Phil Abram is GM's CIO-but in his case, it is Chief Infotainment Officer.
believes that the proliferation of apps and other electronics-based amenities is going to continue to happen in a big way in the automotive space.
Given that, one of the best explana-tions as to why an embedded system can be advantageous compared to using one's own smartphone to drive in-vehicle telematics is provided by Phil Abram, GM Chief Infotainment Officer.
He-perhaps somewhat facetiously-points out, "If a thief steals your car, vehicle slowdown can't be performed unless he
steals your phone, too.
Then you'd have to call him and ask him to slow down."
It's not that GM
is only about embedding.
"We fully get and support brought-in devices," Abram
believes that vehicle con-nectivity and technology are going to be the prime differentiators, along with styling, when it comes to decisions about what vehicles to buy.
points out that not only is bad quality less of an issue than in the past, in cases where there is bad quality, the ability for people to quickly and extensively communicate on line about that makes it difficult, if not impossible for any company to keep bad quality in the market.
holds up his
smartphone and points out that the way it is used is "the absolute antithesis" to the behavior that should be part of the infotainment experience in a car or truck: In order to interact with the phone it is generally necessary to look intently at the screen and make selections.
says that he
has iHeartRadio on his
smartphone, and that it is an app offered through OnStar, as well.
"But we've made it an experience appropriate for a car.
We ran it through our distracted driving lab and made sure that the way people interact with it meet the requirements and our guidelines in terms of distracted driving.
That took a lot of work between iHeart and us because people weren't used to writing apps for cars."
Abram is not a GM or auto industry lifer by any means.
He joined the automaker in January 2012, having spent the previous 30 years in the consumer electronics industry: prior to joining GM he was the president and COO of Sonos (sonos.com), a wireless audio company.
explains that he
went to GM
saw the intersection between the consumer electronics world and that of auto, he
saw it as being at "an inflection point."
(An interesting note vis-à-vis how one's point of view can change whether one is working for a tech start-up like Sonos or a consumer electronics company like Sony Electronics (where Abram was prior to Sonos) or an automaker like General Motors.
says that they've actually got data regarding the importance of connectivity, so it isn't a matter of belief but fact.