ATX: “Hardware has to become more important so it can become less important”

ATX: “Hardware has to become more important so it can become less important”


What does your company do?

ATX is the connected vehicle services division of Cross Country Automotive Services, which serves approximately 76 million customers, primarily through global automotive OEMs and US auto insurers. At ATX, we utilize the cloud to aggregate and deliver a variety of content and services to OEMs and their customers. We provide the infrastructure, back office, administration, and data processing to manage those programs to achieve customer service objectives. In addition, we have expertise in integrating our content and services into the automobile, including development of user interfaces inside and outside the vehicle.

How do you differentiate your offerings from competitors?

No one in the market has the experience in developing so many different programs, across so many different platforms and markets across the automotive space as ATX/Cross Country. We have an infrastructure built specifically to serve multiple, private-label programs and delivered via in-house developed interfaces to vehicle owners (interactive voice, live call-taker response, handset applications, Web portals) to facilitate speed to market and to achieve exemplary customer service objectives. Core to our experience is a long and broad record in vehicle emergency response, ranging across all of our business lines—telematics-based automatic collision notification/response, dispatching roadside assistance, and post-accident management of the vehicle for insurance carriers. Finally, our track record in the research, development, and application of voice technologies also sets us apart.

What partnerships are you currently forging?

The most important partnerships are those with our OEM customers. For instance, we are working closely with Hyundai to develop and introduce BlueLink connected services to the market, as announced at CTS in January. This milestone program introduces 30+ services using embedded technology as standard at unprecedented models. We continue to collaborate closely with BMW on integrating the use of crash severity data into US and Canadian emergency response protocols and are currently working with Toyota and Lexus on some unique market pilots that will be announced at some point in the future. The only milestones we want to achieve are those that show increased customer satisfaction and loyalty to our OEM partners and their affiliated dealerships.

Telematics is now an essential part of the auto OEM strategy. What trends do you see impacting the industry over the next two to five years?

The hardware has to become more important so that it can become less important. Allow me to explain. The most important step for the industry is the need to implement hardware/software into OEM platforms that allow new connected services to be easily and richly integrated with the user interface (graphical and voice) that comes with the vehicle. To this end, the OEMs need to enable and get comfortable with the ECUs in their vehicle receiving a regular software update from the cloud (including OS). In addition, any barriers to embedded network access devices need to be removed, including data plan restrictions that are placed on the M2M space but not the consumer space. From an enterprise standpoint, we have to be able to provide a quantifiable return on investment: greater customer satisfaction and loyalty to the OEM or insurance carrier brand, reduced cost through more efficient delivery of service and/or greater use of telematics-generated data.

You are an integral part of our upcoming event Telematics Detroit 2011. What key issues will you be discussing with the industry at the show?

We will continue to engage in the lively debate related to utilization of embedded telematics versus smartphone integration for content/service delivery. As a TSP, our perspective is somewhat agnostic. Our key point is that telematics and infotainment systems be designed with the ability to bring new and rich connected services for the life of the vehicle. To this end, we embrace an Application Remote HMI framework that provides access to user interface controls and screens, along with remote voice control as well. Whether that framework presides on the smartphone or in an embedded device is less material to the discussion from our perspective. Of course, the advantages of an omnipresent Network Access Device in the vehicle do have inherent advantages from a delivery standpoint.

For all the latest telematics trends, join the sector’s thought leaders at Telematics Detroit 2011 in Novi, MI on June 8 and 9.


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