Automobiles have evolved from having a simple radio with perhaps a cassette or CD player to having a variety of sophisticated entertainment and information systems that need to communicate and interact with each other and with a human user. As a matter of fact, automotive systems are more feature-rich than many other A/V applications such as home A/V distribution, security A/V systems and industrial applications. MOST offers an optimized architecture for the real-time transport of audio, video, data and control. It is the backbone of modern infotainment systems.
Cars today include GPS navigation systems that can work in conjunction with the built-in telephone to locate a stolen car. Car occupant safety requires the driver to concentrate on controlling the car rather than on the intricacies of the individual components. Therefore all features are presented to the driver through a single graphical user interface with a distributed control philosophy with many automated functions. The car telephone needs to interact with the stereo system to mute it when a call is requested or received - a feature that also would provide value in the home. Voice control and hands-free speakerphones require a microphone to digitize the voice. Display systems are needed for navigation information and DVD playback.
Cars are an embodiment of a sophisticated A/V system where the audio, video and data information needs to be connected from multiple sources to multiple sinks. These functions are well suited for applications outside the vehicle as well, whether in home or commercial applications. For example, the components of a stereo system could interact so that if you turn on a DVD player it immediately signals the TV to turn on. It sets the equalization curves of the amplifier to its home theater settings and starts the DVD program without the need for user interaction. Similarly, if a CD is inserted, the user's favorite music settings can be selected and the whole system can operate intelligently without requiring much direct user input. MOST provides a switching fabric as the foundation to create such efficient system architectures with well defined interfaces.
To be effective all of these subsystems must interface with the users, presenting audio and visual information in a wide variety of formats to inform and entertain him or her. They must be able to manage the information to easily present it to the user as it comes from the various components.
The most efficient and cost effective way to continue the innovations in all these areas is to allow the devices to be developed independently and then be connected together using standard hardware and software interfaces. Digital interoperability is required to build systems from modules of different vendors.
Options will be easy to add since the fabric provides the infrastructure to transfer information from one device to another. Cars, for example, will be customized to each buyer's preferences right at the dealership and will not depend on a pre-selected list. Safety will be enhanced as components have well defined interfaces to interoperate and are easily controlled from the user interfaces.
Media Oriented Systems Transport is a multimedia network optimized for multimedia and infotainment applications. It is a network originally developed by the automotive industry for the automotive industry but with wide-ranging applications in many other industries. Its design allows it to provide a low-overhead and low-cost interface for the simplest of devices, such as microphones and speakers. At the same time, more intelligent devices can automatically determine the features and functions provided by all other devices on the network and establish sophisticated control mechanisms to take away distractions from the driver of the car as different subsystems try to communicate information to him.
The features of MOST make it suitable for any application, inside or outside the car that needs to network multimedia information along with data and control functions.
MOST not only defines the physical interconnection between devices but also specifies and standardizes a lean embedded communication protocol and software framework that simplifies the development of complete systems and applications to distribute and manage multimedia content.