"After horses and
carriages, modern automobile was at the heart of extending the notion of
personal mobility. It is fitting, therefore, that mobile computing should
serve communication and information needs in the automobile. Telematics
caters to this need. " - Chander Dhawan, Principal Consultant and Managing Editor of
is the term used to convey the notion of hands-free, voice-activated
cellular telephones, in-car computing, wireless
Internet and location-based services in the car. Technology associated with installing computers
in the car and private wireless networks has been around for over a
decade. Public safety agencies have been doing that since mid 1980s. The
term "Mobile Data Terminals (MDT's)" supported by private wireless
networks in 400 MHz and 800 MHz bands was initially coined by Motorola in
early 1980's for law enforcement application. Qualcomm introduced fleet
management applications called VIS and QTracks in mid 1990s that could
collect diagnostic information from trucks and also communicate with drivers
on the highways through text messaging. This has remained a relatively
expensive and niche application until now.
However, generalized Internet-based computing and location-based services aimed at consumers
relatively new - about one year old. In its current form, Telematics
is the convergence of wireless technology, Global Positioning Systems
(GPS), onboard electronics and infotainment services. It's the gateway for
a virtually unlimited array of in-vehicle wireless services. Major
business drivers for this are vehicle differentiation and vehicle safety.
Why Telematics - The Need?
Market research studies indicate
that adults in the US average 2 hours a day in their car and will spend
over 500 million hours in-car in 2001. While drivers have access to
broadcast information through radio as well as cellular-telephone
connectivity, they do not have access to personalized information and
contact with their offices during these hours. With the advent of wireless
Internet, telematics industry is looking at ways for make drivers safer,
give them personalized content on demandand stay connected.
Functionality - Now
In the short term, automobile industry intends to provide
value-add services like gathering maintenance information about the
vehicle and offer diagnostic information to drivers, besides providing ,
weather and traffic information. They are initially tying it to driver's
safety requirements - maintenance, airbag deployment and related
information but medium term objective is to connect to the Internet and
then start providing air reservation, cancellation and rebooking
Location-based content is an
obvious add-on to this initial service. Naturally, automobile manufacturers are interested in getting on the wireless Internet wagon.
However, a more exciting
future scenario is where you are driving on the highway en-route to the
airport and your car has an engine problem. Completely unknown to you,
your on-board computer sends a diagnostic alert to the maintenance center
of the car manufacturer. There, a service representative discovers an
engine timing problem and has a temporary software fix to the problem. The
service representative finds the cellular number of the car from its
database, calls the driver, advises him/her of the problem, and gets
permission to perform the temporary fix on the fly. After providing
partial relief to the driver, the service center suggests that the driver
should take the car for permanent checkup at the closest service center.
Meanwhile, the driver communicates with the airline through his/her
computer, gets re-booked on a later flight. All this happens though
a voice interface to the in-car computer mounted on the dashboard. Technology components
for all of these functions exists today (in 2001) - only the
infrastructure is not in place - that's what Telematics vendors are trying
Major Initiatives in the Market
GM's On-Star initiative -
Toyota, Honda and SAAB have joined the initiative. GM hopes to equip
one million cars with basic Telematics capability in 2001. Honda will
equip Acura's with OnStar's services.
Ford Motor Company &
Qualcomm (Wingcast) - Ford will add telematics to more expensive
models in 2002. Jaguar (a subsidiary of Ford) will provide in-car
voice and data services from Sprint PCS in some models.
Some Toyota Lexus and
Nissan Infiniti models should see telematics features soon.
Ericsson and Palm
initiative called Communiport Mobile Productivity Center. This
will combine a cellular phone and PDA to give driving instructions on
palm V devices. A microphone and voice-recognition capabilities allow
drivers to interact with Palm's calendar, to-do lists, memo pad, and
e-mail. Using voice commands, you ill be able to make a hands-free cal
from Palm's address boo. Portable Communiport will plug into car's
battery system directly.
Evertrac Fleet Management
System for tracking vehicle diagnostic information.
and Reynolds has introduced a third-party consumer service to most
vehicles manufactured after 1995/96 model year when manufacturers
started installing in-board diagnostic embedded computers in cars. For
the past five years, only service stations operated by major auto
manufacturers and equipped with expensive
equipment were able to retrieve this information through proprietary
interfaces. Now, it can be retrieved by independent service stations
by subscribing to services from
Reynolds and Reynolds who supplies hardware, software and support for
non-company service facilities. Reynolds and Reynolds supplies
supplies CAReader, an automotive wireless diagnostic appliance from Networkcar
Inc., a company in which it has 10% equity stake.
ATX and CNN interactive
have joined hands to offer a service through Mercedes-Benz's TeleAid
program that will provide personalized news, weather, stock, sports
information for display on in-car screen.
Current User Interface& Typical
Consumer Services Offered
Implementations vary from one manufacturer to another. However in its
first incarnation, the system's typical interface features a multi-button
control pad that is integrated into the instrument panel and is accessible
by the driver or front-seat passenger. An integrated microphone and use of
the vehicle's stereo speaker system ensures hands-free, non-distracting
communication - the driver does not have to take his/her eyes off the road
to receive information from the OnStar center - one leading Telematics
implementation from GM-led consortium. Future interfaces may see more
OnStar - GM's version of Telematics Aims
From safety perspective, the system will automatically place an
emergency call if the airbags (front or side) are deployed in a crash.
The call is received as a priority at the OnStar center with the
vehicle's location and the phone number of local emergency authorities
instantly appearing on the advisor's screen.
If the vehicle is stolen, the owner can
initiate remote tracking by calling OnStar and providing the correct
security code. OnStar will then contact local authorities and locate the
vehicle, guiding the police to the vehicle's location.
From mobile office functionality perspective,
On-Star will have a virtual Advisor, which will provide voice-activated
Internet access for the retrieval of e-mail through the OnStar.com portal.
Concierge Services Help Make Life a Bit
The OnStar system also provides its customers with a 24-hour connection to
concierge services like:
Navigation and route guidance - OnStar's
location database contains five million listings
Personal assistance with services such
as booking hotel reservations or airline tickets, ordering flowers or
100 other customized services
Directions to the nearest
Vehicle location assistance when parked
in a crowded lot by flashing the vehicle's lights and activating the
How in-Car Computing is Implemented?
OnStar utilizes the vehicle's
electronics, GPS satellite tracking and the existing wireless network to
transmit voice and data to the OnStar call center - which is staffed 24
hours a day by experienced advisors. The vehicle's location can be
pinpointed to help emergency authorities reach the vehicle in the event of
an accident or provide accurate navigation assistance (without having to
study an onboard screen display).
How Much Will it Cost Consumers?
Prices would vary from one manufacturer to another. However, OnStar
pricing for SAAB may provide a rough guideline. OnStar's manufacturer
suggested Sale Price in Saab
vehicles is $895, which includes three months of the Premium Service Plan.
After the initial three months, a basic Safety And Security Plan is $16.95
per month and includes airbag deployment notification, vehicle theft
tracking and emergency assistance. The comprehensive Premium Service Plan,
which includes all of the basic services in the safety and security plan
plus route guidance and all concierge services, is $34.95 per month and
provides unlimited calls to the OnStar center.
Rule-of-thumb averages for cost are in the
$500-$1000 range for the hardware option and $199 to $399 per year for the
service. Many dealers would discount the first year service costs in
the base price of the car itself.
Size of the Market
The auto industry and wireless Internet market forecasters see
big dollars in this space. Sales of telematics equipment and services are expected
to rise from $735 million in 2000 to $5.3 billion in 2005, according to
Strategis group. The company expects 11 million in-car subscribers in 2005.
Another market research company, Business Intelligence group, is even more
optimistic and expects global telematics market to grow to $8 billion in
2005. GM expects to have sold million units in 2000 and 4 million
by 2003. Attractive proposition for auto makers is ongoing revenue by
selling Internet-based services.
Another recent study by
Telematics Research Group shows the number of telematics-enabled
autos in use will have grown from four per 1000 people to 200 per
1000. By 2006, it expects more than 30 million telematics-enabled
vehicles in the world. by 2006, 30% of all new vehicles in USA will
include telematics systems.
Auto Manufacturers are in Driver's Seat: Telematics
market is well structured, well-organized because major auto manufacturers
are driving the initiative. The market is not splintered among several
hundred startups like the wireless Internet market is. Auto manufacturers
know how to market to consumers and are offering incremental services.
Issues in Telematics
- a must; Since car manufacturers are safety conscious for some time and
do not want to face law suits, they are insisting on voice-activated
interface. This is very wise and responsible, we think.
then exotic Internet : Based on consumer surveys and manufacturer's
own understanding of consumer preferences, they are emphasizing driver
safety features The will come location-based route guidance (directions)
and m-commerce services. Then Telematics will become convenience
offering, rather than a safety offering.
Ownership of the customer
- it appears that customer clearly belongs to auto manufacturers. In
the mobile commerce space, wireless network carriers, wireless portals
and content providers are all fighting for the crown.
Vendors in Telematics
GM's On-Star initiative -
See See Major Initiatives earlier.
Ford Motor Company &
Qualcomm (Wingcast) - See Major Initiatives earlier
Automotive - See Major Initiatives earlier
Evertrac Fleet Management
System - For tracking vehicle diagnostic information.
and Reynolds Third-party consumer service - See Major
Motorola - providing
basic hardware components. Nokia and Siemens are doing the same in a
minor way. Motorola is also planning to offer iRadio ,a private-labeled
information system that will allow weather, traffic, voicemail, e-mail,
NV - Telematics OTF (Open Telematics Framework) - Oracle has
partnered with Acunia.
Veritek - Telematics for
fleet and rental market
Alpine - Traditional
After-market auto audio supplier now offers Mobile MayDay (help for
emergency) service - kind of Telematics service
Clarion - AutoPC as car
radio - expensive
- an information portal
- Content aggregator
Etak - navigational maps
NavTech - provides
navigational database for directions
- Commercioal vehicle diagnostic information collection expertise
Automatic Speech Recognition software is installed in hands-free auto
Visteon - Supplies
navigation, entertainment, communication, in-car computing and audio
hardware to car manufacturers
Telematics, a UK-based company involved in development, marketing
and distribution of integrated modular automotive Telematics systems and
the provision of monitoring services to users of these products. SKAMP
is a branded product that spans GSM, GPS, SMS and a remotely-activated
Features of this report include:
Analysis of key players throughout the automotive and freight telematics value chain
Evolution of the value chain and markets to 2005
Assessment of the impact of 2.5G and 3G enabling technologies on future service provision
Detailed forecasts and analysis of market potential for the private vehicle, freight, fleet, public safety/public transport, and logistics telematics segments
Valuable insights into player activities, including the crucial role of mergers, start-ups, alliances and joint ventures.
Acknowledgement : Some content
of this page based on information in mbizcentral magazine.