IFA announces car tech show Shift Automotive, as in-car voice platform rival to Alexa and Google Assistant unveiled

posted on Thursday, 17th May 2018 by Steve May

IFA 2018  IFA GPC 2018  Smart Speakers  Smart home 

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IFA is partnering with the Geneva motor show to produce its first car tech show, Shift Automotive. Organisers have also announced a new trade event, the Smart Country Convention, a procurement show for Government and institutions. It will run simultaneously with the last two days of this year’s IFA technology expo in Berlin. The SCC was described as a "big opportunity for the electronics industry", by Jens Heithecker, Executive Vice President Messe Berlin Group and IFA Executive Director (pictured above), at this year's IFA GPC (Global Press Conference).

Shift Automotive, a bi-annual exhibition, will debut September 4-5, alongside IFA. It will be followed by Shift Automotive at the Geneva Motor Show, in March 2019.

Car technology is in the ascent. At the recent IFA 2018 GPC, German Autolabs announced that it was introducing a smart platform to rival Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, just for drivers. The system is called Chris, and comprises a windscreen mounted device (pictured below) which connects by Bluetooth to an in-car smartphone.

German Autolabs describes Chris as a ‘co-driver’ and says it can respond to natural voice commands. It is compatible with sat navs and will support two Bluetooth connections. Chris will sell for 299 euros when it debuts later this year.

Chris (1)

“Now that people are digitally connected, they are keen to make the most from this experience,” says Jürgen Boyny, Global Director Consumer Electronics, GfK Retail and Technology. “Customers want to use the technology to the full, as quickly as possible. They want entertainment and communication, lifestyle and convenience. As soon as consumers can see and understand the use of an innovation, they are willing to pay for it.”

Principal analyst and researcher at IHS Markit Paul Gray predicts that cars will soon represent a bigger market for smart connected speakers than the home.

IFA Executive Director, Jens Heithecker comments: “From our IFA vantage point, we see the key trends across brands, start-ups, inventors, retailers and consumers. And what’s obvious to us is that we are at the tipping point for a dramatic acceleration of innovation, driven by technology megatrends and ever closer co-operation across the whole industry ecosystem. This will kickstart growth, transform our lives and will soon give the term 'consumer electronics' a completely new meaning."

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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