Consumers want more for their cars

(iStock)The collision between the economy and car companies has caused one unpleasant pile up.  Indicators for consumption and growth are not very pretty.  It is important to note that despite some of the macro gloom, there are still signs of a growing future.

According to a report prepared by ABI, OEM’s continue to plan for future iterations and advancements for telematics services.  Global penetration rates in new cars will reach 12% in 2010 and 43% by 2014.  “With GM’s OnStar and Ford’s SYNC to be joined by telematics solutions from Toyota and Chrysler launching later this year, the US remains the most competitive market,” says ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte. As scale and affordability push prices down and as technology adoption rates by consumers continue to grow, their inclination for in-car solutions will grow.  Features similar to GM’s “OnStar” which offer safety and security assets along with diagnostics continue to show strength.  Increasingly however consumers want the technology envelope in the car to open up.  Continue reading “Consumers want more for their cars”

IPG Lab and research firm OTX join forces

OTX and Lab ink deal Today’s Mediapost article announcing our very exciting relationship with global research firm OTX, caps several months of negotiations.  Aside from the purely financial aspects of the deal, it strengthens and solidifies the Lab’s place, as not just a unique facility to learn about emerging media through our immersion based facilities but now a place to come and study emerging media by way of research.  While the Lab has been championing the virtues of doing research, this relationship adds an exciting layer to our product set and consequently our ability to help provide a comprehensive package for agency/client research needs.

The relationship with OTX actually dates back to last year.  Ongoing conversations brought us tougher to help them on their unique projects for “mobile Jeopardy” and MTV’s – Comedy Central/SpikeTV.

Continue reading “IPG Lab and research firm OTX join forces”

LTE steps up to bat

CTIAIf you didn’t look you might have missed it.  If the letters LTE just passed your field of vision at CTIA you might have missed the next evolution in wireless technology.  LTE or Long Term Evolution is being positioned as the successor to 3G.

Technically speaking, LTE is a modulation technique that is the latest variation of Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology. It was dubbed “Long Term Evolution” because it is viewed as the natural progression of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA), the GSM technology that is currently used by carriers such as AT&T to deliver 3G mobile broadband.

Continue reading “LTE steps up to bat”

Mobile’s little brother is catching up

mobiletelematicsThe Mobile World Conference (WMC) took place recently in Barcelona and proved once again that Telematics/Infotainment (T/I) is increasingly sharing its technology infrastructure with Mobile.  DOOH is also connected with Mobile and T/I.  Here are three key points marketers should keep in mind about the telematics-mobile relationship:

1) Location based services (LBS) and mobile social are driving innovation.  As phones increasingly incorporate GPS and become more location-enabled, developers will create more location aware applications.  Social Mobile is the logical offshoot of this technology and offers users, advertisers, and brands unique challenges and opportunities.  Thomas Hallauer writes in Telematics, “by combining location and social networking, the mobile industry will be able to tempt advertisers with reliable profiling from a very extensive and rich source of consumer information, as well as precise targeting at the mobile consumer market.”  There are many large players in this space looking advance this capability in a time when new revenue streams are much needed. Continue reading “Mobile’s little brother is catching up”

Seven billion right reasons

(iStock)This week Intel announced that it is investing $7 billion dollars to upgrade its existing facilities in New Mexico, Oregon and Arizona.

Intel’s President and CEO Paul Otellini said, “Intel will use the money to speed up deployment of Intel’s 32-nanometer manufacturing technology used to build faster, smaller, more energy efficient computer chips.”

Is this guy crazy? Intel spending all that money for chips?  We are smack in the middle of a deepening recession with aggregate consumption tumbling and this guy is shelling out $7 billion large ones?  Continue reading “Seven billion right reasons”

Why telematics isn’t more popular

Hyundai/Kia prototype (by Fatcontroller via Flickr)As I sat at my gate last week, awaiting my flight home from Las Vegas CES 2009, I overheard other CES-ers recounting their experiences at the consumer tech summit.  Some commented on attendance while others mentioned the cool new stuff from industry stalwarts like LG and microsoft.  It made me long for the day that changes in the telematics space could create the same kind of buzz as the TV’s do.

Certainly this year was not that year. Continue reading “Why telematics isn’t more popular”

In-car technology could change our lives

telemat2009In 2008 I talked about in-car technology as becoming less utilitarian and more about the car as a content platform of tomorrow.  And why not, cars and trucks increasingly share information with other platforms (RFID sensors, tolls, central tracking systems, etc.).  For 2009, I am curious how this in-car technology and the growing digital ecosystem could actually help improve one’s quality of life, beyond just getting to your destination.

We know that cell phones and cars are increasingly being delivered to the end user with GPS capability (in-car GPS, Personal Navigation Devices, or Pedestrian Navigation Devices).  We know that this GPS capability can allow people to see where you are.  We also know that it is possible to cross reference where you are specifically to what is around you.  Whether this technology is actually deployed is unclear.  This ability to locate and cross reference will increase as more and more locations look to formalize their location in the GPS universe.

So what am I getting at here? Continue reading “In-car technology could change our lives”

Will telematics be hit by the recession?

telematicsThe economic perils facing the country are on the minds of the Lab’s practice leads. Contractions in aggregate spending are clearly going to impact consumers and marketers in Digital Out of Home, Gaming and Mobile.

As the person who focuses on Telematics/Infotainment (T/I), I know this space too will suffer in a down economy. SiriusXM stock has been crushed because of a combined slowdown in unit sales tied to new cars, and a slowdown in unit sales tied to consumers wanting to add the service to their existing cars. Sales of personal navigation devices (PNDs) heading into the holiday season will slow both because of the economy and because of the move by more and more automakers in developing their own “in-car” solutions. In short, slow downs and retrenchments will be seen across the spectrum. Continue reading “Will telematics be hit by the recession?”