EU’s push for eCall could boost telematics industry

EU’s push for eCall could boost telematics industry

If EU countries heed the European Commission's appeal to speed up the voluntary implementation of eCall, European operators will be required to efficiently manage an enormous number of devices – a business that is very different from handling handsets, says Macario Namie, senior director of product marketing at Jasper Wireless.

"We are experiencing a growing demand for M2M services, with tier 1 operators worldwide having recently announced investments in serving this fast growing market – including AT&T, KPN, Vodafone and Orange," says Namie. "eCall will further accelerate this trend and reinforce the business case for operators looking to invest in connected devices."

He points out that whilst car manufacturers are concerned with the associated costs of eCall, wirelessly connecting vehicles will open the doors for a range of additional services – from navigation and information on local facilities to breakdown coverage.

The EC's push for regulation will also lead to innovation in the M2M space, opening the doors to new revenue sources for the telecomms and car industries.

"A similar initiative is being implemented in Brazil, where the national department of transport is fighting vehicle theft by introducing a regulation requiring all new cars to come out of the factory with an embedded tracking system – starting in February 2010," says Namie. "Since most car manufacturers in Brazil are subsidiaries of European companies (e.g. Volkswagen and Fiat), the technology is expected to be exported to feed into Europe and help make eCall a reality."

Matt Lewis of ARCchart adds: "It is also surprising that governments don't see the additional indirect benefits that embracing eCall will bring, particularly in the present economic climate."

Lewis refers back to how the UK legislation in 2006 covering child restraints in cars generated a mini economic boom for dealerships and accessory suppliers, and says that enforcing the deployment of eCall could have similar benefits for companies supplying the eCall value chain.

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