For those not in the know, we’ll break it down for you. The car manufacturer did not create the infotainment system sitting in your dashboard. They sourced it from a supplier. Granted, the manufacturer had a lot of input, but ultimately OEM car manufacturers are better with steel and aluminum versus electronics. Once the supplier makes the electronics and solders it all together, there is typically another supplier- the software company running the behind-the-scenes behind the faceplate to make it all work together. RealVNC is one such company. If you have used Go to Meeting or Citrix software, the company specializes in having an agnostic attitude toward different computers and operating systems. The same ecosystem has taken place in the automobile. Customers want to bring all makes and models of their smartphone into their cars and expect them to work. Flawlessly. Lest they get the punishment of a poor JD Power score (a la Ford).
RealVNC is running software behind the faceplate of a lot of in-dash infotainment systems so consumers can practice Dashboard Democracy. When I noted that, head company engineer Tom Blackie who heads up the mobile division noted “I really want to use that phrase to describe our product.” Recently the company successfully tested MirrorLink 1.1. There is a lot of confusion though about the different specs of MirrorLink. Blackie notes “It is not that there is a significant increase in the connection speed, but rather the ability to communicate with multiple smartphones simultaneously with multiple content sources using multiple screens.” So imagine a smartphone from the driver running a navigation app while the passenger’s smartphone is streaming video content onto the rear seat entertainment system. RealVNC enables the use of smartphones as an entertainment and infotainment hub, which can get sourced to different screens around the vehicle. In fact, RealVNC software has been successfully tested with Apple’s CarPlay.
From our technical conversation, I was left very impressed with the company’s software and how well smartphone connectivity can work in future vehicles. However, because of licensing agreements, RealVNC typically can’t tout which automakers use their software. But if you look in the direction of some major German manufacturers, you just might find RealVNC under the infotainment hood.