Mobile Monday Detroit Discusses the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) at April 10th Event

Mobile Technology Association of Michigan’s Detroit Chapter of Mobile Monday Michigan reviews the use of the ‘Internet of Things’ in an Industrial Environment for a wide variety of industries

MobileMondayMichigan-LogoDETROIT, MI – Mobile Monday Detroit will explore the use of the ‘Internet of Things’ in an Industrial environment during its April 10th event at RIIS in Troy, MI. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Specific topics to be discussed by our speakers will include:  ‘The Business Value of IIoT’, ‘Becoming the Premier Digital Industrial Firm’, and ‘IIoT, Changing the Way Manufacturers Innovate, Create & Make Business Decisions’. Speakers for the evening include:

  • Michael S. King, President, Data Analytics Solutions
  • Mike DeBoer, VP/Executive Hub Leader, GE Digital Hub Detroit
  • Jerry Foster, CTO, Plex Systems

IIoT refers to the inter-connectivity of sensors and other smart objects, along with technologies such as big data and machine learning to collect data, analyze it, and make more informed and rapid decisions, either by presenting the data to humans or automatically making changes. IIoT carries with it the promise of increasing efficiencies, reducing downtime, and improving safety for industries such as manufacturing, utilities, transportation, mining, energy, agriculture and more.

The event is free to attend but advance reservations via Meetup ARE REQUIRED in order to attend; make your reservation at Refreshments will be served courtesy of our host and sponsor, RIIS. Free parking is available onsite.

Mobile Monday Detroit is sponsored by the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) and RIIS.

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Coulter Investment Forum and Michigan Growth Capital Symposium Team Up to Create a Super-Sized Venture-Investment Event

MTAM often sponsors events that will benefit members of the connected tech community in Michigan, and as part of that support will offer an opportunity to publish an article about the event in our blog.  Below is an article about the upcoming ‘Michigan VC Symposium‘ for which MTAM is a community sponsor. This event takes place on May 16-17 at the Marriott Resort Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti.


mgcs-logoThe Midwest’s leading and longest-running venture-investment fair for entrepreneurial companies and early stage investors ─ the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium ─ is about to get even bigger and better.

For the first time, the University of Michigan will team up with the Coulter Investment Forum to host the 2017 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium on May 16 and 17. The combination of two premier events at the same time will feature a total of 60 presenting companies and is expected to attract 600 participants representing nearly 100 investment firms.

In addition, commercialization and technology-transfer specialists from top-ranked research universities will be on hand to give investors a preview of exciting research-based ventures being incubated and spun out of their respective institutions. The Mobile Tech Association of Michigan is one of the sponsors for this year’s symposium.

The Michigan Growth Capital Symposium’s new partnership with the Coulter Investment Forum will not only extend the breadth and depth of its entrepreneurial and investment scope but also raise its visibility nationwide. Each year, the two-day, high-energy confluence of investors and entrepreneurs showcases 30 to 35 investor-vetted, high-potential startups representing the “best of the Midwest” and beyond.  These Midwestern companies, including many U-M spinouts, are commercializing new research discoveries and advances in the life sciences and technology, as well as advanced manufacturing and the automotive industry. Typically, their founders and CEOs are seeking early through mid-stage investments.

The symposium, now in its 36th year, offers opportunities for entrepreneurs to network, engage and do deals with leading angel and venture-capital investors from Michigan and out-of-state. Over the past three and a half decades, the synergy generated by these match-ups has helped to spur the further growth and development of transformational new ventures, which are driving innovation not only in the state and the Great Lakes region but in other parts of the country as well.

As this year’s co-host of the MGCS, the annual Coulter Investment Forum, sponsored by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, will feature 25 to 32 emerging companies with life-science innovations that have been vetted through the Translational Research Partnership Program at one of 16 university partners, using the Coulter Commercialization Process.

The Coulter Process utilizes industry best practices to accelerate the movement of academic biomedical innovations from the bench to the bedside by reducing risk and attracting follow-on funding. Over a 10-year period, it has funded 300 translational research projects, of which one-third advanced from university laboratories into industry and raised nearly $2 billion of follow-on investment.

“This is an opportunity to showcase companies to [members of] the Midwest investment community who may not have attended our previous two forums, at Stanford and Boston,” explained Director-Research Awards Mara Neal. She said the decision to hold the third Coulter Investment Forum in the nation’s heartland was driven by the opportunity to reach a broader audience of potential investors and by the “established excellence” of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium.

“The symposium has a long history, and the people who attend it are interested in this area,” Neal added. “Our companies are all biomedical startups [that are commercializing innovations] ranging from health IT to diagnostics and devices.”

Coulter Program oversight committees at the 16 participating universities, including U-M, will select one or two high-potential startups to attend this year’s forum where each will make a formal fundraising presentation to investors. To be eligible, a company must have received an investment from a Coulter Program at a partner university and have completed the Coulter Commercialization Process. In addition, it must have a professional CEO, a license from the university to commercialize technology that helps to improve patient care and medical practice and the ability to attract funding from angels, venture investors and/or industry partners.

The inspiration behind the Translational Partnership Program’s philosophy of “science serving humanity” was Wallace H. Coulter, a little-known biomedical engineer who applied his inquisitive mind and engineering talent to solving unmet clinical needs. Coulter invented the Coulter Principle and founded the Coulter Corporation, a private global diagnostics company. After Coulter’s death in 1998, the proceeds from his estate were used to fund the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, which has continued to provide risk capital for innovative initiatives through its grants and to sponsor university-based translational research grant programs.

The idea for the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium was conceived in the late-1970s by U-M Finance Professor David Brophy, director of the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance, who recognized the need to bring together startup founders and angel and venture-capital investors in a common forum. His aim was to fuel the growth of an entrepreneurial community in Michigan, diversify the state’s staid economy beyond cyclical automotive manufacturing and foster the expansion of a thriving local angel and venture-capital investment industry.

Brophy also wanted to do more to promote the commercialization of exciting research discoveries and technological innovations emerging from the test labs at the state’s major research universities and medical centers. And he hoped to encourage enterprising entrepreneurs, including many former students, to seek out or provide the critical financing needed to accelerate the introduction of innovative products and services in the marketplace.

As the MGCS evolved, Brophy began to invite seasoned investors and successful entrepreneurs to speak about their experiences and to serve on panels that examine a wide range of industry issues, from new investment opportunities in technology and life sciences to the challenges facing entrepreneurs in health care and fintech.

The heartbeat of the symposium, however, still emanates from the startup founders and CEOs who make presentations each year to investors. For a privately held company to be considered, it should be seeking funding ─ seed, early-stage, late-stage or pre-IPO ─ in the range of $1 million to $20 million within six months of the symposium, and have projected revenue of $20 million within five years. A Midwest connection is preferred. Each application is reviewed independently by qualified venture capitalists serving on the symposium’s selection committee.

Once selected, a company participates in a presentation review, where MGCS coaches help startup founders and CEOs refine their formal pitch to investors and hone their presentation skills. During the symposium, each company is given a 12-minute presentation slot to showcase its business to an audience of angels, venture capitalists and institutional investors. In addition, startups are provided with table-top exhibit space, an executive summary in the MGCS conference binder and, new in 2017, a complimentary analysis of their investability and market-sector potential.

Since the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium began, hundreds of startups have taken advantage of the opportunity to meet and greet investors and negotiate a deal for financing.

“The symposium offers a great opportunity to access capital and to expand awareness of our business among VCs,” said David Esposito, president and CEO of Armune Bioscience in Kalamazoo. “We also are able to exchange ideas with other entrepreneurs.”

“We are at the MGCS, because we are huge believers in Michigan and are trying to build awareness of our company,” commented Michelle Lange, chief customer officer of AutoBooks in Troy. “We’d rather have Michigan money and see things happen in our state.”


Claudia Capos, the owner of Capos & Associates LLC, is a professional communicator with an extensive background in journalism, publications and media relations. A University of Michigan graduate, she co-founded About Ann Arbor Magazine before joining The Detroit News, where she held a variety of writing and editing positions. The News submitted three of her investigative-reporting series for Pulitzer-Prize consideration. 

Since leaving the News, Claudia has provided communications services to numerous clients, ranging from the Big Three automotive manufacturers to small and mid-size privately held companies. She also has written and edited publications for leading philanthropies and educational institutions, including the U-M’s Ross School of Business. Her articles have appeared in national magazines and major metropolitan newspapers. 

In addition, Claudia has gained first-hand knowledge of global business marketing and operations through her international-trade corporation, Foreign Accent Inc., and its locally based successor, Brighton Accents.

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MTAM CEO Guests on International Podcast to Discuss Connected Technologies in Michigan

Mobile Technology Association of Michigan CEO provides insight to international audience on Michigan’s connected technologies environment, economic impact, and role in the international connected tech community

Mobile Groove logo_rebrand_RGB - smallerDETROIT, MI – Taking the opportunity to showcase Michigan’s role in the national and international connected technologies community, Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) CEO, Linda Daichendt, was recently a guest on the Germany-based international mobile technologies podcast, Mobile Presence, hosted by Peggy Anne Salz, Top 100 Mobile Industry Influencer and Chief Analyst of Mobile Groove. The podcast can be accessed at

Mobile Presence, a production of Mobile Groove, an international Top 50 ranked tech destination and media property, is one of the premier international podcasts for trends, tools and tips related to all areas of mobile/connected technologies.

“I was very pleased to present Michigan and its connected technologies-related achievements to the international community”, said Linda Daichendt, MTAM CEO. “Anything we can do to increase global awareness of the innovative, ground-breaking work being done here brings us another step closer in our quest to make Michigan the global center in several fields of connected technologies, including: connected/autonomous vehicles, enterprise-focused IoT, smart manufacturing and connected health. We appreciated the opportunity to make MTAM and Michigan a focus in the recent Mobile Presence episode.”

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For Auto Industry, Attracting and Retaining Millennial Talent Requires Changing Company Culture

NOTE:  This article originated in the MICHauto Mobility Report newsletter and is replicated here for our audience. Links will forward to MICHauto content.


michauto-eventThe millennial generation is the fastest-rising workforce and will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, according to PwC. In order for Michigan’s automotive and mobility industry to reap the talent it needs to maintain its leadership in connected and autonomous vehicle development, changing “the company culture” to appeal to millennials is not only necessary, it is essential.

“What we’re seeing, regardless of industry, are three megatrends impacting businesses: the rise of the millennial workforce, the rise of the flexible and freelance workforce, and the explosion of mobile and digital technology,” Mendoza said. “To stay ahead of the game, you have to adapt to these trends quickly and strategically.”

That was a key message Marvin Mendoza, director of talent innovation at PwC, delivered to more than 150 automotive industry leaders and stakeholders at the sixth MICHauto Annual Meeting. Read highlights from the event here.

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Mobile Monday Detroit Reviews Connected Technologies in 2016, Previews 2017

In its’ annual year-end wrap-up, Mobile Technology Association of Michigan’s Detroit Chapter of Mobile Monday Michigan reviews the impact of Connected Tech in 2016 and attempts to forecast 2017

MobileMondayMichigan-LogoDETROIT, MI – As has been the case since 2007, Year 2016 has been another innovation-filled, exciting year of advances related to the use of connected technologies – in almost every industry – globally, nationwide and here in Michigan! And 2017 is shaping up to be another ground-breaking year!

As they have for the last several years, Mobile Monday Detroit will again hold its’ Year-end Wrap-up event “Connected Tech Year in Review & Focus on the Future” on Monday, December 12th at 6:00 p.m. at RIIS in Troy. As it is every year, the format for this event is modified to be much more interactive; audience members are highly encouraged to participate in the conversation that will be led by Mobile Monday Detroit organizers, Randy Nunez of Ford Motor Company and Glenn Everitt of Compuware.

The discussion will review Mobile Monday Detroit events from 2016, as well as highlighting key connected technology innovations and issues that occurred during the year in Michigan and elsewhere, while looking at what we can expect moving forward into 2017. The audience is asked to bring their thoughts, perspectives, opinions and questions as the Mobile Monday Detroit team and audience together reflect on past events to understand the future impact they will have on connected technologies – and all the industries that use them!

Specific topics to be included in the discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • Apple vs. FBI: San Bernardino
  • Pokemon Go and Augmented Reality
  • New Connected / Autonomous Vehicle Laws in Michigan
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Battery Issues
  • Google’s New Facility in Novi
  • 5G
  • Virtual Reality
  • Wearable Computing
  • Internet of Things

The event is free to attend but advance reservations via Meetup ARE REQUIRED in order to attend; make your reservation at Refreshments will be served courtesy of our host and sponsor, RIIS. Free parking is available onsite.

Mobile Monday Detroit is sponsored by the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) and RIIS.



About Mobile Monday Michigan:

Mobile Monday Michigan, a subsidiary of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, is a mobile/wireless industry networking and education organization which is a branch of the international Mobile Monday organization. Here in Michigan we currently have 4 chapters (Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing and Grand Rapids) with over 3000 members state-wide.

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MTAM CEO & Members Named to 2016 Michigan ’50 Names to Know in IT’

Representing a broad range of technical disciplines & technology form factors, the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) shows a strong representation on the 2016 Michigan ‘Names to Know in IT’


MTAM-LogoDETROIT, MI – Showing the broad-based, multi-industry impact of connected technologies, the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) and 10 of its’ member firms are among those selected for the 2016 Michigan ’50 Names to Know in IT’ list from Crain’s Detroit Business.

Those selected representing MTAM and its’ membership include:

  • Michael Antaran, Founder/CEO, Marvel Apps LLC
  • Meredith Bronk, President/CEO, Open Systems Technologies Inc. (OST)
  • Barbara Ciaramitaro, Director – Center for CyberSecurity Leadership and Chair – Decision Sciences Department, Walsh College
  • Linda Daichendt, CEO / Executive Director – Mobile Technology Assn of Michigan (MTAM), Co-founder – Mobile Monday Michigan
  • Carl Erickson, Co-founder/CEO, Atomic Object LLC
  • Elaina Farnsworth, CEO, Mobile Comply
  • Tel Ganesan, Founder/Managing Partner – Kyyba Ventures, President – TiE Detroit
  • Jimmy Hsiao, Founder/CEO, Logic Solutions Inc.
  • Fred Jacobs, President – Jacobs Media Strategies Inc., jacAPPS
  • Neetu Seth, Founder/President/CEO, NITS Solutions
  • Krischa Winright, Senior Vice-president, Spectrum Health

A nationally known, state-focused, non-profit trade association for connected technologies, MTAM is focused on increasing demand for Michigan-based connected tech products and services within the state, nationally and globally, while also ensuring Michigan-based firms have the resources and skilled staff they need to enable their growth.

“We’re very proud that this list by Crain’s is reflecting the diversity of Michigan’s IT talent in a wide range of disciplines. Among the MTAM representatives, 6 out of 11 are women, with several ethnicities represented as well. Given the challenges by firms in all areas of technology in meeting diversity goals, I believe this speaks quite well of the progress we’re making here in Michigan, and MTAM is glad to be on the forefront of that work”, notes MTAM’s Daichendt.

“The ‘Internet of Things’ is considered by many to be ‘the new frontier’ in technology so our leading talent needs to reflect not only the diversity befitting such a frontier, but also the wide array of industries being impacted by these connected technologies. It’s extremely important in order to keep Michigan in the national and international spotlight for the work happening here, says Daichendt.

The entire list from Crain’s can be accessed HERE.


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Mobile Monday Detroit to Live-stream it’s 11/14 Exploration of CyberSecurity Careers Via Facebook Live

Statewide High Demand Causes MTAM’s Mobile Monday Michigan Detroit Chapter to Take Advantage of Facebook LIVE-Streaming Technology to Make It’s Event Available Throughout Michigan

MobileMondayMichigan-LogoDETROIT, MI – Due to a high volume of requests from throughout the State of Michigan, the Detroit Chapter of Mobile Monday Michigan will be making its November 14th CyberSecurity Careers event available on Facebook Live starting at 6:00 p.m. Monday evening.

Those interested in viewing the event via Facebook LIVE should “Like” the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan page on Facebook, and then look for streaming to begin at 6:00 p.m. on Monday. The tech team at RIIS will be facilitating the streaming for the Mobile Monday Detroit event.

According to Mobile Technology Association of Michigan Executive Director, Linda Daichendt,  “Once word starting getting out about the event, my email started to blow up with interest from around the state. I was contacted by students, educators and even business owners who were extremely interested in hearing what these highly qualified speakers and panel members had to say, but were unable to make it to Southeast Michigan to attend. We had inquiries from the UP, Traverse City, Kalamazoo and many other areas of the state. Therefore we started looking at what options we might have with a quick turn-around, and decided that Facebook LIVE could meet our needs.” says Daichendt, “Right now it’s an experiment for us, we’ll see how it goes before determining if it’s something we’ll continue in future.”

CyberSecurity is one of the most high profile issues in today’s increasingly connected world. With major companies around the world being hacked on an almost weekly basis, and the Internet of Things offering us the opportunity to bring convenience into our homes thru connected devices, CyberSecurity expertise is becoming one of the most sought-after skills for today’s companies in every industry – and the demand is only expected to climb for many years to come!

Monday’s event will feature a variety of experts to educate us about the diverse career opportunities available in the CyberSecurity field, the qualifications required, and what life is like on-the-job.

Our featured speakers who will focus on the level of demand for CyberSecurity expertise and the types of jobs being staffed will be:

  • Colleen Riccinto, Founder, Cyber Talent Search
  • Hector Acosta, Research & Policy Analyst, Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN)

Panelists who will talk about their experience working in the field include:

  • Jane Harper, Director – Privacy & Security Risk Management Services, Henry Ford Health Systems
  • Godfrey Nolan, Founder/CEO, RIIS
  • Barbara Ciaramitaro, Director for CyberSecurity Leadership, Walsh College
  • Natalie Blackbourne, President, Blackbourne Worldwide
  • Lou LeBrecque, Executive Vice-president, Authen2cate

The event is free to attend in-person but advance reservations via Meetup ARE REQUIRED; make your reservation for in-person attendance at Refreshments will be served courtesy of our host and sponsor, RIIS. Free parking is available onsite.

Mobile Monday Detroit is sponsored by the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) and RIIS.


About Mobile Monday Michigan:

Mobile Monday Michigan, a subsidiary of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, is a mobile/wireless industry networking and education organization which is a branch of the international Mobile Monday organization. Here in Michigan we currently have 4 chapters (Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing and Grand Rapids) with over 3000 members state-wide.

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What You Should Know Before Starting a Mobile App Project

spud-softwareThe Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) encourages our members to submit educational content to the MTAM blog that can help our readers gain increased understanding of technologies, trends, programs, and initiatives taking place in the mobile/wireless (connected) tech eco-system. Below, please find a submission from MTAM member, Spud Software.

If you would like to explore MTAM membership so you may also share your firm’s expertise, visit our website at or email us at


We know that there are a lot of software companies out there competing for your business. You literally have the world at your disposal when it comes to mobile applications, and there are many options for anyone looking into custom development.

So what should you know before choosing a software company to bring your mobile app project to life? Here are a few questions to ask when you’re vetting a potential development partner:

Will you own the code?

Some companies will build you a rock-solid application, but retain ownership of the code. What does that mean? It means that as long as you want to use your mobile app, you have to work with them. The app is not yours, it’s theirs.

Will you own the data?

There are software developers out there who not only insist on owning the code, but they also own your data. So if your company has grown and wants to transition to a new solution, they have control of your data and you may have to start from scratch.

Who is doing the work?

You may have signed a contract with a company down the street, but that does not mean your software is being built locally. Many companies outsource their work overseas. So when you have a question about your mobile app, you may be calling someone in a country outside the U.S. to answer your question.

Who else have they done work for?

It’s easy to find a software company with a flashy website and a lot of promises about what they will deliver, but do they have proven experience? Who have they worked for? It’s important to know if they have the resources and experience needed for your company.

What are your on-going costs?

Does the software company charge a per-transaction fee for accessing data. Do they have monthly or yearly charges just for using your software? It’s important to know what costs you’re agreeing to up front.

Will you own the intellectual property?

You have a great idea or a unique way of doing business. When a software company builds your product, do you have the intellectual property rights, or are they free to rebuild and sell your product to your competitors?

When you choose to work with Spud Software, you can rest assured that you own your code, data and intellectual property. We’re not in the business of holding companies hostage with our software solutions. We discuss costs with you up-front and you know that your work is being performed by some of the best software developers in the business. If you’re looking for a custom mobile app that is 100% yours, contact us and see how we can help you.


Spud Software is a leading provider of programming services, including database and software development, web and mobile applications. Our clients range from automotive OEMs and Tier One’s, to growing healthcare companies, and other local firms looking to take advantage of the competitive edge Spud Software’s industry-leading services can provide. We use an agile development approach which results in accurate software, developed faster and more cost-effectively. We have many examples of how we help companies of all sizes improve their operations and financial performance – fast and cost-effectively. Contact us at to see how we can help your business.


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App Developers: Apply to Participate in Apple’s New Original Series, ‘Planet of the Apps’

Apple Planet of the AppsApple is taking app development to a whole new media for increased visibility – television!

Executive producers, Ben Silverman and Howard Owens are teaming up for an unscripted series about the world of apps and the talented people that drive its innovation. They’re looking for developers to be on the show with the vision to shape the future, solve real problems, and inspire change within our daily lives. “We can really tell their stories as we explore how apps are developed and created and incubated,” says Silverman.

‘Planet of the Apps’ isn’t just a show, it’s a launch pad and accelerator for exceptional developers. Those accepted will have a chance to receive:

  1. Mentorship: Hands-on guidance from some of the world’s best experts in tech and entertainment
  2. Funding: Those who make it to the final round will meet with top-tier VCs investing from up to $10M over the course of the season
  3. Marketing and Promotion: Featured placement in the App Store at the end of the show. Also, the potential to reach millions of viewers around the world on Apple platforms.


Participation in the show is limited to 100 of the world’s most talented app creators. If that’s you, apply HERE.


Applications are being accepted thru Friday, August 26th. To apply, you must agree to have an iOS, macOS, tvOS, or watchOS app in a beta or functional state by October 21, so you can show us what you’ve built.


The inaugural season will take place in Los Angeles and film over a non-consecutive period from late 2016 to early 2017. If you are not able to take off work during this period, please do not apply. For more information, visit FAQ.

Additional details available at

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Fasten Your Seat Belt – Autonomous Cars Offer a Hot, Fast Ride!

The Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) encourages our members to submit educational content to the MTAM blog that can help our readers gain increased understanding of technologies, trends, programs, and initiatives taking place in the mobile/wireless (connected) tech eco-system. Below, please find a submission from  long-time MTAM member, Paul Jacobs of jacAPPS.

jacAPPS was among the first members of MTAM, and has been among the most prolific of mobile app development firms in Michigan – despite the fact that they’ve kept their staff to a manageable size. In spite of being only 7 years old, the firm has surpassed over 1000 mobile apps and 24 million downloads for a wide range of clients across the country, including strong relationships with a wide variety of media companies, real estate, healthcare and other industries. jacAPPS was a recipient of the 2015 ’50 Small Businesses to Watch in Michigan’ and has won numerous awards, including a two-time recipient of Corp! Magazine’s DiSciTech awards.

If you would like to explore MTAM membership so you may also share your firm’s expertise, visit our website at or email us at


By: Paul Jacobs, President, jacAPPS

The car industry is hot.  And I don’t mean just car sales.  I mean that there is a growing buzz in the ways that entertainment and content presentation has changed in cars.  On top of that, gone are the days when the auto industry doled out “innovations” whenever they felt like it.  Today, there’s a race to be first and best with new technology and an enhanced driving experience.

Everyone in the game needs to keep pace, or be passed by.

Over the past several months, we have had the honor of speaking at a wide array of conferences, including content-oriented conventions and those that focus on in-car audio entertainment.  Regardless of the setting, everyone in attendance was riveted by all things automobile and the impact on radio and other content providers.

Radio is the longest-running content provider in automobiles, and we have worked in the industry since the 1970s.  So while this post will allude often to the radio industry, the lessons learned and the challenges ahead impact broadcasters, content providers, and mobile app developers.

Just a few short years ago, very few people in broadcasting and other content plays were talking about cars. Today, you can’t hold a convention or company meeting without talking about the “connected car” and its implications on the business.  I’m attending the Podcast Movement conference this week in Chicago – there will be over 1,000 podcasters in attendance, and while they will be talking a lot about how to create a compelling podcast, they are also going to talk about podcast distribution, ranging from iTunes, mobile applications, and of course, the connected car.

The big challenge for content providers and mobile app developers is that the auto industry is moving much faster than ever before – even faster than some suppliers. And they’re looking far down the road – not in the rearview mirror.  The “connected car” is hitting scale, and will continue to grow like wildfire over the coming years. Virtually everything coming out of Detroit, Germany, and Japan will be connected. Scotiabank and BI Intelligence project that by 2020, fully 75% of cars shipped globally will have connected features and capabilities.jacapps 1

This flurry of activity points the way for the car to become another “smart device,” enabling these computers on four wheels to be mobile participants in the rapidly expanding Internet of Things. We’ve been seeing this for the past seven years at CES as companies like LG aren’t just generating buzz for their 4K televisions, but also for a host of other appliances that include refrigerators, washers and dryers, and home security systems, all of which are connected.

But it’s the car that’s becoming the new center of content provider’s universe. All content providers and mobile developers are going to have to work hard to ensure that remains the case. While consumers continue to strongly demand AM/FM radios in their new cars, their desires for connectivity features continue to grow, too. And as Apple and Google invade the dashboard, broadcast radio’s front and center position is threatened, as is the status quo.

Clearly, it’s the smartphone that is the digitally connective tissue that links cars with media entertainment and information. Since Apple opened its App Store eight years ago, changing the face of our communications, the mobile phone and the dashboard have become key conduits. And audio providers have been able to participate in this new journey, enabled by the ability to create mobile apps for stations, networks, and entire broadcasting companies. We’ve enjoyed taking part in this next step in the dashboard story via our mobile app company, jācapps, which launched 100 days after Apple opened its iOS platform to outside creators.

And then there’s the autonomous movement, progressing faster than anyone – including the automakers – might have imagined. BI Intelligence estimates 10 million cars with self-driving capabilities on the road by 2020, raising the question about what “drivers” of these vehicles will be doing to entertain and inform themselves while paying less attention to the road ahead. jacapps2

There is a feeding frenzy in the space.  Google announced their investment in a 52,000 square foot self-driving development center in Novi.  We have the MCity test facility in Ann Arbor.  And just this week, BMW announced their intent to have fully autonomous vehicles on the road in 2021.

In a sign that everyone wants a piece of the action, Rolls Royce has released plans for its Vision Next 100 concept, custom built automobiles that will have autonomous capabilities, all powered by electricity. The voice command system will feature “Eleanor,” named after Eleanor Thornton, the model for the 1911 Spirit of Ecstacy figurine that sits atop all Rolls Royce vehicles. Step aside, Siri.

Things are moving fast, and developers need to keep up, because even the automakers struggle to predict what the “center stack” of the autonomous future will look like and what it will provide. Will dashboards in self-driving cars essentially just become extensions of smartphone content and apps? Will these vehicles be equipped with standard radios like cars have offered as standard equipment for decades? And will passengers in autonomous vehicles be able to consume videos and other visual material as the technology ensures a safe and accident-free ride?

Then there’s the dashboard invaders, led by a couple of small tech companies you may have heard about: Apple and Google. In much the same way the radio industry hops on the hot format bandwagon, the auto industry is no different. Just a couple short years ago, most auto manufacturers were very skeptical of the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ecosystems. And they were reluctant to even consider them in their proprietary dashboard arrays.

Today, most of these same car makers acknowledge that consumers are much more likely to be loyal to the smartphones in their pockets and their purses, than the cars and trucks in their driveways. Thus, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are making their way into new cars today, raising more concerns about the way that radio stations and other audio providers maintain visibility in the dashboard. And you’ll be seeing these dashboard ecosystems in advertisements for auto makers, as Audi, Chevrolet, and others are already featuring CarPlay front and center in their TV spots.

If that doesn’t signal a revolution in the auto industry, nothing will. And that’s why we’re continuing to work hard to keep up with and even ahead of these changes.

The next several years promise to be a wild ride for the automotive industry – and of course, for all of us content providers and software developers.  This isn’t a time to slow down and ponder.  It’s a time to lean forward, experiment, take risks, fix, fail, and succeed.  Standing by the side of the road will ensure that you’ll be passed by.

Even in autonomous cars, it’s smart to fasten that seat belt. 


Postscript: We have gotten many questions about dates for DASH this year. After assessing our conference over the past few years, we’ve decided to take a breather for 2016. As today’s post underscores, the auto industry is moving at breakneck speed, necessitating a “growth year” for this conference to ensure its relevance in the future. DASH will be back, perhaps in a different form, rebooted and evolved. You’ll be the first to know about what’s next for the conference. We truly thank past attendees, as well as those of you who wish to attend DASH for the first time.

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