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AI interview with Timo Ali-Vehmas, vice president, Compatibility & Industry Collaboration, Nokia

Nokia dialing up the automotive industry

Nokia, a global leader in mobile telecommunications and the world’s leading maker of mobile devices, is looking at opportunities to enrich and broaden user experiences in the automobile environment by cooperating with key auto industry companies. 

Last year, Nokia joined the GENIVI Alliance, which was set up in March 2009 to create an open source development platform for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI). Timo Ali-Vehmas, vice president, Compatibility and Industry Collaboration at Nokia explained: “People now have their mobile devices with them wherever they are. They want to be able to make calls, listen to music and find their way around anytime and anywhere. All this can be done with services such as Ovi from Nokia.” 

“Seamless integration of mobile devices with car infotainment systems is an increasingly important part of satisfying customer needs. Nokia is excited to be helping to shape the future of in-vehicle infotainment specifications. The company will contribute its extensive experience in standardization and creating open specifications. Working with GENIVI will result in quicker time-to-market and reduced costs for car infotainment related product development,” says Ali-Vehmas. 

GENIVI’s founding members are the BMW Group, Delphi, GM, Intel, MagnetiMarelli, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Visteon and Wind River. With companies like Nokia coming on board, the alliance members are able to extend the ecosystem beyond the traditional limits of vertical businesses. For Nokia, joining the GENIVI alliance was a strategic move to expand its automotive offerings. At this year’s CES 2010, hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association in Las Vegas, Visteon showcased a prototype of an in-car infotainment center developed by Nokia. 

Automotive Industries asked Ali-Vehmas to describe the company’s automotive identity and vision for the future. 

Ali-Vehmas: Nokia offers access to an ecosystem of services through Nokia devices, Ovi and NAVTEQ content. These are available anywhere, anytime and offer a great user experience in the automotive environment. 

Nokia’s automotive personality can best be described with the words Human, Freedom, Safe and Sustainability. This is consistent with the way we conduct our business also in other industries. Our vision is of a world where people are always connected to what matters most to them wherever they are, including in the car. We are looking to enhance and enrich the car ecosystem already in the near future so that consumers can enjoy their personal rich media services also in cars in much better ways than before. 

AI: Why is the automotive industry important to Nokia? 

Ali-Vehmas: People are spending a significant amount of time in their cars and they want constant access to services such as phone calls, music or navigation. With a Nokia phone and Ovi services, a consumer can access all of these. Nokia aims to offer the best possible user experience in all environments whether at home, work or in a car. It is very important that consumers can fully enjoy their personal services in a safe and exciting environment. Safety is essential – drivers should only have to focus on driving and should have access to hands-free systems for their entertainment or navigation needs. 

AI: Tell us about the role Nokia plays in the GENIVI Alliance. 

Ali-Vehmas: Nokia is aiming to be an active and trusted member of the consortium. Since the collaboration is a dialogue, Nokia is keen to understand the needs of all GENIVI members. We consider the open collaboration between automobile, information and telecommunication industries as a tremendous opportunity to build meaningful new services and products which will enable new ways of communication. Relevant standards and application platforms are also crucial elements. 

Nokia is a member of a large number of open standardization initiatives and forums globally, and is very interested in building and facilitating open collaboration and utilization of all innovations for the faster adoption of new services and products. In the future, the roles of traditional standardization organization, voluntary alliances and open source software communities will converge in the same manner as we have already seen in the technology industry. 

The recent announcements related to MeeGo, the merge of Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin open source platform projects, should be of particular interest to GENIVI. As much of the work in GENIVI to date has involved Moblin, transitioning to MeeGo will be a natural evolution and add the benefit of supporting both Intel Atom and ARM architectures from a single distribution. The continuous innovations that Nokia, Intel and the open source community will bring to MeeGo are likely to attract developers’ interest towards the platform. 

Qt is the application framework for MeeGo. As part of MeeGo, this toolkit could play an interesting role for GENIVI’s work. Using Qt, Nokia has built the human-machine interface ( HMI) for the reference system, which demonstrates the use of the GENIVI components and showcases the GENIVI platform. 

There is significant amount of technology already available for the in-vehicle infotainment area. Nokia’s interest is to be a key contributor in this space as well. One interesting area is called Terminal Mode. Together with the CE4A (Consumer Electronics for Automotive, consortium, Nokia has defined a profile for how a mobile device connects to the in-vehicle infotainment system of a car. This method is based on standard components such as UPnP, USB and Bluetooth. We hope to see Terminal Mode become part of future GENIVI releases. 

AI: Please tell us a bit more about MeeGo. 

Ali-Vehmas: MeeGo is an open source, Linux-based platform. With MeeGo, Nokia and Intel are creating an open Linux-based platform which will run on multiple hardware architectures across a wide range of computing devices, including pocketable mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, media phones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems. 

MeeGo merges the best of Moblin with the best of Maemo and will offer Qt for application development. MeeGo will benefit from one of the largest development ecosystems in the world, as Qt will enable developers to write their application once and then deploy it easily across other platforms, including Symbian.
Information about MeeGo and Qt is available at and

AI: What are some of the Ovi solutions for the future ‘open-source’ infotainment platform? 

Ali-Vehmas: Customers must be able to continue using their favorite services in any location. This means that those consumers already using Ovi services – for example our free Ovi Maps or Ovi Comes with Music services – can now enjoy our offerings also while in a car. These services include, for example, exchange of destinations, points of interest, combining drive and walk navigation, playing your favorite playlists and more. And such integration of services to car infotainment systems will also be important to existing services from our auto industry partners.

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