How Signature Audio wired a cooler for sound
An MECP Master explains his installation techniques
Driver safety is a rapidly growing concern, and both OEM and aftermarket manufacturers are finding new features to heighten awareness and inhibit inattentiveness behind the wheel for the driving consumer. In addition, convenience features in highly optioned vehicles fresh from the factory also have made strides to the mainstream consumers.
Just take note of the list of new car features that now come as standard or optional equipment from the factory:
The compelling content of the future for the car is not multimedia. It’s not music delivery or streaming music apps. It’s not digital audio storage in the cloud or on portable devices. It’s not movies on demand. It’s not even on-the-go social media and checking in everywhere. All that kind of content and engagement is accessible, almost ubiquitously, anytime you want it today. It’s here now. Listen to this, watch that, tag it, like it, hashtag it, share it with the rest of the world. It’s exhausting, already. Plus, someone still has to pay attention and drive. Have we forgotten about that part?
Transshipping goods and the existence of a gray market are controversial topics in the aftermarket car electronics business. It proves convoluted when you peel back the layers of the onion in open discussion. Many industry folks paint both topics as the same thing or with a broad brush that blames Internet sales, when they are different scenarios for different stakeholders.
To clarify the difference between terminology:
Car audio installers are creative breeds that often leverage their talents well beyond traditional car installations. The techniques applied in welding, woodworking, plastics, lighting, wiring and audio can all be used in a host of new and exciting ways.
12 volt retailers and technicians rarely have adequate time for training. We generally seem crunched for staff development time. It’s changing ‘what we do’ or ‘how we do it’ each day. “OEM electronics are no longer simple,” says Andy Wehmeyer, a global product line manager at Harman Consumer Group. “We need more skills than ever to provide consumer value in a successful and profitable installation bay.”
Times they are a-changing. Everyone in the Consumer Electronics Industry knows change is the only constant. Technology is not just in the home, car and on the desktop, but it’s increasingly in the consumer’s hands with portable devices and on-the-go technologies. This is one area in which 12 volt companies and retailers will find unexpected, yet exciting opportunity at the upcoming 2013 International CES show.
Our world revolves around an enormous selection of consumer technology choices we encounter each and every day. Choices for how we consume content (whether music, information, etc.) are literally overwhelming, and when they jump to the vehicle dashboard, it ignites the controversy of convenience versus safety. We already know that. These are the realities with which 12-volt manufacturers and retailers struggle when balancing the latest and greatest products with something that’s dependable and user friendly for their clientele, all at a price where the consumer finds value.
For many of the industry's oldest and most experienced veterans, the hook that brought them into the 12-volt industry was, on some level, related to sound pressure level (SPL) in a car audio system.
Clearly it's the age of the smartphone. You'd be living under one heck of a big rock if you disagreed with that.
One need only look at a cluster of people in any given place at any given time in modern society and it's a safe bet at least half of them have their portable device in front of them
In any maturing industry there’s a point where it evolves into a viable economic engine providing its participating members with what some might call ‘a real job.’ Such is the case for the 12-volt aftermarket segment of consumer electronics on the installation side of the business. The job of a ‘car audio installer’ has really become one of great complexity over the years and now spans the gamut of electronics that are part of today’s modern vehicle, from entertainment to safety and security.
While many are enamored by the latest video games or the biggest, thinnest new 3D flat-panel televisions at the International CES, people who consider themselves automotive enthusiasts and sound aficionados certainly can’t help but be drawn into the vehicles on display in the LVCC North Hall and elsewhere in venues throughout Vegas during the annual show.
What products and product categories could possibly be so compelling that they excite today’s 12-volt retailer? The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the mecca for new and exciting product introductions in all areas of consumer electronics, including the car electronics aftermarket.