CES 2016

Public Relations CES

I’m on the flight right now to CES 2016, my fourth CES in four years, and saying hello to the new blog! This year’s show preparation has been quite different than previous years, mostly due to the hard work of the Livio team in 2015. We’ve been ramping up SmartDeviceLink (SDL) development and support, and showing the connected car industry a reason to stick to their guns and own their software. Even though we started preparing for the show earlier than previous years, we have so many announcements and so much momentum around SDL that it still feels as though everything came down to the last minute. For once though, I’m on this flight thinking that we have done as much as we can, and the rest is out of our hands until we arrive.

This year, we switched to Slack for chat and I spent a little more time keeping the CES project organized on Trello. As a project manager, this was a big win – I spent a lot less time remembering what to do and a lot more time getting it done. It also came in handy during crunch time when we were bouncing back and forth between CES logistics, software development, and partner management. Being able to support SDL partners on Slack was great because it drastically reduced the amount of email and meetings toward the end of the year, and we were able to address most technical issues in real time. We were also able to track the things we accomplished and the features and ideas that we had to drop this year – something that will definitely go into planning next year.

As always, having a broad set of software skills on the engineering team paid off in a big way when it comes to showing off connected vehicle features. The demonstration is simple – if you get into the driver’s seat in our vehicle and connect your phone, the climate setting of the driver’s zone in the vehicle is changed to your climate preference. It’s promoting a new feature of SmartDeviceLink called “Remote Control”, which enables an Automaker to expose safe control of modules inside their vehicle, such as radio tuners and climate zones. The actual work in the last two months involved designing a new algorithm for detecting where a person entered into the vehicle, installing sensors in the vehicle to assist in the detection, and writing Android and iOS apps to perform the detection and communicate the position to SmartDeviceLink. And that’s alongside our normal duties, advancing the SmartDeviceLink Open Source Project as one of the world’s leading in-vehicle connectivity solutions.

Finally, it was awesome to read about the importance of vehicle connectivity and the Internet of Things as the star of CES this year, and even better waking up to the announcements we’ve been preparing on popular tech blogs and even on local radio. Happy CES, come and say hi if you’re at the show!

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