Connected Car Outfit Livio Unveils FM Connect

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Livio, which enables in-car mobile applications, today made a flurry of announcements at CES, including the news that it has adopted a freemium model for app developers, new app and automotive partners, and a product called FM Connect that could open new revenue and other promotional opportunities for FM broadcasters.

Before going to the freemium model, Livio charged developers $1 per app, explained Livio founder and CEO Jake Sigal in a press conference this morning at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The new model allows Livio to work with small application companies and also enables the organization to scale, he added. As for hardware partners, Livio now charges $2 per car for the first 50,000 units aftermarket; that’s up $1 from what Livio used to charge.

App partners include 977music, AccuRadio, AccuWeather.com, Addicted to Radio.com, Greater Media Inc., Live 365, INRIX, NPR, Parkopedia and many others.

“We expect to work with thousands of app partners in the near future,” Sigal said.

Today, Livio also announced three new automotive partners -- Johnson Controls, KPIT Cummins, and Visteon. A representative from KPIT Cummins told the reporters at the CES press conference that Livio Connect, the company’s cloud-based application platform, has a critical mass of smartphone apps behind it and as a result, OEMs can open their APIs just to this platform, as opposed to opening APIs multiple app developers. That, he said, makes the prospect of supporting multiple apps within vehicles more simple and secure.

Perhaps the most exciting part of Livio’s news today was its unveiling of FM Connect, which Sigal said provides a two-way link between broadcasters and their listeners. Motorists who are driving Livio-enabled vehicles and who are outfitted with Bluetooth headsets and smartphones now have the option of responding to FM radio advertisements and appeals via their dashboards. This could come into play, for example, by allowing listeners to leverage their dashboards to purchase concert tickets, enter contests, or direct their in-car navigation systems to businesses advertising on FM radio.

“We’re trying to keep FM in the dashboard,” said Sigal, adding FM Connect not only helps FM broadcasters, it can also benefit app companies by putting them in front of a broader audience.

“We’re looking to bridge the gap between digital radio and FM,” said Sigal.

“FM is still No. 1 in the car,” he added.

Livio in 2012 announced its first OEM deal, related to the GM Chevy Spark. Sigal declined to provide information on how many vehicles Livio is used in today.




Edited by Brooke Neuman
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Executive Editor, TMC

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