Connected Cars

Smartphones Take the Driving Seat

BMW_corbis3
So where are the windscreen wipers?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Car makers have traditionally ruled the lucrative marketfor smartphone-operated in-car technology, but specialists such as Peiker Acustic are increasingly eating away their profits.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Peiker Acoustics had sales of €173 million ($218 million) last year.
    • The company has supplied Mercedes Benz with Apple iPod connector sets.
    • Its main rivals are now the tech giants Google and Apple.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Few consumers will have heard of Peiker Acustic, as is often the case with many of Germany’s midsize companies. Yet many of them will have used their products. The family-owned company is one of the pioneers of in-car smartphone systems, making, for example, devices that can hook up an Apple iPod to a dashboard music player.

The idea of systems, even self-driving cars, are becoming popular, but were once ridiculed by the automotive industry.

The business was founded directly after World War II by Heinrich Peiker and his father-in-law, Paul Beerwald. As Beerwald & Co., the firm specialized in the production of high-quality microphones. For example, when the American balloonist David Simons ascended to the then-unimaginable altitude of 30,000 meters in 1957, helping pave the way for space flight, he had a Peiker microphone in his helmet. And a Peiker TM70 microphone enabled tape recordings on the first big Himalayan expeditions in the early 1960s. The business changed its name to Peiker Acustic in 1967.

Since the development of mobile communications in the 1990s, the company, based near Frankfurt, has developed at breakneck speed. In 2005, when an Apple iPod was fully integrated into a Mercedes Benz car for the first time, the connector set came from Peiker.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.