Mobile Electronics Roundtable
JM: I already mentioned two-way security, which, as those of us selling in that category already know, is doing extremely well, with 20- and 30-percent year-on-year growth not unusual. It's nice in many ways that OEM does not have an offering in two-way because the retailers are now able to basically attack all the vehicles. A lot of consumers have the impression that they have security because they have a keyless entry system, or an immobilizer. These two-way devices with small LCD screens really create an interest factor in security that's generating a lot of business. Coupled with that, in the colder parts of the country, a very big growth area has been remote start this year. Probably a 20- or 25-percent growth rate for the industry is about right, so retailers are capitalizing on that. We're beginning to see some success in the warmer climates in remote start, adding a convenience factor to the vehicle. And though I've been fooling around with telematics for five years, and haven't found a way for retailers or manufacturers to make money, I think we're on the verge of more sophisticated vehicle-tracking devices, combining GPS and cellular with Web interfaces and telephone interfaces. I've had one on my daughter's car now for 60 days. I can check while we're talking and know whether she's at school or somewhere she shouldn't be, how fast she's gone today and where she's been in the last week. I think the dealers are very excited about the idea of being able to sell tracking, and being able to compete with the car dealers who sell LoJack for stolen vehicles.
PL: One of the hot products that we see, besides mobile video, is the two-way alarm and remote starts. This is a resurgence of the security business in some fashion. Also, amps and speakers. Without a doubt, there are difficulties in getting head units in vehicles now, as some of these vehicles hit the used market. In some cases, you can't get the head unit out, or the electronics are so integrated or the cosmetics are designed into the dash so that it's really not a DIN radio. The only way to enhance that system is to do it by adding amps and speakers, so we see growth in that area. In tracking, it is emerging. The marketplace has been there for quite some time. LoJack has done very well in the market, but as a more sophisticated type of product now hits the street I think we will see a new growth area.