High-end extras for extravagant vehicles
WRITTEN BY JONNY WILLIAMSON
With more cars driving on our roads than ever before, it has become increasingly difficult to separate your car from the crowd. In the world of after-market gadgets and technology, there are a whole host of products available, from sat-navs to massage seats, custom liquor cabinets to digital TV receivers, looking to make your vehicle stand out. African Business Review takes a look at the latest after-market technology intended to improve comfort and luxury, while also adding the wow factor.
Rogue Acoustics RA:1K
PRICE FROM US$70,000-$250,000
Capable of delivering unbeatable sound quality and superb volume, the RA:1K audio system has the privilege of being the world’s most expensive car stereo system. Highly customisable, most systems will come with ten drivers, four tweeters, four mid-range drivers and two sub-woofers, all supported by six advanced amplifiers. The system gives crystal clear surround sound, even at high volumes thanks to the digital signal processor.
A central amp includes a remote mobile connection allowing Rogue technicians to tune the system from their offices, and even shut the system down should the vehicle be stolen. The system is so advanced that it can even self-diagnose problems with itself and, when necessary automatically request that a maintenance appointment be scheduled via the remote connection. Each system is custom-built to each individual’s requirements, from the choice of speakers down to the colour of cables and mountings.
PRICE AROUND US$2,000
This high-end, aftermarket multimedia unit is controlled through the 7” full-colour, touchscreen display and boosts a huge array of functions and features. With a simple graphical interface, allowing picture-in-picture displays and video streaming, users can take advantage of the DVD/CD playback and satellite-navigation.
The built-in Bluetooth and voice-activation control make hands-free calling easy as well as safe, with system security provided by the removable faceplate and pin code. USB inputs allow iPod/iPhone users to attach their devices with a function similar to Cover Flow, allowing music, photos and videos to be quickly browsed.
Optional extras include a universal camera, attached via the flexible, waterproof base, with an advanced image processor capable of presenting a number of viewing angles, picture-in-picture and even onscreen guidelines. Those in the back of the car can be entertained with two 6” touchscreen headrest monitors, with video content able to be screened separately from the main unit.
Custom pearlescent paint job
PRICE FROM US$3,000-$10,000
Custom paint jobs have been around as long as automobiles themselves. The latest way of making your particular car stand out from the crowd uses iridescent or pearlescent paints. Unlike standard metallic paints, pearlescent paint appears to change colour when viewed from different angles through goniochromism, an optical illusion of depth and lustre. The painting process is a lot more labour-intensive than a traditional re-spray, requiring more man-hours and a higher volume of paint.
The process typically involves two or three base coats, three pearl coats and three clear coats to give sheen and protection, as well as a tak clean after every coat. With a vivid range of colours and host of metallic pigments to choose from, the only thing to stifle your creativity is a lack of imagination.
PRICE FROM US$2,500-$5,000
Vertical doors, sometimes called scissor doors or Lambo doors (after the Lamborghini Countach became the first production car to feature them back in 1974), have had a resurgence recently, becoming tremendously popular. Often confused with gull-wing doors (which are hinged at the top), vertical doors are hinged at the front end, opening outwards then swinging upwards, giving an impressive and distinctive quality to any vehicle. Previously only associated with sports cars, the abundance of universal door kits, packaged with replacement high strength hinges and gas pistons, now means most standard doors can be switched to vertical doors.
Rear doors can’t be retro-fitted to accommodate vertical doors, but can be converted into suicide doors. So called because they open to the back, rather than the front, suicide doors were traditionally seen as a symbol of sheer lavishness, having featured in many Bentleys and Rolls Royce models.
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GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”