Tech Day: Infotainment Systems

Most of us look to the internet to answer our questions or solve our problems. Most of the time, the answers we find consist of second-hand information. That is, the place you find the answer didn’t actually come up with that answer. It’s rare to find the actual source of a piece of information. When it comes to Aston Martin infotainment systems, James Hawkes-Reed is an original source.

I’ve chatted with him once or twice every several months over the last few years. Not much, but enough to know that he’s incredibly knowledgeable and always willing to help. After my OEM parts supply got cut off, I found myself looking for alternatives. One of the areas I wanted to explore was James’ line of work: cameras and connectivity. We exchanged a few emails about what he had to offer and the conversation progressed well enough that I asked if he’d be interested in coming to the United States for a visit. To my surprise, he said yes.

Truth be told, the event itself fell together rather easily. The biggest hurdle I faced in organizing it was finding a location. We needed space for people as well as cars. Given we’re in Florida, we needed air conditioning. Finding an empty, air conditioned space we could fill with both people and cars is a tall order. Clare, as is usually the case, sorted this out for me. In addition to helping me with Redpants and running her own business, Off the Line Detailing, Clare’s day job was as a service adviser at Jaguar of Tampa. That dealership used to have Aston Martin and Fisker franchises, and the showroom for those cars still sits empty - now only used for special cars and new car deliveries. At the time, it had a Mercedes SLS convertible on display and a freshly-built Jaguar F-Pace waiting to be picked up by a customer. The dealership moved those vehicles out and gave us free reign over the showroom. So, I want to give a massively huge ‘thank you’ to Jaguar of Tampa for accommodating us.

Having sorted out the location, the rest of the details seemed minor. I had to get chairs for people to sit in, food for people to eat, drinks to keep refreshed, and tables to set the food and beverages on. This was surprisingly stressful because I had no idea how many people to expect. I got a rough number by asking people to RSVP and provide some information, which did help quite a bit. But that unknown is a constant challenge with event planning. Up until people were seated and I started talking, I didn’t know if we’d get 5 people or 50 in attendance. Chairs and food for 5 people is simple. For 50? Quite a bit more costly and requires a bit of advanced notice to the caterer. Since I was paying for this out of pocket, being at least somewhat accurate was important to make both attendees and my wallet happy.