AI speaks to Precksha Saksena, project director for Telematics Detroit 2008

AI speaks to Precksha Saksena, project director for Telematics Detroit 2008

AI: What will be some of the highlights of Telematics Detroit 2008?

Precksha Saksena: The highlight of this year's show is that instead of just focusing on the automotive industry, we've expanded our scope to include the mobile and web based communities, because the meaning of telematics has been re-defined to include all these three elements. Despite that, we will continue to have strong focus on pure-play automotive telematics at the 8th Annual Telematics Detroit 2008.

AI: What are some of the issues that have become more important in the telematics market since last year?

PS: There are a few key issues this year, such as the influence of web-based companies and search engines on the telematics landscape. Also, the battle between mobile, in-car and web-based telematics is becoming even more intriguing. I'm also very keen to observe the power play between traditional telematics service providers and the search engines.

AI: What are some of the latest trends in the telematics market?

PS: One of the key trends in the telematics market is that automotive telematics is finally coming into its own, and, for the very first time, not only is it working from a business perspective but it is winning consumers' hearts. Also, our platinum sponsors – Hughes Telematics – will be discussing the latest trends in "connectedness", from traditional to non-traditional applications such as gaming, m-commerce and social applications.

AI: Do you see a difference in approach to participants this year – are there any pressing issues that are cropping up for auto makers around the world vis a vis telematics?

PS: Participants are more willing to discuss controversial issues, and automakers are willing to discuss the latest automotive partnership models involving service providers, suppliers and search engines. They will also discuss the push towards an open-source/open-platform model. An issue all automakers are battling with is how to integrate systems to provide telematics services, navigation and infotainment whilst making the systems affordable for end-users.

AI: How different are the speakers and the topics they have chosen this year?

PS: All the topics and speakers for this year's conference have been very carefully hand-picked. Over a period of more than six months we conducted intensive research to determine the scope and agenda of the conference so it would reflect key industry challenges, solutions and opportunities.

For this year's show we've completely re-vamped the structure. In the mornings we have keynotes, after which the conference splits into four multi-tracks, each focusing on the following topics: Navigation & location, in-car infotainment, asset management & monitoring, and intelligent vehicle safety.

For the very first time this year, speakers will include not only the top automakers (such as BMW, Honda, Toyota), suppliers (such as Alpine, Visteon, Panasonic), wireless carriers (such as T-Mobile, AT&T) and telematics service providers (such as Hughes Telematics, ATX), but we've also managed to get companies like Yahoo! to discuss and debate the future of location-based services and in-car telematics.

AI: What are some of the biggest challenges facing in-vehicle systems applications today?

PS: Cost is the biggest challenge. The entire value-chain is trying to uncover the business model to ensure that technology is cheaply and readily available in order for it to appeal to end-users. Telematics Detroit 2008 will discuss some of the most successful business models and case studies to ensure that the rest of the players can learn from the collective success of the industry.

AI: How helpful are conferences like Telematics Detroit in dealing with these challenges, and why?

PS: The Telematics Detroit 2008 conference & exhibition is refreshingly different from the usual run-of-the-mill events. Over the past eight it has grown into a calendar highlight for the industry's most prominent figures and executives. Telematics Update Magazine does not endorse a particular product or company; we endeavour to provide industry intelligence in an unbiased and informative format so that attendees can derive immediate business value from it.

Also, Telematics Detroit is the industry's annual networking hub – the one place where you are guaranteed to meet, discuss and do business with all the prominent telematics companies from across the value chain – automakers, device manufactures, suppliers, wireless carriers, systems integrators, search engines, hardware manufactures, software developers, content developers, consultants, government reps.

AI: What do you think the future holds for automotive telematics?

PS: In a fast-changing consumer lifestyle landscape, automotive telematics is under threat from the mobile industry. The battle between pure telematics and location-enabled services through mobile devices is becoming both brutal and intriguing. There is no place on the fence. Pick your side now and be at Telematics Detroit 2008 to applaud the winners and strike strategic alliances and partnerships with players in-the-know.

Now in its eighth year, Telematics Detroit 2008 will be even bigger than the 2007 event, featuring more than ninety speakers, forty innovative sessions, twenty interactive debate forums and four focused mini-conferences.

Speakers will include Rajiv Saxena (engineering team leader, Chrysler), Tsuguo Nobe (general manager, Nissan), Joe Berry (SYNC product & business development, Ford Motor Co), Michael Lawless (product manager, Yahoo! Maps) and Clint Steiner (senior manager, Garmin).

Also speaking at this year's event will be Thilo Koslowski (vice president of automotive for Gartner's manufacturing industry advisory service), Francis Dance (telematics business development manager, BMW North America), Sascha Simon (program manager, telematics, at Mercedes-Benz USA) and Paola Carrea (director, Magneti Marelli).

The guest speakers will cover topics ranging from navigation & location to infotainment, intelligent vehicle safety, and asset management & monitoring.

Every presentation will undergo a rigorous review process in advance with a few chosen industry experts who provide support and partnership to this event to ensure consistently high quality presentations and provide attendees with relevant, real-life examples of how to increase profits and drive commercial excellence.

"Each and every company in the digital automotive and mobile value-chain has unique business needs, which is why Telematics Update has created an agenda that will ensure you go home with a blueprint for success," says Ms Saksena.

Around 1,200 delegates from around the world are expected to attend Telematics Detroit 2008, which takes place on 21-22 May at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi, Detroit.

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