Asia News: Telematics, navigation, ITS to take centre stage at 2007 Seoul Motor Show

Asia News: Telematics, navigation, ITS to take centre stage at 2007 Seoul Motor Show

The largest car show in Asia has announced that it will now include a two-day seminar on the side of the exhibition for the professionals in the in-car infotainment market.

26 sessions and more than 30 leaders in their fields coming from all corners of Asia-Pacific will form the most important telematics gathering this year. With sessions on each of the world's major car markets, the event will be truly international.

Seoul Motor Show director general Mr. Wan HUH commented earlier: "This year is a turning point for the car industry as telematics shows the path to further service base revenues from the car manufacturers."

With earlier announcements at CES from market leaders in the US like Microsoft, Yahoo! and Ford regarding in-car entertainment and localised search applications, the telematics industry is now becoming mainstream and at the heart of the hottest service models involving vehicles and portable devices.

Consumer telematics – including navigation – has seen massive market expansion in the last two years. For example, navigation system sales in Japan increased at a compound annual rate of 21% from 2001 to 2004. Frost & Sullivan expects that by end-2006, navigation systems will penetrate 65% of new passenger cars sold in Japan, or about 4.7 million units.

While there is clearly a market for telematics services, it is not clear which devices people will use, nor to which companies they will subscribe.

Each Asian market is a different story, and international players are having to rethink their strategy locally.

The in-car market in Japan is extremely advanced due to the competition between the three main OEMs there. In Korea, the PND market is stronger, but, as already shown by the rapid growth in China, all this could be swiped by mobile phone-based navigation and localised services.

As Microsoft Auto’s product manager, Velle Kolde, mentioned, the overwhelming user case for Microsoft's new in-dash Sync system in 2008 Ford cars is mobile phone, far and away No.1. A distant second is media player integration.

How are PND going to react to this rapid change? Thomas Hallauer, editor of Telematics Update commented: "PNDs are not connected to any network, so their long-term evolution will quickly stall. The current markets in Asia show that it is increasingly difficult to penetrate the PND market, or even to survive! The novelty of the PND/ PNP will wear off, and the price advantage they have enjoyed so far will quickly disappear as smart-phones under contract from the wireless operators start to compete directly with them."

In-car integration of portable devices, licensing of the core technology to other platforms … there are many ways out, but all depends on the connections between the different market players in the area, and none of those solutions have shown signs of rapid success.

The simple fact is that route finding is just not sexy enough for people to get emotionally involved with their devices. They're not like MP3 players, video games systems and phones – when new systems are released, they are desirable not just for their functionality but also because they are cool, and because people define themselves through these devices.

The ever-increasing sophistication of technology promises a future where consumers can have access to personal navigation solutions that far surpass today's systems and offer a host of additional location-based services. There will be a big market for these services, and the companies that start planning their future strategies now will be the ones most likely to find their niche and capture their share of tomorrow's market.

The Seoul Motor Show Telematics Forum has been created as a platform for visionary companies to plan for the future. To learn more about the conference, visit: (English) or (Korean).

The seminar will give attendees perspectives from all corners of the global telematics markets, as well as from all the main players like Nissan, LG, SK Corp., IncrementP, Navitime, Hyundai Motor, KBS, IBM and Microsoft, to name just a few.

Hot topics in the centre of the storm will include:

  • Perspectives on the in-car entertainment market's evolution
  • Mobile device consolidation
  • On board and portable telematics services business case
  • Intelligent Safety programs update in Asia and Europe
  • Location Aware services applications and models around the globe
  • Portable device navigation trends
  • Commercial Vehicle management telematics applications opportunities
  • Content provision to the vehicle
  • Navigation map incremental update

The conference is organised by Telematics Update in partnership with KAMA and KOTBA, and sponsored by ADT, Seagate and Telit.

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