Make Every Screen in Your Car an Opportunity!
Cinemo-Supported In-car Entertainment Experience
2024년 01월호 지면기사  / 한상민 기자

INTERVIEW Jean-Francois Claude, Cinemo                               

Until recently, I wondered why there was a growing trend of adding more screens to the dashboard of cars and increasing Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE). However, experiencing a car like this even once has completely changed my perspective. Now, it's as if encountering a car without such features is comparable to finding an aircraft without In-Flight Entertainment (IFE). At the end of the year, I had the opportunity to meet with Jean-Francois Claude, the head of Cinemo's Korea branch, and he explained their works, products, use cases and vision. 

written by Han

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  “Nowadays, whether it's on TV or smartphones, we have become accustomed to enjoying a variety of content such as OTT services, YouTube, games, music, the internet, video conferencing, and more on all sorts of screens. Moreover, cars provide a conducive environment for such activities, especially with the waiting time during charging and the emergence of Level 3 autonomous driving models. So, in the past, I questioned the need for more screens on the dashboard and the increasing prevalence of Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE), thinking, 'Is this really necessary?' However, now, encountering a car without such features, especially in SUVs, feels disappointing, akin to experiencing a trip without In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) on an airplane.”

At the end of the year, during a meeting with Jean-Francois Claude, the head of Cinemo's Korea branch, as he explained their works, products, use cases, and vision, I found myself strongly resonating with these.

This empathy is not just about watching Netflix or playing games on the central display inside the car. Imagine a scenario where there are no boundaries between the car's head unit and smartphones, as well as devices with different operating systems. What if synchronized videos or games could be enjoyed together on multiple screens? Or, individuals could indulge in their preferred content, and premium online videos, spatial audio, and game controls on the head unit or RSE could be managed with smartphones or tablets. Conversely, what if any smartphone could be connected to the head unit via Wi-Fi or USB, allowing control and utilization of phone apps? Furthermore, what if all of this could be done with just a simple swipe...

Though it may sound simple, the actual sharing of content just between the seats in a car involves a multitude of technical challenges. This includes DRM initialization, authentication, secure connection negotiation, optimal audio and video codec decisions, latency measurement, server-client-repeater configurations, continuous correction of clock drift among all devices, usage reporting, pre-fetching for upcoming tunnels, and seamless delivery, as well as content synchronization between built-in and brought-in devices. In essence, a lot of complexity and technical problem-solving are required.

So, Cinemo addresses all these use cases by providing a fully integrated digital media solution that turns every 'screen' in the car into an opportunity for passengers, OEMs, and Tier-1s, independent of the operating system (OS) and system-on-chip (SoC). The company aims to enable customers to easily build better entertainment experiences.

Claude, the branch manager, stated, “Cinemo, adorned with numerous awards and the title of being world-first, is a company that genuinely transcends system constraints. It seamlessly integrates and delivers high-performance, high-quality digital media with an exceptionally low footprint. Whether it's embedded, mobile apps, or through the cloud, Cinemo supports all digital media scenarios for every device. Moreover, by providing this new digital media experience with high performance and outstanding quality, Cinemo assists OEMs in reducing time to market and lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO).”

How to turn every screen into an opportunity  

In-car infotainment has become an increasingly vital differentiation factor for OEMs, especially in light of our changing lifestyles. It is rapidly advancing to offer drivers and passengers a more diverse range of multimedia and connectivity options. This encompasses precision and multifunctionality, incorporating artificial intelligence into navigation, communication, internet, multimedia services, and ensuring device compatibility. However, the industry faces multifaceted challenges in terms of vehicle integration, compatibility, user experience, and security for these features.

Cinemo addresses these diverse issues by providing a highly integrated modular solution that ensures a seamless and enjoyable multimedia experience for both built-in and smart/personal devices in cars.

"Cinemo is a software company with an extensive global partner and customer network in the automotive industry. With a vision of 'making every screen an opportunity,' the company has accumulated over 15 years of experience in the automotive and multimedia fields. Currently, through pioneering products such as Cinemo CORE™ and Cinemo CARS™, we address customer needs with highly customizable solutions," said the branch manager Claude.

Cinemo CORE™, Cinemo CARS™, and similar products leverage Cinemo's in-depth market knowledge to address the unique challenges and requirements of in-car multimedia systems, including limited hardware resources, high total cost of ownership (TCO), Over The Air (OTA) requirements and compliance with regulations. This product range offers various features such as optimized playback of premium video content, in-car immersive audio, multi-screen content sharing for built-in screens or brought-in devices, playback of all types of audio and video files, connectivity across all devices, and diverse functionalities, including multi-seat gaming. Additionally, these multimedia solutions seamlessly integrate with the vehicle's existing software and hardware platforms.

▶Cinemo CORE™ provides the highest flexibility for building individual multimedia solutions, serving as Cinemo's cross-platform low-level API and middleware. It supports seamless multimedia playback and connectivity for 'In-car Multi-Seat/Multi-Passenger Experience,' which includes audio and video playback, online content streaming, and simultaneous connections. It allows passengers to control the head unit with their smartphones, enabling them to bring in preferred content and experience immersive audio. Additionally, it offers the capability to browse online video services, find and play audio and video files, and share the contents across seats with respect to Digital Rights Management. Content can be played independently or simultaneously on multiple screens, and it can be shared on different device screens. This flexible, high-performance middleware is custom-made to accommodate build-to-order (BTO) for specific platform and feature requirements, providing a fully tailored next-generation digital media experience across all operating systems. Through this integrated solution, OEMs and Tier-1s can accelerate development speed and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), thereby shortening time to market.

▶Cinemo CARS™ based on Android Automotive OS (AAOS) enhances the native capabilities of AAOS by adding premium Video-on-Demand (VoD), multi-screen sharing, and spatial audio. Cinemo CARS™ realizes the dream of including any passenger device into the in-vehicle infotainment experience. Using their own devices passengers can freely exchange content, play games, collectively join video calls, submit driving destinations, or select their favorite songs to be played in the car. It is a versatile easy-to-integrate media solution that provides the tools and components necessary for OEMs to offer a multimedia experience that is expected by consumers. These customizable applications help reducing development costs and time to market for OEMs and Tier-1s, enhancing the functionality and experience of infotainment systems.

The branch manager Claude stated, “Today, part of the entertainment solution resides in the cloud. For instance, Customers expect to access their registered streaming services seamlessly and consistently in their cars through the infotainment system - without connecting their phone. However, keeping up with the frequent changes in the Content Service Provider’s (CSP) service APIs, is quite complex. Cinemo has addressed this challenge by providing a unique Cinemo SDK to be integrated into the head-unit and move the logic to connect to any Music streaming service in the cloud. By doing so, the API between the car and Cinemo cloud remains consistent during the lifetime of the vehicle. OEMs do not need to update the complete infotainment system every time a CSP updates its API - as all the changes are managed seamlessly in the cloud.

Our collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Korea is a testament to this approach: with the implementation of Cinemo CORE Online and Cinemo Live Service, customers benefit from a unique playback and streaming experience. Passengers can access and control their favorite music streaming services directly from the central screen of their car, such as genie music specifically for Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold in Korea. 


■ Strong History of Industry Firsts  

- First one-stop-shop provider for fully integrated digital media solutions to automotive which are truly Operating System and System on Chip agnostic 
- First to enable cars with a software-only multi-screen cinema-like experience, removing cost and complexity that come with hardwired solutions 
- First to bring ultra-fast media management performance into the car - offering high speed and low CPU usage to support instantaneous content browsing and searching while indexing 
- First to offer a modular digital media software with BTO (build-to-order) architecture creating faster time to market with lower resource investment 
- First to offer in-car cloud services for a large number of leading content providers via a single software technology and interface


A true global mind   

There is a key to addressing consumer needs and meeting industry requirements.

“Innovation, inspiration, and perfection are embedded in Cinemo's DNA. Our global team, consisting of more than 300 innovative thinkers from over 40 countries, is consistently creating digital media experiences that users can engage with wherever they go. They are the driving force behind Cinemo, understanding global trends and customer demands to achieve every use case for all end-users on every screen worldwide.”

Cinemo has pursued relentless innovation and research, coupled with a steadfast focus on high-performance, high-quality products, along with specialized knowledge in the automotive industry. Through these efforts, the company has been able to establish a significant reputation and a loyal customer base in the automotive market.

Furthermore, Cinemo has forged close partnerships with a diverse range of industry leaders, - from the largest high-tech and consumer electronic companies to content providers, system integrators as well as industry associations. 

For instance, Cinemo collaborated with Dolby Laboratories to assist Mercedes-Benz in integrating Dolby Atmos technology into their multimedia solution, making them one of the first in the automotive industry to do so. Through this immersive audio technology, Mercedes-Benz significantly enhanced the in-car audio experience, providing customers with a dimensionally different sound experience.
Such partnerships allow Cinemo to expand its portfolio, develop new innovative solutions for the in-car multimedia market, open up new media use cases, and create new revenue streams for everyone while shortening time to market. As a result, since company inception in 2008 and as of today, over 100 million cars worldwide are generating revenue using Cinemo's software and cloud products.

“This is precisely why we are more than just a supplier to our clients. We are valued partners. As a chosen partner for over 40 major OEMs, we provide innovative and easy to integrate solutions, shortening time to market while offering customers the best digital media experience on every screen. To over 20 Tier 1 partners, we deliver flexible solutions to meet the latest use cases demanded by OEMs.”


Why Korea Branch     

Cinemo is continuously expanding its footprint in the global automotive market through new projects in key regions such as Europe, Asia, and North America adding up to the millions of vehicles already powered by Cinemo. 

“Cinemo's new branch collaborates with partners on next-generation infotainment projects that will be a key differentiator in the future of connected cars, providing both technical and business insights. The trust gained through Cinemo's longstanding track record, close collaborations with customers, including those in Korea over the past years, and the growing need for closer strategic relationships serve as significant driving forces for Cinemo to continue creating world-class infotainment solutions,” the branch manager Claude commented on the establishment of the Korea branch.

The Korean branch, in particular, is already staffed with experienced application and solution engineers capable of adequately supporting partners and further growth is expected. Through these efforts, Cinemo aims to increase dedication to Korean customers and partners and further expand its footprint in the region. 

“Customer centricity is paramount to us. Not only have we designed top-tier software solutions, but we have also built an infrastructure capable of managing the most challenging projects, establishing our reputation. Expanding our footprint to Korea marks a new chapter in our global business growth strategy. Cinemo's commitment is to relentlessly work for the benefit of our customers and partners, and this commitment has now come even closer through the establishment of our branch.”


CES 2024 review      
Cinemo once again demonstrated its innovative strength at the recently concluded CES, showcasing advanced multi-passenger use cases on site. 
Cinemo continuously redefines and shapes the automotive digital media ecosystem, transforming the car cabin into a smart entertainment platform by bringing digital media experiences typically known from both home entertainment and work use cases into the car - on both, built-in screens and brought-in devices. CES visitors could experience how the company remains the ultimate automotive infotainment pioneer, demonstrating innovation in in-car entertainment, immersive audio, video conferencing, and much more: 

Exclusive Entertainment   
As screens increasingly become a necessity in modern software-defined vehicles, Cinemo’s unique multiscreen offering allows drivers and passengers to enjoy in-cabin gaming, audio and video on demand (VOD) content from premium content providers. 
Immersive Audio   
Cinemo presented the enablement of Dolby Atmos® for mainstream car models, giving more consumers the opportunity to enjoy immersive sound in their vehicles. 
Multi-zone Audio       
Cinemo’s new multi-zone audio capability allows each passenger to enjoy their favorite content at the same time - with any app - even on their headphones or earphones.
Video Conferencing          
Cinemo’s solution to turn video conferencing integrations into a multi-passenger experience redefines the way passengers connect to others on the move, by allowing every passenger to connect through their personal devices or the car’s built-in screens. This transforms the car into a mobile office or simply gives passengers the freedom to stay in touch with friends and family on the road. 

AEM_Automotive Electronics Magazine

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