In recent years, consumers increasingly have sought to use portable electronic devices in the vehicle, including MP3 music players, Bluetooth-enabled cell phones, personal navigation systems and other products. People want to use such products in their vehicles as “plug-and-play” devices that can be integrated seamlessly for easy, safe and convenient operation. Responding to these trends, designers and engineers at Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) have created a flexible electrical architecture solution that targets automotive original-equipment applications — the Mobile Device Gateway.
The system enables drivers and passengers to use Bluetooth-enabled cell phones as hands-free devices linked to a vehicle’s audio system; access and play music — from MP3 devices; utilize personal navigation devices; control onboard audio and multimedia systems; handle climate-control settings; and more.
This state-of-the-art system was developed leveraging Johnson Controls’ experience and leadership in the production of Bluetooth hands-free phone systems. The Mobile Device Gateway builds on the capabilities of traditional hands-free systems, and is fully compatible with a wide range of consumer electronic devices and communication/architecture protocols. It allows additional consumer electronics devices to connect to the vehicle’s electrical system through Bluetooth technology, USB and serial-connection ports. As a result, portable devices can be integrated and managed as if they were factory-installed systems.
The Mobile Device Gateway from Johnson Controls offers significant benefits. Enabling these devices for use in the vehicle reduces the risk of obsolescence. Embedded electronics often face the risk of becoming obsolete because the planning cycle times and lifecycles of vehicles are different than those for the consumer electronics market. In addition, Johnson Controls can apply its expertise in human machine interface solutions. This enables the company to develop the system to intelligently manage the features and functions of the devices to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience.
“Today’s consumers are highly mobile, connected and tuned in to innovation, and they’re attracted to products that support these dynamics, from consumer electronics to modern cars and trucks,” said Jim Geschke, vice president and general manager of electronics, North America for Johnson Controls. “It’s vitally important for automakers to deliver easy-to-use gateways that provide flexible and reliable connectivity for the consumer electronic products of today and tomorrow.”
According to Geschke, Mobile Device Gateway technology from Johnson Controls is the next generation of the company’s BlueConnect(R) Bluetooth wireless system for automakers, which have been used mainly to support hands-free operation of Bluetooth-enabled cell phones in vehicles.
“Our connectivity solutions reflect our longstanding expertise in telematics, speech recognition, human-machine-interface solutions, and vehicle-interior integration,” Geschke said. “Enabling portable devices to be connected seamlessly in vehicles offers advantages compared to the traditional approach of embedding electronics. Consumers have access to the latest technologies at home and in their cars, and automakers avoid equipping their vehicles with systems that could become obsolete in two years or even less.”
Officials from Johnson Controls are showcasing the next-generation Mobile Device Gateway technology at this year’s North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit. It is among the product and technology innovations being displayed by the company at its exhibit in room D2-15 at Cobo Center. The show opens to the news media on January 7, 2007.
Johnson Controls is a global leader in automotive experience, building efficiency and power solutions. The company provides innovative automotive interiors that help make driving more comfortable, safe and enjoyable. For buildings, it offers products and services that optimize energy use and improve comfort and security. Johnson Controls also provides batteries for automobiles and hybrid electric vehicles, along with systems engineering and service expertise. Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) has 136,000 employees in more than 1,000 locations serving customers in 125 countries. Founded in 1885, the company is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.