Harman invests big in India, as iGO My way makes its way into South Africa

Harman invests big in India, as iGO My way makes its way into South Africa

Harman announced plans to invest $100 million during the next three to five years to increase its footprint in India. Harman, which set up its own entity in India in 2009, will use the funds to launch new products to suit the Indian market and to increase the company’s R&D and software engineering strength. The overarching goal is to capitalize on India’s increasing consumer base, which has already shown a proclivity for gadgets in the audio and infotainment space. The disposable income with Indian consumers is expected to increase at a rate of 8.5 percent per year till 2015. (For more on the Indian market, see ‘Emerging telematics opportunities in India’.) According to Harman, India’s audio and infotainment market is around $250 million and is expected to double in the next three to five years. Harman currently has 200 R&D and software engineers in India and an offshore development center with 400 engineers and plans to increase its engineering strength to 1,000 over the next five years.

Delhi’s new high-tech traffic monitoring system

Delhi unveiled a new high-tech traffic-monitoring center designed to increase the efficiency of its mired bus and public transportation system. The center will monitor the city’s stage carriage buses in real time to keep passengers apprised of delays and to ensure drivers abide by speed limits, routes, and performance benchmarks. The center will also receive video feeds from cameras set up at intersections around the city to monitor traffic flow in real time. If jams get bad enough, the center will have the right to remotely operate traffic signals to keep transportation flowing on schedule.

DriveCam and Zurich

Zurich, one of the largest global fleet insurers, added another telematics company to its integrated fleet risk management system, Zurich Fleet Intelligence. The latest addition is DriveCam, which will offer its telematics services to those Zurich insurance customers who want to minimize fleet operating costs and reduce crashes while keeping vehicles up-and-running and drivers safe. Zurich also announced a new partnership with Trimble for a similar purpose. Rather than create telematics hardware of its own, Zurich plans to partner with established telematics companies to create an insurance telematics model with no hardware overhead.

For more on fleet management, join the industry’s key players at Fleet and Asset Management Europe 2011 on April 4 and 5 in Amsterdam.

Ambient and Sierra Wireless

Ambient Corporation selected Sierra Wireless to provide 3G wireless connectivity for Ambient’s new X-series smart grid communication node. The node is part of Ambient’s larger Smart Grid communications platform, which allows utilities to build a modern, fully connected, and renewable energy infrastructure. Sierra Wireless will provide 3G wireless connectivity to the platform via AirPrime embedded modules. “Ambient is helping to transform energy infrastructure to reduce energy consumption and inefficiencies,” says Mike Ardelan, vice president of OEM sales for Sierra Wireless. “This is a perfect example of the myriad ways in which embedded wireless technology can be employed to provide better real-time information that enables companies to better serve their customers and reduce costs.”


SkyTraq introduced a new high-performance, low-power receiver that combines GLONASS and GPS signals. Despite its easily forgettable name—the S4554GNS-LP—the 88-channel receiver features industry-leading specs, like a 29-second cold start time to first fix and -159dBm navigation sensitivity, all with just 250mW of power consumption. The receiver is specifically intended for navigation and tracking applications. By using dual GLONASS and GPS satellite systems, the receiver offers continuous accurate navigation in urban canyons and deep foliage conditions. The device’s dedicated search engine is capable of performing 10 million time-frequency hypothesis testing per second, offering industry-leading signal acquisition performance for GLONASS and GPS signals. The device will be available at the end of February.

TeleNav’s new Verizon iPhone app

Verizon’s long-anticipated iPhone, which spells the end of AT&T’s exclusivity agreement with Apple in the US, is expected to launch February 10, and with it TeleNav announced a new VZ Navigator app specifically for the Verizon market. Verizon iPhone users will get free turn-by-turn navigation for 30 days if they download the new TeleNav GPS app. Thereafter, users can continue with free basic services—GPS map and local search—or upgrade for full VZ Navigator capabilities for $2.99 per month or $21.99 per year. The app will recognize if someone on an AT&T iPhone has downloaded it and will reroute them to the AT&T Navigator in the app store.

iGO My way: South Africa

iGO My way released a new Southern Africa edition of its navigation app in the iTunes App Store. The app’s maps cover over 570,000 km of roads in South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana, and Lesotho with the most up-to-date speed limits and toll sections. The app features English, French, German, Italian, and Russian as user interface languages. In addition, the application includes over 160,000 Points of Interest in different categories such as banks, hotels, restaurants, pharmacies, hospitals, and other useful places along the route and around the destination. The Southern African edition is iGO My way’s 20th regional edition, ranging from the US to India to South America. iGO My way plans to release more Africa-specific products and to forge new partnerships with local portable navigation, automotive and off-road trekking clients in 2011.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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