Driving towards new consumer markets

Having gone to a couple CES shows in sunny Las Vegas, I’m quite happy to be staying in chilly Chicago this week. The sprawling show encompasses all sorts of consumer electronics, making it way too big to actually get through the crowds to find anything of interest.

One area that’s particularly interesting is the growing link between cars and consumer electronics. Automakers are now included in the keynotes, and they’ve got a growing presence on the floor. The linkage between these two industries should provide some nice markets.

That opens up a new high volume market for EMS and board companies that focus more on reliability than on making the lowest price/quality products possible. Any electronics that go into cars have to be built to exacting requirements. Infrastructure gear will also have to be designed to run without the glitches that often plague cell phones, PCs and other consumer gear.

Rebooting may be acceptable in homes or offices. But when drivers are searching for data beamed to their car from a remote server or other new source, those flaws could be fatal. The combination of high reliability and high volume creates some attractive new markets for U.S. suppliers.

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