Our readers know of Livio Radio (see my review here) for their Bluetooth in car radio hardware kit, available at your local Radio Shack, but you may not know that they have created Livio Connect, an API targeted at hardware makers and app developers. I had the opportunity to speak with Jake Sigal, CEO of Radio.
The focus of the API is on app interaction while driving, but their target audience is manufacturers and commercial app app developers. Customers shouldn't have to care what car they buy, but just know that their app can interactive with it. And they support iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.
So far, Livio, which is based in Detroit, has had a very positive response from developers, auto makers, and third party accessory manufacturers. With the Livio Connect solution, car companies don't have to stay up on latest tech as Livio handles it. Livio goes beyond Bluetooth, allowing Ad Hoc connections via Wi-Fi.
Some of the adopters of the Livio Connect solution include Pioneer and Dice Electronics, which is part of Audiovox aftermarket solutions. App developers that support Livio include rdio, AirKast, and NOR. The Livio Connect business model is to charge a royalty on hardware and commercial apps that use their technology.
While there are some concerns about in car usage of electronics (one town in South Carolina tried to ban all use of cellphones behind the wheel) Sigal noted that there are many forms of distraction, so the real concern is distracted driving. Livio can actually help here, as it can eliminate taking your hands off the wheel.
When you purchase your next car, the odds are good it will leverage the power of your smartphone thanks to Livio Connect.