The role of the car is changing. Until now, it has been a means of getting from A to B in style, safety or speed – depending on the car you select. Increasingly, intelligent infotainment systems are making the car an extension of their owner’s digital lifestyle – keeping them connected to social media and email while on the move as well as facilitating easier, smoother and more efficient journeys by being connected to traffic reports and weather information.
And, as the car becomes increasingly data hungry, the demand for effective, reliable and high-speed communications is growing.
Ethernet is a proven communications technology that can not only support the high data rates demanded by next-generation infotainment systems but can also simplify cabling and network interfaces and drive down costs. However, one of the limitations of Ethernet is the CSMA/CD protocol that manages the contention (collisions) between devices on the same bus (by introducing exponentially increasing delays until one device grabs the bus and transmits successfully). This works well for non-time-critical applications but if Ethernet is to take on a wider role within vehicles, a more managed approach is needed.
Which is where Gigabit Ethernet audiovisual bridging (AVB) standards come in. Developed by the IEEE, these standards are designed to ensure stable, reliable multimedia transmission and are set to play a key role in automotive Ethernet implementations. And to help automotive engineers implement Ethernet, there are a growing number of dedicated system-on-chip devices developed specifically for Ethernet AVB designs.
Between them these categories will dominate the wearable technology sector over the coming years. It should be noted that both are going to be involved in the monitoring of the physical wellbeing of the individuals wearing them - and this will contribute significantly to driving demand forward in what is envisaged to be and increasingly health conscious society. For the first of these categories fitness monitoring will be the principal objective, while for the other it will be amongst a number of different functions that the device serves. BI Intelligence has stated that it expects there to be a certain degree of blurring between these 2 categories.