Connected Car Mobile Apps

Apps Are the Best Way into the Connected Car

By: Vince Kattoula

Last year, Gartner made the claim that by 2020, there will be a quarter billion connected vehicles on the road. We learned back in March that 72% of media executives anticipate moderate or massive digital disruption within the following 12 months. The logical outcome of this equation is that audio-based media is going to be heavily disrupted as behaviors in the car continue to change. So how do you future-proof yourself?

Apps are the best way into the driver’s car

Whether it’s the newest iPhone or the latest Samsung Galaxy, people experience media through the device of their choice. Not only have Apple and Google realized this, but they have capitalized on this by allowing this choice to be taken to the place where people spend hundreds of hours annually – their vehicle. That’s why we have introduced App EverywhereSM-Auto allowing our apps to make the trip to the dashboard seamlessly!
When promoted correctly, your apps effectively engage consumers through their mobile phones allowing them to carry a personalized selection of their favorite content wherever they go. Because of this, it’s not hard to understand why people are so loyal to their smartphones. So much so, that Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are now available in more than 100 different models of automobiles. Virtually every vehicle rolling off the assembly line in the U.S., Germany, Japan, and Korea is now connected in some way. And what are these vehicles connecting to? Smartphones (and apps), of course.
The “key” to staying connected starts with us! Give us a call at 248-353-9030 or email in order to learn how you can stay connected.

Android Auto Apple CarPlay Connected Car Mobile Apps

CarPlay and Android Auto Have Taken over the Car

By: Bob Kernen

In case you missed our announcement earlier this summer, jacapps is now offering our apps with integration into Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. As a company that lives down the hall from the connected car leaders at Jacobs Media, this has been a great tech adventure for us. Now that our first app, for WMMR – Philadelphia, is out in the connected car wild, I took the opportunity to go out and use these two systems in a variety of cars to really experience this new technology.
If you don’t know much about these systems are let me take a moment to explain. Connected cars on the market today have an 8-inch screen that is the car’s “control panel.” Each manufacturer has developed their own software system and user interface for these, and their quality and usability varies wildly. Because of the lack of standardization, both Apple and Google created their own software “layer” that allows the car’s native system to be overridden by an extension of your smartphone’s operating system. Apple’s is known as CarPlay and is rolling out in over 30 different manufacturers. Google’s is Android Auto and is rolling out in more than 50 brands.
If your car’s in-dash system supports one or both of these, you can bring your phone into the car and “connect,” accessing certain functions of your phone on the car’s touchscreen. Once connected you can make calls, access text messages and audio content – including our radio station apps. It’s a terrific concept: your phone truly “synced” to your car.
I tried out the two systems in over a half-dozen cars. Doing this was a little tricky since while most manufacturers have begun rolling out CarPlay and Android Auto support, it isn’t in every model, and even then not in every trim line. Typically, you have to have the top-end in-car navigation and entertainment system to get CarPlay or Android Auto.
When I did find the right model with these systems, I have to admit, it’s a real game changer – for both good and not-so-good. By bringing your phone directly to the car they succeed in making your car an extension of your iPhone or Android. The media, messaging, and mapping choices (the three M’s) in your phone are there in your car too. The connection is smooth and easy – practically seamless. The downside is that interacting with other features of your car, like the temperature control, and the radio can get a little more complicated.
But, if you’re someone who drives different cars from time to time, having the same in-dash experience no matter which vehicle you’re driving is fantastic. It’s easy to imagine how great this will be when most rental cars have CarPlay or Android Auto. No matter what car you drive, just hop in, connect, and you’re good to go.
As the smartphone becomes the essential Swiss Army Knife of modern life it’s inevitable that we will want other technology systems in our life to integrate easily and intuitively with our phone (the label “phone” seems woefully insufficient). So the car is here now, and reports from both Apple and Google indicate that your house is next as both companies are busy creating operating systems for that environment.
If you want to discuss how this mobile revolution is affecting, and will affect, your business now and in the future, give us a call at 248-353-9030, or email us at


Happy National Radio Day!

Tomorrow is National Radio Day, and at jacapps, that’s a big deal. On our way to becoming Michigan’s second largest app developer, our relationship with radio has been key. We have over 350 radio station clients and more than half of our apps are dedicated to radio stations.
Several inventors had significant roles in the invention of radio at the turn of the 20th Century. Similarly, and around the same time, lots of entrepreneurs were marketing the first automobiles.  So these two quintessentially American inventions have kind of gone together since the very beginning.
Today a huge amount of radio’s weekly reach of 93% occurs in the car. And the automotive category is the number one radio advertiser.
This technology marriage has been going strong for over one hundred years, and while it has had its ups and downs (thanks, 8-Tracks) they are still both complementary and interdependent. Our client WMMR, is now front and center on the Apple CarPlay screen with the launch of their new app. This is a giant step forward for the entire radio industry and proves how radio and cars, even after over 100 years, are still like chocolate and peanut butter, great technologies that go great together.
More than ever, the car is crucial to your station’s brand and revenue. We can help you maintain your place there as this crucial ecosystem evolves. With Apple and Google making aggressive moves in the dashboard, we can ensure that your station is easy to find where it matters most – on the car’s touchscreen alongside the driver’s other favorite mobile apps.

So, jacapps would like to celebrate the great invention of the radio by wishing you all a Happy National Radio Day!

To learn more about our mobile apps and how they can add value to your station’s bottom line, give us a call at 248-353-9030 or email us at

Mobile Apps

5 Mobile Trends Agencies Should Keep an Eye On

By: Bob Kernen

Most agencies don’t have the personnel, or the bandwidth, to best support their clients needs in mobile media. Consumer behaviors are changing so fast, and the technology is evolving at such a pace that it really takes mobile specialists to make smart, strategic recommendations for your clients’ media plans. But, here are five trends that agencies should keep their eye on:

  1. Digital dollars are definitely moving to mobile. If you look at the growth of ad spending across all media, a couple of things become pretty clear: Traditional media is flat (at best) to down, and the only growth areas are digital video and mobile. Mobile’s CAGR over the next 3 years is expected to be well over 40%. So, if your client doesn’t have a complete mobile strategy, including apps and advertising, they’re falling behind.
  2. The mobile web doesn’t replace a mobile app. A lot of agencies say, “our client doesn’t need an app, their website is responsive, so it works great on mobile. Having a responsive site is great, and it’s important for capturing the growing number of people who are searching on their smartphones. But people don’t like to type in URLs on a phone, and time spent on mobile web is just 14% of the total, compared to 86% on mobile apps. Apps are where you engage your customers again and again, which brings me to #3.
  3. Mobile is all about CRM. Customer relationship management is most effective on mobile. It just makes sense. The smartphone is in your customers’ pockets or purses all the time. We know that over half of people surveyed even sleep with their phones within arms length. So, if you want to interact with your customer regularly, if you want to know more about them, and if you want to service them most effectively, you really want to put your app in their hands.
  4. Mobile is taking over the car. As I said at the outset, mobile technology is evolving at a blistering pace. All you have to do is shop for a car these days to know that the in-car infotainment system, the “center stack,” is the latest frontier in the competition for your attention. And systems like Ford’s Smart Device Link, Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto are connecting consumers’ smartphones directly to their cars. That means your clients need to have a strategy for intercepting these consumers when they’re driving. Surveys show that people spend over 35 minutes a days commuting, and this is prime spending time.
  5. Location technology is the next mobile wave. Between mobile phones and cars, clearly we are a culture that is on the move more than ever. Mobile technology is taking advantage of this, accessing consumers location and using technologies like geo-fencing and beacons to give consumers the information they need when and where they need it. These emerging technologies allow you to interact with them in context when they are most likely to be interested in your messages.

jacapps wants to help your agency power your clients’ mobile strategy. For a free consultation contact Beth Ayers at 248-353-9030 or email

Mobile Apps

Here We GO Again: How Games Fit into Your Brand’s Mobile Strategy

By: Bob Kernen

Unless you’ve been trapped in a mine, in a coma, or in a politically induced media blackout, you’ve heard about the Pokémon GO phenomenon. You’ve probably spent a significant amount of time talking about it. But, what does it all mean?
First, a little background: The augmented reality game (yes, your kids are seeing animated monsters everywhere) was released on July 6th, has been downloaded an estimated 75 million times, and initially put over $11 billion dollars onto Nintendo’s market cap. So, three weeks later, people all over the world are walking around staring at the world through their smartphone camera looking for Pokémon and Poke-stops. They’re talking to each other about where they’re most likely to find Pokémon, and fretting about “leveling up.”
What’s new about GO is that it’s out in the world. It was launched in the summer for a reason, as being out in the local environment is absolutely critical to the game play. As a result, it incorporates local places (for better and worse in the case of the Holocaust Museum) and creates a sense of pervasiveness, that is, “the game is all around me.” And that is a perfect fit for our mobile world.

What all this demonstrates is the tremendous power of games in our never bored society. People of nearly every demographic play some sort of game. Mostly we think of “gamers” as pasty-skinned teenage boys playing Halo in their parents’ basements, but the typical gamer today is a middle aged woman who likes the so-called “casual games” typically found on smartphones – games like Candy Crush, Bejeweled, or Solitaire. When you factor in the casual gamers, the demographics for games simply explode.
In that context, Pokémon GO is only the latest mobile gaming Phenom. Its predecessors include the aforementioned Candy Crush as well as Angry Birds, Farmville, etc. What these games all have in common are that they are highly social and equally addictive. Something in the gameplay makes it hard for people to stop once they start. They provide challenge, and reward in the right proportion to keep us coming back at every free moment.
Now phenomena like Pokémon GO are clearly an example of capturing lightning in a bottle. You can’t plan for that level of success, but what it proves is that people want this kind of stuff.
So in thinking about your mobile strategy, don’t forget to spend some time considering how games might fit. You probably don’t have the next Pokémon GO in your strategic plan, but you can look for ways to “catch” a little of that magic.
A couple years ago one of our radio clients, WCSX asked us to create a game for Michigan’s deer hunting season. We created a game for them, Deer Hunter, and the result was a programming and revenue success. The station aggressively promoted the game, resulting in over 55,000 downloads in just 5 weeks, which created over a million ad impressions for their advertiser.
Gaming is particularly advertiser-friendly, and there many ways to incorporate brands into games in ways that create high value exposure for those brands. The key is to leverage your brand’s qualities and its local flavor to make the game unique, special, and, most of all, fun!
To learn more about how mobile can drive your business, or to discuss your mobile strategy, contact us at 248-353-9030 or email