Airbiquity: “Consumers expect services tailored to them from their selected information sources”

Airbiquity: “Consumers expect services tailored to them from their selected information sources”

Leo A. McCloskey leads Airbiquity's marketing and product management team, bringing nearly two decades of experience in product management and marketing for services delivered from networks to the company. His expertise in services and networks has been honed in North America and Europe, and he has also lived in Japan.

What does your company do?

For over a decade, Airbiquity has developed solutions for our customers that have enabled innovation and services for connected vehicles. From proprietary technology for enabling data transmission over a mobile voice network to deploying and managing a global cloud for connected vehicle service delivery, Airbiquity has built a reputation for innovation and reliable, resilient connected vehicle technology and services.

How do you differentiate your offerings from your competitors?

Airbiquity’s USP is based on a track record of success and is built on a decade of global experience in designing, deploying, and managing connected vehicle infrastructure. Our capabilities enable more than 13 million cars and trucks to reach both information and entertainment services every day, as well as be automatically connected in potentially life-critical situations.

As any ICT-related market matures, the USP moves from technology to services and expertise. Our track record for delivering on commitments – enabling OEM brands to innovate in the market – creates a powerful, trusted partner.

Telematics is a large and expanding market, though, so there are competitors both new and existing. Capabilities might be built, but the trust that comes from performing each and every day for customers is a key market differentiator and is hard to build from scratch.

What partnerships are you currently forging? What industry milestone did you recently achieve?

We have a strong and growing group of partners. For our Green Vehicle solutions, we have recently announced a partnership with Hitachi that delivers a comprehensive and global platform for EV services to market, and expect to announce our first customer shortly.

We have also partnered with Shell in Europe to enable FuelSave Partner, which creates a solution in the commercial vehicle market for reducing fuel consumption and monitoring vehicle emissions. Working with both Continental and Telenor Connexion, we were able to design and deploy the service on Shell’s behalf across Europe. We expect to announce more partnerships around our Green Vehicle solutions in the very near future.

As service propositions mature, adding other entities like insurance companies and leasing agencies into the connected vehicle communications flow will be required. This will create many more partnership opportunities in the coming months and years.

We are pleased to have been selected by leading brands across many telematics categories: PNDs with Motorola; commercial vehicles with Shell in Europe; a number of leading Automotive OEMs; as well as coming announcements in the EV market. These partnerships have extended our global presence as well, giving us a foot on the ground in Europe, China, Japan, and North America.

Our milestones are really our customers’ successes, though being one of the leading global connected vehicle companies in a competitive and maturing market is a pretty good milestone all by itself.

Which trends will impact the industry the most in the coming years and why?

We see a few important trends. One is globalization. While the North American market is currently the more mature connected vehicle market, we expect that will change in the coming years. This was one of the considerations in deploying our service delivery cloud globally from the beginning: It provides both experience and resiliency as we deliver solutions where our customers want them.

Another important trend is hyper-personalization. The introduction of the iPhone really changed the landscape for consumer expectations. Consumers expect services tailored to them from their selected information sources. The age of one-size-fits-all is truly over.

In the very near future, the introduction of HTML5 is likely to enable personal clouds that contain personal data (pictures, music, etc), and this needs to be included in the connected vehicle framework. It is essential to deliver services for consumers with a high level of personalization and customization, and that requires changes both onboard and offboard.

We express this concept through our tagline of “delivering the vehicle to your connected world,” which means that consumers should not have to adapt to the vehicle, but rather that the connected vehicle should adapt to how the consumer uses content and services.

A third trend, related to the previous one, is inclusion of the smartphone into the connected vehicle service proposition. The phone’s data plan brings broadband connectivity as well as highly personalized content and services. As exciting as this is, it will also bring challenges, both for driver distraction and vehicle resource allocation.

It is imperative that the market conversation mature from the binary choice of ungoverned access of smartphone use in the vehicle to shutting off the phone while in the vehicle to reduce driver distraction. This requires increasing the intelligence of off-board capabilities, which we will elaborate on at the Telematics Detroit 2010 Conference.

Lastly, the concept of “going green” is not just a fad. Services that inform and encourage consumers and enterprises about fuel consumption and emissions will remain a critical focus for the industry. This includes creating a range of EV services that eliminate “range anxiety” and help consumers adopt a worry-free approach to purchasing and driving electric vehicles. It also includes integrating the utility industry into the communications stream, so that energy consumption can be predicted to optimize load management. And all of this complexity has to be masked to the consumer – it must be a simple and consumable value proposition.

What key topics will you discuss with the industry at our 10th annual Telematics Detroit 2010 Conference?

The key focus of the talk will be on enabling the OEMs to safely deliver services from anywhere – including personal clouds, smartphones, and their own service platforms – without losing control of the in-vehicle experience. In fact, we believe that OEMs will be able to much more finely craft service propositions that are tailored to specific lines and model years, as well as enable new and profitable partnerships between content providers and OEMs.

Which gadgets, gizmos, cars are on your current wish list?

Electric vehicles that reduce my own carbon footprint are probably on the top of my list, though I won’t divulge my brand preference. I also think we’re at the beginning of some exciting capabilities in the mobile space and will be closely following what Nokia, Google, RIM and Microsoft enable in their gadgets and, increasingly, in the vehicle. I wish gadgets had a longer lifespan, but I suppose that’s one of the prices of a rapidly maturing technology market.

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