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Melbourne’s miRoamer inks GM deal

Huge deal: GM signed up to use an internet-based audio system developed in Melbourne.

GM picks Melbourne-developed internet audio system for its global dashboards


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6 Sep 2013

GENERAL Motors’ global operations has signed up to use an internet-based audio system developed in Melbourne.

The deal will see the miRoamer radio and music service available in all web-enabled GM cars around the world by the end of 2014.

The first cars equipped with miRoamer, or offering miRoamer as an option, will roll out in the US before Christmas, perhaps as early as October.

The Volkswagen Group also has a contract to use miRoamer, but that deal hasn’t gone live yet.

The announcement was expected next week during the Frankfurt Motor Show, but GM’s Opel/Vauxhall division in Europe broke the news overnight.

“Obviously, this is quite a big deal for us,” miRoamer director George Parthimos said in an exclusive interview with GoAuto today.

“This is a multi-year contract. We expect this to be ongoing.

“We are going to add new products and services and features that are going to generate more revenue for us.

“We see this opportunity as a multi-million dollar revenue generating opportunity.”

Mr Parthimos said miRoamer was exploring the possibility of raising new capital with a share issue and obtaining a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The GM contract is for two years initially and, while it is theoretically possible for miRoamer to be available on 8.5 million GM cars a year, Mr Parthimos said he expected the system initially to be fitted to up to 3 million vehicles.

GM’s Chief Infotainment Officer, Phil Abram, is on record as saying that every new GM vehicle will have a web connection by the end of 2014.

“Today’s new car buyers want the same level of customization and connectivity out of their cars that they’re accustomed to from hand-held electronics,” Mr Abram said.

“By developing an in-vehicle app framework and working with partners like miRoamer, General Motors is dedicated to bringing our owners’ digital lives into their vehicles.”

It is not yet clear where miRoamer will come pre–installed or be an option, Mr Parthimos said.

“It depends on the territory. We expect that in the territories across Asia and possibly Europe we may be pre-installed in the vehicles when they hit the showroom.

“In the US market, we may be an option but, either way, as a minimum, we’ll be an option available, where customers will be able to select miRoamer. We expect to be pre-installed in some territories.”

Mr Parthimos is heading off on Sunday to attend the official unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show and to hold talks with other car-makers.

The miRoamer system has been designed to take advantage of the compulsory SIM card that all European-built vehicles will have to have from next year.

The SIM cards will be mandatory so that a car involved in a serious crash can automatically summon emergency service assistance even if the driver is unconscious.

The miRoamer system will allow drivers to select from 35,000 radio stations around the world – virtually every AM and FM station that is currently being streamed on the Internet.

In addition, miRoamer will offer the Platinum subscription service which includes products produced by Rhapsody, AOL Shoutcast and Radioio.

“The deal is that GM has basically gone out and selected “best of breed” in each category and miRoamer has been selected as best of breed in its category, which is the aggregated music services category,” Mr Parthimos said.

“There’s us and TuneIn radio, so there are effectively two suppliers. Depending on markets and territories, one will be pre-installed and one will be optional.”

While TuneIn also offers a directory service making available all the radio stations that are on the web, miRoamer also has partnerships with other content providers like Rhapsody and AOL Shoutcast that TuneIn does not.

“We provide a full-featured radio and music service,” Mr Parthimos said.

“TuneIn just focuses on a radio directory service. That’s the big difference.”“This is a very controlled environment, a lot like mobile phones, and the order-makers (car manufacturers) are going out and selecting “best of breed” around the word and miRoamer has been selected as best of breed.”

In its press release, Opel/Vauxhall has presented the arrival of web-connected vehicles as a way to customise your infotainment system without changing your car.

Opel/Vauxhall has presented miRoamer as one of a number of applications that will be available in its web-enabled cars. Others include the Weather Channel, National Public Radio and TuneIn.

The Opel AppShop will be available on the new Insignia, built into the IntelliLink infotainment system.

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