Livio Connect Adds Freemium Service for App Developers

The Ferndale, MI-based startup Livio announced today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that its Livio Connect API for integrating smartphone apps with vehicle hardware systems will now be available as a “freemium” service. It’s the latest move after a busy 2012, in which the automotive business-to-business tech firm completed a Series C fundraising round and won a Frost & Sullivan product development award.

The newest additions to the Livio Connect application network expand the in-vehicle offerings beyond just music apps to include traffic, parking, weather, and navigation. At CES, Livio demonstrated its latest technology, FM Connect, which allows drivers listening to FM radio to safely send feedback to and interact with radio broadcasters through the dashboard using a Bluetooth connected smartphone. So far, the Livio Connect network of apps includes AccuweatherInrix, Parkopedia, 977music.comAddictedToRadio, Digitally Imported, Greater Media, Inc., GroovesharkJazzRadio, Live365, NPR, Rdio, RockRadio, SkyFM, and TuneIn.

Nicole Yelland, Livio’s head of marketing and PR, says that Livio’s technology has also been integrated into the 2013 Chevy Spark, though the consumer will never see anything in the car to indicate that’s the case. “We think of Livio like the matchmaker or the cocktail straw—we’re the conduit to get your drink,” she says. “Our two customers are OEMs and app developers. We’re keeping auto companies up to date on the latest apps, and we have the ability to get them immediately into cars.”

One thing Livio isn’t doing anymore, as it celebrates its fifth anniversary, is making Internet radios, which is how the company got its start. Ironically, what Livio realized at last year’s CES is that it needed to pivot away from making consumer products and instead focus on working with auto manufacturers and developers. So far, Yelland says, business has been great, and the company is now up to 15 employees. “It’s been a lot of fun and an especially cool year because the business has changed,” she adds.

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