Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Marketing and Car Audio

ABI Research

Five Minutes with . . . Mike Ippoliti, Research Director, Telematics & Automotive

Mike Ippoliti’s expertise derives from his extensive background with a major automaker, heading up its Market Intelligence team. His experience within the Telematics and Automotive arena brings a wealth of insight to ABI Research.

Analyst Insider posed Mike the question, “Where do analysts find the greatest difficulties when evaluating infotainment systems?”

Mike replies, “Audio system quality is a great starting point because everyone has an opinion. If you think about it, a car is a terrible place to listen to music: road noise, engine noise, and plastic panels which resonate are only a few examples. The complex question is how to evaluate a car audio system – what sounds ‘good’ to one person may or may not be ideal for another.
And the evaluation of automotive audio is still being refined. The SAE (among others) is trying to set standards, which invariably takes time. For now, evaluations are performed in the same fashion as for home audio: experts compare systems and assess fundamental factors that contribute to ‘goodness,’ like bass response, treble clarity, transient response and the like. But in a car, one needs to perform these tests in the park position, when driving 30 mph, when driving 70 mph, while on a smooth or rough road, etc. Again, it can be a complex process.

The simple answer to this intricate question may be allegorical: audio systems are like wine, and maybe that’s why I enjoy learning about both