Issue: Nov 2012


The 2012 MirrorLink Summit and Technical Workshop



by Tony Davidson

The 2012 MirrorLink Summit and Technical Workshop will be held from November 7th to the 8th 2012 at Westin Tokyo, Japan. The Car Connectivity Consortium or CCC, which is organizing the event, expects huge interest as the summit will be focusing on finalizing the MirrorLink API and certification program. The CCC is a global collaboration to develop smartphone-based connected-car solutions. To that end, CCC members have created MirrorLink™, a technology standard for controlling a nearby smartphone from the steering wheel or via dashboard buttons and screens. CCC members include more than 80 percent of the world’s automakers, more than 70 percent of global smartphone manufacturers and a who’s who of aftermarket consumer electronics vendors.

“Highly anticipated among current and prospective CCC members, the MirrorLink Summit and Technical Workshop serve as a forum for app developers, automakers, mobile operators, smartphone vendors and CE manufacturers to contribute to MirrorLink’s development during what is arguably the most exciting time in the standard’s history. As MirrorLink swings into favor for global connected-car platforms, the November event is a chance for attendees to make a lasting mark on the future of connected driving,” says Mika Rytkonen, president and chairman of the CCC.

“The CCC and its member companies are very excited to kick off the next phase of MirrorLink’s exponential growth with our 2012 Summit and Technical Workshop. Since our inception, one of the CCC’s primary goals has been the creation of developer guidelines to stimulate the production and certification of MirrorLink-enabled smartphone apps. The Summit and Technical Workshop will fuse the CCC’s vision of connected driving with the technologies and processes that will bring that vision to light,” adds Rytkonen.
The CCC, which was formed on February 28th, 2011, has 78 members who rank among the world’s leading automotive, mobile communications and consumer electronics industry companies. The founding members include car makers such as Daimler, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Toyota and Volkswagen and mobile phone manufacturers such as LG Electronics, Nokia and Samsung. Others include system suppliers such as Alpine and Panasonic.

The CCC was set up to help develop, maintain and promote in-vehicle connectivity solutions such as Terminal Mode (now known as MirrorLink™), near-field communications or NFC and wireless charging. The responsibilities of the CCC include writing technical specifications, building test tools for certifying products, supporting application developers with user-interface guidelines and conferences, and ensuring a trouble-free experience for users through publicity and trademark enforcement.

The Car Connectivity Consortium's MirrorLink™is a technology standard that allows a consumer to access their phone using the same controls they use for accessing the car radio, climate control, and navigation system. Mobile devices such as smartphones have given consumers access to a growing number of indispensable applications anytime anywhere. However, in a car these applications are no longer available– using a smartphone while driving is not possible and even the most advanced car systems cannot match the breadth of smartphone functionality.

MirrorLink™ solves this problem by offering seamless connectivity between a smartphone and the car infotainment system. The consumer merely gets into the car (1), connects the phone with a cable (2), and immediately gains access to phone applications through car controls such as the navigation screen and steering wheel buttons (3).
In other words, by allowing consumers to access their smartphone in the same way they access their car radio MirrorLink™ allows consumers to use their smartphones safely and simply, keeping eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

MirrorLink™ is based on a set of well established, non-proprietary technologies. It uses standard Internet technologies (such as Internet Protocol) for compatibility with a wide range of devices. It also uses technologies already common in the car, such as Bluetooth™ and USB™, and newly-introduced car technologies such as Wi-Fi as well. Universal Plug and Play (UPnP™) is used for controlled access to applications. Virtual Network Computing (VNC™) is used to replicate the phone's display on the navigation screen and communicate user inputs back to the phone. Besides Bluetooth™, audio can also be streamed using the Real-Time Protocol (RTP). MirrorLink™ also provides a mechanism that ensures only approved applications are accessible while driving.


Automotive Industries spoke to Alan Ewing, Executive Director of The Car Connectivity Consortium

AI: What will be some of the highlights at the 2012 MirrorLink Summit?

Summit highlights will include incredible keynote presentations and panel discussions about MirrorLink’s roadmap and ecosystem. We’ll also have demos from several of our member companies and a fantastic reception and dinner with local, live entertainment. This will also be a great opportunity to network with key persons interested in MirrorLink and the connected car story.

AI: What is the purpose of MirrorLink certification guidelines?

Certification guidelines will give app developers the tools they need to develop MirrorLink-enabled apps – or apps with drive mode. These guidelines are focused on addressing the issue of distracted driving and limiting driver workload. MirrorLink certification also offers interoperability across auto, smartphone and CE platforms so that developers do not have to code for respective brands.

AI: How do you expect CCC’s membership to grow after this?

Since its inception in February of 2011, membership has grown on an exponential curve to 78 members at the time of publication. It’s our sincere hope the Summit drives membership even further.

AI: How do you expect MirrorLink to impact the connected car?

Simply put, MirrorLink will make connected driving safer and more enjoyable. By allowing drivers to control their smartphones from the steering wheel and dashboard, connected driving can be just as easy and intuitive as turning on the wipers or adjusting the AC. As smartphones become primary hubs for communication, drivers will look for seamless ways to integrate smartphone functionality into their regular driving habits.

AI: How soon do you see MirrorLink-based products becoming commercial successes?

We believe 2013 is the year MirroLink reaches the hands of more consumers than ever before. And we hope that as soon as they realize how powerful and intuitive the technology is, manufacturers will meet the demand by MirrorLink-enabling as many of their products as possible.

AI: What are some of the challenges CCC has faced in terms of gaining acceptance among different players in the connected car industry?

To date, MirrorLink has essentially sold itself. For mobile app developers, the standard is a one-stop shop to design apps that integrate with cars. For OS vendors and handset manufacturers it extends vital brand experience into cars. For regulators, MirrorLink offers a sensible alternative to the outright prohibition of smartphone use while driving. Mobile operators can continue delivering services to subscribers while they are behind the wheel. And for consumers, MirrorLink makes connected driving safer and more enjoyable. I’d say if anything, the biggest challenge has been balancing MirrorLink’s groundswell of support with the very deliberate and meticulous process of certifying products and getting them onto the market.

AI: How has Apple’s lack of interest in MirrorLink impacted the success of CCC? What are you doing to change the company’s position?

The CCC does not view Apple or any other non-member as a hindrance to the organization’s efforts. Should Apple choose to join, the CCC would be happy to have them on board.

AI: What are some of the recent breakthroughs in MirrorLink that you are particularly proud of?

The fact that MirrorLink has gone from concept to production so quickly is really a testament to the quality of contributions we enjoy from our members. It's exciting to see a new technology deploy, especially one that is as potentially beneficial as MirrorLink.

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