Car Audio Reboot Part IV

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Keith Lehmann

Here are a few more items the industry needs to address in order to reach the connected consumer and then Lehmann offers an outlook on making car audio relevant again.

By Keith Lehmann

Stop the feature stacking.  While many new aftermarket electronics products have features that are very impressive, they read like the list of ingredients on a frozen pizza.  It is difficult for retailers – much less end-users – to decipher what makes the product special.

Smartphone operating systems will soon be engineered directly into the car.  We have seen the news of the Google Open Automotive Alliance and Apple’s iOS for the car. Endless financial resources will be devoted to the car in a battle for tech dominance.

For the aftermarket, its technology advantage would come to an end. But the aftermarket could still have the replacement business for those vehicles with defective, or obsolete in-car systems.

So is there a market for installed aftermarket in-car devices that seamlessly integrate with any device brought into the car, and that deliver a much better connected experience than any handheld or portable device?

Is there a market for in-car devices that connect to the cloud and retrieve content that can be used and shared in the car, and that add new features to the car that were not previously not available?

Is there a market for in-car devices that help the driver operate the car more safely and thus save time, fuel and possibly insurance costs?

Are there business growth opportunities for aftermarket mobile electronics retailers to master the operation of any connected device and know exactly how they integrate with their connected in-dash products? …………… to creatively introduce new connected products to every customer coming in through the door…….. to actively solicit and capture new connected customers………………………. to understand and be able to speak to the relevance of new connected tech trends and their lifestyle implications……………………. to partner with manufacturers that not only deliver on these connected opportunities but have business practices and forward plans that are aligned with the retailers’ best interests for the long term…?

Can this hypothetical commitment by manufacturers and retailers bring the aftermarket mobile electronics industry to be fully relevant to the connected consumer?

It can, but only if we honestly assess the reasons for industry decline, leverage our existing industry strengths, make the necessary (and obvious) changes to our business models and reinvent ourselves as the connected experts we truly are.

Keith Lehmann is a 30-year veteran of the consumer electronics industry. Lehmann was most recently Executive Vice President of Kenwood USA Corporation and in charge of the company’s consumer electronics sector for over ten years. Today, Lehmann is a consumer electronics industry consultant and advisor to companies, organizations and media outlets.

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