azlano 2.0 > 2010 In Review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 39 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 320 posts. There were 33 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 5mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was March 2nd with 533 views. The most popular post that day was Less Than 12 Hours To Go.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were funtastickodesign.wordpress.com, en.wikipedia.org, twitter.com, saluran07.blogspot.com, and adlankhalidi.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for azlano, problem solving, raya wishes, selamat hari raya wishes, and proton saga.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Less Than 12 Hours To Go March 2010
7 comments

2

The Proton Saga RED Show Car January 2008
51 comments

3

Hari Raya Wishes September 2008
5 comments

4

Proton Exora Prestige and Prime April 2009
9 comments

5

The Problem Solving Flowchart February 2010
2 comments

KLIMS 2010

The Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show is now on at Putra World Trade Centre and will end on 12th December. Have you visited? Try to avoid the peak times because it can be so crowded that you won’t be able to move let alone take pictures to fully appreciate the exhibits.

PROTON Design is out in full force this time round, showcasing not one but five designs, specifically 2 concepts and 3 show cars. Dubbed the Pahlawan Series it is a testament of our abilities to develop practical and emotive designs which illustrate our vision of the immediate future.

Do visit the PROTON booth and be part of our Styling Digital LIVE Studio. I’ll be there on and off so give me a holler should you see me!

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

PROTON’s 25th Anniversary Website

As PROTON officially kicked off its 25th Anniversary celebrations recently with a Gala Dinner, some other events also followed suit. There was the launch of the Limited Edition ‘tiger inspired’ Exora, Persona and Saga. Last week was the refreshed Exora with a new interior colour scheme and exciting Plum Red exterior colour. Today, the official 25th Anniversary website went LIVE and it certainly looks like a happening place to share your stories, participate in contests and read about what’s new relating to the celebration. Click HERE to access the site and be a part of Malaysian automotive history! (and see if you can find my story in there somewhere!)

Go to http://www.proton25years.com for more details.

Car Design With A Socialnomic Perspective

Note: This article originally appeared in the thinklab blog. Click HERE to be directed to the site. My personal thanks to the thinklab team for supporting & engaging the design discipline in Malaysia as we push towards globalization through design awareness.

Car design is a very interesting and challenging profession. It involves a multitude of people from diverse disciplines and is always under intense pressure to create the ‘what’s next’ for the world to see. In essence car design today can be also be likened to crystal-balling future trends in the effort to always stay one step ahead of the competitors. That effectively puts it in the same league as some of the more technical fields of work such as forex forecasting, advance engineering and social sciences. It’s worth noting also another rather new field which is becoming more and more intertwined with design; socialnomics. Technically speaking it isn’t that new but relatively it is a field of knowledge that has only started to gain prominence in organizations over the past few years. Erik Qualman (author of the book Socialnomics) states that it is quite simply the art of listening to people around you.

This knowledge in the ‘other facet’ of car design is what will differentiate auto designers of the past with the designers of the future. Honestly speaking, car designers of today can no longer be complacent and delve only in their field exclusively supported by what they learned in college. No, they must evolve.

Allow me to give you two examples from the past 6 months. On 7th January the Ford Motor Company announced they will partner with notable social media companies like Openbreak, Pandora and Stitcher to bring Twitter & internet radio control to their cars. Simply put, users will soon be able to social network directly from the comforts of their car interior (with safety systems engaged of course) using their smartphones. This initiative is a breakthrough for a primarily traditional company like Ford, especially when you take into account the current crisis they are facing. But adapt they must to these up coming technologies and trends to stay one step ahead of their competitors. Subsequently on May 13th, General Motors also announced their intention to partner with Google to implement the latter’s Android OS into their cars. This collaboration would allow users to control in-car systems like navigation, multimedia and telephony via their Android powered smartphones.

So what gives? Why would these stalwarts of the auto industry go on a relatively foreign tangent from their usual self? It is obvious they recognize the need to change from their usual business model and typical mode of operation. This need to change is also known as a tipping point. A point where things or ideals veer off to another seemingly unexpected direction but normally borne out of necessity.

You would ask me now, how does this all relate to DESIGN? It’s pretty straight forward really. Designers also need to evolve in meeting the challenges & needs of social media. Designs need to be tuned towards the complexities of social media where integration is key. This sounds a lot more daunting than it is but in any case shouldn’t be taken lightly. The good news is that most of the young designers today (Gen Y’s especially) are already participating in social networking, thanks to their affinity to this thing called the World Wide Web. All things considered, there are a few key points which I feel must be kept in mind in order to ensure sustenance in this new design agenda:-

Front End Processing is the first thing designers must comprehend & understand. Know what social networking & social media is all about, how it began, where it is today and what holds for it for the future. As more and more of this new technologies are being used by people in cars, there is a need to ensure they are used responsibly and efficiently. Car designers must be able to think in a broader perspective where aesthetics isn’t just enough any more.

Intrinsic Integration is the next bit of skill which will differentiate truly successful designs from the mediocre. In a world where socialnomics is a lifestyle, software & hardware integration will define ease of use and GUIs & HMIs will be the main differentiator which sets designs apart. Components in the car will not only have to talk to each other but also listen in to conversations from the Web and location-based services. Designs must be functional in meeting these needs. Speaking of which…

Location-based Awareness will be the next big thing. Like a killer-app for computer OS’. Once the powers-that-be sort out the logistics and processes required to implement this en-masse I am confident it will become mainstream and be integrated into our everyday lives. For design, specific requirements must be met to ensure the integration is seamless and intuitive.

From what you’ve read I reckon by now you would have noticed that I didn’t specifically delve into normal design ideologies. It is my intention to do so. Let’s be clear, social media is about listening and push information. Design on the other hand is about visual aesthetics and form follow function or function follow form. How can these two specialized fields work together? Actually, they are already deeply rooted together but this is evident more in product design than car design. Having said that, I am confident it will get there very soon.

Allow me to hypothesize; what if we started to sell cars and tie each sale with a contract to a mobile service provider? The customer will not only get a car but also a smartphone which can interact with all his or her social media networks AND the car as well. Mobile number portability will allow seamless transfer of existing number(s) to this new set, should the customer wants to. For the carrier, they will be able to grant greater usage of mobile internet traffic and possibly secure valuable post-paid customers who signs up to data contracts. From here on the possibilities for both the customer and service providers (car & carrier) is almost limitless. Navigation, location-based advertising, social networking, live & instantaneous CRM and B2B + B2C integration are just some of the possibilities.

And guess who will be tasked with designing the interfaces, graphics, haptic responses, gadgets and accessories to power all that? Make sense now doesn’t it? 😉

Proton EMAS in Geneva Motor Show 2010

Proton EMAS in Geneva Motor Show 2010

Honestly speaking I’ve been to Geneva for the annual Motor Show quite a few times. I am familiar with the exhibition area, the city and the personal nature of the most significant auto show of the year.

But this year is different. For the first time I am part of the exhibiting team, which essentially means I get to arrive on the show floor days before the event proper. For the first time also I am attending the Press Day not as a ‘researcher’ but as part of a team presenting a World Premier.

The Proton Senior Mgmt with Giugiaro Snr and Jr.

There was a great sense of trepidation from the Proton team I’m sure, but safe to say everything went as planned. To me Geneva is always about personal connections between the who’s who of this industry. It’s about walking the floor and meeting people whilst at the same time analysing the displays on show. So, it was natural the EMAS taking lots of visit from friends of Italdesign and Proton. Some notable visitors were Nissan’s Shiro Nakamura, ex-BMW’s Chris Bangle, Lotus’ Donato Coco, Formula 1’s Jean Alessi,  the legendary Ferdinand Piëch and many others.

But it was great to have Proton’s Advisor, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, join this historic moment. His presence alone generated such a buzz and put an unmeasurable amount of emphasis on the significance of the event. He is such a fascinating man to watch; he doesn’t speak much but when he does it resonates to the core. Also he one of 80+ years old which makes his efforts to participate and walk the floor all the more amazing. But lest not forget Tun Siti Hasmah for standing by and being the perfect lady. I watch her stature and come to the conclusion that she must have an incredible amount of patience and control amidst all the attention towards her husband. Like Tun Mahathir I’m sure she too has a lot energy and enthusiasm towards what’s important for Malaysia.

Proton’s Director of Engineering, Tn. Hj. Tajul, joined with Lotus engineers to explain the REEV hybrid powertrain installed in the EMAS.

All in all the show was a great opportunity for Proton and it was not to be passed. Everyone delivered what they were supposed to do and the responses have been beyond our expectations. Interest have been great, and now expectations are even greater. I personally believe Proton’s global ambitions are well on its way and more importantly we can stand tall amongst the greats in this industry. In the past I have many times mentioned that and that there should be no fear of us being any lesser than the stalwarts of the design fraternity; especially in design and styling.

Proton Design is now one step closer to cement its presence in the world design scene.

Me fielding questions from the media on the show floor.
Me fielding questions from the media on the show floor.
The ultimate backstage pass...
The ultimate backstage pass…