How was the Car HMI 2022 conference? Were your expectations met?
I was really curious about what this conference would look like, especially after those two and a half pandemic years when everything was moved online. The Car HMI conference exceeded all my expectations. It seems that everybody was hungry for personal contact. The agenda for the event was built not only around fantastic presentations but also around building occasions for people to meet, be together and work together. Starting with quite serious discussions during ice breaker events to coworking on cork-boards and looking for the next big thing in user experience inside (and outside of) the car.
I was afraid that the presentations would be marketing- and sales-driven, but instead, we got two full days packed with brilliant ideas, a lot of academic research and inspiration for the future. Most importantly, everyone was open to discussing the topics in depth and were ready even if you tried to challenge their ideas.
Which presentations and topics sparked off the most discussion?
I would say that there were two topics that were discussed most frequently. First was multimodality of user interfaces - we have all those voice assistants, touch screens, mobile companion apps and, last but not least, AI that can support user interaction (and sometimes even eliminate the need for it). But this richness of interaction methods also brings a lot of challenges - mainly how do we decide which interaction channel to use without overwhelming the users or making them uncomfortable? How can we build trust in AI decisions? How can our voice assistant cross single task boundaries?
The second one was sustainability - a topic that will be extremely important in the age of EV transformation. However, reaching for renewable energy sources is not the main topic here. We need to rethink the whole process of building user interfaces. We should think about the main highlights that we have to focus on but also we have to change the general way of thinking from user centric design to live centric design and include more stakeholders when talking about user experience. This is also reflected in how we develop the solutions and how we empower people to do so.
How was your presentation received? What questions were asked by the audience?
My talk (Enabling continuous vehicle UX delivery) was focused on presenting how we can develop solutions that are better suited for user needs and delivered on time - or I would rather say -ahead of time, considering that users are no longer satisfied with just being satisfied. We must surprise them and bring the "wow" factor to their lives - and we must do it before our competitors are there.
Also, based on Spyrosoft's experience from past and ongoing projects, I’ve proposed in my talk how to better form and empower the teams so that they can accomplish that challenge not only faster and but also with higher quality. It is always hard to evaluate your work, so let me quote one of the attendees that came after my presentation - "I really loved your speech. It breaks the status quo we have right now and allows us to be more efficient and creative". Others also pointed out that it eliminates many pain points of collaboration on such a complex system as the car HMI.
After the talk, people were also interested in how to keep a wide user community interested in providing the feedback, as their current experience was that they only get insights from the most hardcore (and sometimes “lunatic”) kind of users. Another question was how such frequent updates fit into building sustainability. I hopefully convinced them that a fast reaction to our changing environment and smaller but accurate updates are one of the main bricks to building better and more sustainable products.
Do you plan to implement some of the insights into your HMI technology development strategy at Spyrosoft?
Naturally! I need to re-watch some of the sessions because it was impossible to note everything. But as mentioned at the beginning, we need to put more effort into multimodality. I would love to be able to propose solutions like the proactive voice assistant from Paragon Semvox company to our customers. We've also planned discussions with companies such as Forciot and Preh on how we could utilise their input devices for our internal research.
Regarding our product design activities that we do with our sister company Unravel - we need to think deeper about those multimodalities (with great insights and challenges presented by Alan Armstrong from Jaguar Land Rover), but we also need to take a deep dive into a sustainable future with a great starting point made by Hamed Yahyaei from Scania!
Also, we have already had talks (that we will continue) to work with Bosch's collaboration platform – LeapX, as this can greatly improve feature workflow and trackability. And that's not even one third of the things I got out of Car HMI 2022!